Please see below for the press release issued by our office media team.
Rebekah Jones' campaign spent or pledged $33,423 to local charities, programs and public education during her first quarter of fundraising - making up more than one-third of expenses to date. The campaign currently stands at $131,631 in total receipts (ex: donations, in-kind contributions, store sales, candidate loans, etc), having reported more than $112,00 in receipts on its first quarterly report.
The campaign is asking registered Florida voters from ALL counties to complete and send a ballot petition to the campaign address listed on the website (PO BOX 1259, Gulf Breeze, FL 32562). Forms can be downloaded here.
Data dashboards designed by Rebekah provide a window into the area's social statistics and are now on the website and available to the public for free. We will continue to add data resources as we are able to help our communities better understand the places we live and the people close to us as our campaign progresses.
Twitter suspends campaign staff members' private accounts for posting on behalf of the campaign, continuing its political censorship of a legally-protected whistleblower and congressional candidate by retaliating against anyone on her staff who posts about the campaign.
A documentary film directed by an Oscar-nominated director with local ties, two highly-anticipated community programs, and much more on the horizon!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - REBEKAH JONES FOR CONGRESS KEEPS WORD ON CHARITABLE GIVING
Rebekah Jones' campaign committee gave back or pledged one-third of the more than $112,000 raised during its first fundraising period to charitable causes in Florida's first district -- without taking money from lobbyists, special interest groups or PACs, her first filing with the FEC shows. Jones got a late start during her campaign's first fundraising quarter, launching her campaign on July 30, moving into her Escambia county home in August, and pre-filing to qualify as a Democrat via ballot petitions on September 29.
Jones officially launched her campaign on July 30, 2021, coinciding with National Whistleblower Day, during which Rebekah was honored for her efforts in data reporting and transparency at the nation's annual event. She kicked off her campaign with her first major endorsement along that theme - American whistleblower and hero Daniel Ellsberg of the "Pentagon Papers" fame.
"People are sick of corruption, of dark money in politics, and the total lack of accountability and transparency we see by those currently in office," Jones said. "There's no one better to fight that here than a whistleblower like me who risked everything for the people of my state."
Jones recently made a number of pledges related to campaign finance reform, including a pledge not to accept money from the fossil fuels industry and a promise to overturn the controversial 'Citizens United' case, which granted corporations personhood and claimed money is a type of free speech, allowing any person or company to give unlimited amounts of money to campaigns without disclosing it.
For example, a company can donate an unlimited amount of money to a SuperPAC of a sitting US Congressperson, who then writes a law to help make that company richer at the expense of the working and middle classes or the environment. Without requiring the disclosure of those donations, the public would have no proof of corruption.
Total receipts for Jones' first quarter of fundraising came in at just over $112,000, with an average donation of $65 from more than 1,100 individual donations. Nearly half of all donations received came from Florida residents, and Jones herself invested in her campaign at its start, sending a clear message the she's serious about winning this race and restoring honesty and integrity to the office.
As of this writing on October 14, 2021, the campaign has received 'receipts' (ex: donations, in-kind contributions, candidate loans, etc.) totaling $131,631 from a diverse range of people and professions.
"I wanted to start this campaign with $0 from special interests or dark money," Jones said. "I've built this campaign with grassroots fundraising, unlike a lot of candidates who take anonymous donations or aren't transparent about who is paying them."
Forbes' named Rebekah its first-ever "Technology Person of the Year" in 2020, so it's no surprise that the industry with the largest share of supporters so far has been technology, from software engineering to programming. Scientists were the second-most represented group in campaign contributions, followed closely by medical personnel, including doctors, physicians, and nurses.
The 10 most common professions among Jones' donors who listed their employment information* were (starting with the most common - tech):
1. Technology/IT (ex: software engineers and developers, programmers, video game designers)
2. Scientists (ex: nuclear physicists, medical researchers, earth/environmental scientists)
3. Doctors/Physicians and Nurses
4. Engineers (ex: chemical, marine, aerospace engineers)
5. Professors (including USF, FSU, LSU, UCLA, etc)
6. K-12 teachers
7. Artists (ex: musicians, writers, actors)
8. Small business owners
10. Military personnel (Active and retired)
*While the FEC only requires us to collect employment information for those who contribute more than $200, most donors provide it anyways. These figures exclude those who reported being retired or unemployed. Retirees represented the single largest group among occupations listed with contributions.
To read the FEC quarterly report filed by the campaign click here (campaign committee ID: C00782854). Please note that the FEC may not publish the reports until the filing deadline has passed and all reports have been processed. The filing deadline is tomorrow, Oct. 15, 2021.
Rebekah made a commitment when she launched her campaign to spend her money locally and to give back to the community - a promise she's kept during the campaign. Rebekah Jones' campaign spent or pledged $33,423 to local charities, programs and public education during her first quarter of fundraising.
"My goal was to spend at least 20% on the community, so ending up with about a third of what we've spent or pledged going to good causes is something I'm really proud of," she said.
Charities/Community Organizations and Events (paid and pledged*): Holocaust Education Resource Council $500 Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund $555 Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce $450 PFLAG Niceville $1,500 Viva Ciclovia (One Hopeful Place) $500 Defenders of Freedom $250 Women Veterans Memorial Fund $10,000* Santa Rosa Education Foundation $500 Okaloosa County Schools $850 (next quarter's goal: $1000) Escambia County Schools $1,000* (next quarter's goal: $500- $1,000) Walton County Schools $518 (next quarter's goal: $1500) Holmes County Schools* TBD (est. $3,000 - $5,000) Science and Community Education Programs (paid): Direct mailing to residents: $20,300 Web Resources: $1,500
Silencing a whistleblower and candidate for congress:
The handicap put on Jones and her campaign team by Ron Desantis' threats to Twitter caused two staff members to not only lose the congressional campaign accounts created to post about campaign events and news, but the suspension of her staff's personal accounts, as well, in a clear attack on free speech and politically motivated blacklisting of a candidate for an opposing party on behalf of a corrupt governor. You can learn more about that here.
