Gwen Graham’s latest “Work Day” puts her on patrol with Gretna Police Department

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Congressional candidate Gwen Graham spent her tenth “Work Day” on patrol with the Gretna Police Department in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District.

The Tallahassee Democrat took an opportunity to blast federal grant cuts in the GOP budget submitted to Congress this week by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan and supported by her opponent, Republican incumbent Rep. Steve Southerland.

“Police officers don’t serve in North Florida for the money or to wear a uniform, they do so because they believe in public service,” Graham said. “While they risk their lives every day serving our communities, Congressman Steve Southerland is safe in the Capitol, where he’s obviously forgotten whom he serves. Today, Southerland turned his back on the very police officers who protect our families.”

Gretna Police Department Chief Carlos De La Cruz told Graham during her eight-hour shift that federal grants are the “lifeline” for survival of North Florida’s rural police departments.

In a statement issued Thursday, Graham pointed out that Southerland’s vote would go to cut $4.8 trillion in non-defense spending, including cuts to Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) grants — funding for North Florida’s police departments to recruit and train officers.

“Southerland didn’t just vote for the Ryan budget, he owns it now,” said Graham campaign manager Julia Gill Woodward. “From now until election day, we’ll remind voters that Southerland’s budget ends Medicare’s guaranteed benefit, raises taxes on the middle class, decreases funding for senior services — and hurts our police officers.”

In prior “Work Days,” Graham worked full shifts alongside Second District residents, such as on a Tallahassee construction site and at a sixty-eight acre goat ranch outside of Monticello, to gain firsthand experience with the issues and challenges facing their industries.

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.