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Former mayor of Tallahassee and gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum made headlines this week, as news emerged that he was connected with an incident in Miami Beach, wherein another individual died of a methamphetamine overdose.
At that time, Gillum made a statement, saying that while he had consumed too much to drink, he had never used methamphetamines. Gillum was named in a police report about the incident, which stated that he had been initially found “unresponsive.”
Just a short time later, it was revealed that Gillum was entering rehab to address his alcoholism and depression.
To the press and public, Gillum stated, “After conversation with my family and deep reflection, I have made the decision to seek help, guidance and enter a rehabilitation facility at this time. This has been a wake-up call for me. Since my race for governor ended, I fell into a depression that has led to alcohol abuse. I witnessed my father suffer from alcoholism and I know the damaging effects it can have when untreated. I also know that alcoholism is often a symptom of deeper struggles. I am committed to doing the personal work to heal fully and show up in the world as a more complete person.”
Gillum’s once-bright political future dimmed, as the political world reacted fiercely to his involvement in the Miami Beach incident and subsequent announcement.
As a lifelong resident of the state of Florida, Gillum’s career in politics began at a young age, while he attended FAMU. At just 23 years old, Gillum became the youngest person ever elected to the Tallahassee City Commission.
He remained on the City Commission for several years, before being elected as the mayor of Tallahassee in 2013. Noted for his progressiveness, Gillum advocated for such initiatives as youth mentoring and investments in early childhood education, among other causes.
In 2018, after four years as Tallahassee’s mayor, Gillum ran as the democratic candidate in the Florida gubernatorial election. The opposing candidate, Republican Ron DeSantis, narrowly won the election.
Gillum stepped back from politics following his loss, and in his statement, he noted that the loss led to depression, and that his alcoholism had a deeper family connection.
Gillum went on to thank those who had supported him over the years, and announced that he would be stepping back from politics completely for the foreseeable future.
The 40-year-old father of three must now focus on his wellness, and on navigating a future in sobriety—a path that cannot be walked alone.
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