Florida’s next governor is going to face many challenges. Darcy Richardson’s top priorities will include reforming the way Tallahassee does business, cleaning up Rick Scott’s environmental disaster, and ensuring the health and safety of all Floridians.
PUT THE PEOPLE FIRST
Lobbyists and big money special interests have infiltrated every dark corner of Tallahassee and our current crop of elected officials are all too happy to sell-out your best interests for their own profit. Our campaign stands against this corruption and cronyism!
We need real campaign finance reform, real ethics reform and real leadership that will put the people’s needs first.
Furthermore, we believe that the current climate of hyper-partisanship that has dominated American politics in recent years is killing our democracy. We must find a way to work together for the benefit of all.
PROTECT OUR ENVIRONMENT
Taking aggressive action to clean up our toxic algae-infested waterways is essential to protecting our very way of life. Two of Florida’s largest industries are tourism and agriculture, making this as much an economic crisis as it is an environmental crisis.
We must also do more to secure our drinking water and to safeguard vast areas of interconnected wildlife habitat and ecosystems, which includes nourishing Florida’s fisheries and the state’s fragile wading bird populations, as well as our economically vital recreation lands.
Our state must do a better job of managing rapid growth. We should fully fund Florida Forever, the state’s land acquisition program that was virtually defunded by the Republican-controlled legislature. It’s also time to restore funding and staffing for Florida’s five water management districts, once considered the most effective and outstanding system in the nation.
Recognizing that one size doesn’t fit all, we must inaugurate specific programs and policies to address the myriad issues facing the state’s special resource areas, including Apalachicola River and Bay, the Greater Everglades ecosystem, the Indian River Lagoon, and Florida’s numerous springs and watersheds.
Taking these steps to safeguard Florida’s water supply will ensure clean and abundant drinking water for a population that is expected to swell to 33.7 million by 2070.
HEALTH AND PUBLIC SAFETY
Improving the health and security of all Floridians will be a top priority for our administration.
The refusal of Rick Scott — the man responsible for the largest Medicare fraud case in U.S. history at the time — to expand Medicaid coverage to some 600,000 to 700,000 working-class Floridians will forever be a blemish on this state. We must take immediate steps to ensure that everyone in Florida has access to quality, affordable health care.
Our state currently leads the country in identity theft and credit card and related financial fraud. We can, and we must, work aggressively to get this problem under control.
While respecting the rights of gun owners, we must also do a better job of rigorously enforcing our existing laws, including background checks. It is also time to fully fund and expand our woefully inadequate mental health infrastructure.
Meanwhile, our state’s prisons are overflowing with non-violent drug offenders. Our current drug laws perpetuate a cycle of poverty, disenfranchisement and criminal behavior. It’s time to prioritize treatment over jail sentences for drug addicts and to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in Florida.
EDUCATION FOR A NEW ECONOMY
Despite spending 18% of our $88.7 billion annual budget on education, Florida only ranks 42nd in the nation on a per-pupil basis. We must invest in our schools and our educators if Florida is to remain an economic powerhouse in the years to come.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity estimates that Florida is going to add about a quarter-million new jobs that will demand than a high school diploma but less than a four-year college degree. New jobs will come in sectors like manufacturing, automotive repair, information technology, health care, and hospitality and tourism. However, our current workforce is seriously unprepared to take advantage of these opportunities.
We must embrace a rapid expansion of vocational education programs to prepare our workforce for the decades. Investing in more technical training and vocational education programs is smart for business and smart for students.