Democrat Ges Selmont is running for his first bid in elected office against Republican incumbent John Rutherford for Florida’s 4th Congressional District, which includes the University of North Florida campus.
“I think that the biggest issue facing the First Coast is that people, they feel the system is rigged and don’t feel that America is fair anymore,” the Harvard and Yale educated attorney said. “So this campaign for Democrats, this election has to be about restoring fairness to the system. Economic fairness and judicial fairness.”
Selmont thinks that income inequality is reflected in other areas of life in America and wants to level the playing field for in favor of those who are disenfranchised.
“Part of what progressive Democrats feel is we need to, instead of attacking unions, we need to be expanding people’s ability to collectively bargain. Unionizing Uber drivers, unionizing people in the gigging economy,” he said.
Selmont has served in several appointed positions including conservation and historic district commissions in Massachusetts and the Commission for Educational Technology in Connecticut. He moved to Ponte Vedra Beach in 2010 with his wife and two boys.
Selmont is fighting an uphill battle by running against a Republican former sheriff in a district that hasn’t had a Democrat in the house since 1989, but he hopes to bring out the youth voters of the University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. He didn’t mince words when reflecting on the incumbent’s term in office.
“John Rutherford does not have the communication skills, the energy, the vision, to be our congressman,” Selmont said. “We have a mayor who’s trying to sell off parts of the city because his congressional delegation is not bringing home money to clean up brownfields and to spur economic development in Jacksonville.”
“If college students want to make change, they have to elect new people,” Selmont continued. “The youth always win. You guys are going to win, it’s just, do you win this year or do you win in 20 years?”
In addition to voicing support for collective bargaining rights, he also indicated that he disagrees with America’s drug policy and the way it’s enforced.
“On a national level, the issue that really concerns me about pot is what I said the focus of our campaign is, which is about returning fairness to the system” Selmont indicated. “And clearly, the judicial system has not treated drug offenders, especially recreational use drug offenders, fairly.”
Selmont seemed more concerned about what he sees as victims of the drug war rather than legalizing drugs for economic or libertarian purposes.
”There’s obviously a disparate racial impact to that, where kids in the city have less access to representation or are getting heavier sentences for drug crime than kids in the suburbs, or young adults, or adults in the suburbs. So it’s very concerning for me that we put fairness back in the legal system and I don’t see our drug laws being applied fairly.”
The progressive newcomer is eager to involve community members in his campaign and said he’d like to hear more from district four voters about what they think are the issues that affect them.
“We know we’re not hearing from everybody, because it’s hard to reach everybody. So I’d love to hear from students about what they think the issues are and show them how the Democratic Party is going to work to address those,” Selmont said.
For more information on Ges Selmont’s campaign platform and background, visit his campaign website.