My name is Olivia Babis and I am running for State Senate in FL District 23 because our current representation has lost sight that the job of public servants is to represent everyone. Many within our communities feel that their concerns are not being heard and they are falling through the cracks. I understand the concerns of those in our community because I have shared many of your struggles.

Having spent the majority of my life in Florida, I have witnessed many dramatic changes to our great state. When I was growing up in Florida, red tide was a rarity. Now it happens several times per year, year-round. We didn’t have color-coded air quality days where people’s health was placed in jeopardy. Since we have not properly invested in our infrastructure, smart development, and sustainable growth practices, many of us spend hours of our day in horrendous traffic, which only further contributes to our pollution. Our failure to address our transportation issues only makes these matters worse, while leaving many without the ability to fully participate in their communities.

Our lack of transportation options, as well as our lack of availability of medical and mental health services, have contributed to Florida being ranked 46th in the nation for accessibility. As our population continues to age this is going to become more problematic. Everyone deserves access to affordable housing, reliable transportation, employment opportunities, and the dignity of self-directed care decisions. We can do better!

This is a truly people-powered campaign. I am looking to go to Tallahassee to serve our community and I invite all of you to invest in the movement to send me there! We have an opportunity to make history this year. If elected, I will be the first person with a visible disability ever elected to the Florida legislature. Whether you can contribute $10 or $1,000, or can contribute time canvassing or phone banking, let’s work together to Build a Better Florida for All and bring some much needed diversity to Tallahassee.

The maximum contribution permitted per person is $1,000.

 

If you would rather send contributions by mail, please send checks to:

Olivia Babis for FL Senate

P.O. Box 52084

Sarasota, FL 34232

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Show your support for this campaign by endorsing it and sharing why!

  • endorsed

    “I endorse Olivia because she walks her talk and will serve us well.”

  • endorsed

    “Love everything about this campaign!”

  • endorsed

    “I support Olivia Babis to win and serve as District 23's Florida State Senator. She listens to our community's needs and will serve our people.... all of them.”

  • endorsed

    “I support Olivia. She was an extraordinary student, and expect her to be an equally extraordinary representative for the people in her district.”

  • endorsed

    “I am happy to endorse Olivia. As someone who has worked in the disability field for 14 years, and has several family members with disabilities, I'm excited to send someone to Tallahassee who will work for us.”

  • endorsed

    “I know that Olivia works hard and knows her stuff. She knows Florida well and will fight for her district every day if given the chance. Give her the chance! Set up a monthly donation and let's get her elected.”

  • endorsed

    “I believe in Olivia! She's intelligent, hard-working and knowledgeable on the issues faced by all Floridians. It's an honor to endorse her for State Senate in Florida's 23rd District.”

  • endorsed

    “Olivia is a true leader for ALL communities!”

  • endorsed

    “She speaks for the ENTIRE disabled community!”

September 14, 2018

Accomplishing the Impossible

From the beginning, everyone said my seat was impossible to win. I have been passed up for endorsements because resources would be best allocated elsewhere. I've had candidate forums cancelled on me, or I've been excluded altogether. Even people I have known for years refuse to contribute to my campaign because they're "tired of seeing good people lose." Even they assumed I was a lost cause!

So, I've been working with my rag tag team with our meager budget, knocking on doors, finding the best deals on campaign literature and still negotiating prices (union of course), getting as much volunteer support as we can for every task possible, getting in-kind assistance where we can find it. All of this graveling, scrounging, penny pinching, and hard work is paying off.

A poll was recently done in this impossible to win district and with 54 more days until Election Day I currently have a 4 point lead! This is far from over. I have a formidable opponent and I'm significantly out funded, but with your help we are proving the impossible is possible after all.

Thank you for the support you have given me so far. You have made this 4 point lead possible! I hope I can count on your continued support for the next 54 days so on November 6 we can show the country this wasn't an impossible district and a woman with a disability can be elected to the Florida legislature from this supposed impossible district. 

August 16, 2018

Parking Space update

About a month ago, I posted video from our press conference regarding the illegal removal of van accessible parking spaces by a local developer. Shortly after our press conference, I received a phone call from the public relations department of the responsible development company. While we might not have gotten too much attention from the local press it seems we did get the attention of the developer! Our video has been viewed over a thousand times on social media and the parking spaces were replaced 2 weeks later.

This occurred in my opponent's current State House District, so addressing this issue should have been handled by his office per constituent services. However, this developer happens to contribute significant amounts of money to his campaign. 

The difference between us couldn't be more clear. I work for my community; he works for those who can write the biggest checks. Please help me put a stop to this type of corruption in Tallahassee and make a campaign contribution today! I can't win this without your support.

July 23, 2018

Car Magnet Madness

Dear Friends,

Our HOA is threatening to fine us for the car magnets we purchased for the campaign and that I have placed on my car. We have not been able to find anywhere in the HOA Handbook where the car magnets are violating HOA rules. They are stating that residents are not allowed to have ad placements on their personal vehicles, yet we have found other cars in the complex that are clearly company cars and have advertisements and company logos on them.

