Our Priorities | Opportunity For All Floridians

Our Priorities

Now more than ever, we need policies that have an immediate and substantive impact on Floridian’s pocketbooks. The cost of living in Florida is rising exponentially and our policies are not keeping pace. Housing-related costs have gone up double digits everywhere in Florida while wages have remained stagnant.

Economic Opportunity

We need an Affordable Florida

Attract higher paying industries with sound policies

Florida’s low cost of living days are over. Each of the last 3 years, Florida has seen double-digit growth in housing prices. In order to keep pace, Floridians need better paying jobs. The top three industries by GDP in Florida are real estate, professional business services, and healthcare. Florida needs to attract new high-paying industries.

 Florida dropped 8 spots in this year’s CNBC “Top States For Business” ranking. The largest drop came in the category of “business friendliness”, Florida dropped 25 spots. CNBC considerations include the state’s legal and regulatory framework, lawsuit and liability climates, trade and labor, as well as overall bureaucracy. They also consider how hospitable states are toward emerging industries including cryptocurrency and cannabis.

Lower Housing Costs

Tackle the Property Insurance Crisis

The property insurance crisis is pinching homeowners and renters alike. We need to treat the property insurance crisis with the urgency it deserves. Skyrocketing property insurance rates are turning our homes into money pits, with rates that most families can no longer afford.

And the skyrocketing property insurance crisis is hitting small business owners and landlords who are passing on the increased costs to their renters.

Modernize the Unemployment Program

The pandemic highlighted Florida’s broken and outdated unemployment system. During the pandemic, tens of thousands of Floridians waited over 8 months to receive a single payment. This is unacceptable. Florida businesses rely on the unemployment system to pay workers while businesses are closed. Whether that is because of a pandemic or a hurricane, businesses cannot afford to lose skilled workers. The legislature passed a bill in 2020 to build a new cloud-based platform. The legislators failed to pass a bill to update the unemployment program’s benefit plan. The benefit cap of $275 per week was set in 1998, based on 1998 wages. A $275 weekly cap does not cover modern expenses. It is up to our elected leaders to modernize these programs. Money in Floridians’ pockets means money to keep our businesses and economy working. Unemployment insurance is not a handout, it is a benefit program paid for by employers.

Lower Utility Bills

Protect Floridians From the Monopoly Utilities

Floridians are captive consumers who get their electricity from a variety of utility monopolies across the state, all of whom are regulated by the Florida Public Service Commission. Recently the PSC has approved a variety of utility rate increases for the state’s largest monopoly utilities that have resulted in exorbitant electricity bills that many Florida residents simply can’t afford.

The Public Service Commission was established in 1887 and remained an elected position until 1978. Many believe the current system of “regulating” monopoly utilities is way too easy for the monopoly utilities to game because of the PSC’s structure. When a vacancy arises on the Public Service Commission (PSC), the Florida House speaker and Florida Senate appoint 12 legislators to a committee that nominates three potential replacements to the governor. The governor picks and appoints, and then that nomination needs to be confirmed by a majority of the Florida Senate (21 votes). This process shields the PSC commissioners who don’t have to be responsive to public pressure, and the politicians can just shrug and point fingers at the PSC commissioners.

The corruption has gone beyond the PSC. Florida Power and Light has been caught in several recent scandals over rigging both Florida elections and utility takeovers.

We deserve a Public Service Commission that will stick to its mission of ensuring reliable electricity at reasonable rates. We must all help pay for the electric grid, but that doesn’t mean we have to help FPL and other monopolies pay for political donations, crisis management fees, and millions of dollars diverted to run illegal political campaigns to rig elections.

Finally, all Floridians should be able to take advantage of the power of the sun. We should not have to pay the utility company for the privilege of installing solar panels on our roofs and providing our excess electricity to our nearby neighbors.

Strengthening Democracy

Access to vote-by-mail

In the last century, Americans supported expanding voting rights to more citizens. Access to voting is a pillar of our democracy. In a quest to improve the number of citizens participating in elections, several states have gone to a complete vote-by-mail model. They have successfully increased voter participation by……Our democracy depends on secure, fair, and open elections. Governor Ron DeSantis and Legislators have successfully passed laws reducing and restricting vote-by-mail. They have reduced the number of days we can turn in our vote-by-mail ballots, where we can turn them in, and how long we are enrolled in the vote-by-mail program.

Home Rule: the government closest to the people governs best

Regardless of where we live, or how much money we have in our bank accounts, our local governments are the governments closest to our lives. Florida voters should be able to trust that the local governments we elect will be allowed to govern without local decisions being overturned by Tallahassee.

Local cities and towns should have the ability to pass ordinances that will improve the health and wellbeing of their residents. This is what Home Rule is all about. Our local cities and towns must be allowed to make their own plans to pass ordinances to improve the health and wellbeing of the residents who elected them at the local level.

Protecting Florida's Environment

Clean water and air are important for our economy and the health of Florida’s families. From the Panhandle to the Keys, all parts of Florida’s economy count on a clean and healthy environment. Our beautiful beaches, our natural springs, and our amazing wildlife—all are big factors in bringing visitors and attracting new entrepreneurs to our state. Protecting these God-given resources strengthens our economy, our health, and our individual quality of life.

Stopping Animal Cruelty

Animal neglect is animal cruelty

There’s no reason why animal abuse should exist in our state. Our animal friends deserve basic standards for their shelter and protection from the elements.

Florida has strong laws to prevent intentional physical abuse of animals but must act to close a loophole that allows for the neglect of pets and other animals. We can all agree that not providing shelter with adequate space appropriate to the animal’s size, protection from the elements, and access to fresh air constitutes cruelty.