John Paul Alvarez is a true Floridian who was born in Miami, raised in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area, and went to the University of Central Florida in Orlando where he earned his BA in History and became certified to teach in the State of Florida. Born an advocate and a fighter, John is involved in local and statewide Democratic organizations, has volunteered for the Alex Sink campaign in 2010, and unsuccessfully ran for State House during the short time he lived in Central Florida. To date, John is the only openly GLBT candidate for state house to receive the most votes in Florida’s history.
John’s father Juan was an orphaned boy flown to Miami to fend for himself and to make a better life on his own. Quickly he was able to find work with the help of the Hispanic community and started working for local hotels and restaurants. Juan went on to become a successful manager at a local car rental company. John’s mother and grandmother, both Latino immigrants of Jewish Heritage, came to Florida in the early 70’s. Ana, John’s grandmother, worked hard in the factories of Miami eventually saving enough money to start a family business – living the American dream. When John was born, Ana was operating a coffee and sandwich shop in Miami’s theater district.
Growing up in this warm and loving yet poor family, John experienced first-hand economic hardships and saw the benefits of hard work. Their self-reliance and perseverance served as early life lessons for John in how to make the best of one’s opportunities. Protecting working families is key to our county, state and country’s economic success.
Education and Work
With a solid work ethic and a dedication to education, John would become a nominee for the prestigious Sliver Knight award at Stranahan High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. While working full time in event management, John continued his education at Broward Community College and Florida Atlantic University, eventually earning his Bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Central Florida.
During his short time in Central Florida, John became an active member of many school, community, political and union organizations. During this time, John stepped up to the plate and took over the family responsibilities of raising his two younger brothers. Both hard-working and successful young men, his brothers are making lives of their own. His youngest brother Michael has just entered college and his middle brother Tony is a burgeoning chef.
Advocate and Fighter
John has always believed that if you want something bad enough in life you must do something about it. In early 2011, John felt the calling to run for State House in order to fight equality, jobs, and better education and healthcare.
John defeated the former Mayor of Palm Bay – something that many predicted would be impossible – with 56% of the vote. In this Democratic Primary, the Republican Party spent close to $12,000 aiding the former Democratic Mayor of Palm Bay in an attempt to ensure that John Paul Alvarez would not win. “I know how to win a Democratic Primary,” says John “It’s not about how many flyers you send or how many commercials you have on TV. It’s also not about having Republican third party money added into the mix. It’s about knocking on every single door and talking to every single voter and proving to them that you are not someone that can be bought and paid for.”
During the General Election a few months later, John fell victim to anti-GLBT and anti-Hispanic propaganda from his opponent and other 3rd parties during the three days leading up to Election Day. That final week, John was polling slightly under U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, and that is what scared the GOP establishment into waging an extremely negative campaign. Earning over 34,000 votes, John Paul Alvarez is the only openly GLBT candidate for state house to receive the most votes in Florida’s history.
The Love of Teaching
Because of his love for teaching and making a difference in every student’s life, John became certified to teach Elementary Education, Spanish language, and Social Science. In his first teaching position, John was awarded Excellence in Teaching Award.
His other accomplishments include being a reading tutor, coaching a Florida Lego Robotics team, and being a Sponsor for Students Against Destructive Decisions (S.A.D.D.). Currently, John is teaching 4th grade in Deerfield Beach, Florida and volunteers his time after school tutoring his students and assisting in a Haitian-American dance team.
Helping Others Get Ahead
John is an educator, a mentor, and a community leader who will always put people first. He strongly believes that all individuals deserve the chance to get ahead in life and achieve their dreams. John will continue being involved in the community and with the local Democratic party in order to keep fighting for students, seniors, and working families.