By Jahlisa Harvey
When you think about what a true leader entails: a strong work ethic, passion, a forward-thinking approach, the embodiment is Andrew Gillum. Born in Miami, Florida and raised in Jacksonville, Florida, Gillum was the youngest elected commissioner in the state capital. Personifying true grit, and passion for his fellow man, the current mayor of Tallahassee has proven himself in not only the eyes of millennials, actively working to make a difference in their lives and their future by sanctioning the increase of the capital’s minimum wage to $15, but in aiding the growth of the area’s communities, young and old, with his “One job, one person” philosophy.
In the wake of strong ethical views, Mayor Gillum took a stand for his community, enacting policies protecting the rights of minorities in a time where internet trolls have the upper hand and the louder voice. The need to speak for the un-represented group of people in his state is a reoccurring motif we see in his actions. Being the voice for the underserved continuously drives him to tackle the hard issues his opponents overlook and ignore. His commitments range from gun control, protecting and expanding healthcare access, and addressing the growing debate of inequality that affects the working poor. Families who are forced to live paycheck to pay-check and feel that the opportunity to one day get ahead is only a pipe dream.
Raising over 4 Million dollars in hopes of becoming Florida’s first African American governor, Gillum was backed by hundreds of voters in Saturdays ‘Bring It Home’ Bus Tour Rally event hosted in Pompano Beach by Dahlia Baker, Workforce Program Director. Over 120 people including volunteers flocked to the site to show their support for the young candidate, and over 25,000 voters flocked to the polls to ensure that their vision for a better Florida was secure. Winning over two strong democratic opponents, Gwen Graham, a former member of Congress, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, the upset of Tuesday night’s triumph gives hope to voters around the state.
“For the first time in over 20 years of voting, it did not feel abstract to vote for a governor. I believe that this man could actually make a difference in my life and the lives of people in my community.” said Baker.
Andrew Gillum’s victory is more than a win for him and his family. It is a win for every little Black boy growing up in South Florida wondering if there’s more waiting for him than just being another athlete.