Candidates join the race against Rooney
By Staff Writer: Sommer Browcaw
Three candidates have filed to run against Republican Congressman Tom Rooney in the District 17 congressional race, including one Republican and two Democrats.
Republican John Sawer III, and Democrats Allen Ellison and April Freeman have filed for the seat.
Incumbent Rooney has won the past two elections, holding the seat since 2012.
Prior to winning his District 17 seat, Rooney was elected to the District 16 seat of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008.
The primary election is Aug. 30 with the top party candidates facing off in the general election on Nov. 8.
Florida 17th congressional district includes: Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee, Highlands, Okeechobee, Glades and potions of Polk, Hillsborough and Lee counties as of the 2000 cencus.
“I’m running to help secure a better future than my own and women.” “I’m running because if we don’t take our government back from those elected officials (of both parties) and lobbyists and PACS (political action committees) who own them, the country will disappear forever,” Sawyer said.
Democratic candidate April Freeman said she stands out from her opponents because her donations come from individual grassroots donors, not special interests. “I will be a representative who is held accountable by the electorate and a representative who is responsive to my constituents,” she said. “I refuse to bow down to D.C. lobbyists who have become the invasive species who wander through the halls of Congress with impunity, as they threaten our democracy.
If elected, some of the main issues she would tackle would be: 1) rebuilding the middle class by increasing minimum wage and employer provided healthcare, 2) repairing roads, bridges, railways, education system and energy sources where needed, 3) safeguarding Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and veterans’ benefits, 4) pushing for good paying jobs in the renewable energy sector, and 5) opposing legislation impeding a woman’s right to make her own healthcare choices.
She added that she is running because she wants to be “the voice of the people – A New Voice for A New District.”
The other Democratic candidate, Allen Ellison, could not be reached for comment.
*Please Note: One inaccuracy - After re-districting, the district no longer includes a portion of Hillsborough but instead now includes a portion of Sarasota county.