Tavares, FL April 23, 2014
Joseph Stephens is one of five Republican candidates for Florida Representative District 31. District 31 covers Apopka, FL, plus parts of Lake County including Mt. Dora, Tavares & Eustis. Florida allows anyone to run for office without any qualification process, and the Lake County Republicans decided not to "vett" candidates this election. As a consequence you sometimes get candidates who take space on the ballot, but shouldn't be there.
Mr Stephens spoke recently at a local event, but I first researched his background, and found as of April 16, 2014:
- His Facebook page was rarely updated and contained some emotional rants not worthy of an elected candidate. https://www.facebook.com/CandidateJosephStephens
- His website was partially complete and had no real issues or his solutions for them. http://www.candidatejosephstephens.com/
- His LinkedIn page is very light on details: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/joseph-stephens/24/368/344
- A review of his Florida Dept. of Elections candidate page found numerous election record keeping violations which indicate an inability to even manage a campaign. http://election.dos.state.fl.us/candidate/CanDetail.asp?account=60328 Click the "Campaign Documents" link to see all the failure to file notices.
- He has only filed 400 petition card when over 1000 are required.
- His financial election reports only indicate a contribution of $500 and no spending, although he had campaign literature on the table.
- Here is an article on the District 31 race by Frank Torres, who mostly covers Orange County politics: http://orlando-politics.com/tag/joseph-stephens/ Notice that Torres barely mentions Stephens as a viable candidate.
Here is our video of his talk before the North Lake County (FL) Tea Party in Tavares, FL on April 16 ( http://youtu.be/PWaDe_UZSIk )
This 39 minute video was taken at the monthly meeting of the North Lake County (FL) Tea Party (NLTP) in Tavares, FL. Introduction by Walter Price. It was followed by tough Q&A session.
In my opinion, Mr. Joseph is a very pleasant fellow, but is not a serious candidate and should not be on the ballot.
This video was a rambling rant against banks & government without any real discussion of how he, as a legislator, would fix the problems and help Lake County or the District 31 constituents. The talk was all about generic complaints, but not solutions and many issues were about generic Federal government hot button issues "to inflame the base" and not about issues that could be affected by the Florida legislators.
The other four serious Republican candidates have NOT had Elections reporting problems, funding problems or petition filing problems. Two have filed the required petition cards to be on the ballot, and the other two have documented funding to pay the fees if they do not collect enough petition cars. They deserve your attention, and before supporting Mr. Stephens, you should wait for him to get organized with specific ideas and solutions for District 31 constituents that are realistic. My observation is that he might really be a Libertarian, not a Republican.
After the entire talk, we still did not know why he was running. NLTP President Andy Dubois asked him why he was running, and Stephens finally said he wanted to fix the banking and bankruptcy industry, but only cited generalities.
Watch the video and decide.