Lady Power in the Legislature with Dr. Tracye Polson

By Alexandra Glover

After the controversial election of 2016, Dr. Tracye Polson – a clinical social worker and University of Maryland alumnus – went to the Women’s March on Washington near the end of January 2017 and discovered an unforeseen path for her life: running for the District 15 seat in the House of Representatives for the Florida legislature.

“I was inspired by all of the smart, qualified, and committed women who were there, and I came home to find them in Jacksonville as well!” Dr. Polson said. “After seeing all of the women’s organization and involvement, I thought that I should step up too!”

As a small-business owner and breast cancer survivor, Dr. Polson aspires to work with the industrious people of Jacksonville and the city’s business community to increase the amount of jobs that can support families and provide them with health care. After one of her fundraising events in October 2017, she decided to answer a few questions about her life before and after she dived into the chaotic sea of politics.

Q: What are three fun facts that you want everyone to know about you?

A: I binge-watched Stranger Things, and I’m hooked. I’m a rule-follower, but I love a good practical joke. I sing really loudly in the car by myself, but people would laugh hysterically if they heard me – I can’t carry a tune!

Q: I’m aware that you attended the University of Maryland. What was your major, and how was your overall experience at the school?

A: I received my Master of Social Work from the University of Maryland, and my experience was excellent! I was an older student because I started when I was either 32 or 33 years old, and I went there part time while being a full-time mom. I loved my classes and many of my professors.

Q: Why did you choose to move to Florida, and how has your life changed since the move?

A: My husband and I visited Jacksonville in 2003 and fell in love with the natural beauty of the area and the friendly people. We bought a small second home that year and got to know the area, causing us to love it even more. So, when my son graduated from high school and was going to college in Colorado, we decided to move to Jacksonville primarily. My life has changed dramatically since we moved here. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, started my own private practice in 2013, and completed my Ph.D. in 2014.

Q: What made you decide to run for office?

A: After attending the 2017 Women’s March in Washington, D.C. and witnessing all of the women in Jacksonville marching, organizing, and contacting their elected officials, I wanted to find women who I could support in office and decided to run myself. I’m not a politician, but the seat in my district is open. We need to get past the partisan bickering, put the focus back on the needs of working families, and get down to the business of solving real problems.

Q: If you are elected, what are some things that you hope to accomplish?

A: As a small-business owner, I know that employment opportunities are provided by thriving businesses. In addition, the threat of bankruptcy shouldn’t be the result of a child or family member becoming ill. Finally, our youth deserve safe schools that encourage a lifelong love of learning, not teaching to the test. We have a responsibility to fight for these crucial issues and many, many more!

Q: In your opinion, why is it important for more females to get involved in politics?

A: Women bring a variety of experiences that create richer, more thoughtful decision-making.

Q: What is some advice that you want to give to anyone who is thinking about getting involved in politics now or in the future?

A: Talk to as many people as you can. Meet with people on both sides of the aisle, particularly women, who are in office or have run for office in the past. Attend trainings, as I have attended several of them; they were incredibly useful and informative. Examine closely how you feel about asking people for money – campaigns require more funds than people realize. Finally, ask yourself if you have the time, energy and passion to do what it takes to run a strong and ethical campaign.