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Senate District 3 Candidate Profile: Loranne Ausley

A woman in a blue dress sits and smiles while staring forward.
Patrick Sternad
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WFSU Public Media
Democratic state Sen. Loranne Ausley of Tallahassee is seeking reelection in 2022.

Democratic state Sen. Loranne Ausley says she’s running for reelection because she’s got more work to do.

“I’ve spent my lifetime in public service, serving the people of North Florida,” Ausley said. “And there’s a lot left to be done.”

In 2020, Ausley was elected to represent state Senate District 3, which covers 11 mostly rural counties in the Panhandle. Before that, she served in the state House, representing House District 9 for more than a decade.

The district leans less Democratic after lawmakers drew new legislative district boundaries earlier this year. It shifted eastward, gaining three additional counties:

Ausley isn’t facing a Democratic primary challenger, meaning her name will appear on the ballot. Republican challenger and political newcomer Corey Simon is running to unseat Ausley.

Experience 

After serving four years in the state House, Ausley was elected to the state Senate in 2020. “I really love my job,” Ausley said. “I love waking up every day and looking out for the people of Senate District 3.”

Ausley had previously served in the House between 2000-2008. State law governing term limits required her to take a break from office before running again. She was elected to another term in the House in 2016.

Ausley says her experience in the legislature has given her an understanding of the ins and outs of the budget process, which is critical for bringing dollars down to small counties. “It takes hard work and it takes understanding,” she said. “I know the process and I know the people that’s how things get done.”

As a Democrat in a Republican-controlled legislature, Ausley has had to work across the aisle to deliver for her district. That’s something she says she’s done well. For instance, she worked with her GOP colleagues to secure pay raises for public employees, increase funding for early learning and child care and helping expand access to high-speed internet.

“I am focused on delivering broadband to every Floridian, making sure kids have access to quality child care, and getting state employees a pay raise and bringing dollars home to small counties," she said. "I’ve been successful working with Democrats and Republicans to get that done, and I will continue to do that.”

In her first two years in the Senate, Ausley has secured more than a billion dollars in funding for the 11 counties she represents. That includes “everything ranging from firetrucks and infrastructure to arts and parks, and funding for schools and after-school programs, public safety, law enforcement," she said.

Issues 

Ausley says the top three most important issues to her are public employee retirement benefits, supporting public education starting with early learning and onward and expanding access to high-speed internet.

“In my first two years, we have made strong headway in making sure that every Floridian has access to high-speed internet,” Ausley said. “It’s working with local governments, making sure that the federal dollars that are coming make it to the places that need it the most.”

That's work that Ausley intends to continue if reelected. In the Senate, she worked across the aisle to pass legislation creating the new state office of broadband, starting a mapping process that pinpoints where broadband is most needed and securing funding for a grant program to help pay for broadband infrastructure.

“We’re making great progress and it’s such an important issue for so many people," Ausley said. Grants will become available to local governments over the next couple of months, and she's working to help counties and providers secure those dollars to expand broadband in rural communities.

Valerie Crowder hosts and produces state and local newscasts during All Things Considered. Her reporting on local government and politics has received state and regional award recognition. She has also contributed stories to NPR newscasts.