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'I learned a lot': Corrine Brown discusses time in prison after announcing run for Congress in one-on-one interview

Former congresswoman Corrine Brown has her eyes set on the 10th congressional seat in Orlando.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — After serving time in prison, she says she's ready to get back to work. 

Former congresswoman Corrine Brown has her eyes set on the 10th congressional seat in Orlando.

Brown announced that she filed to run for the 10th Congressional District, in the Orlando area, on Thursday, according to her campaign website.

On Your Side's Tristan Hardy sat down with the former congresswoman to discuss her time in prison, why she's running in Orlando and what she hopes to accomplish if elected.

"We have more than a half a dozen people running for district 10. You say you're the most qualified, but why should voters put your name in the ballot?" asked Hardy.

"Well, they have for the last 24 years," Brown smiles. "I've represented Orlando. I come with experience. And of course, I love Orlando. There's nothing not to love about Orlando."

RELATED: 'Timing is everything': Corrine Brown's trial attorney says politics, religion played a role in overturned conviction

But what about her connection to Jacksonville?

"I love Jacksonville," Brown said. "You know, born and raised here. I guess you're not aware, and I've not seen anything in the news about it. But Florida has been gerrymandered. It is unbelievable what has happened to my state. I know that it's in the courts. But in Duval County for 74 years, we've had a Democrat representative. Now, it's been taken away. Communities of interest is not together and Duval does not have a real opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice."

The former congresswoman was convicted of tax fraud in 2017. She served more than two years of a five-year sentence, but was released in 2020 due to health issues and COVID. That conviction was overturned on appeal, however, in 2021.

In May, she pleaded guilty to one count of tax fraud. In exchange for the plea, the U.S. Department of Justice dropped all but one charge. She was sentenced to time served, which was about two years and eight months. 

She explains how her time in prison only helped her to become a better leader.

"We both know your competition is gonna bring up the fact you went to federal prison, why put yourself through that type of scrutiny all over again?" asked Hardy.

"Well, it's not... I learned a lot," she said. "And I learned that our criminal justice system is criminal just-US, and it has to change. If you could do what you did to me, then you could do it to anyone."

RELATED: Corrine Brown released from Central Florida prison two years before sentence is up due to COVID-19 concerns

"That time in prison sounds like a wake-up call. What was it like?" asked Hardy.

"For the entire time, and I've been elected for 34 years, I've been involved in transportation and veteran affairs. I never really took a look at the criminal justice system."

Not much of the 10th District was in Brown's old district that stretched from Jacksonville to part of Orlando. Brown said she owns property in Jacksonville and Orlando.

Brown is running for the open seat left by U.S. Rep. Val Demings, who is running for the U.S. Senate against Republican Marco Rubio.

The primary election in Florida is scheduled for August 23. 

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