Schneider Holds Focus on Congress

Politics

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY FRESHLY SQUEEZED CONTENT EVERY MORNING THURSDAY JAN 11, 2018

You’d think after running for Congress in most elections held over the course of a decade, a candidate would get tired of attention. Jan Schneider, though, would like a whole lot more of it. Despite being a college associate of Hillary Clinton and embarking on her seventh run for Congress in Southwest Florida, it feels sometimes like the Democrat can’t get notice even within her own party. But as she raises fund to battle incumbent Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, she wants voters to know her campaign should be taken seriously, and that she intends this time to win.

“I’m old, but there’s an advantage to being old,” Schneider, 70, tells SRQ Daily. “I’m not just career building. I want to leave a legacy of doing what’s best for this district and this country, and I think this district has been ill-served for a while.”

She should have some name recognition for voters after running for Congress as a Democrat in 2002, 2004 and 2006. She also ran as an independent in 2008, when party leaders in Washington threw their support to Christine Jennings, who nearly won against Buchanan in 2006, and made clear to Schneider they did not want her in the primary. She challenged Buchanan again in 2016. In her last race, she won the Democratic nomination and went on to lose to Buchanan, getting 40.2 percent of the vote to the incumbent’s 59.8 percent. But she says her primary reason for running last time was to bring more progressives to the polls for the presidential election. This time, she hopes to win the seat and assist Democrats in taking back the House.

While she was focused on stopping the Iraq war when she first ran for Congress, she’s now focused on health care reform. She supports ObamaCare, but as a step toward a “Medicare-for-All” single payer system, and sees some potential for that to happen in coming sessions. She adamantly opposes efforts by some Republicans, notably Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, to convert Medicare to a voucher system or to raise the age of eligibility. “The current Florida 16th is the second oldest Congressional district in the country in terms of the age of population,” she notes. “It’s not that seniors are any more important than other issues, but they are in this district.” Along those same lines, she wants improvements in the Veterans Affair’s health care operations, which have been beset by problems for years,

Schneider to date is one of three Democrats running for House in District 16, and faces Sarasota attorney David Shapiro as well as Clinton field organizer Calen Dean Cristiani in an August 28 primary. While her opponents are based in the Sarasota area, Schneider hopes to benefit from having a stronger base in Manatee and Hillsborough, where the district is now centered.

She’s clearly focused on fighting the Republicans, though, and not just Buchanan. She labels President Trump a “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic liar.” She’d like Congress to start reining him in, though she feels instead Republicans just want to shut Democrats out. “It’s great to say you’ll work across the aisle, and I’m happy to do that, but we don’t have an aisle in Congress,” she says. “We have Trump’s wall transplanted down the middle aisle. The only way to do something about that is to chip at it.”

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