Congressman John Lewis, a leader in the Civil Rights movement, is throwing his support behind Gwen Graham and her campaign for Florida governor.
The Graham campaign announced Lewis’ endorsement on Wednesday, the 60th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Give Us the Ballot” speech in Washington, D.C. Lewis, in a written release, called Graham a “champion” of progressive values and said he was proud to give her his “strongest endorsement.”
“The things we care about most — from preserving our voting rights and access to health care to protecting our environment and holding Wall Street accountable — are under attack like never before,” the Georgia congressman said. “Only one Democrat for governor of Florida — my good friend Gwen Graham — has the passion and commitment, the track record and the leadership skills to stand up, speak out, protect our priorities and get things done.”
In 2015, Graham marched with Lewis and President Barack Obama across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, site of the Bloody Sunday clash in 1965 between police and civil rights protesters. In 2016, she and Lewis took part in a Democratic House sit-in to demand passage of gun reform legislation. Last year, she also signed onto a bill cosponsored by Lewis and other Democrats designed to protect voter rights.
She noted that teaming up with Lewis was among her proudest moments in Congress. Graham, D-Tallahassee, was elected in 2014 and opted not seek re-election after her district was redrawn into GOP territory.
Graham said Florida has some of the most stringent laws preventing ex-felons from voting. She said one in 10 adults and one in five African Americans in the state are unable to vote because of “systematic disenfranchisement.”
“As governor, I will expand voting rights, pass gun reform to make our cities and streets safer and create opportunities for all Floridians,” she said.
Others running for governor include Mayor Andrew Gillum and Orlando businessman Chris King, both Democrats, and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a Republican.
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