On My STEM Background and Election Prospects: Seeking the 314 Action PAC’s Endorsement

I am seeking an endorsement from the 314 Action PAC which seeks to elect scientists to political offices at all levels. Here, I lay out my strong STEM background and discuss my election prospects and why 314 Action should endorse and support me.

About my science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) background:

I teach EME 2040: Introduction to Technology for Educators at University of Central Florida. I have a PhD in Education from UCF in the Instructional Design & Technology track where I researched the financial literacy of preservice teachers for my dissertation. I also completed an advanced graduate statistics certificate.

I have a refereed academic journal article (as 4th author) on a digital engineering and computer science testing and remediation center at UCF, an SSRN article on climate change, and I have co-edited an academic anthology published by IGI Global on K–12 online and blended learning. My dissertation has been published as an e-book by The International Society for Technology, Education and Science (ISTES), and I am co-chairing two virtual academic conferences for ISTES in July 2020. I am a co-author on another refereed article on high-stakes 7th grade civics testing in Florida and a co-editor on another forthcoming book from ISTES on parents’ involvement with their middle schoolers’ mathematics homework and e-learning.

About my general election opponent, my prospects as a candidate, and the 2020 race for Florida’s 6th Congressional district:

The incumbent Congressman is Lt. Col. Michael Waltz and he is running for his 2nd term. The prior Congressman for this district was Ron DeSantis who won his gubernatorial race in 2018.

Waltz is a Green Beret and former never-Trumper who now fervently supports Trump and appears frequently with him. He has served in Afghanistan, worked closely with Dick Cheney, and ran companies selling weapons systems in Libya when the 2012 Benghazi attack happened.

I think Waltz is more vulnerable than people think. Donald Trump co-opted the Republican party and radicalized the American people. The GOP looks especially bad now with their rampant corruption and disastrous mishandling of the coronavirus crisis.

I’ve talked with Ambassador Nancy Soderberg and Dr. Stephen Sevigny already. They are not interested in running again. Soderberg was well-connected and a tremendous fundraising powerhouse but lost this race by 13 percentage points in 2018, despite thinking it was a toss-up.

However, I think in 2020, a fresh candidate like myself has a chance of winning, even with a scrappy campaign. My positions are considered very liberal (universal healthcare, universal basic income, Green New Deal), which conventional wisdom says will not work in a district like this. I disagree. I think people are getting quite sick (literally) from the status quo, and the Republicans won’t be able to run on a strong economy when coronavirus has kicked off an economic depression of unprecedented ferocity, as well as a public health crisis that may claim 250,000 American lives.

Another advantage is I was born in Daytona Beach and have lived in the district my whole life, unlike past and present candidates and representatives. We also have felon re-enfranchisement for the first time ever, and the Florida Democratic party and local Democrats are doing a fantastic job of getting Democrats registered to vote, including vote-by-mail. The wind is at our back.

Why the 314 Action PAC should endorse me:

I started campaigning on January 2, 2020 as a political neophyte. Up until 3/12/2020 when coronavirus took hold, I attended 31 meetings / events including festivals, Daytona State College events, parades, canvassing, Democratic galas and meetings, and met all of the Democratic leadership in Volusia, Flagler, Lake, and St. Johns counties. I have been warmly received and learned a lot quite quickly. An endorsement from 314 Action would be a great boost to my campaign, and with my background, experience, and expertise, I believe I am an ideal candidate and potential spokesperson for your political action committee.

Thank you for reading. Please donate to my campaign. Even if you live outside Florida’s 6th Congressional district, this is a race you can make a real difference in.

Please also check and update your voter registration and get registered to vote-by-mail. You can do it all online. If you are a registered independent who votes Democratic, please switch your registration to the Democratic party. Think of this like the Census—more registered Democrats means a “safely” Republican district becomes less safe, which opens the floodgates for support and funding to get Democrats elected, not just to Congress but also to our state legislature, city and county governments, and school boards.

Richard Thripp for Congress: Candidate Statement, March 31, 2020

A candidate statement I wrote for the Lake County Democrats on March 31, 2020.


Photo of Richard Thripp

I am a 28-year-old Florida native, husband to Kristy, and father to a 1-year-old baby boy. I was born in Daytona Beach and now live in Orange City. I am running to be your Congressman for Florida’s 6th Congressional district. I want to make a difference for disadvantaged and working-class Central Floridians.

In December 2019, I completed my PhD in Education at the University of Central Florida (UCF) where I researched future teachers’ knowledge of personal finance, investing, and retirement planning. I advocate for financial education coupled with progressive laws and regulations that treat typical Floridians and Americans fairly.

I completed an associate degree at Daytona State College in 2011, a bachelor’s degree in Psychology at UCF Daytona Beach in 2014, and a master’s degree in Applied Learning & Instruction at UCF in 2016. I am also a former Port Orange Toastmasters club president and treasurer.

At UCF, I’ve taught educational technology to over 250 future teachers. Public education, including affordable, quality higher education, is essential to developing our citizenry and facilitating their success. As your Congressman, I will always prioritize education.

