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Florida House District 2: Candidate Ray Guillory

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In our next installment on local candidates, we meet Ray Guillory,the Democratic nominee from Florida House District-2.

For Guillory, a native of Pensacola and the district, the decision to enter the race was borne in part from a short meeting with then-Rep. Mike Hill over education funding.

“I said why I think we ought to invest in education, [Hill] said to me, ‘I think the only thing that’s going to help education is prayer,’” said Guillory. “And I said, ‘Prayer’s a good thing but when you’re in that position, then it’s time to stop praying and start acting.’ And he hold me our interview was over.

After the encounter, Guillory says he “walked out of Hill’s office, down to the state department and filed to run against him.”

Hill gave up the seat to run for state senate and lost to Doug Broxson in the Republican primary. Guillory, who faces GOP nominee Frank White, says for him one of the main issues is education, which he says is the way out of poverty.

“And we’re not investing in it,” Guillory says. “[The Legislature] gave a one percent increase last year; that didn’t even cover cost of living increases. Teachers haven’t gotten raises in years. How are we going to recruit and keep the best teachers, if we’re not willing to pay them?”

But Guillory doesn’t declare a pox on just Tallahassee’s house. He says the entire political system has problems. The biggest of which the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which ushered in corporate money into politics.

“I took a pledge,” says Guillory. “I’m not taking any PAC money, I’m not taking any corporate money. So I’ve raised one-twentieth of what my opponent’s raised. It’s hard to compete.”

As of the last reporting period, Guillory has collected just under $16,000, compared to Frank White’s $276,000. That’s a 17-1 ratio, if you’re scoring at home.

If elected, Guillory likely will be serving in a House that’s still under Republican control. He says politics today are too polarized, but believes there are issues in which both sides can find common ground.

“Sometimes we agree on what the outcome should be, but maybe not the road to get there,” said Guillory. We have to talk to the other people; we have to pretend they’re not our enemies, because they’re not.”

On his campaign website Ray Guillory also states he wants to create economic opportunity in District 2, illustrating that with a quote from President John F. Kennedy: “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”