For congressional candidate Gwen Graham, “Work Days” have become a true family tradition.
Two new TV ads released on Monday highlight the Tallahassee Democrat’s longstanding custom of spending a full work shift with ordinary citizens in Florida’s 2nd Congressional District — a family tradition taken directly from the successful campaigns of her father, former governor and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham.
The 30-second spots, called “Tradition” and “Hard Work,” are the first in the campaign that feature the senior Graham. Together, the ads debuted on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd, who said, “Both parties agree [Graham] is the top 2014 recruit.”
“A Graham Workday is a full day of hard work with Floridians,” says Bob Graham. “I worked in all kinds of jobs that put me in direct contact with real people who were affected by what you do.”
The longtime lawmaker began the Workday Tradition during his successful 1978 campaign, and he continued the practice throughout his entire elected career, with over 408 events to date. Graham would often be seen taking jobs alongside average working-class Floridians — busing tables, collecting garbage and driving trucks.
“I absolutely know the value of workdays,” Gwen Graham says in both ads. “There’s such a connection that I feel with the people that I’ve worked with.”
In prior “Work Days,” Graham worked with other Second District citizens, taking on jobs at places like Tallahassee barbershop, construction site, on patrol with the Gretna Police Department and on a sixty-eight acre goat ranch outside of Monticello.
“On each and every one of my own work days so far, I’ve seen folks come together to solve problems through cooperation on farms, at businesses, and in schools,” Graham said in a statement. “That’s how work gets done and it’s exactly the spirit that I pledge to take with me to Washington in order to represent North Florida with vigor and integrity.”
Timed with the release of the ads this week is launch of the Graham family “Grilling with the Grahams” tour, an eight-day, 14-county campaign swing through CD 2, capped by her thirteenth Work Day, the first joint event with Graham and her father.
Graham faces incumbent U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland for the expansive district covering the eastern part of the Florida Panhandle, much of the Big Bend region along the Emerald Coast, and both the state capital of Tallahassee and parts of Panama City.