Climate Change, Clean Energy & Protecting Our Water
- Science has shown us that climate change is real. In Florida especially, it is alarming to hear elected officials denying the clear evidence. We must be proactive about protecting our citizens and cities by improving infrastructure, supporting development of clean energy technologies, and by preparing our state for the effects of storm surge and sea level rise.
- I have worked both as a private citizen and in my role as a Tampa City Council member to put forth legislation, hold workshops and craft resolutions in support of enacting measures to limit our city’s contribution to the problem. I have worked with our Public Works Division to enact measures to prepare for the inevitable results of climate change on our city. In Tallahassee I will continue to address climate change and fight for a solution that protects our citizens, our drinking water and our environment.
- I believe criminal justice reform is needed at every level in the entire system. We must rehabilitate those who have committed minor crimes, and ensure those who work in our correctional facility are properly equipped, trained, and paid a competitive wage. Unfortunately, our state prisons have shifted focus away from rehabilitation to punishing those who have committed minor crimes putting them at risk for recidivism.
- We must end the school to prison pipeline. Troubled children need help to find their way in the world and have services available to become productive adults. Arresting juveniles and locking them up without rehabilitative services begins a cycle that is hard to break. I look forward to working on improving outcomes for children who are in our juvenile justice system.
- My son was a student in Hillsborough County Schools and I saw firsthand how hard his teachers work to provide all students with a quality education. I will work to increase the funding for all levels of education, from Pre-K and through high school, technical schools, for our community colleges and universities. The best way to grow the middle class is to improve access to a quality education.
- Regardless of what neighborhood you are born in, every child deserves access to a great public education. Florida needs to give our children and teachers the resources they need to succeed and compete in our 21st century economy. We have to end the flood of “high stakes” testing that Tallahassee has imposed on our schools over the last decade. Teachers need to be provided flexibility in lessons with the ability to adapt to the group of students in their classroom. Template lessons written with the sole purpose of passing a standardized test takes the spontaneity and joy out of the learning experience for both the educator and the student. Currently, we have a system that under funds and overspends on priorities that don’t get dollars to our students and teachers. Not only do we need to pay our teachers more and increase funding overall, we need to stop handing over millions of our tax dollars to private companies that run for-profit charter schools with little or no accountability.
- There should be opportunities for students after high school to decide if they want to continue with higher education or receive vocational training. We should leverage our vocational programs to create another path for our students to enter the middle class with a high-wage, high skill job.
- Students and our institutions of higher education are struggling with the reduction of state funding. It has forced our once affordable state universities to continually increase prices to make up for the state funds they have lost. This places a burden on students and their families to saddle themselves with debt. Bright Futures is an important program that makes sure that the best and the brightest have the opportunity to attend college. I would fight in Tallahassee to increase funding to our higher education system and scholarship programs.
- When the middle class is struggling to afford basic needs, something needs to be done. We need to help the middle class recover in order to grow our economy. As a City Council member, I have worked with public officials and those leading our local economy to support small businesses and neighborhood programs.
- In the depths of the recession I worked with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta to bring together financial institutions and support agencies so small business could access much needed credit. By coordinating information sessions between national and local agencies and with small and large banks, we were able to connect small business owners with local economic development drivers like Hillsborough Community College, the University of South Florida’s Business Development Center and Hillsborough County’s Small Business Information Center, the Hispanic Business Initiative Fund and the Black Business Initiative Fund.
- We must do more than cut taxes and red tape, we need to have good schools, good infrastructure, and a focus on improving our communities to support the middle class. I will continue to advance the interests of small businesses in Tallahassee in order to grow our region’s economy and provide quality jobs to our citizens.
Gun Violence & Common Sense Gun Safety Laws
- Current gun safety laws are not keeping guns from getting in the hands of dangerous individuals. When it comes to the safety of our citizens there should be no loopholes. Tragedies like the one in Orlando should be a clear warning that our elected officials must act now and they must do what is right to protect our communities from violence.
- There should be stricter regulations in place on gun shows and online sales of firearms as well as more intensive background checks.
- Firearms should never be permitted on school grounds and I will stand up against such legislation in Tallahassee.
- As a member of Tampa City Council, I was proud to support a resolution to sign on to the “Do Not Stand Idly By” movement. This is a campaign that aims to use the purchasing power of the local and federal government to lobby gun manufacturers to develop gun safety technology and set tougher standards for gun dealers.
Affordable Health Care
- As a volunteer board member of two health facilities, I know how important it is to have access to medical and mental health care. The citizens of Florida deserve to have access to quality, affordable health care regardless of socioeconomic status or pre-existing conditions.
- It makes fiscal sense for Florida to expand Medicaid and accept federal funding. Currently, Florida is letting millions of dollars in federal funds go elsewhere, rather than accepting federal funds to expand Medicaid. This expansion will enable more people to obtain health insurance. In Tallahassee, I will support the expansion of Medicaid for Floridians who do not make enough money to qualify under our state’s current program.
- I will be a leading voice in the fight for mental health parity. We must fully fund programs to assist our state mental hospitals and those who cannot afford mental health care.
- I believe that we need to keep our unions strong to protect the bargaining power of our workers. Working families need to have protections that unions protect for them like a living wage, equal pay, earned sick days, workplace safety, and paid family leave.
- When hard working Floridians like those who care for our elderly, infirm and our children work full time and still cannot afford a decent, safe place to live, transportation to get to work and nutritious food for themselves and their families, we have failed them. I will be a strong voice for all workers in Tallahassee.
- I believe that all people should be treated equally, regardless of their sexual or gender identity. I will fight in Tallahassee against any law that would discriminate against any individual.
- It is time Florida to provide protections in the workplace against LGBT discrimination. People should not have to live in fear of being fired because of whom they love.
Access to reproductive healthcare is every woman’s right. The decision to have a terminate a pregnancy should be one made by a woman, her doctors and their family - not by their state representative. I will be a strong voice defending the rights of women to make their own reproductive health care decisions.
- In Tallahassee I will be a voice for victims. We must ensure that testing evidence takes place in all rape cases. While progress has been made, funding still falls short of eliminating the backlog of untested kits.
- Tallahassee must also ensure that victims of Human Trafficking, Domestic Violence, and Date Rape need to have the support services necessary free from gender bias.I will fight for legislation to protect all Floridians from acts of sexual assault and support legislation that gives law enforcement the tools they need to adjudicate perpetrators of these heinous crimes.
Women’s Rights in the Workplace
There is no excuse for a company to pay an employee a different wage for the same work just because of their gender. Women should be paid the same amount as their male counterparts, and I will vote to support legislation that provides equal pay for women.