Since I started YouCantBeatBlue, I have been asked to visit countless candidate websites.  I can now tell you, just with a cursory glance, which candidates have already contributed to their communities in a significant way and have a true stake in the people they represent, and which seem to be novices, fresh to the political scene, with no civic merits (yet) to tout.

But don’t get me wrong.  I certainly don’t count out a “newbie” on the scene.  With our national situation being what it is, I’m thrilled to know that people who might not otherwise have decided to stand up and be heard, are doing so now out of patriotism or a sense of duty.  It’s refreshing and reassuring.  If you don’t believe me, watch Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

But when it comes to candidates who already have a bit of political dirt under their nails, there are few websites with as much to tout as that of Shevrin “Shev” Jones, who is running for Florida state senate in District 35.  And because we are talking about the state of Florida, a newbie is not what Democrats need.  What we need in Florida is an accomplished legislator who can get bills passed while his party is in the minority.  And that is exactly what Shevrin Jones is.

District 35 includes parts of northern Miami-Dade and southern Broward counties.  More than half of its residents are African American and a third are Hispanic. The current state senator, Democrat Oscar Braynon, is term-limited due to the Florida Term Limits Act of 1992, which says that Florida senators can serve no more than two four-year terms.  (Can you imagine what we could have in this country if that rule applied to the U.S. Senate?)

Shevrin Jones has been serving as the representative to the 101st district in the Florida House since 2012.  While reading about his accomplishments, remember that Jones sits in a House that is majority-Republican and extremely partisan.  Despite that, he has miraculously worked across the aisle, over and over, passing legislation requiring police to wear body cameras, and enacting a needle exchange program for addicts.  At the same time, Jones continues to work alongside Republicans to expand funding for public education, increase access to affordable health care, pass a $15 per hour minimum wage, improve options for affordable housing, protect our Dreamers, support small businesses, and revamp infrastructure.

“We have a state legislature that is often divided by political ideals; I lead with understanding. It is my hope to build upon those relationships and the trust that I have established in Tallahassee as an effective lawmaker in hopes of furthering the needs of our local communities.”

Shevrin “Shev” Jones

Currently, Republicans hold 23 seats in the 40-seat state senate. Democrats hold 17 seats.  Florida being Florida, the Dems will most likely not reclaim the majority in 2020.  But by electing qualified, savvy Democrats who know how to work with the other side to get legislation through – as we see through hard evidence Shevrin Jones knows how to do – we can ensure they stay in office beyond just the next cycle, and slowly build towards what I believe is an inevitable majority in the state within the next few years.

Did I mention that Shev Jones is also super smart?  He holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology (I know, who doesn’t these days, right?)  And he’s pursuing a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership.  He served on President Barack Obama’s College Promise Task Force.  He was 100 Black Men of America Inc.’s “Man of the Year” in 2010.  He’s also a former AP Chemistry Teacher, and Founder of the South Florida Youth Summit, the largest gathering of young people in South Florida.  

Geez, Shev… way to make the rest of us look bad.

Florida will not turn blue overnight.  We have to be in it for the duration.  This is where supporting Democratic values becomes a lifelong activity.  We can get Shevrin Jones into the state senate this year, but what we want are 39 more just like him there, too.  That benefits every Democrat, from Los Angeles, CA to Rochester, NY.

Check out Shevrin Jones at his campaign page.  Be ready to be impressed.  Then help him out with a few bucks.  Plus you can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.  Tell him YouCantBeatBlue sent ya!

**And for your personal knowledge, the 15 state legislatures with term limits are: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma and South Dakota.