Live from Virginia Monday morning on The John Fredericks Show – weekdays on WNTW AM 820/ FM 92.7 – Richmond, WJFN FM 100.5 – Central Virginia, WMPH AM 1010 / FM 100.1 / FM 96.9 (7-9 PM) Hampton Roads, WBRG AM 1050 / FM 105.1 – Lynchburg/Roanoke and Weekdays 6-10 am and 24/7 Stream – host Fredericks welcomed Florida’s 10th Congressional District’s Vennia Francois to the show to discuss her campaign against Democrat Val Demings and her resonating message of faith, family, and freedom.
Fredericks: We’re going to go to the 10th congressional district in Florida. That’s where the Democrat Val Demings is up for re-election. That is a pretty heavily Democratic area. D plus 12. And joining us now is the Republican candidate trying to oust Val Demings. Vennia Francois. I hope I’m saying your name, right both first and last name. I think I just mangled the whole thing. How do I say it?
Francois: Not quite not quite. You got the last name right. Good morning, John. Thank you for having me. But I am Vennia Francois and I am the Republican nominee running against Val Demings in the Orlando area.
Fredericks: Okay, Vennia Francois. You are the Republican candidate in the 10th District. Tell us about where exactly that district is Vennia and the makeup of it.
Francois: Sure. The district is in the heart of Orlando. We have all of the things parks including Disneyworld. So that should give you some sort of idea where we are. The makeup is it’s a very diverse community here with African-American, Latino, Hispanic-Americans as well. And so we have again tourism is the number one industry in this area. So it’s I think it’s a good mix.
Fredericks: So it’s a heavily Democratic district.
Fredericks: Vennia, what inspired your run? I mean, you also had a competitive Republican primary. What inspired your run for Congress Vennia?
Francois: Well, that’s a great question. I was actually born and raised here in the Orlando area. And after I graduated from law school, I ended up working for Senator Mel Martinez. So I moved from Orlando to D.C. and worked on Capitol Hill for a number of years and then transitioned off to the SEC. So my background is in this arena is in politics. And I just have a love for art government and history and things of that nature. So this was a perfect fit for me, and I love to serve so this is my way of giving back to this country. My country. And I am also a first-generation American. So it’s a beautiful thing. And so this is just my way of giving back.
Fredericks: Vennia, your District Is about 16 percent Hispanic.
Fredericks: What percent of the Hispanic vote do you think you’ll be able to get?
Francois: I think I have an opportunity here to really chip away and get those votes again. I’m a first-generation American and so I cross over many dynamics. And so I have been well received in all communities. You know recently, I just received the endorsement from the Vietnamese community as well as the Filipino community here in the district.
So I think that my message of faith family and freedom resonates across the board. And it’s just been an amazing thing. And what’s interesting. It’s a very diverse community, and I was just speaking to several actually Hispanic roundtables and they just really relate. I’m a very relatable candidate, and they just relate more to me. And so it’s been an exciting journey being here on the ground.
Fredericks: Vennia Francois with us. She is the Republican candidate going against up against Democratic incumbent Val Demings in the 10th congressional district in Florida. Vennia, how do you win this race?
Francois: Well, we win this race by again pushing out our conservative message. I truly believe conservative principles are the way for men and women to flourish. They promote freedom and they honor the God-given rights and potential of every individual. Sadly the Orlando area where I’m from has moved to so far to the left and it shows in the poor quality of our elected leadership.
Especially here in this congressional district where I’m running and our current representative Demings has gone to Washington and has been so caught up with the politics in Congress that she just spends more of her time in the establishment string instead of fighting for our district here at home. And so how do I combat that? And again just being here on the ground. Showing up and reaching out voters. And it’s our message of faith, family, and freedom that resonates a great deal. And our conservative message. It resonates a great deal with the individuals in this district.
Fredericks: Well, it’s a tough one. I mean in 2018 Val Demings got 75 percent of the vote. In 2016 she got 65 percent of the vote. So you’ve got your work cut out for you. But you know Vennia Francois, I love the fact that you’re running because one of the problems we have is where we don’t run candidates on paper where the district just appears to be unwinnable. You know, you’re not going to get any money from the RNC. You know you’re not going to get any money from the RCC. So you’re, you’re on your own. You know that going in.
Francois: I do.
Fredericks: So it takes a lot of courage to run because what it does is Val Demings can’t run a campaign for other Democrats of Florida. She can’t go out and do rallies if they ever had one. She can’t be out campaigning for Biden in Georgia. She’s stuck in the 10th district because you’re a viable candidate and she can’t take it for granted.
Francois: Absolutely. Right, that is very true. But on the flip side John in the prior elections, she didn’t really have a viable candidate or the election prior to that. There was no one running against her. So she even had Republicans voting for her because she was a former police officer. And they believed that she was their only choice and the fact that they thought that she would remain moderate. But she has gone so far to the left.
And she’s vote at least 95 to 99 percent of the time with Nancy Pelosi. And then with the impeachment debacle that she was heavily involved with. And so people are now turned off by that turned off by her. Even within the Black community. Hispanic community. They’ve all said that she left them behind. She’s nowhere here on the ground at all, and so she’s MIA. And she’s only seeking another office and she’s auditioning for another position.
She’s not really focused here on in the district and on the ground. And so we do have an opportunity here to flip the district. And I agree with you. I believe the Republican Party has left this district behind. And had we been here two years or four years ago just pushing out our conservative messages I do believe we could have made a whole lot more in roads here within this particular district.
Fredericks: We’re with Vennia Francois. She’s running for congress in the 10th congressional district in Florida. that is right now being held by former Orlando Police Chief. And now the Democrat there Val Demings. Val was also being considered on Joe Biden’s shortlist for vice president. How does the fact that she was a Potential V Pugh pick, How does that play into your race for you?
Francois: I don’t think it plays heavily in our race at all. Again people see her as auditioning for another position. They’ve all said that. Again, she’s nowhere to be found on the ground. She’s gone MIA. She has not paid any attention. She has not worked for the people of this district. And so, therefore, they just think that you know, she only utilized them as a stepping stone to her next position or of whatever she’s wanting to vie for. And so again, they have been disheartened by her and turned off by that.
Fredericks: Wow. You know the fact that you’re tying her up there, are you spending the majority of your time on the phone and knocking on doors Vennia? How are you reaching voters?
Francois: I am spending my time on the ground knocking on doors. I am participating in community events that are happening and that are happening around town. But again when I’m on someone’s front doorstep they are so excited to see that I am literally there having a conversation with them. And frankly more so than ever I’m now in churches. I have been attending a different church every single Sunday now that our economy is back open here in the state of Florida. And so that’s been well received as well. So I’m touching the voters where there are. I’m going out to sea and meet them where they are. And that’s been resonating and going very well.
Listen to the full show here:
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