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Andrade Seeks Second Term In House District 2

Courtesy photo

The race for the Florida House seat in District 2 is a contest between the incumbent Republican and a long-time Democratic activist. Today we take a look at the incumbent, Republican Alex Andrade.

A lot has happened in Florida House District 2 since the primary in August, not the least of which is the closing of the Three Mile Bridge over Pensacola Bay. “Skanska should have been here on September 19,” said District 2 Representative Alex Andrade at an October 7 press conference in Pensacola. He was expressing frustration with Skanska, the company responsible for building the bridge.

“If we had a public face to this company that was actually responsive to the public, DOT wouldn’t have to be carrying water for them, communicating the plan to repair the bridge that they were paid to build. And I’m not a judge or a jury, and I don’t have to say whether or not they breached their contract with DOT or they committed negligence to tell you that they have absolutely breached their agreement with this public.”

Alex Andrade is running for a second term to the Florida House. He says parts of his district are really suffering after the twin hits of the coronavirus shutdowns and Hurricane Sally.

“Gulf Breeze itself is going to see some of the most immediate impacts economically. You have almost no traffic through this community now. So the locally owned shops, the restaurants, the stores they are going to see far fewer people. So if you do have the time, especially on a weekend go out to Gulf Breeze, please do. And the same for Pensacola Beach, because a lot of these stores, they are locally owned and it’s heartbreaking to think that you’ve had people who have kept their businesses on life support for six months through COVID to suddenly see another six months of just a complete standstill.”

And while state revenues are not at a standstill, they have certainly slowed due to the pandemic. Sales tax revenues are down considerably and the legislature will have some tough decisions to make when crafting next year’s budget. Andrade says legislators have already been told not to file their special projects for the coming year.  

Credit Alex Andrade
State Rep. Alex Andrade at a round table about derelict vessels and preserving natural resources in September.

“Special Projects are outside the budget. They are a fun little nifty way to say you’re bringing money back home but they pale in comparison to the overall budget. So it’s easy for a legislator to say ‘well I filed eight special projects and I got so much money for these individual projects,' but odds are they amount to maybe $10 to $15 million per legislator. I can tell you that over $255 million was secured in last year’s budget just for Escambia County, because the real work a legislator does is to dive deep into that regional agency’s budget, figure out what funds are available, and make sure that the state’s overall budget, the $92 billion budget that we have, is still serving your constituency.

"So while I might not be able to file my special projects and be able to claim my $15 million some-odd in special projects, the main game is to make sure that our five-year road plan with DOT is fully funded for our districts, making sure that our education systems that are located in our districts are fully funded and making sure that the programs that we depend on here get their funding in the state budget.”

Andrade says getting out and campaigning is one more casualty of Hurricane Sally. But he’s thankful that the negativity of his primary campaign hasn’t carried over to the general election.

“The hurricane has pretty much taken campaigning off the table but, yeah, it’s a little bit calmer, it’s more traditional, there’s less vitriol. It’s just a more honest campaign. I think everybody in my district has my cell phone number, but if you don’t I’m more than happy to put it out (here). If you do need anything and you live in Escambia County or Gulf Breeze, please just give me a call on my cell phone. It’s 850-462-4776.”

Bob Barrett has been a radio broadcaster since the mid 1970s and has worked at stations from northern New York to south Florida and, oddly, has been able to make a living that way. He began work in public radio in 2001. Over the years he has produced nationally syndicated programs such as The Environment Show and The Health Show for Northeast Public Radio's National Productions.