Former U.S. congressional representative
This post is part of our voter guide for the Aug. 28 local and primary elections. Head to the main landing page for a guide to the key races and decisions being made this election.
Gov. Rick Scott can’t run for a third consecutive term, so the race for the next governor of Florida is wide open. The Democratic and Republican primaries have a full slate of diverse candidates, but we chose to focus on the competitive candidates in both races.
Based on the questions you said you had for the candidates, we recapped their stances on the following issues: guns, climate change and the environment, criminal justice, Amendment 4 (aka the Voter Restoration Act, or allowing felons who have completed their sentences to regain their right to vote), and marijuana legalization. The winners of the Republican and Democratic primaries for this seat will face off in the November general election.
Gwen, the daughter of former Gov. Bob Graham, was a one-term U.S. congresswoman who previously served as an attorney. Her campaign has focused on environmental issues, her unique perspective as the only woman in the governor’s race and on reforming the education system. Graham has gotten some flack over her financial and family ties to the massive American Dream Miami mall project in Northwest Miami-Dade.
NRA Grade: F
She supports comprehensive reform, including a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazine, universal background checks and also requiring “abusers to surrender firearms when a protective order is issued against them to protect victims of domestic violence.” Gwen also hopes to see more investment in mental health programs. She’s stated that she doesn’t oppose the Second Amendment and “respects law-abiding gun owners and sportsmen … and believes we can respect their rights while saving lives in Florida.”
The environment has been a major part of Gwen’s platform and she has proposed buying back land south of Lake Okeechobee (which is mostly owned by U.S.Sugar farmers) to help restore the flow of the Everglades and slow the spread of the state’s algae problem. She also plans to prioritize the proper spending of funds from 2014’s Florida Water and Land Conservation Amendment, which was approved by voters and was supposed to create funds to help buy and preserve endangered land in the state. The money has mostly been used for other purposes.
Renewable energy: She wants the state to move to a standard that reduces dependence on fossil fuels and she also wants to see utilities build in a way that supports renewable energy initiatives. Additionally, Graham wants to make it easier for renewable energy companies to bid on projects and to grow in Florida.
She has a multi-part plan on her website that focuses primarily on changing minimum-sentencing punishments, drug laws and bail requirements that mostly impact minorities across the state. She wants to see a review of the state’s minimum-sentencing laws, a gradual end to private prisons and reform to the state’s juvenile justice policies.
Voter Restoration Act: She supports Amendment 4, allowing felons who have completed their sentences to regain their right to vote.
Medical and recreational marijuana
She supports decriminalizing the personal possession of marijuana and is for the legal use of medical marijuana, but not the full legalization of recreational use.