Jones was notably forced to change her candidacy from No Party/Independent to Democrat in mid-August in order to comply with Gov. Desantis' voting and election suppression law, which went into effect before Jones started exploring a potential run in her community.
The switch from NPA to Democrat set the campaign back in collecting ballot petitions, she noted. "We had more than 800 ballot petitions done from when I was running as an Independent that we can no longer use because they don't have the correct party listed, so that sets us back quite a ways in meeting our ballot petition goal," she said. "We'll catch up, but we're asking that registered voters in Florida help us out by completing a petition and mailing it to us at our campaign address on our website." Because the election qualifying period is happening during a year of redistricting, any registered Florida voter can print, complete and mail in a ballot petition to have Jones' name appear on the ballot regardless of what county they live in or their political affiliation. Petitions can be found on Jones' campaign website here, and can be printed, completed and mailed to:
Rebekah Jones Campaign PO BOX 1259
Gulf Breeze, FL 32562
If you'd like to start a petition drive in your community to get Rebekah on the ballot and need printed copies of the petitions to have voters in your county complete, please let us know. You can also deliver any completed petitions you collect directly to your local supervisor of elections office, but there is a $0.10 fee for verifying that each person who completed a petition is in fact a registered voter somewhere in the state of Florida. If you mail the petitions to our office, we will pay the fee and mail the completed petitions collected in batches.
Data Center and Public Education:
Jones invested weeks into a massive direct-mailing project that delivered address-specific analysis on a range of issues from the environment to economics, which began hitting mailboxes to more than 35,000 District 1 residents this week.
"Research shows that large areas within Florida's 1st district do not have internet access, which is something I would like to fix as a congresswoman representing this district. For now, the importance of direct-mailing in public outreach and education here cannot be overstated," said Jones. "This can be expensive, but the information given to folks here can be empowering and help our communities understand their risks and vulnerabilities, inform them about seemingly complex scientific processes, and help them appreciate the work we do as scientists to protect our communities."
The campaign published the beta version of a social statistics dashboard on the campaign website earlier this week, which can be accessed here.
"Having both the web and direct-mail resources is huge," said Jones. "We need both, and we need to do it effectively to combat a lot of the misinformation out there that's being pushed by non-experts and non-scientists like Gaetz and some of the local guys - from school boards to the state house and senate."
On the horizon:
Jones has big plans going forward, keeping an eye on the long-game in planning upcoming projects. The campaign encourages anyone who has an idea about how her campaign can make an impact in the community to reach out by emailing: Info@RebekahJonesCampaign.com
"There are two community projects I'm absolutely thrilled about. Both will be huge firsts for Florida - one is related to schools and the other to veterans," she said. "I want to get the details down before I get ahead of myself, but I know news about both will be huge for our community, for Florida and for our country!"
A documentary film about Jones' firing/whistleblower case, the armed raid of her home on orders from Ron DeSantis, and her fight for government transparency and accountability will be released early next year, according to the studio behind the production. The film is being directed by Academy Award-nominated director Josh Fox, who has worked with local community groups in Pensacola in the past on issues related to water quality and water contamination, and teamed up with Rebekah to bring solar power to remote Native American tribes in Louisiana after Hurricane Ida. "I want the world to stop seeing Florida - especially northwest Florida - as this backwards, hopeless place. That isn't true. That might be what Matt Gaetz and Ron Desantis want people to think - that we're beyond redemption - but we're not," Jones said. "Nothing proves that more than the outpouring of love and support my family and I have received here during my fight for honest government. Putting this spotlight on our area will show the world what our people are capable of when given the choice between evil men like Gaetz and Desantis, and those like me who fight for good no matter the cost to our careers, freedom or even our safety." Separately, Jones' philanthropy reflects her commitment to put people first, with her private donations for 2021 already exceeding $30,000, as well: Charitable donations made so far this year: The Children’s Inn at NIH $953 Funeral expenses for children and school staff who died from COVID-19 $4,670 PPE donations (schools) $5,450 PPE donations (first responders) $850 Rent assistance $1,295 Sierra Club $1,000 Smithsonian Institute $5,000 World Wildlife Fund $500 News Foundations $1750 Data Heroes (COVID-19) $9,540 - Partners In Health ($350) - Immune Deficiency Fund ($100) - Frontline families fund ($160) -Arizona Foundation COVID-19 community response fund ($100) Feeding America $5,000 Boston University Epidemiology COVID-19 Response Corps $1,000
"I was so broke as a state scientist married to another state scientist that I used to overdraw our bank account with occasional gifts of $10 to the World Wildlife Fund or Toys for Tots. I felt for so long that if I ever won the lottery or came into money, I wouldn't buy ridiculous cars or houses or jewelry. No, nothing like that, " Jones said. "I'm not rich like Matt Gaetz - I'm not a millionaire or anywhere close to it. But I believe people supported me because they knew I would do something good with it. So that's what I'm going to do."
For interviews or questions, please email us at: Info@RebekahJonesCampaign.com