Daryl Parks seeks state Senate seat

Photo courtesy: Public Justice.Net

Daryl Parks, a Democrat and a prominent Tallahassee-based civil rights attorney, has thrown his hat in the ring to become the state senator for District 3. 

The seat, traditionally a Democratic Party stronghold, is currently being held by Corey Simon, a Republican who was elected to his first two-year term in 2022.

Florida Education Association Executive Director Sheria Griffin, a Democrat, is also running a campaign to obtain the seat. Gadsden County Commissioner Kimblin NeSmith was campaigning for the seat but withdrew herself from the race as of mid-March, leaving Parks and Griffin as candidates on track to meet in an August primary.

Parks received his undergraduate degree from Florida A&M University, where he was a two-time Student Government Association president — and member of the university’s Board of Trustees — and his law degree from Florida State University. He has gained a national reputation as an attorney and civil rights activist as he has represented high-profile cases such as the Trayvon Martin case and the Michael Brown case, working alongside his former partner, Ben Crump.

The Florida Senate District 3 seat covers parts or all of Dixie, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor and Wakulla counties. Simon, who benefitted from redistricting efforts by the Republican-controlled Legislature, was a football star at Florida State. He also played professionally in the NFL.

“You see what is happening around us in our state, you see insurance rates rising, you see skyrocketing cause for basic healthcare, you see the issue of people trying to keep a roof over there heads without housing situations,” Parks said. “We deserve a senator who will focus on making sure simple things happen.” 

Two key focuses of Parks’ campaign are lowering property insurance and protecting rights to abortion. 

Johnny Watson, a paralegal who worked for Parks for nine years, said, “He was a great boss and a great leader. He created a learning environment that allowed me to mature and grow inside of a law firm that was the biggest and baddest Black-owned law firm in the Big Bend. I would never have been as successful with Daryl.

“Daryl is a natural leader. He could lead a herd of wolves if he wanted to,” Watson added.

As the campaign continues in the coming months the race will be closely watched to see which candidate will represent the Big Bend as senator for District 3.