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Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Poinciana man is the first Democrat to enter the Florida House-48 race

By Vaseline May26,2024

The first-time Democrat has joined a group of Republicans seeking an open seat in Florida House District 48.

John Hill of Poinciana has entered the race hoping to succeed Rep. Sam Killebrew, R-Winter Haven, who is facing term limits. Eight Republicans have already declared their candidacy.

Hill, 44, is an Alabama native who studied special education at Jacksonville State University. He said he has worked in various aspects of mental health, including positions in schools and private practices. He owns a company that provides administrative support to independent therapists and psychologists.

Hill, who moved to Florida in 2020, is second vice chair of the Polk County Democratic Executive Committee. He said he will take a leave of absence from that role to run for office.

“I am someone who always grew up believing that public service is one of the highest callings you can have in life,” Hill said. “I have parents who were active in the Alabama community where I grew up, and who exposed me to politics and public service early on. It has been a goal of mine to serve as a state legislator.

Hill said he is dissatisfied with the focus of the Florida Legislature in recent years.

“There has been an atmosphere and environment where, in my opinion, the existence of people in the state of Florida is regulated, with a lot of attention paid to different aspects of who people are,” he said. “I believe that the business of the legislature should be the business of the state. And I just feel like we spend too much time on these culture wars and focusing on things that have to do with people’s personal lives.”

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Noting that Polk County has one of the fastest population growth rates in the country, Hill said the Legislature must ensure counties have the proper funding for systems and infrastructure.

District 48 covers eastern Polk County, south of Haines City, including Winter Haven and Lake Wales. The eight Republicans in the race are Jon Albert, Jerry Carter, Chad Davis, Kenneth Hartpence, Deborah Owens, Amilee Stuckey, Benny Valentin and Randy Wilkinson.

A lone Democrat has now filed to run in four of the five legislative races for districts that include Polk County — one in the Senate and three in the House of Representatives. In House District 49, where Republican Melony Bell is running for Polk County Supervisor of Elections, three Republicans and no Democrat have filed.

All six of Polk County’s legislative seats are now held by Republicans. The deadline for qualifying in the legislative races is June 14.

Gary White can be reached at [email protected] or 863-802-7518. Follow on X @garywhite13.

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