Ramon Alexander, a Tallahassee native, proud Florida A&M graduate and member of the Florida House of Representatives, has an ambitious agenda for the upcoming legislative session.
He is a Democratic member of the lower chamber, swimming against the current in a Republican-controlled body. Alexander represents the 8th District, which includes Gadsden County and parts of Leon County, including FAMU. He was re-elected to a second two-year term in 2018, running without opposition.
Alexander’s main legislative priority is to continue to create a more holistic, fair and equitable State University System, which includes FAMU and 11 other public universities in Florida. He has been keeping performance-based funding in his priorities for a while now, helping to change the model and creating additional funding for FAMU last year. Alexander intends to use the changes to performance-based funding as a stepping stone to discuss other spending and policy decisions.
“We want to make sure that as this target continues to move that all state universities have access and have the ability to compete and provide the quality of education that they are capable of providing with the necessary resources to do so,” Alexander said in an interview on Tuesday.
Rochard Moricette, FAMU’s student body president, admires the work Alexander has done on behalf of the university.
“FAMU has been fortunate to have earned and maintained support at the state Legislature. Representative Alexander saw a problem with the old model and the bottom three format and argued that eliminating this structure would open up funding opportunities for more universities,” Moricette said. “I was pleased by this decision because it opened up doors of opportunities for FAMU and our students. We were able to receive $13.7 million to allocate toward student success initiatives to further enhance the academic experience for our students.”
When asked how he has been successful in office, Alexander said, “When you’re prepared and you have a grasp of what is going on, that lends you credibility; and when you are about being effective and not seeking out media attention, it is easier to get things done on behalf of the people you represent.”
Alexander was passionate when speaking about Gadsden County, the only minority-majority county in the state of Florida, with African Americans accounting for more than 56 percent of the population. He referred to this region as a jewel.
He is adamant about creating more jobs and opportunities for Gadsden County. He said helping out Gadsden County is one of his top goals.
“I have a huge interest in rural infrastructure, transportation dollars, road infrastructure, and capacity building structure throughout the region, particularly in Gadsden County,” Alexander said. “With the right type of investment, the economy of Gadsden County can be rather significant.”
Alexander is also focusing on policies that do not correlate with the true mission and values of Florida A&M University.
“I want to educate individuals on what the core mission is and make sure that we protect FAMU from those that do not understand the values by any means necessary,” he said. “I look forward to staying on the battlefield for FAMU and making sure we have adequate funding to compete at the levels necessary based off the performance metric standards that have been established in regard to retention, progression, and job placement.
“We have to fight this battle long-term because an investment in FAMU is a true investment in the state of Florida, which will be an investment for the greater good of all Floridians.”