Michelle Rayner among Creative Loafing endorsements for Florida House of Representatives

Andrew Learned, Susan Valdes and Jen McDonald deserve to be in office, too.

click to enlarge Michelle Rayner marches in St. Petersburg, Florida on March 12, 2022. - Photo by Dave Decker
Photo by Dave Decker
Michelle Rayner marches in St. Petersburg, Florida on March 12, 2022.
Not taking away anything from the accomplished career of Michelle Rayner, the first openly queer Black member of the Florida Legislature, but her opponent was literally arrested for his alleged role in the Jan. 6 insurrection. He’s running his campaign from a jail cell, guys.

Hydroxychloroquine should probably not be an option for treating COVID-19, but don’t tell that to Susan Valdes’ opponent Maura Cruz Lanz, who’s a fearless freedom fighter that backs former President Trump.

Jen McDonald’s opponent Karen-Gonzalez Pittman is a well-known third-generation Tampeña, but it’s also common knowledge that she’ll likely fall in line with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ agenda. Ronald’s about one step away from Trumpism—and Pittman says she would have gone for Florida’s 15-week abortion ban—so we’re going with McDonald who has experience in the insurance industry, which needs a lot of help in Florida.

Danny Alvarez, Republican Candidate running for Florida House District 69 against Andrew Learned, has an extensive resume centered around representing law enforcement.

He’s a veteran who has held multiple high-ranking positions at Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. He’s also a Tampa-based lawyer who currently represents the Police Benevolent Association, which has also endorsed his campaign. Sheriff Chad Chronister—who was recently found responsible in the amount $15 million for the wrongful death of teenager Andrew Joseph III—has also endorsed Alvarez.

In a campaign video, Alvarez claims he will defend “individual liberties” and “our children in the classrooms” alluding to DeSantis’ current culture wars over Critical Race Theory, along with the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. The video says he will protect Florida against “disastrous policies” from Washington.

None of these are campaign stances that talk about substantial, constructive projects he would work on as state representative—instead, he’s playing off people’s fears. CL reached out to Alvarez via phone, email and Facebook about his stance on immigration. The Facebook message said it was viewed by Alvarez’ campaign page, but CL has not received a response.

Meanwhile, Learned said on his website, “In the legislature, Andrew is fighting for meaningful improvements to Riverview's traffic gridlock. He's led in a bipartisan way on issues helping small-business reopen after COVID, more choices for parents in schools, a raise for Florida teachers, and a local economy that works for everyone.”

District 53: Keith Laufenberg
District 54: Brian Staver
District 55: Charles “C.J.” Hacker Jr.
District 58: Bernard Fensterwald
District 59: Dawn Douglas
District 60: Lindsay Cross
District 61: Janet Varnell Warwick
District 62: Michele Rayner
District 64: Susan Valdes
District 65: Jen McDonald
District 66: David Tillery
District 67: Fentrice Driskell
District 68: Lorissa Wright
District 69: Andrew Learned
District 70: Eleuterio “Junior” Salazar Jr.
District 72: RobertsGuy Dameus
District 73: Derek Reich

See all of Creative Loafing Tampa Bay's election 2022 endorsements on this handy ballot cheat sheet.

About The Authors

Justin Garcia

Justin Garcia has written for The Nation, Investigative Reporters & Editors Journal, the USA Today Network and various other news outlets. When he's not writing, Justin likes to make music, read, play basketball and spend time with loved ones. 

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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