Do We Need Another State Representative Like Elaine Schwartz?




There is a South Broward candidate who is running as a clone of state Rep. Elaine Schwartz.

Elaine Geller, who is running to take over for term-limited Schwartz in District 99, writes on BlueBroward:

“It is critical that we have another staunch fighter for the middle class as Rep. Elaine Schwartz has been – whose blessing I am proud to have and whose time-limited seat I would fill.”

So I looked at Schwartz’s recent record to see what all the crowing is about.

2013?  No significant bills passed, either as a sponsor or co-sponsor.  Oh, she did pass Healthcare Decisions Day and National Memory Screening Day.

2012? Only a Women’s History Month recognition passed.

2011? Women’s History Month and National Memory Day.

Compared that with freshman state Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation.

Edwards co-sponsored more than a dozen bills that passed. Meaningful bills.

To be fair, one House member cited Schwartz’s work behind-the-scene shaping legislation. The same House member noted that she amends bills in committees to make them less unpalatable to Broward.

But she is no powerful voice for Democratic viewpoints on the House floor….unless you consider passing Women’s History Month resolutions noteworthy.

Luckily, South Broward residents have another Democratic candidate next year – Evan Jenne.

Why Jenne?

Because under Term Limits which govern the House, Jenne will have a tremendous advantage.  If elected, he would be the only in-coming House member in 2014 with six years already under his belt.

He served from 2006 to 2012.

He already has relationships with the staff and members of the Senate who served with him in the House.

My early take on this race: Jenne is the rare House candidate who can hit the ground running.



Mayor Jack Seiler of Fort Lauderdale, one Jenne’s former House colleagues, obviously thinks Jenne did a good job in Tallahassee:  


26 Responses to “Do We Need Another State Representative Like Elaine Schwartz?”

  1. Kevin Cerino says:

    So, what significant legislation did Jenne pass during his six years in the House?

  2. Dist 99 voter says:

    Hey Buddy you may have to revise this article… I got a phone survey tonight about this race and Karen Harrington’s name was listed also. It will be another drain on daddy’s wallet but maybe she’s telling young “Libby” to step aside.


    This is an overwhelmingly Democratic district. There are over 49,000 registered Democrats to 25,000 Republicans and 24,000 independents. It is highly unlikely that Harrington could get any traction in such a district.

  3. Tony says:

    I couldn’t agree more. Evan was great for Broward back when he was a state rep. Very down to earth; one of the few legislators that actually seemed to listen when you talk to them about issues in the district.

    By the way- Do we know if Elaine Geller is related to Steve Geller?

    FROM BUDDY: I’m told they are not related.

  4. Evan was a leader says:

    Rep. Jenne was one of the main leaders on redistricting, one of the most important issues that effect Democrats every decade. Rep. Schwartz doesn’t actually do anything

  5. B says:

    To say that Rep Schwartz has not been effective because she has not passed significant legislation is unfair. A very smart former Rep once told me that her main job was to go up there and expose the bad bills and to call the majority party on them. Rep Schwartz does her homework and challenges the House in committee and on the floor. And they don’t love her for that reason, which is why she is unable to pass significant legislation as you call it. She is a strong voice for the progressive movement and we will miss her when she is termed.

  6. Barry Sacharow says:

    Thank you for your observations Buddy, I’m sure many of your fellow Republicans share that point of view. Good Democrats, however understand how hard Elaine Schwartz fought/fights for solid progressive values in the Democratic wilderness of Tallahassee.

    I also admire (most) of what Katie Edwards did this session as a Freshman. I believe Elaine Geller, who is neither related to Steve or Joe Geller, is cut from the same cloth, and will make an impact immediately in the Florida Legislature, especially as it relates to both Progressive Democratic values, and the needs of small business owners, like herself.

