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Former WJXT Anchor Deborah Gianoulis to Run for State Senate

Deborah Gianoulis, former WJXT anchorwoman and education advocate, has thrown her hat into the ring as a candidate for Florida State Senate.

Although a Democrat, Gianoulis cited late Republican Sen. Jim King, who preceded Thrasher in the Senate District 8, as her political role model.

“I will strive to follow Sen. King’s example of leadership and statesmanship,” she said. “I will listen to citizens rather than to special interests.”

Thrasher was first elected to this seat in a tough special election last Fall, following the death of Sen. King.

Gianoulis left WJXT (Channel 4) in 2003 to devote more of her time to her family and her other pursuits. In 2009, Gianoulis launched an effort called Save Duval Schools that aimed to protect the school system from any further cuts at the state level.  She's also been an outspoken critic of the use of FCAT scores to allocate funding: "The FCAT reward system is deeply flawed because the children that need the most help get punished."

The teacher's union is still furious at Thrasher's attempt to pass a bill that would have worked towards linking teacher performance and pay, the infamous Senate Bill 6. It was a proposal that was popular among most Republicans and passed the legislature only to be vetoed by the newly independent Governor Charlie Crist.

Gianoulis was against the measure.

"As a result of overwhelming encouragement from citizens throughout District 8, I have decided to run for the Florida Senate," Gianoulis told the media on Tuesday. "Tallahassee needs fresh voices if our state is going to make progress in overcoming the challenges facing Florida families. I will work across party lines to help create jobs, improve education, protect natural treasures like our rivers and coasts, and address other critical priorities for our district."

The Gianoulis announcement comes on a day when Thrasher had some big name help in town. Former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney was in Jacksonville to endorse Thrasher and help him raise some campaign cash at a mid-day event.

Thrasher also has a Republican primary opponent, beaches dermatologist Charles Perniciaro.  That election will be held in late August.

22 Responses »

  1. She was a diehard liberal at Ch 4 and will make a terrible representative for the people of the Jacksonville Area.
    Mrs Gianoulis should stay retired but she wants to be in the limelight again so she runs for office.
    Vote No on Gianoulis

  2. Greer is a criminal and a scoundral, but this newschickie isnt my preferred choice.

  3. Deborah is one of the most selfless and dedicated people I have ever known - and she is beholden tp no one. She will work tirelessly to do the right thing! Can anyone say that about anyone else running for public office?

    • I agree that Debra Gianoulis is selfless and will do a great job for the Jacksonville area. My family is very interested in working for her campaign to get her elected. I think it is time for someone to be in office that actually cares about the issues instead of a career politician.
      C Peach

    • People that I know who grew up with her say different. More along the lines of self centered, and egotistical.

  4. Before the knee-jerk attacks on Ms. Gianoulis, I would think that we would want to know where she stands on the issues.
    Firstly, Ms. Gianoulis has developed a positive relationship with the community during her tenure at WJXT. Even the incumbent state senator referred to her as a fine lady. I do not think that the same old 'demonize the challenger' tricks will work against her.
    As for whether Ms. Gianoulis would be a good representative of North Florida, I think back to the late Senator Jim King and how he was a voice of moderation within the Republican Party and in state politics. Does the sitting state senator serve Senator King's legacy? I am not sure, but I am sure that the legacy did not include using the senate seat to settle scores with opposing constituencies. Nonetheless, I will leave that to the voters in that district to decide.
    At first blush, I think that Ms. Gianoulis made the right decision to run for the state senate:
    1. In this year of challenging entrenched incumbents, the sitting senator is a poster child of career politicians serving themselves instead of the public.
    2. It would help for our state's political system to have real competition. This one-party domination only makes it easier for the folks in Tallahassee to become corrupt and to ignore the people of the state.
    3. We can complain about how 'liberal' a candidate is but then turn a blind eye when the state legislature cuts the very taxes that are passed on to county and municipal governments. I don't call that fiscal conservatism, I call it passing the buck.
    I look forward to learning more about Ms. Gianoulis' candidacy and hope that this sparks a real debate for us to follow.

