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The Race for 39

Bankson and Hughes head into the homestretch

Candidates answer questions about Apopka, South Apopka, and their approach to representing the district


Doug Bankson and Tiffany Hughes have made it to the homestretch of their race for House District 39 - the Apopka District. There are 20 days left until voters choose which of these candidates will represent them in the Florida Legislature.

The Apopka Voice asked the two candidates questions about Apopka, South Apopka, and their intentions moving forward. Their responses show the contrasts in their approaches to the role of representing Apopka, and District 39 in the Florida Legislature.

You have  20 days before Election Day. How will you spend your time and money in the stretch run?

Bankson: We will be getting our message out to the voters as directly as possible. We are having a tremendous response and look forward to hearing the peoples voice on November 8th.

Doug Bankson is running for the State House District 39
Doug Bankson is running for the State House District 39

HughesI’ve been in this race since March, and I can’t believe Election Day is almost here. It’s been such an honor to run to represent House District 39 in our state legislature, and when it comes to my plan for the next couple weeks or so, it’s the same as it’s always been: effectively communicating with voters.

Tiffany Hughes is running for the Florida House District 39.
Tiffany Hughes is running for the Florida House District 39.

 Communicating why my background as a business owner, job creator, and community advocate makes me the best person to serve. Communicating my key priorities of lowering the cost of living, stopping gun violence, protecting our environment and defending a woman’s right to reproductive healthcare. And communicating our shared values and my belief in working across the aisle to address our collective challenges and strengthen our community and our state. 

Are you in support of Apopka annexing South Apopka?

Hughes: I believe we all deserve the opportunity to thrive, and I’m in support of doing what is best for all Apopkans. As a state legislator, that means bringing our community together to address our collective challenges. One of my first priorities if elected is to open my legislative office in Apopka and make sure that our community knows that their State Representative is accessible and they have a place to access the City, County and State services that are available to them all under one roof. If elected, the Tiffany Hughes House District 39 Office is where community members can come for information on small business development resources, home buyer programs, disaster preparedness efforts, and so much more. A vote for Tiffany Hughes, is a vote for accessible leadership. 

Bankson: The real question for me is, are the people in support of it? I have had interaction for the past several years with citizens from south Apopka and there is a mixed response. There are those that want their own identity and enjoy the autonomy of their own community, while there are others who see it as an opportunity to unify. In like manner, there are those in Apopka who support it and those concerned with how it can play out. I think the only way to answer that question will be through referendum. I’ve stated before that I am averse to forced annexation and prefer to approach it with information that lets the citizens decide. I think the upcoming process will help clarify the issues for everyone to make that decision. I will be happy as long as it best serves the citizens, respects culture, supports  opportunity and works to create unity. I will soon be handing the baton off to commissioner-elect Becker, but I believe the workshop will  be helpful to see the advantages and disadvantages, and to weigh the costs and determine how to proceed if the people desire.

Annexed or not, what can you do as a legislator to help the residents of South Apopka... possibly the poorest area in District 39?

Bankson: The desire from citizens in south Apopka that I have spoken to is to have opportunity. I have had leaders of the south Apopka community tell me directly, “we don’t want a hand out, we just need the opportunities to succeed.” Anything that can bring meaningful opportunity empowers each individual for self determination. There are four avenues that I see to accomplish this: Infrastructure support, education opportunity, workforce housing partnership, and cost reduction initiatives. As a legislator I will advocate for our specific infrastructure needs to help bring south Apopka to modern standards. I will support initiatives for education programs that create  multiple paths of success, not only for our youth, but also for  those in need of job placement or job transition creating self empowerment.  I will seek through legislation to cut red tape and create the environment for small businesses to succeed. I will seek to restore Sadowski funds generated from doc stamps to fund workforce/affordable housing initiatives, and seek to partner with the construction industry and local government for  land grants creating opportunity for  both jobs and housing. I will focus on the needs of the elderly to make sure they do not lose their homes through negative tax laws. I will address the out of control insurance costs through legal reform and industry oversight helping to stem increased unaffordability across the board.

Hughes: I have spent my career economically empowering my community through job creation, and as a State Legislator, I’ll bring that knowledge and know-how to South Apopka and across House District 39. Economic development is not only an investment in business but also an investment in people. I will fight to secure business development funds for HD 39 to support local businesses and raise wages. 

 As our region grows, so should the transportation and infrastructure of our cities. I will work to keep our neighborhoods quiet while also collaborating with local elected officials to increase public transportation routes, rail services and bring Apopka the restaurants, walkable communities and amenities that they deserve. 

What are the most significant issues facing Apopka that you can take on as a legislator in Tallahassee?

Hughes: No matter where I am in the district, when I speak with community members, I hear one issue affecting all of our lives: the high cost of living, particularly the cost of housing. This is an issue where the legislature in Tallahassee can do something to help ease the burden on everyday Floridians. We saw the leadership in Tallahassee pass a bill that helped insurance companies using taxpayer money and left real people behind — left families still struggling to pay their homeowners insurance. We need to take that bill a step further and require insurance companies accessing those funds to pass the savings on to homeowners. Homeowners don't need relief later, homeowners need relief NOW, and that's what I’ll be fighting for in Tallahassee.

Bankson: Growth, transportation, infrastructure, and housing immediately come to mind. I look forward to being able to work directly with our local government to focus on our needs and to be an advocate for legislation and funding. Having a seat at the table makes a difference, and working together in a bipartisan way to get things done is important to me. Pointing bask to infrastructure, I will seek to make sure we are included in budgetary decisions that will bring funding for vital projects, not only for Apopka but for our whole district. We must make sure to protect our natural resources and continue work to restore Lake Apopka and protect Wekiva Springs while simultaneously protecting the water needs and land rights  of our local agricultural industry. I look forward to working with Rep. Truenow as agriculture is a particular area of his expertise, and I believe he will continue to be a great help. I also want to make sure we look forward to continued advocacy for education and employment which can raise Apopka by raising Apopkans to succeed. This of course will stimulate development in a way that can bring the missing entertainment and dining elements that so many desire.

How does your overall platform serve Apopka residents?

Bankson: By being a voice, being an advocate, being a leader, and never forgetting my roots. From the economy to education to protecting our  families and freedoms I not only have a record of service and thoughtfulness, but transparency and integrity. I believe my platform will give the widest opportunity for personal liberty, protection, and opportunity for all individuals equally, while protecting our families, children, property, and livelihoods. I believe in fiscal responsibility and will stand with our governor to keep our economy strong and put Floridians first. I will always advocate for our first responders in a just and fair manner that protects those who serve as well as those who are served. Having lived here in Apopka for over 30 years and having raised my family here, I have served our community in many facets, and my roots go far too deep to be changed by Tallahassee.  Rather, I seek to bring our small town values, love of God and country, and commonsense solutions to serve the people of this community and all of district 39. 

Hughes: As a business owner, advocate and a leader in our community, I know how to serve all of Apopka and all of House District 39. I’m someone who understands the ins and outs of business and economic development, but I’m also deeply committed to people and community. So from the very beginning, I’ve said this campaign is about moving our community forward without leaving anyone behind. 

 My platform will serve Apopka residents because it’s centered on commonsense principles that everyone can get behind. I’m running to promote economic development and job creation, lower costs (especially the cost of housing), protect our land and water, protect our children from gun violence, and defend a woman’s right to choose.


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