Either these other residents have racked up years worth of HOA fines, or this was not an issue until a resident dared to run for political office, as a Democrat and a woman no less! For now, we have removed the car magnets as to not cause conflict in the neighborhood. I have a much larger vision.

How amazing would it be if I could put a car magnet on every single one of my supporters' cars? If the person who complained about seeing my face on my own car in their neighborhood instead saw my face on someone else's car every other place they went?

Right now, we don't have the budget for that, but with your help we could! Won't you make a contribution today to not only help me gain name recognition throughout my district, but to help us fight back against bullies in the process!

In Solidarity,

Olivia

July 20, 2018

Endorsements!

I have gotten several endorsements over the past couple of weeks from organizations such as Florida Planned Parenthood PAC, the Florida Democratic Veterans Caucus, the Democratic Women's Club of Florida, and Englewood Indivisible. I've also received endorsements from public officials for whom I hold I great deal of respect and admiration, Florida State Senator, Victor M. Torres, Jr. and former U.S. Senator Max Cleland (rt.). 

I've heard many people say that endorsements don't matter. That they are partisan and tend to given out freely to members of the correct party. Having filled out numerous endorsement questionnaires and having gone through endorsement interviews, I can tell you that endorsements are not just bestowed upon anyone. Having worked at an organization which gave endorsements, that was non-partisan but believed to be so, we were always excited at the prospect of getting to endorse candidates who might seem an unlikely choice at first glance.

For me, the endorsements I have received are honors. It means the organizations and officials I respect also respect me; that they trust me to uphold their values and represent the communities they are fighting for. As a member of a marginalized community, ensuring that every member of my community has representation is a matter I take very seriously. I have personally known those who have died due to a lack of access to healthcare. I have met some of the homeless veterans in my community, clearly struggling with PTSD, who are cycling in and out of our criminal justice system. I will make sure they have a voice in Tallahassee. I will not let down these organizations that represent them and who have put their faith in me.

In order to make it to Tallahassee though, I'm going to need their support as well as yours. Today is the last day of this fundraising period, so please make a contribution today!

July 12, 2018

Not on my watch!

Accessibility Sacrificed at UTC Shopping Center for Beautification Project

Candidates and Activists Explain Accessibility is a Right not a Convenience

 

Sarasota, FL- On Wednesday July 11, concerned community members and political candidates showed up at the location of two former van accessible parking locations in the UTC West District, just outside of Blaze Pizza and Jpan Sushi and Grill. These spaces were torn out in May, leaving no disabled parking spaces in proximity to any of the business entrances at this end of the plaza. The reason behind their destruction and current lack of access to patrons with disabilities? These accessible spaces were taken out to put in a decorative fountain.

ADA guidelines require accessible parking spaces to be located on the shortest accessible route of travel to an accessible facility entrance. The 2018 Florida Statutes, Title XXXIII

REGULATION OF TRADE, COMMERCE, INVESTMENTS, AND SOLICITATIONS

Chapter 553 -BUILDING CONSTRUCTION STANDARDS, 553.5041 Parking spaces for persons who have disabilities.— 3. (e)1. states “The facility may not reduce the required number or dimensions of those spaces or unreasonably increase the length of the accessible route from a parking space to the facility.” 

The removal of these spaces is a clear violation of both federal and state disability law, so how was the developer able to acquire approval to remove them? They didn’t. Only after Sarasota County was contacted regarding the removal of the spaces and then reached out to the developer, Benderson Development, was a plan to relocate the spaces submitted to the County’s engineering staff for review and approval. This was a process that was required to be done before the original parking spaces were ever removed and if the county had not been contacted would Benderson have replaced these spaces at all?

“The fact that local developers feel that they are above the law and are in fact literally bulldozing over other people’s rights to get their way is concerning,” said Olivia Babis, Democratic Candidate for FL Senate District 23 and who has a disability herself. “Even more disturbing is the amount of money they are dumping into campaigns to try to elect public officials who would let them get away with these types of activities and permit them to put profits over people. They are sending a message that people with disabilities, disabled veterans, and the elderly are not wanted at their businesses; that our money isn’t as good as that of everyone else,” added Babis.

Liv Coleman, Democratic candidate for State House district 73, was also appalled by Benderson’s actions, stating, “We need to create a society without barriers to public accommodation, including for people with disabilities.  It should be our utmost priority to ensure that the ADA is upheld, and rightful public accommodations are made.  To build an inclusive community for everyone, we need private business owners to do their part and follow the law.  We need to make this right, and to ensure this kind of thing doesn’t happen again." 

Ruta Jouniari, Democratic County Commission, district 2, candidate expressed her concerns as well. “Developers is Sarasota county apparently feel they are above the law.  Even at the expense of citizens with disabilities, shame on them," she said. 

