Jessica Realin announces candidacy for New Smyrna Beach city commission
Wife of Pulse first responder played major role in PTSD legislation
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – Jessica Realin, wife of Pulse first responder Gerry Realin, filed her candidacy for city commissioner Zone 1 in New Smyrna Beach on Tuesday.
The mother of two was a major force in the push to get new legislation in place that would provide
wage compensation for first responders diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Realin’s emotional, well-crafted speeches garnered recognition and support from first responder families who suggested she pursue some sort of political office.
In an email to News 6, Realin said she made her decision to run in February when she discovered resistance to the proposed PTSD bill from “elected officials all over the state.”
“I decided that I wanted to be a positive force in my community,” Realin said. "That’s why I decided to run for New Smyrna Beach City commissioner.”
Realin’s husband, a former Orlando Police Department officer, is under weekly treatment for PTSD.
He was assigned the task of removing the 49 dead from the Orlando nightclub after the June 12, 2016 mass shooting.
It was Realin’s fight for benefits that started Jessica’s 21-month long journey to persuade Florida legislators to make a change in the law.
Gov. Rick Scott signed the PTSD legislation into law last month.
Realin told News 6 she wants to make a difference and work hard to protect the community she cares about.
“Having almost lived in New Smyrna Beach for a decade, I want to help keep the charm that is New Smyrna Beach … preserving, and keeping our natural treasures alive for future generations to come," she said.
Realin, who will be opposed by Michael Kolody in the nonpartisan race, has never held public office.
The commissioner’s position is a four-year term.
The primary elections are scheduled for Aug. 28; the general election is set for Nov. 6.
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