Yvonne Hayes Hinson, 72, has won Tuesday’s primary election for Florida House of Representatives District 20. Here are some facts to know about the former Gainesville city commissioner and school principal.
- Born and raised in Gainesville
- Served as a principal for 14 years at Robert Russa Moton Elementary School, a performing arts magnet school in Miami
- Owner of Childstart Learning Solutions, a supplemental education program
- Gainesville city commissioner from 2012 to 2015
- Master's degree in special education from UF
Hinson is replacing Clovis Watson Jr., who reached his four-term limit after representing the district since 2012. The race was a universal primary, which means the candidate will not progress to the general election in November because Rodney Long, who is also a Democrat, was the only other candidate running. Hinson will meet in Tallahassee with the state legislature after the first Monday in March.
According to the Florida Division of Elections, Hinson received $25,945.44 in campaign contributions while her opponent, Long, received $34,889.81, as of Aug. 13.
Hinson previously ran for the Florida 3rd Congressional District in 2018 and lost to incumbent Ted Yoho in the general election.
Despite feeling “on edge” due to the slow upload of election results, Hinson said, “It’s pretty convincing now that I have the checkmark, and that I have indeed won.”
She added that Long graciously called to congratulate her on the victory.
“I respect my opponent, and I also thank him for doing a good, clean race,” Hinson said.
As the newly elected district representative, Hinson said she plans to make Florida number one in the nation for education. Hinson added that she wants to bring other representatives, and even some senators, together to achieve this goal.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 Annual Survey of School System Finances, Florida’s education system is ranked 44th in the nation, and Hinson thinks the state can do better.
She also said she plans to work on legalizing marijuana, the criminalization of which she believes has contributed to mass incarceration.
As a former elementary school principal, Hinson plans to focus on rehabilitation for previously incarcerated individuals. She said she hopes to be able to convince her colleagues to issue a bill in which the civil rights of those incarcerated will be maintained once their time has been served.
Hinson also plans to collaborate with different agencies and developers to build affordable homes. Hinson said she will work toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring clean water. She would like to be a state leader in solar energy, she added.