Calhoun is a fighter and should not be discounted.
By Sean David Hartman
To be a young conservative Millennial in this current divisive culture usually means putting a target on your back. Scotland Calhoun, a student political activist, is no stranger to far-left harassment, but she is not one to shy away from a fight, which is why she has announced her candidacy to unseat one-term Orlando Democratic State Representative Amy Mercado.
“District 48 needs a Representative who truly listens and cares,” Calhoun told The Central Florida Post. “Far too many people feel abandoned and without a voice.”
You may recognize the Calhoun name from Scotland’s mother, Republican Gina Perez-Calhoun, herself running for Orange County Commission in a crowded District 4 nonpartisan primary. But even before announcing her run, Scotland made clear her political independence from her mother.
Currently at Valencia College, Scotland Calhoun has political activism in her blood, having lobbied Tallahassee politicians like Representative Mercado on issues of importance to her. Calhoun recently spoke to Tallahassee politicians about the elimination of free speech zones on public colleges and universities, a policy many universities used to censor right-leaning student voices and controversial speakers for the sake of political correctness.
Calhoun also represents a silent faction of the conservative movement—young conservative Millennials. It was the limited number of Millennial representation in Tallahassee and in politics in general that helped lead to Calhoun’s candidacy.
“I decided to run because I was looking around and realizing that Millennials do not have representation,” Calhoun told The Central Florida Post. “Millennials are the present and the future and we need to secure a future for them.”
“I know firsthand the challenges folks in our area, particularly young people like me, are having to find quality jobs that pay enough to support a family. We’ve got to do more to make sure policies are in place to attract and grow industries and businesses that provide them.”
The Millennial vote has been widely sought after by both parties, and recent youth activism both during and after the 2016 Election has made them a crucial demographic. The media tends to portray Millennial activism as left-wing movements, and though there are many of those—MSD Strong, Bernie Sanders supporters, Antifa—there are many Millennial conservatives like Scotland that are not only ignored but condemned for not falling in line.
Scotland Calhoun is running on a limited government platform, supporting school choice, job growth, and constitutional principles. Education seems to be a key issue to the Millennial activist, with the expansion of education options outside of the traditional collegiate model.
Political pundits may discount the Calhoun campaign. Representative Mercado does have strong Democratic support and Orange County leans to the left. Calhoun is a principled conservative, who even when you disagree with her, will choose to stand with her values over political pandering.
But Calhoun is a fighter and should not be discounted. To her, she sees this less as a goal or a dream and more as her civic duty. She is prepared for the mudslinging that she will likely and unfortunately face, simply for being a young conservative. She is hoping by doing so she will encourage more conservatives to get off the sidelines and run.
“No matter who you are or what you stand for, if you are different and dare to be brave, people will always come after you,” Calhoun told The Central Florida Post. “Any person who has ever dared to effect change usually stands in the beginning alone but eventually inspires others to be brave and follow.
“I hope from me running I will inspire others to be brave and follow their passion.”
Usually, Republicans ignore some of these tougher Democratic races. However, anyone who knows Scotland Calhoun knows her fearless commitment to her principles and her fierceness when fighting for what she believes in, traits that she plans to bring to Tallahassee on behalf of her constituents.
Sean David Hartman is a freelance reporter for the Central Florida Post, with a wide portfolio ranging from entertainment to politics. He is a centrist political operative and blogger and a student at UCF. Hartman is autistic and bipolar, and supports the neurodiversity movement.