Some back story: I am the child of conspiracy theorist Trump-supporters. I, too, bought into right-wing propaganda until my mid-20s, which I regret and must reckon with. What follows are several key catalysts in my journey to becoming a progressive Democrat:

  1. My research into financial literacy, not unlike Senator Elizabeth Warren (a former Republican), began with me blaming individuals, but led me to realize Americans are being systematically oppressed by oligarchical institutions and special interests.
  2. Learning that our atmosphere has increased from 280 to 415 parts-per-million of carbon dioxide from human action led me to reject climate denialism propaganda and realize the depth of our planetwide climate crisis.
  3. A deep dive into vaccines, in advance of our son’s birth on February 27, 2019, led me to reject anti-vaccination rhetoric and to receive 6 vaccinations myself.

Wealth stratification in the United States is off the charts. I’m supporting healthcare for all, a universal basic income, a Green New Deal, strengthening Social Security, and fair taxes instead of giveaways for wealthy individuals and large corporations.

In Congress, I will fight tenaciously for you, both on the House floor and in constituent casework. We must make a massive investment in the American people and our children’s future. We can do this! The time for change is now!

Visit my website.

Donate to my campaign.

Where is Florida’s 6th Congressional District?

Florida’s 6th Congressional district includes all of Volusia and Flagler counties plus the southern part of St. Johns County and the northeastern part of Lake County. The above map from GovTrack.us is the best one I’ve found thus far for examining the boundaries.

Major cities are Palm Coast, Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach, Port Orange, New Smyrna Beach, DeLand, and Deltona, with many more unincorporated areas and towns, as well as smaller cities including Bunnell, Flagler Beach, Holly Hill, South Daytona, Daytona Beach Shores, Edgewater, Oak Hill, Lake Helen, Orange City, DeBary, Mt. Dora, and part of Eustis.

At the north end, #FL6 does include some areas on the south side of State Road 207 that have St. Augustine mailing addresses, but excludes the city limits of St. Augustine and St. Augustine Beach (which are entirely within the 4th district). At the south end the boundary is the Volusia County limits bordering Brevard (8th district) and Seminole (7th district) counties, and on the west end, part of Lake county is included.

Anyone who lives within these boundaries can vote for me (Richard Thripp) in the Democratic primary on 8/18/2020 if they are a registered Democrat, and in the general election on 11/03/2020 after I win the primary. In 2022, the Congressional districts will be re-drawn based on the 2020 Census, and Florida will be gaining a seat (going up from 27 to 28) thanks to our booming population.

It is challenging to find accurate boundaries for Florida’s 6th Congressional district as it actually got re-drawn again following the 2010 Census due to a court challenge. For instance, the map on Ballotpedia is wrong, showing the prior boundaries which excluded Deltona and included much more of St. Johns County, none of Lake County, and part of Putnam County.

Many voters ask me if they can vote for me being that they live on beachside (east of the Halifax River, Matanzas River, or other parts of the Intracoastal Waterway). The answer is YES because the district includes all of Volusia and Flagler counties. It gets confusing when we compare to the 120 House districts and 40 Senate districts for the State of Florida legislature, as beachside is a different district from mainland in Volusia County, but remember that Congressional districts are much larger because there are only 435 of them nationwide.

Click here for statistics on Florida’s 6th Congressional district from the Census Bureau.

Why Vote for Richard Thripp?

Here are a few reasons to vote for Richard Thripp on 8/18/2020 (Democratic primary) and 11/03/2020 (general election) for Florida’s 6th Congressional district (Volusia, Flagler, and parts of St. Johns and Lake counties), or by mail or early voting:

Photo of Richard Thripp

✔ Will fight for the Green New Deal to make better technologies cheap via scale
✔ Will fight for universal healthcare to help all Americans
✔ Supports a universal basic income to revitalize our people and economy
✔ Won’t cut Social Security
✔ A check on Donald Trump and the lawless Republicans
✔ Unlike other candidates, born in Daytona Beach and has always lived in the district
✔ Supports ending war and knows there is nothing to win in the Middle East
✔ Accomplished college instructor and financial educator who values education
✔ Will fight vested interests on the climate crisis to save Florida’s future
✔ Will expand the IRS with the resources to collect from high earners and big business
✔ Will not dial for dollars or be bought and paid for by anyone
✔ Will fight against corporate welfare, subsidies, and giveaways to the rich
✔ Constituent-focused and will open a district office in mid-town Daytona Beach

My Republican opponent:

✘ Has the “guts” to slash Social Security and Medicare
✘ Donald Trump’s favorite Congressman
✘ Supports endless and costly militarism in the Middle East and beyond
✘ Indebted to special interests and corporate donors such as NASCAR
✘ Lives in a different Congressional district
✘ Spews falsehoods about the “socialism” bogeyman
✘ Supports corporate welfare and giveaways to the rich (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act)
✘ Opposes women’s healthcare and choice
✘ Against expanding Medicaid and wants to repeal Obamacare

Download a printable PDF of the above list.

Richard Thripp logo, alternate version

Visit Thripp.com/donate or mail your campaign contribution to:
Richard Thripp for Congress
ORANGE CITY FL 32763-6014

Paid for by Richard Thripp for Congress