Hicks said Tallahassee is sorely missing leadership.
Nearly 250 candidates are vying for state House and state Senate seats in 2020. Try as we will, Florida Politics can’t interview all of them.
Just like in 2016 and 2018, we’re again asking every candidate to complete a questionnaire we believe offers an interesting, albeit, thumbnail sketch of who they are and why they are running. If you are a candidate and would like to complete the questionnaire, email Jason@FloridaPolitics.com.
Today’s feature: Joshua Hicks, a Democratic candidate for House District 11.
2020 Florida legislative candidate questionnaire:
To seek common ground. We need to expand healthcare access, increase wages, protect our environment, promote equality, support the military and prevent gun violence.
— Public schools, start to finish.
— Graduated from Florida State University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science degree. Double-majored in Political Science & Social Science.
— Publix bag-boy, as a high school student
Significant other? Kids?
— Phillip Perry, husband
— No kids but working with a local non-profit in Jacksonville to adopt our first child hopefully later this year.
— We do have four dachshunds (wiener dogs) – Dexter, Dirk, Lady and Max. Two are ours and the other two belong to my brother, but we are watching them.
Did you speak with anybody in your political party before deciding on running? Receive any encouragement?
I spoke with party and community leaders, members of the Legislature, friends and family all before announcing my bid for State House, District 11. It was important to me that I give the right people a heads up before jumping into the race. I’m serious about helping the First Coast community and being their voice in Tallahassee, so I wanted to be sure everything was in place before announcing.
Who do you count on for advice?
My husband, Phillip, and my friends and family.
Who is your political consultant? Campaign manager?
— Courtney Sieloff and Phillip Perry, Asana Creative Strategy
Who was the first person to contribute to your campaign? Why did they donate?
Outside of myself, it was attorney Jimmy Midyette, candidate for Duval Clerk of Courts. We’ve become friends and we support each other’s bid for office. He’s a community leader and I was honored to receive his support.
Who, if anyone, inspires you in state government?
State Representative Loranne Ausley. She’s a fighter, someone who seeks common ground, and advocates for children, our education system, the disabled and public employees. She’s a leader and she’s the type of public servant we need more of in Tallahassee.
Why do people mistrust elected officials and what are you going to do about it?
There’s too much partisanship in Tallahassee and not enough action. I understand standing up for your values – I’ll always do the same. But there are many issues in which the Legislature should be able to compromise and just don’t. The current leadership in Tallahassee allows their egos to get in the way, and they routinely reject working across the aisle. I’ll seek common ground in Tallahassee, to build relationships, and try to always place the people, not corporate interests, first. I truly believe the First Coast community wants a leader who cares about their kitchen table issues – not about partisan politics.
What are 3 issues that you’re running on?
1.) I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege. And with the current COVID-19 crisis, it has made it clear that we’re all relying on each other to stay healthy. Here in Florida, with nearly 3 million Floridians uninsured, we must expand Medicaid, which would cover more than 400,000 low income Floridians. I also believe that no one should be denied coverage for pre-existing conditions or go bankrupt getting the care they need. We need to expand affordable healthcare coverage here in the First Coast community and also all around Florida, so we can lower costs for families across the state.
2.) We need to refocus on the backbone of our economy: our workers. Here at the First Coast, our workers need better jobs, higher wages, and increased benefits. That starts with a living wage and paid sick leave for those currently without it. Small businesses have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis, so I’ll ensure they get the support they need to recover by lowering the rent sales tax, and establishing loan and grant programs for small businesses, especially minority owned small businesses, not politically connected corporations. But with the economy, we also need to fix our broken unemployment system. It is shameful that our political leaders deliberately underfunded and under-resourced the unemployment system. I’ll support efforts to reform our unemployment system, including funding for additional support staff and upgraded technology, so relief is immediately available when workers need it. I also support increasing benefits and the length they’re available so workers can actually pay their rent or mortgage and put food on the table during times of crisis.
3.) Recommit to making our education system one of the best in the nation. In most studies, Florida ranks near the bottom of states, in the country, in regards to teacher salaries and near the bottom of the list when it comes to school funding. We need to invest in a quality public education system, which includes better pay for teachers, additional resources for support staff, increased funding for infrastructure improvements, smaller class sizes, a commitment to public schools and a renewed focus in arts education and after-school programs for our children.
What is a “disruptive” issue you are interested in?
The global pandemic is a disruptive issue and I’m very interested to see how the state reacts to it, economically and socially, over the next few months before a cure is available. I believe the state hasn’t done enough to keep our communities safe, and the Legislature should be in session now looking for ways to help the people of Florida survive this crisis.
What does your legislative district need from Tallahassee?
Leadership. We are sorely missing it currently in District 11. We also need compromise, someone who is willing to seek common ground with the other side of the aisle to place the people, not their party, first.
Who was the best Governor in Florida’s modern history?
Bob Graham – his policies of improving our education system (top to bottom), focusing on economic diversification, including creating 1.2 million jobs, and his commitment to a clean and green Florida, through his extensive environmental programs, are all reasons why I think Bob Graham is the best Governor we’ve had in modern history.
If you could amend the Florida Constitution, what would you change?
I do not like mandatory age retirement for judges and would work to change that, if I could. Also, would like to enshrine equality for all in the constitution, including ensuring the equal rights amendment was ratified.
Are yard signs an important part of campaigning in your district?
Visibility is important, but yard signs do not win elections. That said, with my district spanning two counties (part of Duval and all of Nassau), I need to make sure to get my name out into the public, and yard signs can plan a role in increasing name ID. They won’t be a focal point of my voter outreach plan but we’ll have campaign signs and make sure they are spread around the district.
What’s the first thing you read each morning?
Politico or Politico Florida news and updates
Where do you get your political news?
From a variety of sources: Associated Press, Florida Politics, CNN, Politico
Social media presence? Twitter handle?
— Twitter: @votejoshuahicks
— Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/votejoshuahicks
— Website: www.votejoshuahicks.com
In 280 characters, what’s a Tweet that best describes your campaign message?
I’ll seek common ground, while fighting to empower young people, support workers, expand healthcare access, protect our environment, ensure equality for all, and stop gun violence. Together, we’ll build up our First Coast community – and take on those who seek to divide us.
— I run and enjoy the gym
— Play golf and tennis
— Enjoy the beach
— A good book
— Florida State sports
Favorite sport and sports team?
Favorite sport: Golf
Favorite team: Florida State University (FSU)