Voters in the 2nd Congressional District are still coming to terms with Congresswoman Gwen Graham’s campaign theme The North Florida Way.
To help the process along, Graham Wednesday announced she will hold regular mobile office in the 12-rural counties she represents in addition to Tallahassee and Panama City.
A lone bright spot for Florida Democrats in November when Graham defeated Tea Party favorite Steve Southerland, she has since drawn fire from the left for votes in favor of the Keystone pipeline, rolling back Wall Street reforms and not sufficiently supporting the Affordable Care Act. And the GOP has lambasted her for supporting Republican sponsored bills and being too loyal to President Barack Obama.
The North Florida Way can be confusing even in a state where a tourism campaign once boast “The Rules are Different Here”
Graham though confidently campaigned in the small rural counties of the district stretching from the Emerald Coast to the Big Bend region explaining herself directly to the people and telling reporters she would focus on constituent services. And said the mobile office hours just illustrates what she talked about on the campaign trial.
“It doesn’t matter if you live in one of North Florida’s big cities or on a farm matters,” said Graham. “I’m honored to be in a position to help people.”
If her first two months in office is any indicator, the mobile office idea also puts Graham in position to field criticism about how she is too much of a liberal-conservative walking lockstep with the President while abandoning him.
The thing about rural North Florida counties is that politicians can break out of the political media bubble and talk directly with people. Southerland often held random “mobile” office hours, showing up at a feed store or country diner and just talking to people. The habit may have helped explained why he consistently carried the farming, logging and fishing communities by nearly two-thirds margins.
Graham will start executing the strategy next week with a March 10 visit to Jackson County, followed by Jefferson County on the 17 th, Gulf the 24th, Taylor and Madison counties the 25th.