Adjunct professor Andy Thomson running for Florida House of Representatives

Andy Thomson, one of FAU’s political science professors, is campaigning for a seat in the 91st district of the Florida House of Representatives.

Elisabeth Gaffney, Contributing Writer

One of Florida Atlantic University’s adjunct professors, Andy Thomson, is campaigning for a seat in the 91st district of the Florida House of Representatives.

Thomson, also a member of the Boca Raton City Council, began working at FAU as a guest lecturer in the Advanced Campaigning Program and later hired as an adjunct professor starting in the Spring 2022 semester. He teaches Local and State Politics within the College of Arts and Letters’ department of political science.

He ran unopposed in the Democratic primary in August, and he will face Republican nominee Peggy Gossett-Seidman in the general election on Nov. 8.

Civic education is part of what we do, so we are always happy to see members of our department participate in the democratic process and set a good example of how we can all try and make a positive difference,” said Kevin Wagner, chair of the political science department at FAU.

Thomson is prioritizing nine issues for his campaign: the affordability crisis, women’s rights, gun safety, public safety, environmental protection, public school funding, affordable healthcare, support for job creators and senior citizenship rights. More information can be found on his campaign site.

“We really want our community to thrive. We need to make sure that we feel safe here. And for the most part, in Boca, we have that. And I wanna make sure that we continue to have that,” said Thomson.

Thomson won a seat in the Boca Raton City Council in August 2018 and won another term in March 2020. With his colleagues, he tackles the council’s principles, focusing mainly on a vibrant and sustainable city and strong partnership with the community.

In 2021, he started an initiative called “Run the City,” where over 400 volunteers from the community gather together to run 500 miles around Boca Raton and pick up trash along the way. Thomson said he and his team picked up 1,300 pounds of trash at the end of the year.

Joao Brandao, a junior political science major taking Thomson’s course, says Thomson is more of a storyteller than a lecturer. 

“I like the way that he teaches. He’s honestly one of the best professors I’ve had so far at the university,” Brandao said. 

Despite his experience in the world of politics, Thomson doesn’t speak much of his campaign in class. After class, he keeps his door open for any questions.

“I’m not here to campaign, I’m here to teach,” said Thomson.

Thomson’s parents met at FAU in 1967, where his father majored in political science. His father’s interest in civics and government inspired Thomson to pursue the same passion. 

Thomson’s experience with the educational system gives him an advantage to advocate for public school funding and combat the teacher shortage.

“Andy Thomson would certainly bring first-hand knowledge of our higher education system to the legislature. He clearly values education and has shown this with his commitment to our students and the university,” said Wagner.

According to the Campus Vote Project, voter participation among college students has increased since 2014. However, while Gen Z and Millennials made up the majority of eligible voters in 2020, they did not make up the majority of voters in prior elections.

“For too many years, for too many election cycles, college students, including those at FAU, just have not shown up to vote in these things. Even though just about every facet of your life at the college level […] is governed by local or state government,” said Thomson.

Thomson described FAU’s student population as a “massive political force.” In a city of 100,000 people, he said if every FAU student took the time to vote, they could elect anyone they wanted to. Thomson wants more students to engage in civics so that can happen.

Michael Horswell, dean of the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, says he’s  appreciative of Thomson finding time in his schedule to teach at FAU.

“He is a consummate professional whose teaching provides our students with unique insights as to how local and state government works from the perspective of a practitioner,” said Horswell.

Thomson said he believes Florida is not dedicating efficient resources to public education, and the state needs to spend a larger portion of tax dollars on higher education, K-12 education and teacher pay.

“College students are suffering all around the board. There’s no question about it,” said Brandao. “And I think with [Thomson] in the state legislature, I think he’ll vote and work on meaningful legislation that’ll help us all out.”

Elisabeth Gaffney is a contributing writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or DM her @elisabethgaff