In victory, Chuck Clemons thanked his youthful supporters.
“This campaign could have not been successful without the army, the legion of young people that have helped us from day one,” Clemons said Tuesday night at the Copper Monkey after he won a second term for District 21 in the Florida legislature. “I’m telling you, with youth leaders like them (referring to his team), our country is in good hands for the next few years.
Clemens (R) defeated civil engineer Jason Lee Haeseler (D), 51 to 49 percent.
In defeat, Haeseler said, “I think we did a great job on staying the message – I am very proud about the hard work of my team.”
The race focused on education, agriculture and natural resources.
During an interview with WUFT during the campaign, Clemons said “the 67 different counties in Florida have control over the local schools and autonomy to control the schools. Half of their budget comes from local tax dollars, 38 percent comes from the state legislature and 12 percent comes from the federal government. There is enough money for the school system, it just needs to be used wisely in order to promote higher graduation rates.
“I do believe the education platform is going to be one of the most sought after and one of the most demanding on our budget, I’m looking forward to help.”
Haeseler stressed he disagreed with providing PECO funding, which is meant for state educational facilities, to charter schools — including for-profit charter schools.
Clemons stated numerous times throughout his campaign the importance environmental issues held in his life. Consequently, the candidate’s records showed he voted against fracking and co-sponsored HB 237, an anti-fracking bill.
In 2017, Clemons, who works at Santa Fe College, was named “2017 Legislator of the Year” by the Florida chapter of the National Waste and Recycling Association, as well as being named Championed of Agriculture in the past two sessions by the Florida Farm Bureau.
The returns, the emotions: See Election Day photos from around Gainesville
After his win Tuesday night, Clemons said: “We have got to maintain our eye on the prize there (environment), and that is with the 1,000 people a day that are moving to Florida. We’ve got to seriously protect the environment by monitoring, taking inventory of all our septic tanks systems, making sure they’re not leaching out…”
For the campaign, Clemons raised $292,321.09 to $76,449.36 for Haeseler.
For the time being, Haeseler plans to go back to his day job as a civil engineer at the University of Florida.