A Democratic candidate emerged on Monday to run for an open seat in the Florida House currently held by Rep. Steve Precourt, R-Orlando, who faces term limits next year.
On Monday, Shaun Raja, a businessman and political activist, filed to run for the seat, which represents parts of Orange County. There are two Republicans also running for the seat: former Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, who stepped aside for Precourt after redistricting, and pastor and businessman Ronney Oliveira who has been active as the director of the state Hispanic Civic Alliance and who ran for another House seat in Orange County last year.
Talking to Sunshine State News on Monday, Raja pointed to his involvement in Osceola County politics and across Central Florida. Ive always been into politics, he told Sunshine State News.
Arguing Tallahassee needed new blood" and promising to fight for compromise and against gridlock, Raja said he was running to advance a platform of ideas. The owner of a vending machine company, Raja stressed that he would fight for small businesses if elected. I see the benefits of pushing small businesses here in Florida, he said.
Turning to education, Raja called for an expanded apprenticeship program to help prepare high school students to enter the private sector. Raja stressed that not every student goes to college after graduating high school, and serving as an apprentice -- much like a college student can work as an intern -- would give them a great deal of experience.
Raja also promised to expand alternative energies in Florida, including wind power, if he is elected.
Saying he plans to run a grassroots campaign, Raja said he was about to launch a website and planned to knock on doors across the district. Raja told Sunshine State News he plans to spend 3 to 4 days a week knocking on doors and plans to hold rallies every month.
Having launched his 2012 campaign back in February 2011, Eisnaugle kept his campaign organization in place for the 2014 session despite not running in 2012. Eisnaugle reeled in $20,375 in the second quarter of 2013, bringing his cash on hand -- which also includes money raised during his scuddled 2012 race -- to around $139,600. Oliveira has done little so far since filing his paperwork in February and has filled two waivers regarding his fundraising reports.
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.