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PROTECT FLORIDA'S FUTURE - ISSUES MATTER

COVID-19

President Trump, Ron DeSantis and the state of Florida’s leadership have grossly mishandled COVID-19. They ignored the pandemic until it burrowed its way into our population, then turned it into a political football. They have failed to lead on and establish even the most minimal public health policies. Additionally, they have withheld and manipulated vital information in an effort to mislead the public regarding the true impact and threat of this virus.

While states like New York have made the difficult decisions that let them completely crush the infection curve, after initially suffering one of the worst outbreaks, Florida has failed to establish any consistent policy or take any responsibility, leaving the counties and municipalities to fend for themselves. In a mobile society, these patchwork solutions are ineffective, as well as confusing. I will advocate for common sense measures based on science and facts, to ensure we protect the health and wellbeing of all Floridians. Our health—physical, as well as economic—depends on it. We will not be able to have an economic recovery until we gain control of COVID. 

ENVIRONMENT

The environment IS the economy! Especially in Florida. As the environment is degraded by corporate excesses, while “bought and paid for” politicians at best turn a blind eye and at worst actively support and financially benefit, the state's economy becomes more and more vulnerable. As a life-long environmentalist, I will fight to preserve the ecology of our beautiful state and all the jobs and leisure activities it supports.

The people of Florida are under no obligation to sacrifice the state's native beauty and biodiversity to build homes from coast to coast for profit by a few wealthy developers. A formula for the state's carrying capacity needs to be considered by a blue-ribbon panel, and limits to development arrived at that will allow growth but keep the essential character of the state intact in perpetuity.

Some of my top environmental priorities

  • Reform the state's water quality management system
  • Change the state's mining statute to reflect the reality of phosphate mining, the most destructive industrial activity in the state
  • Repeal and rescind the corporate-welfare "Roads to Nowhere" provision slipped into SB 7068 at the last minute in the 2019 session
  • Upgrade the state's crumbling wastewater treatment infrastructure
  • Pass the Florida Water and Land Conservation Amendment

EDUCATION

The education of Florida’s youth is one of the state’s most important responsibilities. A quality education system is essential for a strong economy, and for the health and wellbeing of all residents. While Governor DeSantis took one step in the right direction earlier this year, boosting the salaries of public school teachers, many issues remain.

I will fight to ensure that every Florida student has equal access to a first-rate education, and address the inequities created by Florida’s charter school voucher system. Every parent should be proud to send their child to a Florida public school. Florida’s current charter school voucher system essentially subsidizes private school for wealthy Florida families, benefiting those who can afford to pay the additional tuition and transportation costs.

HEALTHCARE

In this current COVID-19 crisis, it’s more important than ever that each Floridian has access to affordable healthcare. The recent spike in unemployment due to COVID has left even more people without healthcare, as they lose their employer-sponsored insurance plans and cannot afford to pay premiums.

Florida has the fourth-highest uninsured rate in the country, yet Republicans in Florida’s legislature continue to refuse Medicaid expansion. I strongly support Medicaid expansion, which would result in an additional almost one million Floridians gaining health coverage, the cost of which would be primarily (90%) covered by the federal government.

TAXES/ECONOMY

Especially in Florida, the environment IS the economy. According to Visit Florida, more than 131 million tourists came to Florida in 2019, contributing over $91 billion to the state’s economy and supporting over 1.5 million jobs. It is essential that we have clean water and a healthy ecosystem to continue to attract visitors to our beautiful state.

In addition to this, we need to support sensible growth and implement a reasonable corporate income tax increase. We need to help counties manage their growth by bringing back sensible growth management laws that were terminated by the Scott administration, and recreate the Department of Community Affairs. While the Republican extremist majority foams at the mouth about socialism, the tax code is the most egregious example of welfare—corporate welfare. The difference is that it benefits the politicians’ wealthy donors, while hard-working Floridians suffer.

On the ballot in 2020 is also an amendment to increase the minimum wage in the state. All Floridians deserve to earn a living wage—I strongly urge you to support this initiative.

 

 

 

 


Paid for Andy Mele, Democrat For Florida State Representative District 71
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