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My Mortgage Debt Wouldn't Present a Problem for Other Governor Candidates

June 8, 2018 - 11:30am

Like many Floridians, my wife R. Jai and I owe a mortgage on our home -- and as I’ve been saying for months, my life experience is much more like everyday Floridians than any of my opponents.

Which makes the recent POLITICO story that I need to file some changes to my financial disclosure forms all the more telling. I accidentally put the wrong mortgage down on my forms in the yearly rush to get them filed  --  and that’s exactly why a process exists for elected officials to amend their forms.

In 2018, it says a lot that I’m spending time talking about my mortgage, and that we’re not talking about big issues facing our state like our health crisis, our underpaid public school teachers and staff, and our gun violence epidemic.

My wife and I are lucky to be on our second home as a family  --  because that’s not at all how I grew up.

In front of my childhood Richmond Heights home
In front of my childhood Richmond Heights home

As a kid, my family moved around to different homes, from Richmond Heights, a neighborhood in South Miami-Dade, to several homes and apartments in Gainesville. We would find ourselves staying with family members sometimes as well.

My parents are the two hardest-working people I know. My mother was a bus driver and during the summer she worked as a presser in a dry cleaners. She still has residual soreness and injuries from both of those jobs. My father was a construction worker, which meant he worked on a job site when there were jobs available, and when there weren't, he would sell fruits, vegetables or flowers around the community.

My story isn’t uncommon in Florida, or even this country. But it is for a Democratic candidate for governor. So my wife R. Jai and I are exceedingly proud of our journey to home ownership. It hasn’t been perfect, and like many people, we had to take a portion of the equity in our first home to finance the purchase of our second (and only) home.

But sadly for millions of Floridians, the path to home ownership is a treacherous one. The Great Recession crippled our state’s homeowners. According to the University of Florida, we went from a record high home-ownership rate of 72.4 percent in 2006, to a new low of 64.4 percent in 2016.

And today nearly half our households say they struggle to make ends meet. A national watchdog just said that Florida is the ninth-worst place for low-income people in America. Just last year, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran tried to cut food assistance for 229,000 of our friends and neighbors.

So when we say it is harder and harder for everyday, working-class people to get by in this state, we mean it. It’s part of how I grew up, and it’s the kind of cycle I’m trying to break as our next governor.

I don’t have a famous last name, and I can’t stroke my own check to help us win this race. But what I do have is a mother who gives my campaign a few dollars each month and a lifetime of lessons. I carry with me all the memories of the homes we lived in, and dreams for the next one, too.

The Governor’s Mansion.


Andrew Gillum, mayor of Tallahassee, is a 2018 Democratic candidate for governor.


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No offense but this is absolutely pathetic.

No offense but this is absolutely pathetic.

No offense but this is absolutely pathetic.

somebody who claims to be a non-Millionaire and has made his candidacy and platform about being the only non-millionaire, now somehow forgets about a $400,000+ mortgage, just like he forgot about the trips, the illegal campaign meetings, stealing other candidates e-mail lists, etc. etc., etc. Only an idiot would vote for this guy. He is more slippery than a miami mullet...

just another reason to not vote for a candidate with a socialist platform......

My lies cheating stealing and omissions wouldent present a problem on a state wide level is you sheep would just look the other way like the good Democrats in and around the Capitol City.

Wife is cool, he says. Hardworking parents. Now in second home. Has a mortgage. Used equity from 1st home to finance his 2nd home. Spends times talking about his mortgage and not about state issues. Carries memories of the homes he has lived in. No famous last name. Long article. I did not read one word about his plans for handling the taxpayers’ money.

Hmmm...maybe because this was addressing the fact that the media wrote about his mortgage. Keep up. I was on the fence about who I was voting for in the primary, but not any more. If the media is trying this hard to keep Gillum out, then I’m voting for him.

Good luck buddy, love your story, not so much your history in politics... Your Tallahassee record is just not good. Surprised all of that has not been brought up yet. I wish you luck, but honestly figured you would have dropped out by now.

Gillum is getting my vote. He is the only one who knows what regular Americans go through. He is the only one who is down to earth and can take the care and concern of everyday Floridians to the governor’s mansion.

at least he has one anonymous fan, prolly Nikki and Leslie...hahaha

Andrew is getting my vote and I don’t comment as anonymous. For one I’m not a coward and secondly who you?

You must be a product of public schools. You say one fan, then name two people.

yeah, Dade County... they put the the "D" in Floriduh...

if mortgage debt was the only issue creeping up here, it would be easy to overlook as a mistake. However, the mistakes and oversights just keep piling up... Nobody is voting for Gillum because this is a lot more than just mistakes... The FBI issued a new subpoena in the drawn-out case investigating corruption in Tallahassee's city government. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum went on a luxury Costa Rica vacation in May 2016 with a group of lobbyists, friends and investors on their dime. But that's not all: during the trip, Gillum received a calendar invite via email from his best friend Adam Corey, an investor in Tallahassee's Edison restaurant, to set up a meeting at The Edison with supposed "developer" Mike Miller, which is against the law. Miller was actually an undercover FBI agent. This looks like he might not make it to November...

None of this long ass paragraph has nothing to do with Gillum. There hasn’t been ONE FBI subpoena for him. They’re going after that other guy Maddox. Quit trying to blame the black guy for the white guy’s crimes COLONIZER!

the new subpoena has exactly to do with him, and if you don't want to talk about that, talk about Tallahassee's terrible budget issues, talk about their having the number 1 crime rate in the state, take your pick. It don't have nothing to do with being black, it has to do with doing things right or wrong. At the end of the day God, taxes right or wrong and the law don't care about color.

I see the Tallahassee Mulletwrap everyday and their hit pieces. Not one subpoena for Gillum. I run and walk my dogs everyday and am not bothered living in Tallahassee. Crimes here are crimes of opportunity. Stop being an idiot and creating opportunity and you have no problems.

sound logic idiot, no wonder you are voting for Gillum...

I read the Politico story and thought it was a bunch of malarkey. Thanks for the clarification on yet another hit job by the press, Mayor Gillum. So you have a Mortgage. Amending forms is allowed. Chances are, some aide didbthe form in the first place. Move along haters. Nothing to see here.

Accidentally Forgot Sounds like a very common theme for a few up in DC Many of us trekked a long, hard road to home ownership. That's called WORK and EARNING it. Both of us working 2 jobs to get there. "Accidentally" entering the wrong mortgage??? It's called attention to detail, if I'm being kind. For 99% of us, it's called felonious. But here, a character issue the State's voters really don't need to deal with.. If your rags to comfortable story was unique, and it's not, you might some traction at a pity party. We don't need that party to be on our dime.

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