November 22, 2019


Members of 1199SEIU played an important part in political victories in Orlando, Saint Petersburg and South Florida earlier this month, electing local leaders who will best serve working families and their communities.  These efforts included a key election for the Orlando City Commission District 6, in which political newcomer Bakari Burns was the top vote-getter, but still faces a critical runoff on December 3.

Burns earned the support and endorsement of 1199SEIU members because his expertise, commitment and pledge to serve the people in the district where he grew up.  His experience includes successfully developing Orange Blossom Family Health to deliver quality, affordable health services to the area.  His campaign has focused on affordable housing, good paying jobs, improved public transportation and infrastructure.

“Bakari Burns is new to politics, but he is an accomplished leader in this community,” said Coy Jones, 1199SEIU political coordinator. “We’re focused on winning the runoff because a win for Bakari is a win for our members and the overall community.”

Union members in Orlando also put their power behind the successful campaign of Buddy Dyer who was reelected as city mayor in a landslide victory.

In Saint Petersburg, 1199SEIU members helped push Deborah Figgs-Sanders - City Council District 5 and Lisa Wheeler-Bowman - City Council District 7 to victory. Both candidates are community leaders who believe in good jobs, affordable healthcare and unions for all.  

Winning South Florida candidates who earned the support of 1199SEIU workers included Monica Perez for Hialeah City Council Group 1. Three other South Florida candidates dedicated to the needs of working families celebrated victories in runoff elections. These included Jesus Tundidor in Hialeah Council Group 2, as well as Ricky Arriola for Miami Beach City Commission Group 5 and David Richardson in Miami Beach City Commission Group 6.


“Miami Beach and South Florida are ground zero for so many issues vital to our working brothers and sisters, including sea level rise, immigration, affordable housing, income disparity and more,” said 1199SEIU political coordinator Jason Morales. “Local officials have a large impact on these policies and it’s crucial we elect leaders who will protect and fight for the everyday members of the community, versus rich and powerful insiders.”

Leading the 1199SEIU member efforts to turn out voters were union MPOs Angelette Harley and Kaydra Bonamy in Central Florida, and Lillie Roberson and Anne Mercie Blot in South Florida.  This dynamic team directed activities such as canvassing neighborhoods, knocking on doors, phone-banking, text-blasting and more.

1199SEIU Florida political coordinators and organizers hope to build on the momentum of these local races for the paramount 2020 national elections to decide the presidency, U.S. Congress and Senate, judicial positions, departments and policies and so much more that shape our lives today and in the future.

They cite Florida as the key state to tilt these elections and determine if our nation and society move forward, improve and offer a fair opportunity for all people, or slip backward.

To get involved in these local and national efforts to help fellow members, all workers and their families, contact your area’s MPO or political coordinators Coy Jones at coy.jones@1199.org and Jason Morales at jason.morales@1199.org.