Republican candidate, Florida House District 45
Never held elective office.
Attorney, Bogin, Munns & Munns
University of Florida, A.S., Biology
Lee University, B.S., Biological Science
Florida A&M University, J.D., 2007
Vennia Francois of Windermere, an Orlando attorney and state officer for the Florida Federation of Republican Women, will face four candidates — Carolina Amesty, Janet Frevola, Bruno Portigliatti and Mike Zhao — in the Aug. 23 Republican primary for the Florida House District 45 open seat that was held by state Rep. Geraldine Thompson, who is now running for the state Senate District 15 seat.
The winner will square off against Democrat Allie Braswell, who is running unopposed, in the Nov. 8 general election. The district represents northwestern Osceola county and southwestern Orange County, including Windermere, parts of Winter Garden, Ocoee, Gotha, Dr. Phillips and Walt Disney World.
While Francois has never held elective office, she won the Republican nod for the 10th Congressional District in 2020, but lost to Democratic Rep. Val Demings.
Her campaign website lists several general priorities including job creation, police reform, education, “medical freedom,” border security, Second Amendment rights, ending abortion and veteran support.
On the economy, she said she would “keep taxes low, which will increase wages and stimulate the economy.” She also said she opposes “defunding the police” while reforming “de-escalation training techniques.” She added she’s a supporter of law-abiding citizens’ right to keep and bear arms, as well as strengthening border and port security with more agents, more walls, more security technology and the implementation of mandate E-Verify for all employers. She also wants better healthcare access for veterans.
Francois said she supports parents’ right to decide their child’s best educational options, including school choice. She believes school choice encourages competition in school districts. She also said she believed that “life begins at conception and will oppose use of public funds to promote or perform abortion or to fund organizations that perform or advocate in favor of abortions.”
On medical freedom, she said that she stood with Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature and against federal mandates, presumably referring to mask and vaccine mandates although she didn’t refer to any specific issue. “Patients and parents should make their own medical decisions without fear of job loss or coercion by government,” according to her site.
Florida Politics said Francois declared herself in a TV ad as the “the woke left’s worst nightmare” with a pledge to work with DeSantis. “Real reform is originating here in the states, not in Washington D.C.”
The LIBRE Initiative Action and Americans For Prosperity Florida have endorsed Francois’ candidacy, according to Florida Politics, as well as former college football coach Lou Holtz, a Lake Nona resident. Her campaign website lists several more endorsements including from former Windermere Mayor Gary Bruhn and current Town Council Members Loren "Andy" Williams and Tony Davit; Winter Garden Mayor John Rees and City Commissioners Lisa Bennett and Colin Sharman; and Ocoee Mayor Rusty Johnson.