Robin Denise Harris

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Green Party candidate, Florida House District 41

Public Service

Never held elective office.

Occupation

Green Party

Education

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Religion

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Robin Denise Harris, who as a Green Party candidate did not have to run in the Aug. 23 primary, will face off against Bruce Antone, the former Democratic state lawmaker, trying to reclaim his old seat.


Green candidate Robin Denise Harris said on her website that she’s running for the District because she believes that the state “needs stronger voices in Tallahassee that represents working communities, LGBTQIA, underinsured/no insured and all marginalized people.” She said the state needs “voices that aren’t guided by corporate money and easily manipulated into compromising.”


Harris also said that she is a member of the Green Party “because neither Democrats or Republicans have been loyal to black voters. Being Green is a step towards neutralizing the duopoly system.”


Harris spoke at an Aug. 3 NAACP candidates forum for House District 41 that was attended by Antone and his Democratic rivals ahead of the Aug. 23 primary. At that forum, she said her vision for the district is “for the people. I think that it’s difficult to construct a vision without the voice of the people.” She said lawmakers often do backroom deals without listening to the people. She said it’s “extremely important” to engage with the community to find out what it needs. “You may not need what I think that you may need.” She said she wants to hear the voices that have gone unheard or who are in pain and overlooked such as the hungry, homeless and jobless. “My motto is leadership that liberates,” she said.


Housing

Harris said during the NAACP forum that Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer should be held to account for the affordable housing crisis. She recounted that at some meeting the topic came up about the housing issue and that Demings said he wanted to hire people to see if there was a housing crisis. “Well, just look outside Orlando. We have homelessness all over.”

Harris said she was a “victim of being homeless for a while, not because I didn’t pay my rent,” but because her lease wasn’t renewed. She said the area needs strong leadership to call such issues out. She said other issues like gentrification are occurring and even Black people are denying that it’s happening. “If you have gentrification, you also have genocide. People, because they’re homeless they’re also dying in the streets and leaders, elected officials now are overlooking that.”

She said she agreed with Antone that the Sadowski Fund — created in 1991 to finance state and local affordable housing initiatives, but has been routinely tapped by state legislators to balance the budget, leaving less for actual housing — should be fully funded.


Recently, on her Facebook page, Harris, who is the parliamentarian for the Green Party’s U.S. Black Caucus, talked about climate and disaster gentrification post-Hurricane Ian. She also has a Twitter account where she announced that she was endorsed by Florida Rising, a grassroots activist group that advocates for criminal justice reform, gender and reproductive rights, expanded democracy, housing and other liberal issues.

— Dibya Sarkar