Democratic candidate for Governor Chris King got himself into a big jam Monday afternoon. He was on his way to Sumter County Democratic Party’s Wildwood headquarters to meet Villagers and other area voters. The event was co-sponsored with The Villages Democratic Club.
King and countless other motorists spent the afternoon coping with an hours-long traffic jam on the Florida Turnpike. However, with some last-minute ingenuity and the use of a cellphone and iPad, he still could spell out to the potential voters how he would tackle some of the major issues facing Florida and the nation.
King stated that he would stand up to the state’s sugar industry and fight its toxic discharges.
He wants Florida to better fund its education system.
“Of the 43 states with VPK (voluntary pre-kindergarten) programs, Florida ranks 41st in its financial commitment,” he said.
He also delineated some of the actions needed to reform the criminal justice system, including eliminating privately-owned prisons.
King recounted how he met with the family of Markers McGlockton, the Clearwater man who recently was shot and killed by a man claiming self-defense under Florida’s stand your ground legislation. This policy needs to be changed, King felt, as well as greater enforcement of gun-purchase background checks and a ban on assault rifles.
King also wants to ensure that more Floridians have access to healthcare by expanding its Medicaid program.
One Villager intently listening to the video presentation was Bill Penix of the Village of Buttonwood.
“I’ve attend several forums so I can hear the differences of each candidate and then decide which is seeking to help the people of Florida and not the corporations of Florida,” he said. “For too long, businesses have benefited at the expense of their workers. There has been no real wage growth for more than a decade. People are being hurt.”
Penix has not yet decided if King and his record of accomplishment deserves his support.
King was born in Orlando and graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Religion, Politics and American Public Policy. He then earned a University of Florida Jurist Doctorate.
He went on to establish the Elevation Financial Group that specializes in real estate investment, property management and renovation that operates in five states.
King also is chairman of the Elevation Foundation that addresses inequality through education and entrepreneurship. His Elevation Scholars Program partners with the University of Central Florida and the Orange County Public Schools to award college scholarships to students from low-income families. He also is a board member of the non-profit Grace Medical Home that provides medical care to uninsured Floridians.
He and his wife, Kristin, who were high school sweethearts, have three children.
He has contributed more than $5.5 million of his personal funds into his race for governor.
Penix will soon have the opportunity to consider another Democratic candidate.
“Jeff Greene and Agricultural Commissioner candidate Roy David Walker will attend the Villages Democratic Club’s last meet and greet on Saturday morning, Aug. 11 at the Paradise Recreation Center,” said Bob Berg, of the Village of Largo, and a State Commissioner and Precinct 106 captain.