Michael Bluemling Jr.’s campaign has an American flag as the E in his name. “Vote red, white and Bluemling” is his motto.
The Delray Beach resident is one of five Republicans registered with the Federal Election Commission. He’s running against District 21 Congresswoman Lois Frankel. The former West Palm Beach mayor, the Democrat ran unopposed last time.
The federal election is more than a year away on Nov. 3, 2020. But Bluemling’s already conducting what he describes as a full-time, grassroots campaign. He’s meeting with voters, getting signatures on a petition and raising money.
He cites military and civilian credentials, and has worked on Capitol Hill and in Tallahassee. At 41, he sees this congressional race as his next logical step.
Q: What’s your platform?
A: I have three. Ending child sex trafficking. Education reform. Retiree benefits and rights and VA [Veterans Administration] reform.
More early childhood education for diverse and economically challenged vulnerable populations. I want to work with community-based organizations and local officials to fill in the gaps.
I managed the Virginia Values Veterans program, a government initiative to help create 30,000 jobs. I want to work with universities to make sure the jobs are there when students graduate.
Q: How would you describe yourself?
A: As a patriotic conservative, an observant Catholic and a Judeo-Christian. I want to protect our allies and Israel. I want to preserve our constitution and give more rights to the American people. I will work with Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sheriff Ric Bradshaw.
Q: What do you bring to the table?
A: I have 15 years with the federal government including my military service.
Q: I see you’re wearing a U.S. Army cap. What did you do in the service?
A: I served in the First Infantry Division and I was mechanized Infantry. I was on a Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle and I was a Sergeant/Non Commissioned Officer. I was part of the Kosovo conflict and the war on terrorism. I served at the base in Kitzingen, Germany.
Q: Did you come from a military family?
A: I was born in Fort Benning, Ga. My father served aboard the USS Kitty Hawk. We were raised in Pittsburgh, Pa.
A: What did you after your discharge?
Q: I have four degrees and certifications. My masters degree is from Pennsylvania State University. I worked for non-profits and for-profits.
I advocated on Capitol Hill on labor laws and human resources for SHRM [Society for Human Resource Management.] I was an investigator for the Department of Labor.
I wrote three books. I was a small business owner of Power of One based in Richmond, Va. I want to give more rights to small business owners.
Q: What would you call yourself now?
A: A community activist.
Q: What made you to decide to run for elective office?
A: I’ve been on the program side and seen the overlap and duplication of services. I became interested when I worked in Tallahassee before and during [legislative] session.
Q: What makes you stand out from the other candidates?
A: I’m a change leader. I’m running a grassroots campaign for change. I want to write great legislation that positively affects the community.
Q: Are you active in the Republican party?
A: I’m a member of the Republican Party of Palm Beach County.
Q: What’s your next step?
A: Qualifying in May.
By Marci Shatzman