    Evan however continues to worry me, hence the reason I volunteer for the Elaine Geller campaign, where I run her Facebook page, “Elect Elaine Geller.” I worry about the ethical decisions made by Evan. I do not believe we yet have the complete story about Edify, what Evan did for the company and why the discrepancies in his compensation reporting lead to an Ethics Complaint. Further Evan’s involvement in the Republican tarnished Redistricting effort, is a major negative, as political gerrymandering has a state that looks nothing like the districts that comprise it, leading to continual overt domination by Republicans in Tallahassee.

    Finally the political nepotism and backroom deals that are driving the well funded Jenne campaign are not the values I want to represent as one of the few safe Democratic seats in the Florida House. I am supporting Elaine Geller, and in the end I think the voters will as well.

  7. Helen Harringer says:

    HOW DARE YOU! Elaine Schwartz is one of the most hard working, honerable reps in Tallahassee,who worked tirelessly for Senior Citizens,and education. Elaine Geller is cut from the same cloth, and will make us all proud as she is sensitive, to the needs of Seniors and single Moms. She is energetic, committed to working people, well informed on the issues, and most caring. Please tell me what Mr. Jenne has done in Tallahassee as a member of the majority. As compared to Ms. Schwartz, the answer is VERY LITTLE!

  8. Caryn Grainer Dunn says:

    I completely agree with Barry. Elaine Schwartz has been frustrated with her attempts to make the Republican legislators pay attention to the important issues facing Florida citizens. The only reason Evan Jenne was elected was because he rode the financial coattails of his father and his father’s political buddies. Wondering what your sources are to slam Elaine Geller. Elaine Geller is a single mom with a background in finance who knows personally the day to day struggles of those of us not in the 19% category. She is an independent business owner who for years worked as a commodities broker. She has been a contributing member of the National Counsel for Jewish Woman who has traveled to Washington to participate in voicing concern for the issues which our do nothing Congress has ignored. I have known her for over 10 years. She is spirited, energetic, motivated and cares unlike Jenne who was a do nothing legislator. Afraid Elaine Geller will represent the people and not big business? You should be!

  9. Evan was a leader says:

    Barry, you clearly don’t pay attention to what happens in Tallahassee. Jenne was one of the main OPPONENTS of the Republicans during the redistricting, in fact he was one of the few Dems to actually introduce alternatives.

  10. Kim Rothschild says:

    Elaine Geller is a single mother, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor and knows first hand the pressures placed upon families that are being squeezed today. Three weeks ago her mother had lung cancer surgery and she has been helping to take care for her while balancing the needs of her future constitutes and the rest of her family. Just like so many of us, when it gets tuff Elaine rolls up her sleeves and puts one foot in front of the other. That is why I know Elaine Geller is going to be able to take her life experiences and get it done.

  11. Andrew Markoff says:

    Interesting that a local blogger with a reputation for some right-leaning partisan viewpoints would write a post against a woman running for the legislature and assume that Democratic voters would find that a reliable endorsement. I’m also a little startled by the posting of a fund raiser placard for her opponent.

    This posting, Buddy, is far less some kind of political analysis than it is just a blatant endorsement for the man in the race. I don’t see much honest analysis of the situation at all in your post.

    Evan Jenne has been popular and a hard worker, but Elaine Geller is also smart, hard working and determinedly fighting for progress… but Elaine Geller also has other attributes that Democrats should bear in mind that Jenne doesn’t have. Geller is a woman. Yes, let’s start with that.

    Elaine Geller is also quite different from her opponent because she’s a parent. Another big difference is that she’s in a long-time committed relationship, an experience she shares with a lot of people who will be voting for representation in her district.

    Elaine Geller has also worked successfully in business for a long time outside of running for a seat in Broward/state politics and reading bills in Tallahassee. There’s a whole set of life and business experience involved in this race not shared with Elaine Geller’s opponent.

    If anybody is going to explain to me why Broward Democrats neither need nor should enthusiastically support another woman in the state legislature, I’d like to see that explanation here. Let me remind you that Elaine Geller is a working woman who has raised her daughter for a considerable period as a single mom, just like a lot of people in her district. To my mind, the state of Florida and the district in question certainly needs and should see the benefit of having a working woman in the state legislature to add another voice and perspective to a what remains a very male-dominated field up there in Tallahasee.

