Election 2022: Sen. Travis Hutson faces Gerry James of Ponte Vedra Beach for District 7

·5 min read

State Sen. Travis Hutson is running in the primary against Gerry James. The winner will face off against a write-in candidate in the general election Nov. 8, if that candidate remains in the race.

The Record posed the following questions to each of the candidates. Answers are presented as they were submitted, save for minor corrections to punctuation and grammar.

Ready to vote? Early voting begins Saturday in St. Johns County through Aug. 20

Republican primary for State Senate District 7

Travis Hutson (incumbent)

Sen. Travis Hutson
Sen. Travis Hutson

City of residence: St. Augustine.

How long have you lived in St. Johns County? Over 20 years.

Previous elected positions: Currently serving as State Senator, District 7. Previously served in the Florida House.

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Community service: I previously served on the board of directors for HandsOn Jacksonville and on the development committee for St. Augustine Youth Services. I was also a member of the board of directors for EPIC in St. Johns County.

Qualifications for office: While serving in the Florida Legislature, I championed crucial legislation for District 7 and the state, focusing on the economy, education and public safety. I helped craft enhancements to Florida’s Career and Professional Education Act, responding to Florida’s critical workforce needs. I also closed loopholes in the release of sexual violent predators making Northeast Florida’s most vulnerable citizens safer. Additionally, I fought for improved water quality in Florida, and successfully championed water policy reform and hurricane recovery.

Reason for running: To continue serving my community by fighting for us in Tallahassee alongside Gov. DeSantis, who I am honored to have endorse my candidacy.

Goals for upcoming term if elected: Lower taxes and less regulation: I fought every year in Tallahassee to lower taxes on Florida’s families and businesses while lessening the regulatory burden on those starting or growing a business.

Honoring our veterans: I will always fight to make Florida the most Veteran friendly state. That’s why I championed and passed the Stolen Valor Act, prohibiting anyone from claiming to have served in the military, embellishing any rank attained, or fraudulently claiming to have received a valor award, when done so with the intent to obtain personal benefit.

Improving health care: I’ve championed legislation providing free market solutions that increase access to good, quality health care including passing a bill that authorizes pharmacists to test for and treat influenza and streptococcus.

Investing in our teachers and preparing our students: In order to attract and retain the best teachers for our students, we must invest in them. That’s why I voted to make Florida teachers' starting salary among the highest in the country. I passed a bill requiring high schools to offer a course in financial literacy so young adults are prepared to take control of their financial future.

Expanding vocational education: Not everyone needs a four-year degree to be successful. That’s why I passed bills expanding vocational and technical education, apprenticeships, career academies and workforce training in our schools so our children can learn a trade or get a professional certificate in order to find good, high-paying jobs in our community.

Affordable workforce housing: I will continue to address the housing crisis in our community. I sponsored and passed the most sweeping reform to Florida housing in years providing local control, flexible but targeted incentive spending, regional and state best practices and updated data reporting. These changes allow more affordable housing so that our essential workers and the families they support can live in the communities they serve.

Protecting our environment: As a lifelong First Coast resident, I understand how important our environment is to our way of life. I fought to restore our beaches after hurricanes and to protect our waterways and greenspaces for future generations.

Gerry James

Gerry James
Gerry James

City of residence: Ponte Vedra Beach.

How long have you lived in St. Johns County? 20 years.

Previous elected positions: None.

Community service: As a Christian, I serve in prison ministry in several institutions including death row at Florida State Penitentiary.

I was a professional athlete in three different sports, pro football, wrestling and golf, and played in the U.S. Senior Open. I was a two-time World Masters Long Drive Champion, former Mr. California Body Building Champion, and is a current PGA pro golfer and financial adviser at Safemoneymanager.com.

Qualifications for office: I am the most conservative grassroots candidate running for Senate. My opponent is using his office to destroy our way of life in this district. He uses his political access to force mega-developments to be built, and with that comes traffic and increased crime. I want to protect our area from what is happening. We need to elect people that are not long-term politicians into office. Our current elected officials are no longer serving our interests but rather their own.

Reason for running: We've seen uncontrolled growth in St Johns County. My opponent, the incumbent, uses his elected office to make legislation about development and building that benefits his family’s land development business. I am not anti-development, but I am anti-OVER development and cronyism.

Goals for upcoming term if elected: I am the most conservative grassroots candidate running for Senate. My opponent is using his office to destroy our way of life in this district. He uses his political access to force mega-developments to be built, and with that comes traffic and increased crime. I want to protect our area from what is happening.

This article originally appeared on St. Augustine Record: Florida Sen. Travis Hutson faces Gerry James in 2022 primary election