State Representative Jason Brodeur is one of the most experienced members of the Central Florida delegation. The Seminole County native, who went to Jackson Heights Middle School, and Oviedo High School, just completed his seventh legislative session in the Florida House and hopes the voters will give him an opportunity to serve them in the State Senate in the coming years as well.
Brodeur recently sat down with OPO Publisher Doug Kaplan to discuss his work in Tallahassee and his hopes for higher office in the future.
The District 28 Representative believes the legislative session went well despite some conflicts between the Governor and State Lawmakers on some of the issues. One of the programs he was happy to help with was a Seminole county work opportunity program designed to employ those with developmental disabilities.
“There is a place for them that allows them to become productive citizens and work to the highest and best of their abilities, while being a productive member of society.” says Brodeur. “They’re very smart people that want to work a full day and we were able to get them some help.”
There were some controversial issues involving gambling and the implementation of medical marijuana that state lawmakers had to wrangle. Brodeur remains in opposition of expanding gambling in the state and offers one of the most comprehensive evaluations of how difficult implementing medical marijuana can be.
“The issue is that not everything that the state needed to make a decision on was contemplated on the amendment.” says Brodeur “Let’s say we’re talking about growing the plant. What kind of fertilizer can you use? Can you use the same fertilizer you use for Azaleas? You don’t ingest Azaleas. You need an extractor to pull the oil out. Some extractors are dangerous. It’s a schedule one drug. Do you have people with a prior felony allowed to work in the facility?”
The amount of dispensaries in the state tied up any possible agreements in the final hours of the recently completed legislative session and it’s likely state lawmakers will be headed towards a special session to resolve it.
Another piece of legislation passed by lawmakers that could effect the everyday lives of Seminole County residents is a formal regulatory framework for ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft, which will now provide another transportation option for residents without the possibility of conflict with local government ordinances.
“I think where Uber is really going to make an impact is in our communities that before this really didn’t have any transportation.” he adds “When you think about Seniors that may not drive. This is going to open up a new world of independence for them. Those were the kind of things we were thinking about.”
Brodeur will be looking to make the jump to the State Senate in District 9, as incumbent David Simmons looks at a run for Congress. Brodeur’s current house district 28 overlaps with much of district 9 and voters will see a familiar name in the right leaning district, from a Republican lawmaker that’s already been serving them for years.
“I really like serving the most vulnerable and getting them the services they need, while at the same time getting rid of stuff we don’t.” says Brodeur “There are able bodied adults who don’t need government assistance. Our budget is a zero sum game. If I can redistribute that finite amount of money to those who actually need it, and away from those who don’t, we can start having conversations about what the dignity of a job is and how important that is.”
You can watch Brodeur’s full interview below…