    Mr. Jenne is certainly a nice guy and determined politico who had been popular with his constituents in the past, but if you have two candidates fighting for progress and a voice that might be heard in the Republican-dominated legislature on behalf of Democrats, I very strongly recommend a working woman with a strong career history outside of politics. I recommend Elaine Geller’s life experience raising a child and upholding a committed relationship while also upholding the stability and the financial and emotional resources of elderly parents.

    Elaine Geller is currently dealing with the immediacy of her mother’s cancer surgery and chemo in addition to a wide variety of elder issues faced by both of her parents. She’s dealing with her daughter’s education and career prospects. I just don’t know if her opponent has the immediacy of that life experience outside of his political ambitions, although harsh and rather shocking political and legal realities in the family have followed the Jennes for years.

    Elaine Geller has a marvelously personable nature combined with smarts. To assert that we’d be better off instead with similar attributes in yet another career politician- despite being previously termed out- who’s yet another man in the state legislature is not and should not be a strong argument. If you believe that a business woman and mother is a weak position for the job of representing constituents- well, perhaps you’re not really in touch with the needs, perspectives and interests of Democratic voters out there on the ground. I suggest that we all consider the better interests of district constituents overall in addition to the interests and the representation of women in the state.

    Now, about Elaine Schwartz, the assertions in this post are absolutely outrageous – and what makes them especially outrageous is that you certainly know better, Buddy. Far better. You know the truth, and you know the realities.

    A Tea Party-dominated right-wing Republican state legislature is not a place for a progressive Democrat who strives to intelligently and rationally confront elder and family issues as well as a myriad of issues involving the better interests of women in general. It’s tough. It’s rough and it’s ridiculous, and Rep. Schwartz has fought a valiant and effective fight. Her district has wanted her there. Schwartz has represented them. You may view her constituents with perhaps less respect than you even offer her.

    Schwartz has brought not only her votes and her battles to get solid legislation through committees and to the floor, but she’s brought a voice to the House in Florida that has very well represented her constituents and the best interests of Floridians. That rarely results in bills getting passed by the good ol’ boys in Tallahassee that target those interests- but you know that. I believe that you do.

    Elaine Schwartz has worked with her cohorts on both sides of the aisle and supported as well as successfully helped to thwart and to modify legislation of all sorts. It ain’t easy up there for any Democrat- but you know that.

    It is far, far easier, however, for a very business-friendly Democrat from a far more conservative district who had previously, I believe, been a Republican. So, congrats to Katie Edwards for her successes, but Elaine Schwartz is not Katie Edwards, and Representative Schwartz’s constituents may likely be very glad for that.

    I must also add that personally, I have dealt with a lot of jerks, a lot of smarmy personalities and too many just plain rude and self-interested creatures out there on Planet Broward. It has consistently been refreshing as well as very wonderful to have as gracious, as kind, as determined, as continually rational and as generous an individual as Representative Elaine Schwartz actually out there ON THE GROUND with the people in her district and in our political field in general.

    Elaine Schwartz is always actually THERE. Believe it. One cannot say that about a lot of other local and state politicos- certainly not enough of them. Elaine Schwartz is one of the most inspiring and encouraging souls in a too-often soulless planet called Florida politics.

    The fact that Elaine Schwartz endorses Elaine Geller for the seat should say quite enough… but I added a little, too.

    I wish the best- the very best- for both candidates, but I suggest that the votes go to Elaine Geller.

  12. Elaine Schwartz says:

    Eh… probably not.

  13. Plain Language says:

    Elaine Schwartz is a lovely and caring woman but let’s face it. She did absolutely nothing in her time in Tallahassee and was hardly even relevant. That can never be said of Evan Jenne. Even as a member of the minority party, Jenne was always relevant and respected, listened to and got things done for his district.

