ORANGE COUNTY Bobby Olszewski, a former Winter Garden commissioner who unsuccessfully ran for the Orange County District 1 race last November, now has his sights set on another ambitious goal: to represent District 44 in the Florida House of Representatives.
District 44 is in Southwest Orange County and includes Windermere and Winter Garden. Olszewski’s opportunity to run for the seat presented itself after state Rep. Eric Eisnaugle rescinded his candidacy once he was nominated for a job as a judge on the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Daytona Beach.
Should Eisnaugle be appointed, his seat will be vacated and trigger a special election, which is likely to take place this summer. Only one Democrat, Paul Chandler, has filed so far, along with Republican Olszewski.
What propelled you to go for the state seat?
“Obviously, I love my community. This is the area I grew up in. This is the area in which I met my wife. This is the area I’m going to raise my family. I am passionate about our community and with the opportunity to represent this district in Tallahassee, there was no question I was willing and ready to answer the call to serve.”
Why do you believe you’re a good candidate for the District 44 seat in the state house?
“With all of my experience as a Winter Garden commissioner and all of my community involvement, in addition to the boards that I have served on, I know (that) will translate well into representing the community that I love up in Tallahassee.”
What are some of your skills and traits that you think make you a prime choice for this role?
“You need to have a passion to serve, also, knowledge and relationships regarding the process to best serve your district in Tallahassee.”
Should you be elected, what would be your first goals and priorities for this district?
“Making sure that there’s representation for all constituents to better our community and better the state of Florida.”
How would you go about doing that?
“Working with leadership from both sides of the aisle to make sure that all constituents are represented.”
Considering you’re now reaching for a seat in the state house, it seems losing to Betsy VanderLey in the 2016 Orange County election didn’t have a negative effect on your drive to serve the public.
“As a man of faith, I believe everything happens for a reason. And there is no doubt that this is the best position for me to serve my community that I love.”
A lot local leaders feel Tallahassee is threatening their home rule with several bills that have been proposed in this legislative session. What is your opinion?
“I’m a former Winter Garden commissioner, so I understand how important home rule is to the process. …. I understand what the municipalities and local governments are going through. I’m well aware of their perspective of how Tallahassee can impact local government.”
How do you feel about your chances of winning this election?
“Great. That’s my answer to that one. We feel great. … We had over 30 endorsements for my candidacy for state house for District 44. It’s good to know I have a lot of support coming out of the gate, and we know that additional folks are coming out to endorse me in this race as we move forward.”
Contact Gabby Baquero at [email protected]