Sheena Meade, the lone challenger to incumbent Bruce Antone in the House District 46 race, announced two endorsements early this week: one from the Service Employees International Union 1199 and one from the Florida Young Democrats.
Meade, a community organizer and Democrat, was described by the SEIU as “a fighter for the disenfranchised, the marginalized and the frail,” and was the first time they have ever endorsed a challenger over an incumbent.
“She is a strong candidate for Florida House District 46,” SEIU president Monica Russo wrote. “Sheena, a mother of four boys, has been a passionate and effective community activist for many years. She is unabashed and unafraid and willing to confront complicated challenges head on. From criminal justice reform to women’s rights to supporting living wages and the Fight for 15, Sheena is at the forefront of the fight for justice for Central Florida neighborhoods. Sheena will be a heavy hitter for Florida’s working class.”
SEIU intends to mobilize as a grassroots movement for this election, promoting the candidates they think will help them in a movement for economic, social, immigrant and racial justice.
“I am humbled and excited to be endorsed by the hardworking members of SEIU,” Meade said. “I believe I received their endorsement because they have witness me first hand on the front line with working families. I will continue to fight with them all the way to Tallahassee and while serving in Tallahassee.”
The Young Democrats endorsed her because, like so many on both sides this election season, they’re sick of the same old political rhetoric.
“As Young Democrats, we feel like we’re making a statement with this endorsement,” Young Democrats of Orange County president Robert Walters said. “The statement we’re making is that we are sick and tired of the same old politicians who feel like they deserve to be in office and then don’t truly represent or fight for their district when they make it to Tallahassee, Sheena will not be that “same old politician,” we know she will be that fighter District 46 deserves.”
Meade said these endorsements showed that people wanted change from the status quo.
“It sends a clear message that people are ready for new leadership,” she said. “They want someone engaged and involved with the community. Bruce has this billboard that says ‘quietly getting things done.’ In a community based in gentrification, a lack of jobs and public safety concerns, we can’t have anyone quiet on the issues. We need an advocate for the people.”