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Email insights: For Andrew Gillum, Father’s Day (and being Governor) is about children ‘doing well’

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

For Father’s Day, Andrew Gillum believes a Florida Governor’s primary focus should be children.

In an email to supporters, the Democratic mayor of Tallahassee and father of three (including a one-month-old newborn) talks of the Maasai Tribe of East Africa, who “greet each other a little differently” than we do in America.

Traditional greeting for the Maasai is not about the self, but: “How are the children?”

Their ideal answer? The children are “doing well.”

“And I think that’s what we should be striving for here in Florida,” Gillum writes. “All of us want to give our kids better opportunities to grow and thrive in our communities.

As a father to “three incredible children,” Gillum is grateful that he and his wife R. Jai are “able to provide them with opportunities that I never dreamed” while growing up.

“I’m thankful that when I’m asked how my children are doing,” he says, “I can honestly say they’re doing well.”

But in Florida, Gillum says it is not always the case.

“If we were to look ourselves in the mirror today,” he writes, “we would have to admit that, as a whole, the children of Florida are not well.”

From persistent poverty, debt, unaffordable health care and a state that has “shifted resources from our public schools to private corporations,” children – and families – are far from “doing well,” Gillum says.

As Governor, Gillum vows to reinvest in public schools, affordable health care, and work to have Florida businesses offer workers a living wage.

“My goal is to be able to honestly answer that question – ‘How are the children?’ – with ‘They are doing well.’ – in every county and every corner of this state,” he says.

But running for Governor takes a little more than just being a good dad (while it doesn’t hurt).

With that, what Gillum really wants for Father’s Day is your support (and donations) to help him get there.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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