Gabriela Mayaudon

Gabriela Mayaudon

District 116

Director of Rockhealth, Inc.

Universidad de Carabobo

Former Venezuelan legislator, attorney

Mayaudon is running unopposed in the primary election. She will face the winner of the Republican primary in the general election on Sept. 26. 

The controversial education bill – HB 7069 –  allots public funds to privately owned charter schools. Where do you stand on this issue?

I believe that this is the worst form of corporate welfare. Despite almost every school board in the state urging the governor to veto this bill, the Republicans in Tallahassee chose to undermine traditional public schools to line the pockets of privately owned charter school interests.

It’s shameful that even some Republican representatives that studied in public schools voted against letting today’s children have the same level of education they enjoyed.

Moreover, this bill provides an avenue to give up on our struggling schools rather than work to improve them.

Floridians deserve access to excellent public education irrespective of income, community, or circumstance. We cannot leave our children behind in a badly funded system in order to benefit a few special interests.

Amendment 2, aka the medical marijuana amendment, passed by 71 percent statewide. But legislation governing the implementation of the amendment has put significant restrictions on its use. Do you think the bill accurately reflects the will of the voters?

People send their legislators to Tallahassee so that they can carry out their will. That’s democracy 101.

Whatever their personal convictions are, legislators should listen to the folks in their communities – and not highly paid lobbyists – when deciding how to write the law. Clearly, the work that’s happened in regards to the marijuana bill does not respect the decision of the voters.

There were many open carry bills in the last legislative session and it remains a controversial topic. How would you vote on bills concerning where people can and cannot openly carry guns?

We do not need to live in a society of fear where it becomes increasingly normal to bring weapons of war into everyday life. I would vote against further expanding open or concealed carry into currently restricted spaces.

Further, I support our local and state police officers and public safety agencies, and their opposition to these bills.

What is the most important issue to you as you run for this seat?

Defending the quality of life of all Florida families, who right now face terrible uncertainty about their healthcare, the future of their schools, and the cost of housing. I am a mother and an immigrant, a lawyer, and have been a lawmaker at the highest levels [in Venezuela].

I’ve known what it’s like to dine with party presidents and supreme court justices, to be called “congresswoman,” to make laws that improve people’s lives. I’ve also known what it’s like to work minimum wage jobs waiting tables because that’s the only thing I could get. I’ve known what it’s like to stare down dictators and fight oppression. I’ve also known what it’s like to feel oppressed by the uncertainty of where my family’s future will take us.

I’ve known what it’s like to come into a country with nothing but the hope for a better future, to work harder than I’d ever thought was possible to make sure my children have a better life. Beyond the issues, what’s most important to me is that the people of House District 116 have a representative they know, and that knows them: their hopes, their dreams, their fears. They need and deserve someone who is with them and of them, not someone who just shows up once every two years to ask for votes.