Legendary football coach Lou Holtz has endorsed Vennia Francois for House District 45.
Francois, an Orlando attorney and state officer for the Florida Federation of Republican Women, announced on Wednesday that the former Notre Dame football coach was backing her bid. Holtz, whose coaching career spans 34 years and includes an 11-year stint with the Fighting Irish where he captured a national championship in 1988, is no stranger to the political arena. A longtime Republican ally, Holtz spoke in support of former President Donald Trump at the 2020 Republican National Convention.
He was also recently named Chairman of America First Policy Institute’s (AFPI) Center for 1776.
“I’m so excited that someone of Vennia Francois’s caliber is running for State Representative. There’s no doubt in my mind that she believes in the power of the American Dream and is committed to governing by the constitutional principles that made this nation great. I’m strongly behind her candidacy and I’m proud to endorse her,” Holtz said.
The newly configured HD 45 is an open seat in southwest Orange County and western Osceola County that includes parts of Winter Garden, Oakland, Windermere, Orlando, Celebration, and Champions Gate. The district, which also includes Walt Disney World, also reaches the Four Corners community and Celebration.
“I could not be more honored to have earned the endorsement and support of Coach Holtz. He is a living legend who loves America and believes in American exceptionalism. His work at AFPI’s Center for 1776 ‘aims to promulgate American values in our education institutions.’ I welcome their work,” added Francois.
To date, Francois has raised a little over $100,000 since launching her campaign. She also boasts backing from several local officials, including ten Republican mayors and city council members in Orange County
Other Republicans eyeing the seat include Christian college executive Carolina Amesty, retired law enforcement officer Janet Frevola, businessman Bruno Portigliatti, and former congressional candidate Mike Zhao.
The only Democrat that has filed to run is consultant Allie Lee Braswell Jr.