Open to all voters: Kamia Brown, Geraldine Thompson vie in Senate District 15 primary

The race to represent parts of Orlando west of I-4, south to Oak Ridge as well as north and west to Ocoee, Apopka, Winter Garden and Zellwood in the Florida Senate will be decided in August.

Since only two Democrats — both incumbent state representatives — entered the race to represent Senate District 15, all voters who live within its boundaries will be able to cast a ballot in the primary.


Both Kamia Brown, 41, and Geraldine Thompson, 73, represent portions of this district in the statehouse. The district race was among those impacted by U.S. Rep Val Demings’ decision to run for U.S. Senate, which led the state senator for much of this area, Randolph Bracy, to make a run for Congress.

The two Democrats, both Ocoee residents, have taken swipes at each other in interviews and forums, each making the case they’re the candidate to be trusted to take on tough issues.


Thompson said she ushered through a road designation to name a portion of State Road 438 Julius “July” Perry Memorial Highway in remembrance of a Black man who was lynched in the Ocoee massacre. Thompson said she took up the bill because Brown refused when asked by Ocoee residents.

“She declined to work with the residents in her district,” Thompson said. “The difference, and what makes me the best candidate is, I’m willing to take on tough issues and challenges.”

Brown, the minority party pro tempore and chair of the House Legislative Black Caucus, said Thompson’s version of the story is “distorted,” and she gave the road designation bill to Thompson to carry because she knew Thompson was a historian. Thompson runs the Wells’Built Museum of African American History and Culture in Parramore.

Brown said her record of passing bills aimed at improving postpartum health outcomes for women of color and writing legislation to create offices of minority and health equity in county health departments (Thompson was among several cosponsors of both bills) is proof she’ll take on tough issues.

“If you look at the things I’ve done, they’re not easy things,” Brown said. “When you’re talking about road designations, those are easy things. When you’re talking about giving people health care… that’s not easy stuff.”

Brown has raised $124,570 for the race; Thompson has raised $46,771.

The two candidates differ on how to address the housing crunch in the district, where rents are too high for many to afford, and purchase prices across the board have drastically increased.

Brown said she’d push for incentives for developers to build more units beyond what can be offered by local governments.


Thompson said the state should consider restricting the number of properties out-of-state firms purchase in an area or implement a tax to make such a purchase prohibitive. A similar plan was offered by Bracy this week, which he plans to present to Orange County’s Board of County Commissioners.

An Orlando Sentinel investigation found that last year, 43% of home sales in Zip code 32805, a neighborhood of mostly Black homeowners, were purchased by investors.

Thompson said if elected, her first bill would be one in honor of Tyre Sampson, the teen who was killed on the Orlando Free Fall ride at ICON Park. She said the legislation would call for more frequent ride inspections, accident reporting and signs with height and weight restrictions.

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When they announced the framework of the planned legislation, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried said it would not include Florida’s major theme parks, though Thompson said she’d like more transparent injury reporting from all of the state’s attractions.

“I’m not confident we’re getting authentic information from the number of injuries or fatalities,” she said.

Brown’s 2021 bill created a telehealth pilot program in Duval and Orange counties in hopes of improving minority maternal health outcomes. She also helped expand Medicaid access for postpartum care in Florida from 60 days to a year.


She said the insurance crisis, during which Floridians are being dropped from coverage and some companies are leaving the state, has left seniors vulnerable, and a fund should be created to help with issues such as roofing and rewiring.

“In the Senate, I think there’s a need for, how do we help them?” Brown said. “I think it’s important we look at creating a fund that speaks specifically to seniors.”

Election Day for the primary is Aug. 23. Early voting begins Monday, and runs through Aug. 21. Vote-by-mail ballots must be requested by Aug. 13, and may also be returned to any early voting location or to the Supervisor of Elections office by 7 p.m. Election Day.

Complete primary election coverage can be found at

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