Candidates from across the Tampa Bay area were asked to complete our 2014 Legislative Candidate Questionnaire. Below are the responses for the candidates from Florida Senate District 22.

For the full list of Tampa Bay legislative candidates and their contact information, visit the 2014 Legislative Candidate Questionnaire home page.

Jeff Brandes (Republican) – Responded, Thank you! | 727-537-0683

Judithanne McLauchlan (Democrat) – Did not respond. | 727-744-8266

Economic Issues & Taxes

1. What do you propose or support to increase economic prosperity within the State of Florida?

Brandes:  Reducing the size of government and scope of government’s intervention into the private market is a critical component to fostering an environment of economic prosperity. I have consistently sponsored and supported legislation that seeks to limit excessive and unnecessary government regulations that pick winners and losers in the private market.

McLauchlan:  Did not respond.

2. Excessive regulations can hamper small business growth. Which specific regulations, if any, would you repeal?

Brandes:  I have sponsored and supported legislation that seeks to eliminate unnecessary licensing requirements on certain regulated professions so that entrepreneurs can compete and grow their own businesses.

McLauchlan:  Did not respond.

3. The Florida Legislature passed a $77 billion budget in 2014, the largest in history, and the trend line indicates we will see another record next year. (A) Do you consider this to be a problem, and if so, (B) what specific actions would you recommend taking in order to better steward taxpayer dollars?

Brandes:  I have consistently opposed tax increases on Florida residents and businesses, and more government revenue should be set aside to pay down debt whenever possible. If surpluses exist after paying down debt, that money should be returned to the taxpayers.

McLauchlan:  Did not respond.

4. Would you support legislation that would refund the $1.5 billion taxpayers’ investment in the now-cancelled Levy County Nuclear Power Plant? Why or why not?

Brandes:  Residents of Tampa Bay should not be required to pay fees for a power plant that they will never see. I sponsored legislation to eliminate the inequity imposed by Nuclear Cost Recovery Fee on residents, and I support returning funds collected to the taxpayers.

McLauchlan:  Did not respond.


5. Do you support a repeal of Common Core State Standards (now rebranded to “Florida Standards”) in Florida? If not, what changes, if any, would you propose or support?

Brandes:  I have concerns with Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the privacy protection of family’s personal information. I believe that Florida can, and will, do better by expanded access to quality choices for our students.

McLauchlan:  Did not respond.


6. Do you support offshore drilling in Florida waters?

Brandes:  I do not support offshore drilling in Florida waters.

McLauchlan:  Did not respond.

Civil Liberties

7. Would you support legislation in Florida that nullified the NSA’s ability to perform warrantless surveillance of Floridians?

Brandes:  I have championed privacy legislation in the Florida Legislature, including requirements that searches of cell phones be conducted only after obtaining a search warrant, and I support Florida’s right to protect its citizens’ privacy over intrusive federal programs.

McLauchlan:  Did not respond.

8. A bill was filed in the Senate in 2013 (SB 846: Search and Seizure of a Portable Electronic Device) that would have required that a search warrant be issued before a search of someone’s mobile device was permitted. Would you vote in support of this bill? Why or why not?

Brandes:  I was the primary sponsor and author of this bill.

McLauchlan:  Did not respond.

9. Do you support a repeal of red light cameras in Florida? Why or why not?

Brandes:  I sponsored legislation in 2014 to repeal red light cameras in Florida.

McLauchlan:  Did not respond.


10. Should all drug offenders, even non-violent and first-time offenders receive mandatory sentences? Would you suggest policies other than incarceration to deal with drug use?

Brandes:  I have supported legislation that would ease mandatory minimum sentencing on nonviolent offenses including drug crimes, but the legislature has far more work to do in reforming mandatory minimums and prison sentencing.

McLauchlan:  Did not respond.

11. Do you support the legalization of medical marijuana as proposed by the United for Care Amendment? Why or why not?

Brandes:  In 2014 I sponsored legislation to legalize certain forms of Marijuana for medicinal use. As Florida embraces this emerging form of compassionate care we should be careful and prudent with how we approach the new regulatory system around medicinal Marijuana. The constitutional amendment would bind the hands of the state to adapt to this dynamic situation.

McLauchlan:  Did not respond.

12. Do you support drug testing of welfare recipients? Why or why not?

Brandes:  I opposed legislation in 2011 that would require drug testing of welfare recipients because I felt it to be unconstitutional. Later, the Supreme Court of Florida confirmed my suspicion and declared the law unconstitutional.

McLauchlan:  Did not respond.

The US Constitution

13. Do you support a state’s right to nullify federal law, as many have already done for example by legalizing medical marijuana, or blocking implementation of the Affordable Care Act?

Brandes:  Did not respond.

McLauchlan:  Did not respond.

14. Would you have voted for Florida HB 209 – “Carrying Concealed Weapon or Concealed Firearm”, which would have granted an exception from criminal penalties for carrying a concealed weapon or a concealed firearm when evacuating? Why or why not?

Brandes:  I was the primary sponsor and author of this bill.

McLauchlan:  Did not respond.


15. There is no argument that health care costs are completely disconnected from a person’s ability to pay. What do you propose or support to help reduce the cost of health care services in Florida?

Brandes:  I support policies that move towards providing more medical professionals to meet the growing demand of our population in order to reduce the cost of medical services.

McLauchlan:  Did not respond.

16. Would you vote in favor of Florida accepting the federal funds set aside for Medicaid Expansion? Why or why not?

Brandes:  I voted against accepting federal funds for the expansion of Medicaid because I believe that ultimately the federal money will not be reliable and available, and the cost to the state in the long-term are too great.

McLauchlan:  Did not respond.

Government Fairness and Transparency

17. What are your thoughts on legislation that gives a competitive advantage to a specific company or industry?

Brandes:  I oppose laws that pick the winners and losers in the private market.

McLauchlan:  Did not respond.

18. In several recent studies, Florida has been found to be in either the top 10 or the top 5 most corrupt states in the nation. What do you propose or support to help reduce corruption in Florida?

Brandes:  I have consistently supported open-government legislation that increases the ease of access to public data. Removing barriers to accessing public data will improve the function of the people as the watchdog over elected officials, and I am proud to continue the fight for greater transparency.

McLauchlan:  Did not respond.

19. Currently, millions of dollars in campaign contributions filter through political committees that are controlled by legislative leaders. (A) Do you consider this a problem, and if so, (B) what, if anything, would you suggest be done about it?

Brandes:  Campaign contributions are protected free speech under U.S. Supreme Court case precedent, but it is worrisome to see how much money can intrude into certain legislative races. Ultimately we need greater transparency of where the money is coming from and how the money is spent, so that the public can make their own decision of who to support in a legislative race.

McLauchlan:  Did not respond.

20. In February 2013, Watchdog group Integrity Florida reported[1] that Enterprise Florida has failed to meet its job creation objective, lacks transparency, has the appearance of pay-to-play, is engaged in apparent conflicts of interest, and is picking winners and losers in the Florida economy by demonstrating state government favoritism to certain companies and industries. Would you support an Inspector General investigation into Enterprise Florida and legislation to take corrective actions?

Brandes:  I will always support an investigation into the potential misuse of taxpayer funds, especially when those funds are allegedly used to influence the private market to pick winners and losers.

McLauchlan:  Did not respond.

Any additional comments or thoughts:


McLauchlan:  Did not respond.

[1] Ben Wilcox and Dan Krassner: “Enterprise Florida: Economic Development or Corporate Welfare?”

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