  5. Finally a voice of reason for a stagnant system! I applaud a new voice that is willing to throw her hat into the arena to become a catalyst for change...our children need more people who are concerned about their welfare and she value all areas of our great city (not just her zip code)! We need leaders that understand that suucess in one area and failure in another area ultimately leads to failure in all areas. She seems to understand that very basic principle.

  6. No debate here. Liberals are not what we need to get things back on track. She needs to stick her nose back into the disrespectful profession she came rom and stay there. totally useless candidate.

  7. Sure would be nice to pick about a third of each of them, add a third that wouldn't tinker with stuff, and create a new candidate.

  8. Looks like the bitch is back. Hopefully she'll have her ass handed to her. I couldn't stand to see her on 4, and was so very happy when she retired. I guess some crap just doesn't flush. So who wants to know how I really feel about her?

  9. Ms. Gianoulis past actions and written opinions on the Duval School System appear to support the status quo of a failing system, with the usual plea for more money without substantive reform. Her opposition to Thrasher's effort to link teacher pay and performance is more of the "same old" bowing to teacher union demands in exchange for votes. We don't need any more Charlie Crist's.

  10. I am glad she is in the race. This will help the Thrasher campaign. I agreed with the ED bill vetoed by Crist. I was happy there as it was an additional catalyst the help Charley with a new pair of political cement shoes.

  11. She will lose and lose in such a way as to embaress herself, her family and her friends. Her friends in the FEA and the trial bar will come in to help her with vicious negative attacks against Thrasher. These of course be attributed to her and tarnish her reputation vin such a way where Dan Quiggle, in retrospect, look like a statesman.

    The dermotogist is of course a non-factor in this race and is merely a pawn in the "political consultants' full employment stimulous package".

  12. Beware selfless people, because they will want to be selfless with YOUR money!

  13. No more Dems/Liberals for any seat!

  14. Why would I vote for Deborah. I want to get rid of all the liberals come November!!

  15. I am glad that Governor Crist vetoed Senate Bill 6 and that Deborah Gianoulis is running for the state senate.
    Firstly, a coalition of educators and parents groups opposed Senate Bill 6 because it was a draconian effort to reform education. The state legislature tried to fast track this legislation with little debate and no amendments to the consternation of education advocates. It would have helped if Tallahassee would have at least asked for some input from the people that the bill was going to affect. As for the same old jabs at teachers unions, I am not buying those tired attacks. This is a right-to-work state and many non-union teachers also opposed Senate Bill 6.
    Secondly, Senate Bill 6 is a quick fix for the state to fund schools with a federal grant. It does not make much sense for the state to radically overhaul the education system in exchange for non-recurring funding from Washington. As Rep. VanZant said, the state should be using its own funds to support its plans and should drink from its own cistern. Instead, the state continues to cut its share of education funding and continues to pass the costs down to the counties.
    Thirdly, it would help if Senate Bill 6 supporters would actually do their homework on this issue. Pay for performance already exists in the state. Duval County was one of the leading districts when it comes to performance pay. Duval has had plans in place that the state had commended as one of the best. The problem arises when the state gets frustrated with other counties that do not follow suit. So, instead of supporting home rule, the state decides to mandate its one-size-fits-all plan onto the others regardless of their own functioning performance pay plans.
    Finally, if we truly want to win Race to the Top funding, we should model our work after Tennessee. Their governor, legislators and educators worked together to draft education reform that works. This is quite a novel concept - a state government that does not hold its teachers in contempt.

  16. What posters like Jean fail to realize is that 'conservatives' talk a good game until they are elected. They turn around and govern just like a liberal would. Otherwise, we would already have a FairTax like we should have gotten when the GOP had Congress and the White House. The same applies to abolishing the IRS, Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, etc. Liberals are simply more honest in their preservation of government largesse.

    • All the more reason to keep her in retirement.

      • All the more reason to support a stronger Libertarian Party. The Democrats want to grab our wallets and the Republicans want to peep in our bedrooms.

  17. Deborah will will be a breath of fresh air! I am familiar with her work in support of early childhood and education issues. Our state needs a strong candidate to bring the changes that we need to improve the education that our students are receiving in Florida. Stand up to the "good old boys", Deborah! You've got my vote!!!