A Dr. Phillips High School graduate and local resident is once again stepping out into the political spectrum — looking for votes to represent District 44 in the Florida House of Representatives.
Republican Bruno Portigliatti, 31, announced his candidacy Thursday, Aug. 1, for the District 44 seat — hoping to bring what he believes is a fresh perspective to the seat.
“My goal, my objective, the reason that I’m doing this is because I have always looked at ways in which I can live beyond myself, ways in which I can leave a legacy for generations to come,” he said. “I’m always assessing how I can do that best.”
The west Orlando resident serves as president of Florida Christian University — a 34-year-old global reach institution based in Orlando. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a double major in political science and Spanish before studying law at Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville. He also worked in his family’s business developing senior-living facilities.
Portigliatti said his wealth of experience in business makes him suitable to serve District 44 and help boost economic opportunity for everyone.
“I have the business experience that I think we need in Tallahassee,” he said. “We need government to be more efficient, and we need to let the economy work for everyone. The way we do that is obviously by reducing unnecessary burdensome regulations that we have in place and that we continue to put in place, ensuring that we have the lowest tax environment and ensuring we have the necessary workforce in place. These are things that — for you to understand — I think you have to be in business, you have to employ people, you have to have employees on payroll to understand how that works.”
Portigliatti has called District 44 home for most of his life — he attended Southwest Middle School and Dr. Phillips High School and has continued to live in the area ever since. It’s time that the district has a stronger voice, he said.
“Growing up in the Orlando (area) — in District 44 specifically — makes me uniquely qualified to understand what the issues are in this district, to understand the pulse of District 44,” he said. “I have been frustrated that our community has not had a strong voice in Tallahassee since the prior election. Our current representative (Geraldine Thompson) is someone that I have respect for who has served our state for a long time. But I believe — with all due respect to her — that she is out of touch with our district and has not been effective in Tallahassee. I believe that we need a stronger voice … I want to change that. I want to be that voice.”
Another cornerstone of Portigliatti’s campaign is working to move away from the divisive nature of politics that has made its way to Tallahassee.
The campaign announcement earlier this month marks Portigliatti’s second bid for Florida House District 44 after running for the seat in a special election back in 2017 — a result of Florida State Rep. Eric Eisnaugle rescinding his candidacy once he was nominated for a job as a judge on the Fifth District Court of Appeals in Daytona Beach.
Former Winter Garden Commissioner Robert “Bobby” Olszewski ultimately defeated Portigliatti and two other candidates for the seat.
Portigliatti hopes things will be different this time.
“First and foremost, I have my heart in the right place,” he said. “I’m in this to serve and to leave a legacy — to make our community better for not only ourselves but for generations to come. I think everyone is tired of seeing things not get done. It’s time that we have someone that can actually get things done, that has the experience but also has the heart and will bring people together. … It’s not about getting elected, it’s about getting elected and being effective once you’re in office.”