Elections 2016: Florida House Of Representatives District 73 Candidate James Golden
Army veteran James T. Golden says he is a man who wants to serve his community.
He has long been active in the community and politics in the Manatee and Sarasota area.
Age: 69 Education: Stetson University (bachelor’s), Atlanta University (master’s), University of Florida (law) Occupation: Attorney and pastor Political experience: Bradenton City Council (1999 and 2003), 2008 member of the Florida Electoral College
Golden served two terms on the Bradenton City Council, beginning in 1999. He did not win re-election in 2007. In 2010, he ran unsuccessfully for the District 13 seat in Congress. In 2012, Golden was defeated in the Manatee County Commission race for District 5. In 2014, he ran unsuccessfully for a spot on the Manatee County School Board.
Now, Golden is the Democratic candidate for Florida House of Representatives, District 73. The seat is being vacated by Rep. Greg Steube, who is seeking election to the state Senate.
Golden was born in 1947 in Jacksonville. He volunteered for the United States Army in 1967. After being honorably discharged from the Army two years later, Golden continued his education and earned three degrees, including a law degree from the University of Florida. In 1993, Golden became the pastor of Ward Temple A.M.E Church. He has served on several nonprofit boards, including Meals on Wheels and Just for Girls, according to his campaign website.
Golden did not respond to requests for an interview.
In the race for the District 73 seat, Golden is running against Republican Joe Gruters
During a recent debate with Gruters, Golden defended his support of standardized testing.
“Bad or good test results are only reflective of bad or good test preparation,” Golden said during the debate, which was recorded and posted online by Manatee Educational TV. “The best test preparation is no substitute for good lesson planning. ... I do, however, unequivocally support standardized grading.”
Golden’s campaign website says he believes that “we need more creative efforts to overcome the environmental, educational and economic challenges facing our families every day.”
Neither Golden nor Gruters have been free of controversy.
Some of Gruters’ supporters have resurfaced the fact that Golden’s law license was suspended more than 20 years ago, for 90 days by the Florida Bar in 1988. The state Supreme Court found in 1990 that Golden had acquired a new client during his suspension and did not inform the client of his suspension. As a result, the Bar suspended his license for a year. His license was reinstated and he has been a member of the Florida Bar in good standing for the past 10 years.
Meanwhile, Democrats have made an issue of the fact that Gruters is spearheading GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign in Florida. Gruters reiterated that stance at a recent Sarasota Tiger Bay Club meeting, according to an Oct. 20 article in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Golden had received $6,235 in contributions as of Oct 21, according to state campaign finance reports.
Dominique Whitehurst is a student journalist attending the University of South Florida Zimmerman School of Advertising and Mass Communications. This story was produced as part of the school’s Advanced Reporting or Public Affairs class this semester, under the leadership of instructors Wayne Garcia and Wendy Whitt.