Meet Geraldine Thompson
I am Geraldine F. Thompson, a candidate for the Florida House of Representatives District 44. I’m running based on years of successful experience serving Central Florida. I taught in Orange County Schools for six years and was an administrator for 24 years at Valencia College. While at Valencia, I established the College Reach Out Program to help thousands of low income students receive a college education. I founded the Wells’ Built Museum of African American History and Culture to help preserve a little known portion of Central Florida’s history. For Florida House District 44, I feel it’s important to send an experienced legislator who has worked to create jobs and preserve education to Tallahassee. I learned the legislative process as secretary to Representative Gwendolyn Sawyer Cherry, who in 1970, became the first African American woman elected to the Florida Legislature. I bring my years of experience and advocacy for residents of House District 44 to this campaign and ask the voters of this community to cast their ballots for me on November 6 because experience counts.
I am a graduate of Miami Dade College, the University of Miami and Florida State University. I am committed to a quality educational system for all Florida students. I remain committed to access to quality and affordable health care. As a member of the Board of Directors of Florida Conservation Voters, I have worked to protect Florida’s environment and oppose fracking, offshore drilling and other threats to our environment. While each of us has the right to defend our person and our property, I do not support military type assault weapons in the hands of private individuals. I continue to work to open doors for youth in Central Florida as a member of the Board of the Orlando Children’s Trust.
Creating Innovative Jobs
Protecting our Environment
Solar and Green Initiatives
Smart Infrastructure Growth
Opportunities for Students
Increase Teacher Salaries
“For more than 40 years, I have been a fierce advocate for our community. In the present political climate, we need someone with experience and a proven track record of serving the citizens of Central Florida.
The results of my service are clear.
During my time in the Florida Legislature, I advocated for sensible gun laws to protect our community. I fought for a strong educational system to ensure that each of our children has an equal opportunity to receive a quality education. I fought to diversify our economy to provide livable wages for each of our citizens.
To encourage stronger participation in our democracy, I sponsored legislation which allowed all voters to cast their ballot by mail and to promote fair treatment of all workers, and I sponsored legislation which outlawed discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace.
But for me, it’s not about talking points; it’s about getting results. I have created programs in my community, established a museum to honor our history, and fought for sensible solutions that aim to make the lives of our residents better.”
My experience includes:
Member, Florida Senate, 2012-2016
Member, Florida House of Representatives, 2006-2012
Florida House Democratic Leader Pro-Tempore, 2008-2010
Chairperson – Women Legislative Caucus
Chairperson – Orange County Legislative Delegation
Florida Conference of Black State Legislators Chairwoman
Board Member: Orlando Children’s Trust, Tiger Bay, PAST, Inc.
Assistant to the President of Valencia College
Classroom Teacher in Orange County Public Schools
Wells’ Built Museum Founder
College Reach Out Founder at Valencia College
Former Board Member of YMCA, WMFE, Holocaust Resource Center
Urban League, Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center
Co-Founder YMCA Achievers
Fair Wages and Equitable Treatment in the Workplace
I have four outstanding granddaughters and recently traveled to join other family members to celebrate my third granddaughter’s completion of a personal development mentorship program. Her accomplishment and that of 16 other girls was highlighted during a formal dinner. I have worked to model for my granddaughters accomplishments that are not limited by gender. As a member of the Florida Senate, I sponsored and shepherded to passage Senate Bill (?) to end discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace. As your Representative for House District 44, you can count on me to champion legislation that advances fair wages and equitable treatment for all individuals in the workplace.
Advocacy for Workers
This year of 2018 marks 50 years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who was killed in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968. I invited 86 year old Elmore Nickleberry who was a sanitation worker in Memphis in 1968 to travel to Orlando to tell his story of his march with other sanitation workers and Dr. King. He told of putting metal tubs of garbage on his head and feeling maggots crawl out of the rusted out bottoms of the tubs and into his shirt. He told of the death of two of his fellow workers who sat on the back of a garbage truck on February 1, 1968 and moved into the bed of the truck to escape pouring rain and were crushed to death by a compactor. They went on strike and reached out to union organizers and Dr. King. As a member of the Florida Legislature for ten years, I advocated consistently for the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively. I would continue this advocacy for workers as Representative of House District 44.
Equal and Quality Education
When my granddaughter looks at me and her maternal grandmother, she does not see race. She sees two women who love, support and encourage her to reach her goals. I have worked to create opportunities for individuals regardless of ethnicity, religion, age, race and other factors such as economic background. As an administrator at Valencia College, I initiated the College Reach Out Program to allow low income students who had the intellect, but not the money, to achieve a college education. As your Representative for House District 44, you can be assured that I will continue to fight for equal and quality education for all our children.
Higher Teacher Pay and Replacing High Stakes Testing
As a former educator, I am convinced that performance over time, as reflected in a grade point average and interspersed diagnostic tests, is a better indicator of what students learn rather than high stakes tests that measure test taking ability on one arbitrary date. The curriculum for Florida students has been narrowed and many instructors focus on teaching students to pass high stakes tests rather than a broader range of subject matter. As your Representative for House District 44, I will continue to fight as I have in the past for higher teacher pay and to replace high stakes testing with a system of evaluation that more accurately measures student learning.
Protecting Our Environment
My husband, Emerson R. Thompson, Jr., and I visited South Africa during the summer of 2017. We traveled to the neighboring country of Zimbabwe and stood before the thundering waters of Victoria Falls. There are strict regulations in place in Zimbabwe to protect the pristine environment of that country which now attracts tourists from throughout the world. As a member of the Florida Legislature, I opposed fracking in Florida and fought against drilling off Florida’s shores which I believe will damage Florida’s environment and put at risk our thriving tourist economy. As your Representative for House District 44, I will continue to oppose fracking and off shore drilling on Florida’s coast.
Transportation Needs of our District
Tremendous growth will occur in West Orange County in the coming years. Transportation systems including roadways, trails, mass transit and rail connections must be provided to efficiently move individuals to and from desired locations. As a State Senator, I served on the committee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development and established working relationships with staff of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). As your Representative for House District 44, I would continue my work with FDOT to ensure that the transportation needs of individuals in West Orange County are addressed.