Shea Silverman is a UCF alumnus, a computer engineer, an Orlando home owner and currently running for District 49 House Representative.
Silverman, 32, is running without a party affiliation against Democratic nominee Carlos Guillermo Smith.
His platform focuses on education, technology and healthcare. Silverman obtained his degree in public administration from UCF and works as a web applications developer for the university.
“District 49 is about 100,000 people strong. UCF is 60,000,” Silverman said. “Being in the center and seeing what students are facing, what issues they are having — it’s been very helpful to know those issues as the student, administration and the person who wants change.”
Silverman’s marketing initiatives for his campaign are mostly done outside of his work hours and consists of him going door-to-door and displaying signs.
Silverman is proud to put his skills to use by creating his own website for the campaign as well as his own donation platform.
“Being the engineer and the programmer, I’m looking for other ways than the norm,” Silverman said. “I built my own donation system platform so I don’t have to pay for that and I built my own website … I’m a maker, I’m a builder. I’m a do-it-myself kind of person.”
Silverman is running without a campaign manager with a little over $1,000 in funds and almost no volunteer efforts. He relies on making personal connections with his voters and hopes to make an impact with his campaign, he said.
Marselia Smith, 32, a longtime friend from Silverman’s college days and current Florida elementary teacher, said he is proud of how far Silverman has come and how far he anticipates to go.
“Given the circumstances, he’s doing pretty well,” Smith said. “He’s a genuinely honest and caring person who has a grip on the issues and knows how to solve them.”
Silverman has several plans for UCF and the surroundings schools. However, his main two concerns have to do with one-time use textbook codes and what he calls unnecessary fees.
Some textbooks for UCF students may come with an online access code, which provides the student access to online tools and homework platforms for their class. Should a student rent textbooks or buy used ones, Silverman said, the one-time code will have already been used and the student would have to buy an additional code.
“If you’re paying your tuition, you shouldn’t have to pay to view your homework,” Silverman said.
Silverman said he would also like to see a larger push toward UCF online because it can give UCF the opportunity to eliminate lecture, lab, and various other fees that are sometimes associated with physical materials required for class.
Some of these fees are an up to $70 per course for materials and supplies, according to UCF’s website. Excluding other fees that can occur, a typical class credit hour can range from $212 to $748, depending on if the student is a Florida resident.
Silverman sees his campaign as an opportunity to shift the Florida state into the “right” direction of progress. Silverman intends to work for one or two terms and then return to work at UCF.
“I’m not trying to be a career politician, I’m not trying to go for something higher,” Silverman said. “I love what I do in my day job. This is something I feel is civic duty. I want to do my term and then go back to work.”
Silverman’s father, Robert Silverman, 68, retired psychologist, said he is surprised and proud of his son’s campaign.
“I know that he cares,” said Robert Silverman. “It’s not about ‘him’, it’s about what affects others. He’s not egocentric; it’s all for who’s out there and what is correct in the long term.”