In a year where Democrats are seeing big upsets in traditionally red areas, Todd Truax is hoping momentum will help him topple Republican incumbent Francis Rooney, but first he faces a rarity in Southwest Florida, a Democratic primary for the 19th Congressional seat.
“Folks are energized by what they see in Virginia and Alabama, and most recently in Pennsylvania. Very ruby red district, voters are turning out in droves like they haven’t in years, and Republicans are laying low and considering what they’ve done,” said Truax. “For the first time I can remember in the 20 years I have been down here there is going to be a Democratic primary.”
Truax is a social worker and healthcare administrator who moved from Cleveland, Ohio to Florida 20 years ago. He has worked primarily in nursing homes, hospice care, and rehab centers, which has made healthcare one of his central political issues.
“I saw Mr. Rooney start voting against the Affordable Care Act and Planned Parenthood, and now threats are being made to Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, which I use to take care of folks, so I decided to step up and run” Truax said.
While Truax would need to defeat his primary opponent David Holden in August in order to face Rooney, he was hesitant to focus on his fellow Democrat, saving most of his jabs for the sitting Congressman. The candidate said that he and his primary opponent early on and that both men agreed that unseating Rooney was the primary objective. The one area of contrast Truax did draw with Holden was how the two men’s backgrounds, one a financial planner and the other a healthcare administrator, informed their approach to their campaigns.
“I think his tactics are more focused on the fundraising tactics, and mine is more on the grassroots and organizing aspects of the campaign,” Truax said.
One issue that has been pushed to the forefront of most political races due to the mass shooting that took place at a high school in Parkland, Florida, is gun control. Truax attacked Rooney’s voting record on guns, saying that while the Congressman’s rhetoric has softened since the Parkland shooting, he still holds one of the higher grades given out to every House member by the National Rifle Association.
“My stance for guns is that more guns are more dangerous. He has hedged a little bit, but he is still a B+ representative of the NRA, I aspire to an F rating.”
Truax said that he would not only support the ban of AR-15 style rifles, the model of gun used in the Parkland shooting, but also other semi-automatic rifles that have a similar function to the AR-15 but that are generally thought of as hunting rifles due to their wooden stocks. The candidate said he also supports three day waiting periods and mandatory background check for all purchases, including private sales.
“All weapons should be registered to their owners and they should be insured and trained just as if they had a car,” sad Truax.
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