He will face Frank Cirillo of Sarasota in the Aug. 30 primary
Frank Alcock, a professor at New College of Florida, announced his candidacy this week for the Florida Senate District 23 seat.
Alcock, a Democrat, has been a full-time faculty member at New College since 2003, teaching courses on world politics and environmental studies, a news release says. This will be his first run for elected office, the release adds.
District 23 includes all of Sarasota County and the northwest portion of Charlotte County. He will face Frank Cirillo of Sarasota in the Democratic primary on Aug. 30, the release points out.
“Alcock is familiar to the Sarasota community for his work outside of New College as well,” the release continues, including a four-year stint as director of a Marine Policy Institute at Mote Marine Laboratory and his nine-year role as political contributor at ABC 7. Prior to coming to Sarasota in 2003, Alcock spent five years as a policy analyst at the U.S. Department of Energy and another three as a Belfer Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government, the release notes.
Alcock said he is running “to restore sanity and civility in the political process,” the release continues. “I’m disturbed by the crude and divisive tenor of our politics,” Alcock said in the release. “The presidential candidates are setting the tone, but the rancor seems to be flowing through our state and local politics as well.”
Alcock praised outgoing state Sen. Nancy Detert, pointing out in the release that she is a moderate Republican who is leaving the Florida Senate to run for the Sarasota County Commission. “Nancy did what she thought was best for her constituents, and she didn’t let powerful Tallahassee interests push her around. If I’m elected to this office, I will do the same,” he added in the release.
Alcock’s campaign will focus on economic insecurity, health, the environment and education, the release continues. “There are too many families in our state that struggle to make ends meet and too many children who don’t know where their next meal will come from. And far, far too many people that still lack basic health insurance. We can and must do more for our fellow Floridians struggling to meet their basic needs,” he said in the release.
“Alcock believes that the depth of his experience on energy and environmental issues and his career in education will strengthen the region’s voice on these issues,” the release notes. “We should not be censored from talking about climate change. We can do more to incentivize clean energy development and respect the will of voters on land and water conservation issues. When it comes to investing in our children, our teachers and our public school system, we can do more to ensure they have the resources they need to succeed.”
On Nov. 8, the winner of the Democratic primary will face the victor of the five-person Republican primary. The Republicans are Doug Holder of Venice, Rick Levine of Sarasota, Nora Patterson of Siesta Key, Rep. Ray Pilon of Sarasota and Rep. Greg Steube of Lakewood Ranch. Both Pilon and Steube are just completing terms in the Florida Legislature; Holder formerly served in the State House; and Patterson previously was on the Sarasota City and County Commissions. She was required to step down from the county board in 2014 because of term limits.
A Sarasota News Leader review of campaign contributions for each of the candidates just from Jan. 1 through April 30 shows Holder with $54,389; Steube with $52,755; Patterson with $35,065.58 — including a $20,000 loan; Levine with $3,240; and Cirillo with $1,200.
Cirillo filed for the seat on March 4, Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections records show.