Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic candidate for governor Andrew Gillum talked with voters last Friday at Gulf Coast State College Gulf/Franklin Campus about topics ranging from investing in public education to transforming Florida’s economy.

As mayor of Tallahassee, Gillum has overseen the fastest-growing economy per capita in Florida and led on environmental issues, including opening a 120-acre solar farm that tripled Tallahassee’s solar production.

“Leaning in to the green economy” is part of his vision for building an economy for Florida with higher-paying jobs.

“We ought to be showing the rest of the world how to deal with the impacts of global climate change,” he told the crowd. “We ought to be leading on solar energy as the Sunshine State. We ought to be leading in the kind of innovations that can be created and exported to other parts of the country and, indeed, other parts of the world.”

Gillum credits his own success to a quality public education and wants to strengthen Florida’s public education system by funding public schools over charter schools, expanding access to early childhood education, ending high-stakes testing and increasing teacher salaries.

“You value and you pay for what you consider to be worthy,” he said. “Our kids are worthy. Our communities are worthy. Their futures are worthy. We need a Governor who understands their worthiness and makes those investments and I want to be that Governor.”

He also urged voters to pass Amendment 4 in November to restore voting rights to Floridians with felony convictions after they have completed all terms of their sentence.

“We deserve a forgiving state where once you have committed your crime, and you’ve paid your debt to society and you’ve reentered it, you ought to have your civil right to vote. You ought to get back your right to participate.”

Gillum faces former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, former Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine, Palm Beach real estate developer Jeff Greene, and Orlando businessman Chris King in the August 28 primary election. Early voting begins Aug. 18.

The Gulf County Democrats hosted the event.

“The Gulf County Democrats are happy to welcome to our public monthly meetings candidates seeking all levels of political office,” said Chair Shannon Stallings.

Candidate for Florida’s 2nd Congressional district Brandon Peters will speak at the Aug. 13 meeting.