Keith Stegath is fed up with politicians and lawyers making decisions they are not qualified for.
That’s why the 57-year-old UF alumnus decided he isn’t going to sit around any longer. He’s now taking action by running in the Florida 2014 gubernatorial elections in November as a write-in candidate.
Stegath, who has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a masters in mechanical engineering, said one of his biggest issues is that the state — and nation — needs more engineers in public office.
"We’re in the 21st century, but the country is in the 20th century because of politicians today," Stegath said. "The people we’re electing do not understand the decisions they have to make on the technologies they don’t understand."
He cites that the U.S. used to have a 15-year technology lead on other countries, and now, that number is down to about a five-year lead.
Stegath, running as an Independent, said another thing he would like to accomplish as governor is to decriminalize marijuana in the state. He’s opposed to fully legalizing it and insists a small fine for public use would benefit both parties: lawmakers and users.
"Sure, you’re going to get a lot of great pot from legalizing it, but there’s a lot of government overhead," he said.
Because Stegath is running as a write-in candidate, voters are going to have to do exactly that: write a name on their ballot, wrote UF professor Stephen Craig in an email.
"Basically, write-in candidates are protest (or vanity) candidates," Craig said. "They almost never have much money, voters don’t know who they are, and their prospects of winning are negligible."
But that isn’t stopping Stegath, who is currently self-financing and solely running his campaign. He even built his campaign website entirely by himself.
He’s going to spend the next few months campaigning while running his Gainesville-based business Advanced Electric Vehicles that builds zero-emission automobiles.
Stegath said one of his biggest concerns with Gov. Rick Scott and other professional politicians is that they support the money that got them elected.
"Scott is shortsighted and doesn’t really have any technical knowledge." Stegath said. "(Politicians) have their supporters who say ‘This is a good idea,’ and they don’t have the knowledge to say ‘Hey, that’s not a good idea.’"
Stegath also seeks to address power plant inefficiency, make home construction more efficient with zero-impact technologies and form a policy that helps college students pay off their debt. For more information about his platforms or how to vote for a Stegath as a write-in candidate, visit his website at fla-gov.org.
[A version of this story ran on page 1 on 8/7/2014 under the headline "UF alumnus enters Florida Gov race as write-in candidate"]