About Allen

I was born in 1980 at Walker Memorial hospital in Highlands County and raised in a small town called Wauchula located in Hardee County, Florida. I grew up in a three-bedroom trailer with 6 younger siblings. My parents were very hard-working, genuine people, and made a huge impact on me. My mother worked as an instructor for persons with disabilities for over 25 years. Watching her, I learned how to see past an individual’s disabilities to recognize their abilities. She taught life skills and the arts. From her I learned how to draw, paint, make ceramics and I inherited a sense of compassion for others. Creativity opened my eyes to seeing the world as a beautiful place, ever changing, and able to take on new iterations of itself in times of need.   

My father worked as an auto mechanic and a professional auto body painter. I spent summers with my dad working on cars. He worked hard and always gave 150%.

He didn’t know how to quit and I learned how to become a dedicated and determined man all because he showed me what was possible if I kept the course and trusted the process. 

When I turned 11, my dad made me a deal that changed my life and gave me a deeper appreciation for the beauty that is music.

He wanted me to learn to play the piano and told me, “if you learn how to play two songs on the piano before Christmas, I will get you a go-cart”. My 11 year old self took that challenge, because who wouldn’t want to get a go-cart?

He paid for my first lessons to get me started, and I really enjoyed learning how to play. Shortly after I started my lessons, my father founded a church. Because of both of these seemingly unrelated events, I quickly learned to play and have been playing the piano in churches ever since. I felt that playing in a place of worship my father built connected me to my community in a way that can’t be described.

Music seems to have a way to transcend generations, races, and religions. Playing music has taught me that people have a lot more in common than they think.

Growing up in an agricultural community, I spent a lot of time taking care of farm animals and picking oranges with migrant farmers. I learned that agricultural work is not for the weak, mentally or physically, and I have the utmost respect for ranchers and farmers. 

 

We met at South Florida State College while I was studying cosmetology and I knew from day one that she was the special kind of person I needed to have in my life.

She had all the mysterious components that sucked me in right away – she was very reserved, smart, driven, and determined. She had an inner glow about her that drew me in and I’ve never looked back. For over 20 years I have had the honor to learn what that glow was all about. I have been fortunate to have had a front-row seat to witness her immense compassion for other people, her desire to do good, and her unwavering love and support for me no matter what. She has been on this journey with me every step of the way.

She is a fighter, she is driven, and she is tenacious. I am forever indebted to her for her unwavering support, even when it wasn’t the most convenient.

allen ellison with wife dr samantha ellison and daughter allanah

She is a blessing from God. She makes me smile on the inside and the outside every single time I look at her.

I know that this world is rough on women and especially women of color, and I vow to do what’s necessary to fight for women’s rights so my daughter can have every advantage possible when she grows up.

Every ounce of energy that I have is channeled into making sure that my daughter understands the complexities of our nation and how to overcome them. I want her to understand that just because something looks challenging doesn’t mean she doesn’t have the tools and skills necessary to be the change she wants to see in the world.

She is a born leader and I’m excited about what she chooses to do with her life. Maybe there will be two politicians in the family in the future!

I have been working in the cosmetology field for over 20 years, and I have to say it has taught me more things than just how to do someone’s hair extremely well. 

It also taught me how to listen to people, how to connect, be open-minded, how to be resourceful, and solve problems. 

And this extends beyond servicing my customers and clients over all these years – it honestly taught me what we needed in politicians and what was sorely lacking. 

It has taught me that as public servants, we have an obligation to utilize our skills and resources to help people in need in ways that benefit them – and it all starts with listening, being open-minded, being resourceful, and solving complex problems.

Elected officials need to work for people, not against them. Politicians need to understand the needs of their communities and find innovative ways to solve complex problems for their communities.

One of the most important lessons that I have learned in life is that we each have a unique gift and everyone’s gift is equally important. My gift is helping others. It is there when I am at my best. As I grew in my sense of purpose, I realized that I could maximize my gift by affecting positive outcomes through policy and in politics. So, I went back to school to study the inner workings of government and in 2007, I graduated from Florida Southern College with my degree in Political Science.

In 2014, I founded the Center for Economic & Policy Development (The Center) to facilitate economic growth throughout Central Florida and rural parts of the country.

My goal is to inspire the development of future leaders from around the country through our Emerging Leaders Initiative. This initiative facilitates my vision of pairing young bright minds with current leaders in the fields of medicine, science, engineering, law, policy, and politics.

 

In 2018, I incorporated the Center for Economic & Policy Development into The Ellison Foundation which is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit NGO dedicated to positively changing and strengthening the lives of families and the communities in which they live.

Also in 2018, I became the Democratic Nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives to represent Florida’s 17th Congressional District claiming a 52 percent victory over numerous contenders during the special primary election.

This move sparked a movement within myself that I’ll never forget.

During this election, I made an extremely impressive showing on November 6th general election against an experienced and well-known Florida Senator who served three terms in the Florida Senate. This turnout for me solidified my belief – Florida voters want better leadership and were going to the polls to create the change they needed.

I won nearly 40% of the final vote count, which was a remarkable showing, considering that my name was not even placed on the ballots due to the fact that they were already printed when I entered the race. It was no small task to overcome – I had only 28 days to build and run a professional campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives in the largest congressional district in Florida. The district covers the nine sprawling counties of Lee, Sarasota, Polk, Charlotte, De Soto, Glade, Okeechobee, Highlands, Glades, and Hardee. I was unable to win the race but it lit a fire in me that continues to drive me.

 

I will always look back at that race as my first true understanding of what my purpose in life was destined to be.
allen talking to an older Caucasian gentleman shaking his hand

Right now, veterans are committing suicide at an alarming rate, citizens in this country are on the brink of losing their disability benefits, social security, welfare, jobs, and overall faith in our Government.

When I think about the future that my daughter will inherit, I can’t help but think about what we can do to secure the future for all of our children. The tomorrow we prepare for them must be better than our yesterday.

My vision for our future is centered upon improving the quality of life for all citizens.

This means protecting the environment, securing social security, pushing for universal healthcare coverage, increasing disability benefits, continuing the fight for equal rights of women, a focus on veterans care, making impactful improvements to infrastructure and redefining our educational system.

We need good-paying jobs, sustainable agricultural development, and green solutions for a stronger, cleaner, and safer environment for everyone to enjoy.

 

In this race to become Florida’s newest voice in Washington, I want you to know that I am the strongest candidate on protecting the environment, the only candidate that has a platform to improve the quality of life for all American citizens, and the only candidate that cares about securing Americans living with disabilities.

We need good-paying jobs, sustainable agricultural development, and green solutions for a stronger, cleaner, and safer environment for everyone to enjoy.

I have been working hard my whole life and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon.

Growing up in Florida, I have gotten a very strong sense of what’s working and what’s not. Leadership in Congress has not worked for our State in a very long time. If you believe that we deserve better from our elected officials, then join our movement, roll up your sleeves, and get involved.

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We can’t do this without you – join us!