Wesley Beggs, affirmed other’s concerns declaring, "I am appalled that a decorative fountain was prioritized above accessibility for our elderly and disabled citizens. This is just one example of local developers abusing the process and disregarding the needs of our community. We will not stand idle as the development community bends rules as they please when our safety and quality of life is at risk."

Help elect a candidate that will stand up for the rights of ALL citizens and will never put profits over people. Please support my campaign today and bring representation back to representational government!

July 1, 2018

First Crowdpac Fundraising Goal Reached!

I want to graciously thank each and every one of you who have supported my campaign and helped me reach my first Crowdpac fundraising goal. Because of all of your support my campaign is beginning to generate some real interest and the website Ready 2 Vote has even designated my race as a potential flip opportunity! This wouldn't be possible without all of you.

This is just the beginning though. As you will see, I have increased my fundraising goals. If other organizations are going to rate my race as a possible flip then we are going to need everyone's help in reaching those goals. I want to go to Tallahassee to fight for the residents of my district and my state and to send a message nationwide on the need for representation for all communities in government at all levels.

For me to make it to Tallahassee to fight for you I need you to fight with me to get me there. For those of you who have already contributed, I cannot adequately express my gratitude, but I need you to contribute again when you can afford to do so. Please, sign up to make calls, write letters, and send post cards, which you can do from anywhere Inform your friends about my campaign, encourage them to volunteer and contribute, and most importantly VOTE!

I remain continuously grateful for and humbled by all of your support and I am excited to be making history with you this year!

-In Solidarity,

Olivia Babis


June 30, 2018

What it means to serve your community

I had the pleasure of working with the local chapter of Food Not Bombs in Sarasota Tuesday. If you’re genuinely concerned about the issues facing our community then you should look them up & volunteer w/ them. Every candidate should be doing this.

These are the people dealing with the issues I work with everyday. Among them are Veterans and people with disabilities. This man told me that this little dog is his best friend and in the hour we spent talking I truly believe he would sacrifice anything for his best friend even though he has no resources himself.

Everyone I interacted with appreciated being talked to, not at, with dignity and respect. They appreciate that I genuinely care about them and have shared in many of their struggles. How can people that can't even begin to relate to the issues their constituents face everyday solve the issues plaguing them? No one in the richest country in the world should be without shelter or food insecure. Win or lose, I will always be there for my community. 

If you want to help elect a candidate that will fight for all of their constituents then please make a contribution to my campaign today and ask your friends and family to do the same. We can no longer accept representation that allows our most vulnerable populations to fall through the cracks!

June 24, 2018

Qualifying and Campaign Kickoff Party

As of Friday, June 22, Florida's qualifying period ended. I now officially know that I will not have a primary opponent and I will be on the ballot November 6. I also had my Campaign Kickoff Party that same day! Because of the contributions of generous supporters, we were able to make our first order of campaign materials and have started distributing buttons, yard signs, and t-shirts. We also have some new materials for our canvassers to distribute at doors. This would not have been possible without your support.

Local media have started to acknowledge the history-making potential of my run for office and I have done several interviews this week. Here is a picture, video, and a link to all of the things that your support has made possible.

I still have a long road ahead of me though. I am so close to reaching my first financial benchmark that I set on Crowdpac! The goal is about to move up and I'm going to need your help reaching that one as well if I'm going to continue to grow my base of support. This fight is far from over, but with your continued support I will be victorious on election day!

June 10, 2018

#CripTheVote

Last weekend I participated in a Twitter Chat with #CripTheVote, a nonpartisan campaign that was started on Twitter to both engage voters with disabilities and encourage politicians to have a national conversation about disability rights.. If you missed the Twitter Chat, you can read the compilation of the conversation here: https://wakelet.com/wake/9f961...

Ensuring that the most marginalized communities have a voice and representation in Tallahassee is critical to the well-being of our state. Please make a contribution to my campaign today to elect a candidate that will fight for all Floridians!

May 26, 2018

Empower Florida

Friday morning, I was honored to have joined the Empower Florida legislative panel.  I spoke about the relevance of strong public support programs for people with disability, particularly in crisis circumstances such as Hurricane Irma last year.  We were fortunate that there was no loss of life due to our unpreparedness for dealing with these situations with the disability community.  These are changes that need to be implemented now, and we need to organize public support for it.  I have unique life experiences which enable me to do this effectively.  We are very happy to see people organizing around this and working together to try to solve these issues.

In this video clip, I speak at 12:10.  You can also visit my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Olivi... to see the rest of the videos!

May 7, 2018

Getting started

This weekend I attended the Second Annual Persisters Rally in Deland where I gave my first true speech as a political candidate. 

Thank you to everyone who has invested in my campaign so far. I'm a long way from the victory line, but I'm off to a good start. I hope you will continue to support my campaign and help me bring some much needed change to Tallahassee.

Warmest Regards,

Olivia Babis

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