An experienced leader running to move Florida forward
Gwen Graham, a proven leader with deep Sunshine State roots, is running for governor of Florida in 2018. This open seat is an opportunity for Gwen to turn Florida blue and move the state forward after two terms of term-limited Gov. Rick Scott’s failed Republican leadership. Born in Miami, Gwen’s family moved to Tallahassee in the 1970s when her father, Bob Graham, was elected governor of Florida. After law school, she returned to Florida to raise her own family. With a young daughter and two sons enrolled in public schools, Gwen became active in the local education community. She was elected PTA president and served as the chair of the School Advisory Council. Her volunteerism turned into a career; Gwen held a top position at the Leon County School District, where she oversaw labor and employee relations and was an in-house attorney. A skilled communicator and negotiator, she is dedicated to bringing opposing sides together to broker consensus and solve problems. In 2013, gridlock in Congress and an opportunity to flip a seat held by an extreme Republican inspired her to put her own name on the ballot for the first time. She went on to buck national trends and become one of only two Democrats in the country to unseat a House Republican in 2014 — and the first woman representative ever elected in Florida’s 2nd District.
The people she serves are always Gwen’s top priority, and her office provided vital constituent services while cutting her House office’s operating budget by 15 percent. She has followed in her father, Governor Bob Graham’s, footsteps with Graham Workdays, spending an entire shift working alongside constituents. Her jobs have included work on farms, a day as a hotel attendant, and testing the water quality at Wakulla Springs. Always seeking ways to better serve Florida’s working families, Gwen chose not to seek re-election in her newly-drawn district in 2016, instead turning her focus to making an historic bid for governor. “Working together, we can bring common sense back to Tallahassee, and make our state work for the people again,” she has said.
A champion for Sunshine State working families
Gwen is committed to expanding economic opportunity for working families in Florida, and she has long advocated for strategic investments for the future, which she knows are key to strengthening the economy. She is a champion of policies that will create a level playing field and give everyone a fair shot, including raising the minimum wage, which would help nearly two million Floridians. She is an advocate for commonsense policies that ensure women receive equal pay for equal work. A pro-choice champion, Gwen will continue to fight back against the Republican Party’s relentless attempts to restrict women’s access to health care. Governors have the executive authority to protect families and communities as our rights come under attack like never before, and Gwen is running to stand up for the rights of all Floridians. As governor, Gwen will continue to fight for all hardworking Florida students. As a parent of children who attended public schools, a graduate of public schools, a former PTA president, and a school district lawyer, Gwen will bring a unique level of insight to education policy in Tallahassee, just as she did in the House. In Congress, she stood up to climate change deniers and took a commonsense approach to protecting our health and the environment. She opposed offshore drilling, helped to lead the effort to save the Apalachicola Bay, and insisted on accountability from companies that pollute Florida’s water. As governor, she will continue to protect our precious natural resources for the health and economic security of the people she serves — and for future generations of Floridians.
A must-win race for a powerful executive office
Gwen is the strongest candidate running in a crowded Democratic primary, and she has what it takes to win the Democratic nomination and defeat any opponent that Florida’s deep-pocketed Republican establishment puts up against her in the must-win general election. She has a proven record of building a broad coalition and winning in a tough battleground district. Gwen led the field in an early poll that showed she was the only Democrat favored to win over any Republican in the race, and with early support from EMILY’s List she will continue to build momentum. No Democrat has been able to win Florida’s gubernatorial elections since 1994 — over two decades. Now that term limits prevent extreme Republican Governor Rick Scott from seeking re-election, Florida has the opportunity to elect the first Democratic governor the state has seen in a generation. Florida has never before elected a woman governor, and with only two Democratic women governors in the country, this is an opportunity the EMILY’s List community can’t pass up. Gwen is an experienced and effective leader, and is the only candidate who has what it takes to undo the damage that Rick Scott’s failed agenda has done to Florida’s economy, schools, and environment. This election is also an opportunity to shift the balance of power in Florida before the next congressional redistricting in 2021. Florida’s next governor will play a crucial part in the redistricting process, and if Gwen is elected, she will be uniquely positioned to ensure that women and families’ voices will be heard in the halls of power. With so much at stake, the outcome of this election will have far-reaching effects in this perennial battleground state and beyond. Let’s show Gwen the full and early support of the EMILY’s List community to ensure she has the resources she needs to turn Florida blue in 2018.