    What does Elaine Geller bring to the table except that she’s a friend of Elaine Schwartz? That’s the question voters need to ask. Evan Jenne is a known quantity.

  14. Real Deal says:

    Sausage makers make sausage. Cooks make meals. Doctors make people well. We pay people to do these things for us.

    Legislators make legislation.

    To say a legislator can’t be criticized for failing to make legislation is like saying a sausage maker shouldn’t be held accountable if they fail to make sausage.

    Any questions?

  15. Barry Sacharow says:

    Plain Language, you may be right that Evan brings something to the table, but the question remain, does he bring something good or bad?

    In these times, the electorate must be scrupulous in voting in proper Legislators. Evan’s ethical lapses, documented and otherwise, well override any minor accomplishments or connections established during his prior tenure.

    I like and respect Evan personally, but these times of very public disappointing behaviors by politicians require everyone take a harder look at who we are electing… IDK, maybe Evan’s just been getting bad advice… but he is taking that advice and making those ethical and reporting decisions. As a voter, I’m just responding…

  16. Santino Sternfeld says:

    Even Jenne is just a typical political clone that gets elected to Tallassee or Washington. He is a creation, his resume carefully constructed to do one thing get elected. Media savvy politicians doing “good” For all to see and not doing the hard work for good sake
    Elaine Geller has spent her life helping those who cant help themselves. Marching for women’s rights, fighting for equal pay, for equal work and serving food at homeless shelters. She did not do this in front of a camera – not to get elected, because it is the right thing to do! A single mom with little extra time doing the right thing without fanfare because that what she does. So given the choice between a political clone and a single mom, I chose the mom as my representative!

  17. Bruce Hardy says:

    Since seeing this article I have done my own research into this race and I believe Mr. Jenne is the better of the two for my District. Why? Experience. Can one of these Geller supporters say that on day one in the legislature that Ms. Geller would serve us better as opposed to Mr. Jenne who has 6 years under his belt in the same legislative body? It is rare that an elected offical can come into an office already knowing the lay of the land and how to get things done. I see that as a big positive. No disrespect to Ms. Geller she seems to be a dedicated activist regarding the causes she supports, but as far as I see it the choice here is practical experience versus being a possionate activist, as such there is no choice, experience and the abiltiy to get things done on day one is why I am voting for Mr. Jenne.

    Bruce Hardy

  18. Blah Blah Blah says:

    The fact that Elaine Schwartz was so quick to endorse Ms. Geller, as opposed to her former colleague, who gave her a pass at challenging her after redistricting, shows you what kind of legislator she is in Tallahassee. Such a move highlights to voters how
    (un)effective she is at building coalitions.

  19. Hollywoodian says:

    Why is it every time Geller speaks she right off the bat she refers to herself as a Jewish female? I live in this district and I don’t care if one is Jewish, British, catholic or polish, if they can do a good job. To have Geller imply she is better since she is Jewish and female is a turn off for those of us who judge the selection of our candidates by quality of the person as a whole and experience.

  20. tell the truth says:

    Based on comments, and the ‘Supporter’ of jenne advertising the event
    she has my vote!

  21. Sam The Sham says:

    Anybody else notice that Elaine Geller’s supporters are all using the same talking points? Elaine’s fax machine must be smoking by now.

  22. Truth in advertising says:

    Response to Hollywoodian-I have heard Elaine Geller speak many, many times and I have never heard her refer to herself as a “Jewish and female.

