This week, Orange County School Board member Rick Roach filed papers to run as a Democrat in 2016 for the Senate seat vacated by term-limited Sen. Andy Gardiner. After 16 years, Roach chose not to seek re-election to the School Board, and has become the first candidate to open a campaign finance account in an effort to succeed Gardiner in Senate District 13.
Gardiner will become Senate president in November but will not be able to return in 2016.
A vocal opponent of standardized testing, Roach said he previously had no interest in running for the Legislature, but became “fatigued at the amount of stress that is put on our school system” in the past few years.
Roach underscored the need for a legislator with an education background. “I think I’m just in the wrong battlefield,” Roach told reporters. “I’m too far away from the action.”
District 13 covers sections of Orange and Brevard Counties.