Democrat David Chalela running for House District 56

Attorney and self-proclaimed “blue collar guy” David Chalela enters the State House race in District 56. The district encompasses downtown Tampa and Brandon extending east to Valrico and north to Seffner.

Chalela’s background is interesting and impressive. He grew up near Detroit, graduated from law school at Stetson, and joined the military in the Judge Advocate General’s (JAG) corps. As a military attorney he briefed soldiers on Geneva Convention laws and prepared wills for almost every soldier deployed out of New England during his time there. Additionally Chalela advised military commanders on the legality of levels of engagement in order to prevent war crimes and Geneva violations. In 2006 David Chalela opened his own law practice in Tampa. He specializes in foreclosure defense for homeowners.

Chalela is a Democrat, but his district has nearly 400 more registered Republicans than Dems. It is currently represented by Republican Rachel Burgin, an opponent that David claims to surpass in work and life experience.

When asked why his slightly more Republican district might give him a chance, David quickly replied “because Republican officials have done nothing to stimulate employment here.”

Chalela  emphasizes green technology as a very real way to strengthen Tampa’s economy and build careers in the area. Rail is coming to Tampa (hopefully) so he suggests “we start building factories to build the rail components and start getting factories to do solar power. We can actually become the new center that people look to for their technology.” He added, “New energy technology is going to happen. We’re either going to be the leaders or the followers. And the followers are going to lose. Period.”

Chalela reasons and debates like a lawyer even in light conversation, but shoots from the hip with straight-forwardness characteristic of his military background. On top of that, David Chalela (whose last name is formed by Lebanese and Mexican influences) speaks Spanish and is connected to Latino culture in the area. Also, CL readers, he’s a musician. None of these characteristics overly define or distract him, but combine with each other to represent the varied district he seeks to represent.

David Chalela faces Lewis Laricchi in the Democratic primary on August 24. The general election is November 2.

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