  23. Charles King says:

    If any of you were wondering where Mayor John P. “Jack” Seiler was Wednesday night, the night of the long awaited Flagler Village Civic Association meeting to discuss and vote on his apparently not to important proposal to extend Sistrunk Blvd from Andrews through to Federal Highway against the wishes of the neighborhood. To Jack Seiler, branding is important at the beach and around Coral Ridge Country Club where he lives. The rest of us live under threat of some tyrannical self-promoting politician using our property values to climb another rung in the state Democrat party. That Seiler was only a couple of block away at McGuires, at a political fundraiser for the son of Ken Jenne the disgraced and formerly jailed former Democrat Sheriff of Broward County tells a lot. I know most of us longtime residents and voters are probably thinking what I’m thinking, what do you have to do in Broward County to ruin your family name in regards to politics, how bad is Jack Seiler’s judgment and how important to Seiler could ramming Sistrunk Blvd down the Flagler Village residents’ throats be if an event a couple blocks away like this was more important. Just for your information the Flagler Village Civic Association voted 28 to 1 against the name change and District 2 Commissioner Dean Trantalis and District 3 Commissioner Bobby DuBose were present for the debate and vote. And for those of you who wonder why politics first people like John P. “Jack” Seiler make most people sick when they get a close up look, hypocrisy and hubris like this is the reason why.


    I was wondering how long it would take for somebody to attempt to smear Evan Jenne by mentioning his father, former Sheriff Ken Jenne.

    First of all, Evan is his own person. He is an adult and a former state representative. Mail fraud and income tax evasion — the crimes Ken Jenne committed — are not genetic. There is nothing in Evan’s political past that indicate he is anything like his father.

    Second, Ken Jenne served his time. He deserves to be given a second chance, not in politics, but in life.

    Third, if you have a beef with Seiler, deal with Seiler. You can criticize him for attending a fund raiser without attacking Evan Jenne.

    By the way, I hardly know Evan Jenne. I just believe maligning him because he is Sheriff Ken Jenne’s son is unfair.

  24. president of the silent majority, the African American community says:

    first of all I would like to they speak in on behalf of all your americans here bro county, that Evan Jennehave supported the African American community along with his father for many years, unlike the Caucasian community the African American community support evan Jenneand thank him for all of his work supporting economics, jobs, and fighting to get are young African Americans rights on behalf of the African American community we do fully give support to Evan Jenne.

  25. Susan Goldstein says:

    I had to weigh in on this one Buddy. Elaine Schwartz has accomplished more in Tallahassee than meets the eye. She is a warrior in committee. She calls out every issue buried in committee bills that looks suspect, and she gets an explanation or takes action. She may not always succeed in her efforts to amend, but she isn’t shy or apprehensive. I can personally attest to her hard work and dedication, because we have spend many late hours together. When she is not familiar with an issue, she stays up late studying, learning, and understanding, especially these complicated health care issues. We have worked together identifying ‘innocuous’ wording that would seriously hurt seniors and the disabled in proposed bills affecting the Med Waivers, AHCA funding, federal matches and reimbursement, ICF DD issues, etc. She gets a lot of eye rolls but that only proves that she is doing her job. Not an easy job when you must be recognized by a republican chair before initiating discussion, then debated by a republican majority of members. Broward should be proud of the work she has done. She may not have passed much legislation, but when you are leading the delegation on certain issues and reading and absorbing language in hundreds of bills, playing defense, you don’t have much time to advance you own priorities. Vulnerable Floridians across the state have benefited from her efforts. I for one am grateful for her relentless advocacy, and I had to let your readers know.
    And as for Evan Jenne, what a lucky break for Broward that he is willing to go back to Tallahassee and continue his advocacy on their behalf. Evan was and will always be a huge asset to the Broward Delegation. He has established relationships and an impeccable reputation. He is very well respected by leadership and his peers on both sides of the aisle, and has a very strong work ethic. He is known for trying to work out issues before fights erupt in committee and on the floor. Everyone knows that if he has issues that are not addressed prior to committee or floor introduction, they will be in for a long and tough fight. He always works proactively, but pulls out all weapons when needed. He is assertive without being offensive or disrespectful. If Broward voters do not send Even Jenne back to Tallahassee they should have their heads examined. Seriously.

  26. Give Me a Break says:

    Katie Edwards, is a bad comparison, She is a Republican in
    a Dems Clothing, voting like a republican, the Reps lover her, she is, anti-union