Florida’s Unemployment System
For far too long, Floridians and the people of Lakeland have not had adequate representation in Tallahassee. Nothing shows the lack of concern for Floridians by those in Tallahassee better than Florida’s broken unemployment system. In March 2019, our governor was warned in the internal audit (Mar 2019 DEO Audit) that our unemployment system had major problems; two previous audits had warned of looming issues.
Our current leaders failed us by willfully turning a blind eye to Florida’s unemployment system problems. When the pandemic came and the system failed, their neglect left many without resources to pay their bills and standing in food lines to feed their families. Even when the system works, Florida’s unemployment benefits are unacceptably low. Simply put, the vast majority cannot live on the maximum $275/weekly payment, one of the lowest in the nation. It is too low and has not been increased for about 20 years.
One of my top priorities is to fix Florida’s unemployment system, so it provides a safety net when needed and will help recipients get back to work.
Florida is an incredible state filled with many opportunities for individuals, small businesses, and large businesses. Our workers are the backbone that keeps our economy thriving and Florida’s wheels turning. House District 40’s constituents deserve someone who will fight for livable wages and balance that goal by supporting commerce. The COVID-19 crisis has clearly proven that our State needs to strike a fair and equitable balance between workers and profits. This unprecedented crisis unmistakably illustrates this interdependence. As Florida re-opens the economy and we get back to work, welcoming national and worldwide visitors and attracting employers and small business entrepreneurs, Florida needs to strive for livable wages for service-based workers and shore up the middle class, while further diversifying Florida’s industries to the jobs of the future.
An educated population benefits us all. Investing in our children from early childhood through vocational and higher learning is the bridge to Florida’s future. In House District 40, we need to join our educators in their fight for our children. We are facing unprecedented cuts to education due to COVID-19. This is on top of Florida’s chronic teacher shortage, which is one of America’s worse – a problem experienced by Polk County every day. Florida has mistreated teaching professionals and public education as a whole for many years now. If we care about our children and the future of Florida, we will do what we can to ensure that our educational systems recover from COVID-19, and emerge stronger. We will be a community that values every child and every educator.
Florida Water and Environment
Florida’s sensitive water and environment are essential to our way of life. Proven scientific research dictates that we prioritize and act to restore, protect and preserve our water and environment. From day one, I will work to increase solar driven energy through working with power companies, individuals, businesses, and developers to equip homes and business with solar power. In addition, I will fight to protect Florida’s water from future pollution and will oppose fracking in Florida.
Elder and Senior Matters
Those over 65 make up almost 25 percent of Florida’s population, including many who come here to retire. Yet, Florida’s senior citizens have one of the highest rates of poverty and food insecurity in our nation. I will work to expand Florida’s services for vulnerable seniors through social programs to ease isolation, expand food and congregate dining programs, and ensure nursing homes and assisted living facilities have the necessary oversight to protect their residents. In addition, Florida needs to expand protections from predatory business practices and scams that prey on our elders.