Florida Republican: Gillum Will Make a ‘Heck of a Governor’
In case you missed it, the Fort Myers News-Press reported on the huge crowds coming out to support Mayor Andrew Gillum’s inspiring campaign, even in ruby red areas of Florida. This is just more evidence of cross-party support from independents and Republicans.
Read the News Press’ story below
For people standing in afternoon sun, waiting for a candidate who was over an hour late, Andrew Gillum supporters seemed mighty happy even after it became clear that only about 250 of the more than 1,000 people there would be able to snag a seat in the auditorium.
The Democratic gubernatorial candidate’s first stop was to greet the people who were left outside the Riverside Community Center unable to attend Tuesday’s scheduled town hall.
“I’m excited to be here,” said Jane Kuckel, a Lee County School Board representing District 6, who was standing in a sunny spot in the line that had already wrapped around the building and grounds. Gillum supports education Kuckel said. “He knows what education did for him.”
For Lovie Wells Jr., of Fort Myers, Gillum represents change. “We have had 16 years of Republican governorship,” Wells said. “People are excited because change is in the air.”
Others cited Gillum’s humble beginnings and his dedication to the environment as reasons for their support.
Fort Myers resident Pamela Vazquez, 22, said she was an early supporter, voting for Gillum in the primary. “He was the only one who didn’t come from wealth and I thought he could best represent people like me, the average Floridian,” she said. “He had progressive views and he had an actual plan to use the environment to improve our economy.”
Gillum in response to questions from the audience hit on the both Vazquez’s points. His answers were peppered with familiar phrases he learned from his grandmother that he often repeats on the campaign trail. Invoking the grandma-isms brought laughter from a crowd charmed by his down-to-earth speaking style.
Most of the questions from the audience dealt with the environment. Gillum had ready answers about solar power and clean water but was stumped by a question about his plans to combat invasive species, specifically Burmese pythons and poisonous Bufo toads.
Joseph Cofield drove up from Naples to see Gillum. A registered Republican and self-professed “political junkie,” Cofield was impressed with Gillum after watching the latest televised debate. “I wanted to see if this guy was for real,” Cofield said.
So how did Gillum come across in person?
“I think he’ll make a heck of a governor,” Cofield said.