Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Meet Edward James, one of ’30 under 30′ rising stars of Florida politics

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

I am… 25 years young

I live in… Sarasota/Tallahassee

I got into politics because… My family exposed me to the power of community organizing as a child. My great-grandmother along with a group of other concerned citizens helped desegregate the public beaches in Sarasota in the 1950s by organizing caravans of people who went out to Lido Beach and waded in the water while enduring physical and verbal abuse. Having a legacy like that to build from has shown me that people can change policy if they are willing to sacrifice.

One principle I always put above politics is… Love. You can’t lead the people unless you love the people.

Person or people who gave me my first shot… Victoria Kirby, a former Saint Petersblog 30 under 30, hired me as a field organizer for Organizing for America in 2012 and put me on the path that led me to where I am today.

I’ve already worked for/on… President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign and Gwen Graham’s 2014 campaign for U.S. Congress.

When I begin a project or first work on a campaign, I look for… Whether or not my overall vision for the world is in line with that of the candidate or  the organization. People may differ on  a few issues, but ultimately I want to know that we are all striving for the same goals.

I’ve been blessed to have these people as my mentors… Dr. Ed James, II (my Dad), Caren Lobo, and Pamela Burch Fort.

The people I most admire in politics are… Gov./U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, state Sen. Tony Hill, state Sen. Nancy Detert, and state Rep. Alan Williams.

One lesson I’ve already learned is… Hard work and humility always win in the long run.

If I wasn’t working in politics, I’d be working in… I’d probably be working on my slam poetry album. I still might work on it, though. Maybe 5-7 pieces about my first term in the Legislature.

In 10 years, you’ll read about me… Hopefully you won’t be reading about me, you’ll be reading about the programs that I helped champion in the Florida Legislature that lead to more Floridians having a greater quality of life.

You can connect with me on social media…

Instagram: @ej3forflorida

Twitter: @ej3forflorida


Ryan Ray writes about campaigns and public policy in Tampa Bay and across the state. A contributor to and before that, The Florida Squeeze, he covers the Legislature as a member of the Florida Capitol Press Corps and has worked as a staffer on several campaigns. He can be reached at

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