James Buchanan, the son of U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, has filed to run for the Florida House District 71 seat in the 2018 general election.
“I’ve always been the type of person to help other people,” Buchanan said. “The way I see it, people who are willing and able to serve the public, in my opinion, have an obligation to do so. That’s why I feel I was led to this and will fight for every vote.”
Buchanan, 35, owns his own real estate company, and his paperwork as a Republican candidate hit the Florida Division of Elections Office website on Thursday. Buchanan is seeking the seat long held by Republican Jim Boyd, who leave office next year because of term limits. Boyd was first elected in 2010 and was subsequently re-elected in 2012, 2014 and 2016.
Buchanan said Tallahaseee needs more owners of small businesses, and it’s those small businesses that he said would prioritize his legislative agenda. He wants to work on reducing regulations that tie the hands of small business, “but more than anything else, it’s about the people.”
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Buchanan has a master’s degree in business administration from the University of South Florida, and attended Florida State University for four years on an athletic scholarship. Buchanan said Florida’s education system needs improvement. He and his wife are expecting a baby girl, and while that isn’t a driving factor for him to initiate change, Buchanan said it brings personal awareness to the problems society faces.
“The other important issue is that Florida brings a lot of people down here to enjoy our pristine waters, and I want to make sure they stay that way,” he said.
Buchanan said he caught the political bug when he helped on his father’s first campaign in 2006, which he called a “doozy. Up until now I’ve been focused on my small business, but it’s time to help and reach out to other small business owners and bring that diversity to Tallahassee.”
District 71 encompasses Bradenton, Palmetto, Anna Maria Island and parts of northern Sarasota County. This will be the younger Buchanan’s first foray into the political world where name recognition can swing a heavy bat, although he has sometimes working on his father’s campaigns.
Buchanan joins Republican Will Robinson, a Bradenton attorney who filed in early February, on the primary ballot. Buchanan said the two have spoken by phone, but, “I don’t know much about him personally. It was a good conversation, and I believe we can look forward to a clean campaign.”