Donalds campaigning for District 80 seat

cb 0310 donaldsFor Byron Donalds, politics is essential to our government. It’s how we organize our lives.

A Republican candidate for the Florida House of Representatives seat for District 80, Mr. Donalds has definite ideas about what legislators should do and how they should do it.

Previously, he lost a bid for US House of Representatives.

Education is key to his political ideas, as are roads, agriculture and the economy.

He is also a believer in legislators working together, regardless of their political party.

This 37-year-old is a native of Brooklyn NY. He graduated from Florida State University in 2002 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Finance and Marketing. He is a financial advisor.

He sees reforming education as the lifeboat of our economy and a vehicle to change the status in people’s lives.

High school, he feels, is no longer preparing students for the workforce and the attitude that everyone should go to college is a pitfall. It does not take into account the real needs of society and also devalues the college degree, he believes. In his opinion, our system of delivering education needs to be tailored to individual students.

Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten is a huge factor in seeing that four year-olds are ready for school and he would like to see something similar extended to high school for math and English. School choice is another big item for Mr. Donalds.

His wife, Erica, is a board member of the Collier County School District. She is Controller and Partner at Dalton, Greiner, Hartman, Maher & Co., LLC (DGHM), a New York-based investment management firm. He is a member of the Board of Trustees for Florida Southwestern State College, formerly Edison State College. He is a founding Board member for Mason Classical Academy, a public charter school in Naples. He and his wife are both involved in the charter school. He said there are 400 students on the waiting list for their school, which focuses on classical language math, literature and history.

He is also a proponent of more parental responsibility for their children. In short, he said more focus on children in education as well as parents, is what the system needs.

Mr. Donalds and his wife are very involved in their church and he is also a dedicated youth sports coach.

Roads are integral in the region’s future, according to Mr. Donalds. He cites Airglades in Clewiston as one of the local areas that will require improvements to accommodate coming traffic.

Collier has major road issues with SR 82 – one of the most dangerous roads in the state – which is long overdue for expansion.
With his background in finance, Mr. Donalds feels very prepared to tackle the state’s budgetary challenges.

An efficient market leads to lower costs and more stability in general, he noted. He said that spending more money, creates a decrease in quality.

At the same time, he said the District 80 representative needs to fight for state money for this area.

Agriculture has to be a priority throughout Florida and our country, he said, especially for an area like Southwest Florida which is so reliant on and blessed with a great agricultural foundation. Our agriculture not only feeds the world, it provides jobs for local residents. Agriculture supports our residents and its sustainability is essential for this area.

We must continue to fight citrus greening, he said. Controlling greening is imperative for the continuation of this area’s citrus industry.

He said he is working to add to his knowledge of agriculture and how it impacts our state, region and world.

In Tallahassee, Mr. Donalds said we need public policy that makes sense today that will be long term good policy and a stable foundation. He feels that people are frustrated with government and have become numb, adding, “It’s time for great people to step up now.”

A former Democrat, he said he eventually came to feel that the Republican Party is more in tune with his thinking.

As a financial advisor, he said he saw the economic bust coming and still wonders why others didn’t. “I always like to know why,” he said and looks for answers.

Mr. Donalds and his wife have three boys ages 12, 8 and 4. He says they try to teach commitment, integrity and responsibility and candidly states that, as a boy he had no father figure and understands how difficult that is. The couple tries to teach their sons how to lead, to be humble and to be selfless.

He said he’s a “blessed man, with a fantastic wife who is everything to me.”

For Mr. Donalds, politics must include a lot of “horse trading,” saying that compromise is the way things get done in Tallahassee. In fact, he sees refusing to compromise as a bid to increase personal power, not working for constituents. In fact, if he’s elected he has a request of the voters. “If I’m becoming about me, tell me to come home.”

Our system of government should not create permanent politicians, he said.

The Caloosa Belle is published every Thursday.

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