Alexander McDonald, a political science student graduating this fall, previously considered himself an apolitical person.
That was until he said he witnessed the “lack of leadership, ethics and morals from office holders” that ensued after the 2016 election. Now, he is eager to represent House District 64, which encompasses parts of western Hillsborough and eastern Pinellas counties, as a state representative and draft legislation that serves the state’s population. James Grant currently represents District 64.
If elected, McDonald said he plans to focus on reducing opioid-related overdoses, ending gun-related deaths, securing livable wages and housing for all Floridians and increasing school funding and teacher pay.
According to his website, he plans on supporting legislation that calls for comprehensive background checks before all gun purchases and promoting rehabilitation options for recovering addicts.
In the military, he felt that being too politically charged would be a conflict of interest. His evolution into a politician began after he worked in the intelligence field at U.S. Central Command.
When he retired from the service, he made sure that his retirement ceremony took place on Jan. 20, 2017 at 11 a.m. because then President-elect Donald Trump was going to be sworn in at 12 p.m.
“While I wasn’t political prior to this election, seeing someone so egregiously break norms and solicit foreign interference for his personal gain from a country we were working so hard to counter, forced my hand,” said McDonald.
This newfound attraction to being a force of change was recognized by teaching assistants (TAs) in the political science department at USF.
They invited him to join the graduate program, and as McDonald began taking political science courses at USF, he was motivated even more by the enthusiasm of his professors.
McDonald also took several performance electives. In these classes, he performed poems and scripts which started his love for performance and drama. Like performing, politics demands passion and sincerity.
“While my ambitions may not have changed too much [since coming to USF], my motivations to pursue this path have been reinforced by my amazing professors,” said McDonald.
McDonald lives in Oldsmar, where he works with the Pinellas County Democratic Party. The commute made it difficult for him to get involved politically on campus, but he said that he praises students who create a political platform at USF and use the university’s many resources.
“From career services, counseling, mentorship and even just the friendships acquired at USF, I know that I am absolutely prepared for whatever I choose to do in my life,” said McDonald.
McDonald said that people deserve much better from their civil servants and he vows to bring his expertise to Florida politics.
“I believe the most important government official in our daily lives is situated at the local and state levels,” said McDonald.
“If I want to provide the most good for my community, I believe I need to serve them in Tallahassee.”