The race for the Florida House seat in District 2 is a contest between the incumbent Republican and a long-time Democratic activist. Here we take a look at the challenger, Democrat Dianne Krumel.
“I will fight just as hard as I did for the beach, the two-and-a-half-year battle, I will take that same passion and commitment and work on things that matter to us, to our community.”
When you have a conversation with Dianne Krumel, her “Save Pensacola Beach”campaign usually comes up. Krumel’s campaign to preserve public ownership of land on Pensacola Beach resulted in a county ordinance that limits building to protect undeveloped parts of Santa Rosa Island being passed last year.
Now Krumel is going from activist to candidate, running for the district two Florida House seat currently held by Alex Andrade. She understands that running as a Democratic candidate in Northwest Florida is an uphill road.
“Yes, we are outnumbered here as far as Democrats versus Republicans, and a Democrat hasn’t held this seat in 25 years," she said. "But it’s not about the “D” next to my name, it’s about the person, it’s about our community, it’s about me doing things that mater to our community. This community means everything to me and I’ve been out there for years. People know and trust me, they trust me.”
Krumel has been the face of the Democratic Party in the area for a number of years. In 2016, she was a Hillary Clinton delegate to the Democratic National Convention. Now, she is concentrating on issues that concern our part of northwest Florida. She says the number one need is jobs.
“This (pandemic) has put so many people on unemployment, they’ve lost their jobs. And now that the bridge closed in Gulf Breeze, I’ve talked to folks, I’ve talked to some of these business owners and I’ve talked to some of the folks that work out on the beach. It now costs them more money to go to the beach, to try to work there, than they are making. So they are losing their jobs. And now (over in Gulf Breeze), the businesses are hurting so bad (that) those businesses are closing or cutting back because there is (not enough business). So I see this as the biggest issue that we are facing moving forward. It’s jobs. It’s providing good paying jobs and keeping our businesses going, giving them the support they need to continue to keep their doors open.”
She also says that, after hearing from business owners and people who have lost their jobs, that the Florida unemployment system needs a complete rebuild.
“It is absolutely heartbreaking. So yes, this broken unemployment system definitely needs a major overhaul from the bottom up, but yet handing it over to the same person that created the first one is an absolute mistake, I would never do that.”
Krumel is a graduate of the University of West Florida and a lifelong resident of the Pensacola area. She says she is disappointed with the way the governor reacted to the coronavirus pandemic.
“He has failed horribly. I think that it’s been abysmal the way that this has rolled out. And I think that many lives across Florida could have been saved. We need leadership. He should have had a strategic plan from day one. It was so left up to the different municipalities or the different counties and the different areas of the state to more or less come up with their own plan. We needed a concrete, strategic plan that they would follow from the very beginning and lay that out. We are doing this. Yes, I understand that different parts of the state are different. You could take that into consideration. But we needed concrete, laid-out guidelines based on scientific data.”
With just a few weeks to go before her first election as a candidate, Krumel says she is going door to door distributing information and talking with people in the district.
“I’ve talk to all people, from different party affiliations and they understand. They want somebody who has lived here and understands the needs of the community. And I can say that beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am that person. And a lot of people are telling me that they are appreciative of that. And some people have even said that this will be the first time that they’ve ever voted for a Democrat in their life, but the fact that I have been here and I have made a living here, grew up here, had my business here. I didn’t move away. I stayed right here.”