Local doctor enters crowded Florida House District 24 race

Dr. Stephen Pyles

Home » Politics
Posted January 19, 2023 | By Caroline Brauchler

After announcing his candidacy for the Florida House of Representatives District 24 seat, Dr. Stephen Pyles said he wants to “put a doctor in the House.”

Pyles is a longtime Marion County resident who specializes in pain management at the Pain Treatment Centers in Ocala. He is one of several candidates running in a special election for the vacant House seat.

The seat was vacated after Ocala Republican Joe Harding resigned on Dec. 8 after being indicted by a federal grand jury on several counts of fraud based on illegally obtaining pandemic-based loans.

The primary special election, declared by Gov. Ron DeSantis, will take place on March 7. A general special election will take place on May 16 if needed.

Pyles said his experience would be an asset in Tallahassee.

“I’ve been around for a while and seen a lot of things,” he said. “We need more doctors in our Legislature.”

In addition to nearly his nearly 40 years as a practicing physician, Pyles also served on the medical board for the Florida Society of Interventional Pain Physicians. If elected, he expressed his intent to advocate for the rights of senior citizens.

“When it’s time for signing up for Medicare again every year, we’re just inundated…with telephone calls, texts or emails,” he said. “A lot of seniors have trouble navigating those waters.”

Pyles additionally spoke in favor of the Parental Rights in Education Act, the so-called “Don’t Say Gay’’ bill that Harding sponsored last year. The law bans discussions of LGBTQ+ topics from Pre-K through third grade or in a manner that is not “age-appropriate” in higher grades and requires parental notification if there is a “change in the student’s services.”

Pyles expressed a desire to further the legislation to make it more restrictive.

“I don’t care whether they’re gay couples or non-gay couples, I don’t think any of us that are in adult relationships feel the need to teach [sex to] children,” he said. “There’s more important things we can teach them at that stage in their life than things related to sex.”

A resident of Ocala since 1986, Pyles said he feels that he is most familiar with the area and that his views best align with those who live here.

“I think my educational background and experience is going to help me here,” he said. “There are other good candidates, but I think I rightfully deserve to be in the race.”

Pyles will face Fox and fellow Republicans Justin Albright, Ryan Chamberlin, Jose Juarez and Charlie Stone in the March 7 primary. Due to Republican Robert “Foxy” Fox choosing to enter the race as a write-in candidate, the primary election will be open only to Republican voters.

No Democrat is running in the special election.

The general election will be open to all voters to choose either the winner of the primary or write-in the candidate’s name.

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