Florida is at a crossroads. The awesome power of our democracy is being undermined by special interests, and some of the most important issues facing Floridians are being ignored. I believe the Sunshine State is ready for a brighter, smarter, and more progressive path to the future.
Our leaders are elected to represent the interests of the people. We must hold their feet to the fire so they pass the legislation that the people demanded when they voted for it. 71% of Floridians supported Amendment 2 on the 2016 ballot, the Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative — yet the bill to regulate medical marijuana was corrupted by special interests. While the beginnings of an infrastructure have now been put in place, our state’s government continues to over-legislate on areas like commercial availability, while under-legislating on important issues like patient approval and protection. Because of this blatant inability to listen to people over profits, Floridians in many parts of the state still have no access to the Medical Marijuana they overwhelmingly voted for.
It’s about time our elected officials are held accountable to the votes of their constituents.
Florida has an urgent need for criminal justice reform. A bipartisan push to end mass incarceration, stop the unequal application of laws, and ban private interests from profiting off the abuse of our citizens’ individual liberties must be a priority in our state legislature. We must change the way and the rate at which we imprison people. We need to provide sustainable infrastructure for our citizens who have served their time to fully reintegrate as productive citizens in our communities. Americans are guaranteed certain Constitutional liberties that are being infringed upon by the current criminal justice system. All Americans deserve and are entitled to a second chance and a fair opportunity to move forward.
In 2017, Florida’s minimum wage was raised to $8.10 per hour. This is 27% below the living wage necessary for a single adult. With one child, that falls to 67% below the living wage. All Floridians deserve not only decent employment, but jobs that pay adequate wages to afford the basic necessities: food, clothing, housing, and utilities.
I will #fightfor15.
The integrity of Florida’s environment is intrinsically linked to the integrity of our economy. Sea-level rise will not only lead to increased flooding, but to decreased property value, increasing insurance costs, and billions of dollars in preventable damage to our state’s economy. We need proactive legislators who will seek real solutions to this problem.
We as a nation have made loud and clear that we support our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community. The current leadership both locally and nationally are employing efforts to push back these rights. We must continue the passionate struggle for full equality by sponsoring efforts to protect LGBT youth from bullying, by eradicating employer discrimination, and by fighting against social stigma.
In the richest nation in the world, our children deserve a free, well-funded public education. Charter programs drain resources from already fractured public schools. We cannot look the other way when it comes to our children’s education. We cannot hand off our children’s future to a private industry which continues to prioritize profit over people. The current charter school industry is fraught with corruption, and a lack of transparency and accountability. I will fight for increased funding to our public school systems, guaranteeing educator and administrative retention by paying them what our educators deserve.
It is critical that we address the variety of issues women are facing in the United States today. The resurgent right wing is actively pushing back against all of our achievements. We must not only oppose this regression — we must fight for full equality. This means providing a minimum of 12 weeks paid maternity leave, guaranteeing pay equity, expanding and protecting reproductive rights, strengthening the WIC program for expecting mothers, and making healthcare a right so that women are not unfairly burdened by our biology. This begins by electing more qualified women leaders to provide a truly representative voice in all levels of government.
I believe readily available, adequate healthcare is the right of all Americans. Too many of us are facing overwhelming premiums, expensive co-pays, and inadequate coverage.
I believe we must place a greater emphasis on providing adequate mental healthcare to the American people, especially in addressing issues like addiction. The Sunshine State, like many other states, is experiencing a growing opioid crisis, as more patients become addicted to drugs like powerful painkillers. This crisis can be offset and diminished by providing sufficient treatment for addiction, sufficient mental healthcare, and by providing patients with alternative pain treatments like Medical Marijuana.
The United States must join the rest of the civilized world in guaranteeing healthcare to all citizens.
As our nation perpetuates a continuing cycle of armed conflict, we must ensure that our veterans have access to services to help them successfully reintegrate into the general population. This includes things like job training, counseling, and better access to more reliable, better-equipped healthcare.
By providing veterans with support groups, wherein they can be mentored by veterans who have successfully reintegrated, we can help our young soldiers go on to lead fulfilling, productive, and successful lives off the battlefield.
In California and New Jersey, legislation has already been enacted to curb the puppy mill industry.
Puppy mills perpetuate animal cruelty by providing insufficient space, unhygienic conditions, and put the animals’ lives at risk through reckless over-breeding practices. Further, these breeders are subject to no industry oversight, leading to serious health conditions in the puppies. The cost to unsuspecting buyers is not just financial, but also emotional, as their beloved pets suffer from innumerable genetic, mental, and physical ailments.