top of page
2024 State House Races

Oakland commissioner is mulling District 45 state house run

Instant Photo Poster
Norine Dworkin

Editor in Chief

Sunday, March 10, 2024


Norine Dworkin/VoxPopuli

Oakland Commissioner Joseph McMullen with University of Central Florida's Flying Horse Big Band Leader Jeff Rupert at a free concert to support the Wells'Built Museum of African American History and Culture in downtown Orlando, owned and operated by State Sen. Geraldine Thompson.

Oakland Commissioner Joseph McMullen confirmed Saturday that he is considering a run for the state house, challenging Republican State Rep. Carolina Amesty in House District 45.

McMullen, who’s held Seat 4 on the Oakland town commission since 2006, told VoxPopuli that he has had conversations with Orange County Democratic Party officials and that he is “listening.”

Elected in the 2022 midterms, Amesty is a formidable target. She received $127,437 from the Florida House Campaign Committee and the Republican Party of Florida for her election campaign. Although since taking office, she has been plagued by scandals. Reported by the Orlando Sentinel, the scandals included: unpaid taxes, her shuttered chicken restaurant, her family’s Keene's Pointe home and unaccredited Christian school as well as a request for a $3 million payment to a South Florida Hispanic chamber of commerce for a flood prevention project to be overseen by the hastily formed Institute of Sustainable Water Solutions, which the city of  Key Biscayne hadn’t requested and didn't want. The city fired the lobbyist involved with that project.

So Amesty is formidable but potentially vulnerable. Is Mcmullen the one to grab the seat from her? He's thinking about it, he told VoxPopuli. 

Here's what we gleaned quickly about him: 

Originally from Miami, McMullen is a pharmacist, currently working on his Doctor of Pharmacy degree (PharmD) at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia. He received a B.S. in pharmacy from Florida A&M University (FAMU) in 1993. McMullen also holds a masters degree in health administration from Florida International University in Miami. He was an Air Force Reservist from 1989 through 1995 where he rose to the rank of staff sergeant.

In 2021, McMullen was president of the board of the Tri-County League of Cities, which includes Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties. McMullen serves on the Florida League of Cities, which in 2022, presented him with the Home Rule Hero Award for safeguarding municipalities' rights to handle local issues with minimal state interference. He’s also an alternate on the MetroPlan Orlando Municipal Advisory Committee and a member of the Winter Garden Rotary Club.

On his LinkedIn, a former Aetna co-worker described him as a “knowledgeable professional … He has always been able to provide the support and answers need to help our clients.”

A peer cited his “professionalism, integrity and commitment” for his arts organization’s participation in their Art Without Borders Exhibit/Entertainment event at Oglethorpe College in Georgia.

A lifelong musician who attended FAMU on a marching band scholarship — he played the baritone horn — McMullen is the founder of HAPCO, a nonprofit organization that connects young people with music and the arts and produces concerts (sometimes free), featuring legendary jazz musicians, all over Orange County. 

On March 9, Mcmullen’s HAPCO produced a free concert with Jeff Rupert and the Flying Horse Big Band, comprised of students from University of Central Florida, to support the Wells’Built Museum of African American History and Culture in downtown Orlando, which was founded by State Sen. Geraldine Thompson. 

bottom of page