Former WJXT Anchor Deborah Gianoulis to Run for 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.