Last night Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, won the Democrat primary for governor in Florida over former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, an establishment figure whose father had been a U.S. Senator from the Sunshine State. Gillum is a pretty good avatar for what Democrats want their candidates to look like going forward – not just because he’s black but because he’s a hard-core socialist with lots of transformational utopian ideas…and a total inability to run anything.
Here’s proof of this. It’s the section from Gillum’s Wikipedia page, which clearly was written by the mayor’s staff or his political consultant or somebody the Democrats there tasked with writing that bio. We know this because it contains no criticism of his time in office or even any mention of controversy he was involved in (like, for example, his e-mail scandal). In other words, you’re to believe nothing whatsoever has happened in the last four years.
Before taking office, Gillum met with various mayors in order to learn from their successes. He also launched the Tallahassee Mayoral Fellows Program in partnership with Florida Agricultural And Mechanical University and Florida State University, allowing high-achieving graduate students to gain experience working in City government. Gillum was sworn into Office on November 21, 2014.
In January 2015, Mayor Gillum strongly supported the City of Tallahassee joining in the Ban the Box campaign; arguing that the initiative does not stop the city from conducting background checks, but rather gives applicants a fair shot at employment and reduces recidivism. On January 28 the Tallahassee City Commission voted 3-2 to drop the box.
On February 17, 2015 Mayor Gillum welcomed United States Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, to Tallahassee to kick off the GROW AMERICA Express Tour. Gillum also contributed to the DOT Fastlane Blog, in which he stressed the importance of long-term transportation investments for America’s mid-size cities.
In an effort to overhaul how City Advisory Committees, a series of local advisory boards, operate in Tallahassee, Mayor Gillum released a survey in March 2015 to gain feedback into the city’s numerous boards and motivate citizens to get involved with local government. Also in March 2015, Mayor Gillum participated in a conference call with other Florida mayors and United States Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Bruce Andrews; a call in which Gillum stated his support for Congress to pass trade promotion legislation that would bolster international trade, and stressed the importance for local governments of a leveled playing field.
On March 27, 2015, Mayor Gillum held the Mayor’s Summit on Children, a large conference in which business and community leaders came together to learn about the importance of investments in quality Early Childhood Education (ECE). Speakers included Dr. Craig Ramey, distinguished research scholar of human development at Virginia Tech University, who spoke about the importance of ECE to language development and the vocabulary gap that can form between those who receive quality ECE and those who do not; and Rob Grunewald, economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, who spoke about the importance of early learning to the long-term economic success of a community.
On the heels of the Summit on Children, Mayor Gillum launched four community-led task forces as part of his Family First Agenda; these task forces, which Gillum introduced at the Summit, examine: Improved Quality and Affordable Child Care, Family Friendly Workplaces and Culture, Greater Community Investments in Children and Families, and Resources and Training for Parents and Families. Gillum stressed that investments in early childhood education have been proven to return six dollars for every one dollar invested; this is due to lowering community costs on those children as they grow older.
In May 2015, Gillum launched a 1,000 Mentors Initiative, which aimed to recruit 1,000 men and women from diverse backgrounds to increase youth mentoring opportunities in Tallahassee, and help youth in need.Also in May 2015, Gillum, in partnership with several local and national organizations, orchestrated the Tallahassee Future Leaders Academy (TFLA), a summer jobs program which employed over 100 youths throughout city government. Gillum summarized the importance of a program like the TFLA in a July Op-ed, in which he highlighted how similar summer jobs programs from around the country have been shown to reduce arrests for violent crime, reduce youth mortality rates, and increase the likelihood of college attendance.
In response to an increase in shootings Gillum and the Tallahassee Police Department, worked with community organizations to implement Operation Safe Neighborhoods in 2015. This initiative called for an increase in law enforcement visibility and capacity; strengthening strategic partnerships and community programs/opportunities; and enhancing community engagement and response, through the implementation of a community watch program called, Neighbors on the Block.
In October 2015, more than 400 strangers gathered around a 350-foot-long table in downtown Tallahassee to participate in the launch of The Longest Table, an annual initiative aiming to use the dinner table as a medium for generating meaningful conversation among people of diverse ethnic, religious, and political backgrounds. Organized by the Office of the Mayor and spearheaded by Community Engagement Director Jamie Van Pelt, the project won a $57,250 grant from the Knight Cities Challenge via the Knight Foundation.
Y’know what’s not in that long diatribe about how Gillum has spent his time? Any concrete accomplishments at all. Nothing. Not a bridge built over a river, not an economic development win, not a reduction in unemployment rates, not a sewerage and drainage project completed. Nothing at all. Just an endless series of meetings and community initiatives designed to make it look like he was doing his job.
Meanwhile, Tallahassee is stagnant. Its population when Gillum took office was 187,346 and is currently 191,049, which is more or less no growth at all. The Tallahassee metro area ranks at the bottom of Florida’s population growth; it is the Sick Man of Florida. Yes, if you Google the city’s economic performance you’ll find entries saying the Tallahassee economy was the fastest-growing in the state; that’s purely a function of recovery from Hurricane Hermine – which, by the way, Gillum completely botched the city’s response to. What Tallahassee does have is the fastest-growing government in the state of Florida.
In other words, Gillum is running Tallahassee into the ground. He’s turning the place into Jackson. If Tallahassee didn’t have Florida State University and the state capitol in it there would be nothing much left in that city – except maybe an active FBI office, which is probing the Democrats who run the place for lots of the usual local government corruption. Gillum isn’t the focus of that investigation yet, but he’s definitely not outside of it.
Florida, meanwhile, is on the move. Since 2010 the state’s population has grown by 12 percent, a number beaten only by Teas’ 13 percent. Florida’s economy is booming thanks to Rick Scott’s leadership as governor, which is one reason why Scott looks like a clear favorite to knock off incumbent senator Bill Nelson this fall in a race which will clinch the Democrats’ failure to take the Senate.
Given all of that, it’s little surprise that the newly-minted Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis noted it would be a mistake to monkey things up in Florida by electing a Bernie Sanders/Tom Steyer/George Soros socialist to ruin that state’s current progress. DeSantis is right; it would be, and few believe that’s what will actually happen.
Here’s DeSantis’ actual quote: “The last thing we need to do is monkey this up by trying to embrace a socialist agenda with huge tax increases and bankrupting the state.”
But because Gillum is black you’re not allowed to say “monkey this up” because that would make you racist. Especially because Gillum sees confederate flags in his sleep and believes all the white people are secretly Klan members, or something.
Stephen Lawson, communications director for the DeSantis campaign, responded to the race-hustling Democrats that “Ron DeSantis was obviously talking about Florida not making the wrong decision to embrace the socialist policies that Andrew Gillum espouses. To characterize it as anything else is absurd.”
From now on, maybe DeSantis can say the goal is to not turn Florida into Venezuela. There are apparently more than a half-million Venezuelan refugees now living in Florida, and they can quite clearly outline what happens when Gillum’s policies are put into place.