We are blessed to live in such a beautiful place. But because of that, housing prices are high. Florida is the second worst state for income inequality. Teacher pay is 45th in the nation. Teachers, police officers, firefighters, retail workers–so many can’t afford to live in the communities where they work. Many folks lost their homes in Hurricane Irma. Despite that, year in and year out, the Florida legislature sweeps millions of dollars from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to pay for other things besides housing. This is mis-management. Taxpayer funds collected to help people with housing needs, should actually help people get housing! Even this year, when so many needed help after Hurricane Irma, nearly 2/3 was swiped from the trust fund to pay for other things. We can do better. I’m committed to ensuring that 100% of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund is distributed to help people with housing.
I have two kids in public school. They shouldn’t have to worry about getting killed there. It makes me sick, all the active shooter drills and soul-numbing massacres. This isn’t the America I grew up in. Like the students leading the way, I am committed to change.
As a private citizen, I went before the Florida Constitution Revision Commission to ask for an amendment that would ban assault rifles and high capacity magazines. I’ve written letters to the editor calling NRA-complicit leaders to task. Now, I am running for Florida House of Representatives to help change the laws myself.
I support the second amendment right to own a handgun or hunting rifle. But I also support life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
As your Representative, I will introduce legislation to ban the sale of military-style assault rifles and high capacity magazines, close private sale and gun show loopholes, and implement gun buy-back programs. These measures have been successful at ending mass shootings in other countries. They can work here, too.
My opponent, Byron Donalds, is A-rated by the NRA. He voted against hearing a ban on assault weapons, while Parkland students cried in the gallery. It’s time for him to go.
As a parent, I am concerned about education. All citizens should be. The Florida Constitution guarantees a free quality public education for every child. However, many Florida public schools are underfunded. School teachers are not paid commensurate with their education and responsibility. Meanwhile, Florida taxpayer dollars are diverted to private school voucher programs and charter schools, with little transparency or accountability. We should increase public school funding and give teachers raises, not drain funds from public education in support of religious schools. Any taxpayer-funded program should uphold the same standards as public education, with regard to teacher training, pay, and student achievement. Accountability and transparency for charter schools and voucher programs is a must.
We can’t continue to bury our heads in the sand. Seas are rising. Streets in Miami flood at high tide. In 2017, massive hurricanes slammed into the U.S., one after another. Florida’s main economies–tourism, real estate, and agriculture–will continue to be damaged by extreme weather and rising seas. Florida must fast-track a transition from dirty fossil fuel to solar energy. Not someday. Today. This will lower our utility bills, create jobs, and keep Florida above water.
Lake Okeechobee runoff causes toxic algae that kills plants and animals. It endangers beachgoers, fishing, tourism, and quality of life. Instead, lake waters should be cleaned and allowed to flow south in a controlled way, refilling drinking water aquifers and nourishing the Everglades. At the same time, we have to strike a balance with agricultural needs. So far, Tallahassee has kicked the can down the road. I intend to change that.
Fracking injects toxic chemicals deep in the earth, putting drinking water at risk. In Oklahoma, where fracking is common, daily earthquakes are the norm. They damage homes and lower property values. Florida’s porous limestone is already prone to sinkholes. Fracking could make that worse. We should ban fracking to preserve drinking water and natural resources.
I, along with many other volunteers, collected over one million petitions, putting voting rights restoration on the ballot in November. Florida is one of only three states that doesn’t allow previously incarcerated people to vote once they’ve paid their debts. Voting is the hallmark of democracy and civilized society. I am committed to restoring the right to vote.
We should all do our best to live a healthy lifestyle. Take care of ourselves. Don’t smoke. Eat right. Exercise. But even if we do those things, we’re all just a car accident away from medical disaster. I believe all Floridians should have medical care. A person shouldn’t lose health care if they lose employment. No one should suffer with untreated medical conditions. However, Florida was recently ranked 48th in healthcare overall. We can do better. Floridians deserve better.
I support Medicaid expansion. Nearly a million more Floridians who don’t have regular health care access would qualify for health insurance through Medicaid (See “The Cost of Not Expanding Medicaid” and “Another shot at Medicaid expansion in Florida, but same result” ). Of course, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. But expanding Medicaid won’t burden our budget, at the state or federal level. The truth is, both Florida and the federal government already pick up the tab when uninsured folks use the ER or have other uncompensated health costs. Expanding Medicaid reduces those uncompensated care expenses, saving money overall. At the same time, it provides people with the care they need. Like states that have already expanded Medicaid, Florida will see a net savings in health care spending (3). It’s time for Florida to do the right thing for its citizens – expand Medicaid.
I have gay friends and family. I know the discrimination people can face. In my hometown in Georgia, not too long ago, a law enforcement officer posted openly hostile statements toward LGBTQ people on the official Facebook page. Community criticism forced it to be removed. That’s good, but how can any gay person feel protected there? I support legislation that allows lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people to live openly, without discrimination, and enjoy equal rights, personal autonomy, and freedom of expression and association.