|Name||Lawton Mainor "Bud" Chiles, III|
Orlando, Florida , United States
|| 00, 1953
Jun 19, 2010 03:09pm
Caucasian - Moderate-to-Liberal - Married - Straight -
|Info||I was raised in Polk County, central Florida. My dad taught me to hunt and fish in the woods and lakes of this great state. I was 5 when I started working in my dad’s campaigns, putting bumper stickers on cars and handing out brochures. I remember his walk in 1970, when I was a teenager. When I got in trouble in school, my mom would send me to walk with him in the Florida heat. It had a profound impact on me, seeing the connections he made with people out walking. I saw the burden he felt to live up to that bond of trust with the people. |
In the late 1970s, my wife Kitty and I opened a small business in Florida after working all over the state in my dad’s 1976 campaign. Our business, called Chiles Communications, grew to the point that we were helping clients understand and expand across Florida. Over the years, our firm developed expertise in energy, the environment, technology, health care and transportation. We learned a great deal about Florida’s diverse economy. During this time, I served on the executive committee of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, as Chairman of the Tallahassee Chamber, on the Commission of the South and on many other boards and organizations. I continued to enjoy hunting and being outdoors and we raised a family of three wonderful children: Lawton, Katie and Geoffrey.
In the 1990s, I sold my business and we moved our family to New York City to work with an international charity. It was a bold move with three kids, a wife and a dog! For ten years we worked as Vice Presidents for a charity with global responsibility in Africa, the Caribbean, and the US. Tasked with helping children in our cities, we started in one community with the belief that no matter where you live, your children should not be denied medical care to protect them from disease. We started a program called Hope for Kids that was replicated in over 100 cities across America. We learned how to work with even the most resource poor communities, and create real results. Our work earned us the Johnson & Johnson Growing Healthy Families award and the National Health Watch award, and was also recognized by President Clinton.
I know how hard Floridians have been hit by this recession. My own business in real estate suffered when the economy turned down. I know the stress, the anxieties, the questions that plague so many of us still: When will I be able to resolve this? Will I be able to provide for my family? Will I make my mortgage payment? How will we afford it if I or someone in my family gets sick?
I saw the effect that the recession was having throughout the state. As President of the Lawton Chiles Foundation, I sought to protect our most vulnerable Floridians: our children. I launched the Worst to First initiative, a statewide advocacy campaign to make children’s issues the top priority for Florida’s leaders.
About a year ago, after going through one of the hardest years of my life, I started walking. I wanted to listen – really listen- to the people of this state. Since that time I’ve met and listened to Floridians from every walk of life, and I’m convinced that our greatest asset is our energy, our can-do spirit, our ability create solutions in our communities. It’s time to reinvent government- one that invests in Floridians and provides real value to its communities. Imagine a state full of strong, prosperous communities- people working together locally to find solutions that work for them. I’ve seen it happening all over the state. I saw it in Sarasota, where 500 Floridians are volunteering to help pre-schoolers get ready for school through Children First and in Ocala, where Phoenix House is ending the cycle of substance abuse and crime in their community through local services. It’s time for Tallahassee to listen up and to start investing in what’s already working. I’m listening, and I’m ready to lead.
Faith and family are the cornerstones of my life. I am committed to my wife of 35 years, Kitty, my children Lawton, Katie and Geoffrey, my faith in God, and my love for this great state. Florida has changed in many ways over the course of my life, but I believe that the best days lay ahead of us. I believe that together, we can restore the Florida that we all love: a place of opportunity where our communities can prosper and our children can thrive. Come walk with me.