Gwen Graham marks one year anniversary of launching her congressional campaign

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 In a message to campaign supporters and voters across North Florida, Gwen Graham reflected on the year that has passed since announcing her campaign for Congress on April 2, 2013. 

Graham shared some personal moments from the past year, but wrote that running for Congress has always been about standing up for the people of North Florida: 

“While we’ve all seen a lot of change in our personal lives, and the campaign has advanced with great success, there’s one place we’ve seen very little action: Congress.

The politicians in Washington have sat by idly as the economy crawls along at a sluggish pace; as the price of education skyrockets; and as national security threats flare across the globe.

In the last year, our own congressman, Steve Southerland, single handedly torpedoed the farm bill; he supported shutting the federal government down all while doing nothing to help businesses create jobs in North Florida. “

Graham recognized her campaign’s one-year anniversary as Americans for Prosperity placed an ad buy for her opponent, one of the county’s most vulnerable incumbents, Steve Southerland.

Julia Gill Woodward, Graham’s campaign manager, said the American for Prosperity ad buy is actually good news for Graham. “Washington PACs spending early money to defend Southerland shows Republicans are seeing the same polling numbers we are.” 

Last month, the Graham campaign released a poll showing Graham and Southerland are within the margin of error head-to-head, and that just 36 percent of voters said they wanted to re-elect Southerland. 

Here is Graham’s letter to North Florida Voters: 

One year ago today, I announced a decision that would change my life forever: Running for Congress. 

Personally, the year since has been packed with monumental events. My youngest son graduated high school, as my oldest daughter graduated college; my husband and I celebrated a wedding anniversary; my parents turned another year older. 

But running for Congress has never been about me or my family — it’s about you. 

When I announced, every reporter asked, why are you running? Many people on my campaign team suggested I give complicated answers, but the answer in my heart was a much simpler one: 

I’m running to be an independent voice for the people of North Florida. 

While we’ve all seen a lot of change in our personal lives, and the campaign has advanced with great success, there’s one place we’ve seen very little action: Congress. 

The politicians in Washington have sat by idly as the economy crawls along at a sluggish pace; as the price of education skyrockets; and as national security threats flare across the globe. 

In the last year, our own congressman, Steve Southerland, single handedly torpedoed the farm bill; he supported shutting the federal government down all while doing nothing to help businesses create jobs in North Florida. 

Southerland has failed to be a leader for us — but it’s not just his fault. We can blame Democrats and Republicans for the failures in Washington. It’s time for new leadership on both sides of the isle. 

North Florida is my home. I went to high school in Tallahassee and raised my own family here. We have countless memories traveling across the district from the Possum Festival in Wausau to the beaches of Panama City. 

I’ve worked my entire life — as the top negotiator for the school board, in the private sector, and as a mother of three — and following in the tradition of my father, I’ve started campaign workdays. I can now add peanut farmer, construction manager, and many more unique Florida jobs to my resume. 

We represent the very best of America, and it’s time we take our North Florida values to Washington. Taking pride in our political parties is important, but our system only works if we cast partisanship aside and work together as Americans. 

Looking back at the last year, I’m proud of the campaign we’ve run and the progress we are making. We still have seven months until Election Day, and if I haven’t already, I hope to earn your vote.  It’s time for an independent voice in Washington — a leader who will stand up for your values.  

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.