Former Congresswoman Gwen Graham today became the third member of her family to run for Florida governor. Her father, Bob Graham, was governor from 1979 to 1987. He then served in the U.S. Senate from 1987 to 2005. He ran for president in 2003 but dropped out after nine months.
Gwen Graham's grandfather, Ernest "Cap" Graham, a state Senator, ran for governor in 1944. He was defeated.
Graham's announcement was long expected and she joins a growing field of Democratic and Republican candidates.
Below is the campaign release about her announcement:
Declaring, "We do not have time for typical politics, because this is the time to paint Florida’s future in sharp lines, and bold colors," Gwen Graham announced she is running to serve as Florida's next governor, Tuesday morning.
With her family by her side, Graham said, after almost 20 years of a enduring a state government with the wrong priorities for the wrong people, she would renew Florida's education system, environment and economy.
Citing her experience as a working mother, PTA president and school board official, Graham said she is determined to end the lottery shell game diverting funds from Florida schools and high-stakes testing.
Graham announced her campaign next to Miami Carol City Senior High, where she spent a full Workday alongside educators teaching students, the previous day. The high school was where her father, former Governor Bob Graham, performed his first Workday in 1974.
“As governor, I won’t just criticize this culture of teaching to the test. I will end it,” Graham said. “Because high-stakes standardized testing has led us to one-size-fits-all learning. Yet our children, parents and teachers are not one-dimensional. Our children, parents, and teachers are not standardized. I will work with the legislature – and do whatever it takes, including using the governor’s line-item veto to end high-stakes testing.”
She also shared her vision for Florida's economy and environment. Graham called for Florida to raise the minimum wage, provide paid sick leave, invest in infrastructure, and diversify Florida's economy.
"Instead of passing commonsense economic policies, like raising the minimum wage and paid sick leave, Rick Scott repeats, 'Jobs, jobs, jobs!' — as in you’ll need three jobs just to get by," she said.
On the environment, Graham said she would use Amendment One funds to protect sensitive land and water, fight oil drilling off our beaches and ban fracking in Florida — and she addressed the threat climate change poses to the state.
"We all know climate change is real. It’s already harming our state — tides are rising in Miami, fires are ravaging our forests," Graham said. "But instead of facing reality, Donald Trump calls climate change 'a hoax,' and Rick Scott doesn’t call it anything at all – literally banning those the words, 'climate change' from our state government."
Graham will follow her announcement with a new economy Workday installing solar panels in Orlando and an environmental-focused Workday in Tampa, before returning to Tallahassee where she will highlight her record working with Florida public schools.
In 2014, Gwen Graham was one of just two Democrats in the entire country to beat an incumbent Republican Congressman. She has three children, Sarah, Graham and Mark Ernest, and she is married to Stephen D. Hurm, a former law enforcement officer and attorney, who currently serves as a faculty member at Florida State University. You can find her full biography here.