Democrat John Paul Alvarez and Republican-turned-Democrat Scott Herman filed to run for state representatives on Monday morning in Tallahassee.
Both candidates ran in 2012 and lost. Herman ran in District 94 against Democrat Minority leaders Perry Thurston. Shortly after the election Herman switched parties.
At the time, Herman told the Miami Herald that the Republican Party of Florida “ignored” his campaign, instead focusing its efforts on defeating gay Democrat Joe Saunders in Central Florida.
“After the treatment of RPOF, the way they treated all of us down here, ignoring us, we were not of value to the Republican Party,” Herman said.
Despite being a republican for 23 years, Herman said, his social views were always more aligned with the Democratic Party as he believes in full equality for the LGBT community.
Herman is now running in District 93, which is a coastal district that starts on the Palm Beach-Broward County line and continues through to the Fort Lauderdale International Airport area.
“As a Christian and combat Veteran of the U.S. Army, I have seen first hand with over 17 years in public office, by either being elected and/or appointed, just how important it is to our community to have an actual voice in Tallahassee,” Herman told SFGN.
“My compassion is not just about the forgotten communities and equality for all. But sustainable job growth, meeting the growing transportation needs, and the realistic needs to improve the lives of our children by ensuring all of our families have equal access to real educational reforms here in District 93.”
Last time around John Paul Alvarez ran in District 53, losing to Republican John Tobia. He will now run in House District 100, which begins just south of House District 93, and spans into northern Miami-Dade County ending in the Bay Harbor Islands.
“We have a high unemployment rate, a broken education system, and wonderful Jewish and Hispanic communities that deserve a stronger voice,” Alvarez said in a prepared statement. “We must invest in our small businesses in order to create jobs, however we must also invest in K-12 and higher education in order to secure the future of the middle class in House District 100.”
Herman and Alvarez hope to follow in the footsteps of Joe Saunders (D-Orange) and David Richardson (D-Miami-Dade), who became the first openly gay candidates to win house seats in Florida in the last election.
“Having our voice on the floor of the legislative chamber does make a difference when it comes to moving pro-equality legislation forward. I'm excited that Scott Herman is going to challenge George Moraitis as Democrat. Moraitis has consistently opposed pro-equality measures meant to equalize opportunity for LGBT Floridians,” said Democratic activist Michael Rajner.
“While John Paul Alvarez is a passionate educator who will fight hard in Tallahassee to ensure all children are provided safe schools to prepare them to be competitive in the workforce and taught the everyday skills needed today.”