Graham Outlines Vision for Florida

“My love for this state is deep, my dreams even bigger,” said Gwen Graham, the former congresswoman who is seeking the Democratic nomination for Governor, at the August meeting of the Seminole County Democratic Party. “But my patience has run out. We used to have good government that did what was right for the people of Florida. We want that again.”

The second of the three announced candidates to speak to the group quickly laid out a platform she hopes to implement to “undo the damage of 20 years” of Republican control.

She began with education, “the backbone of our society”, promising to “put educators back in charge of education”, undo “the corporatization of the education system” with for-profit charter schools, and end the high-stakes testing and grading of schools. “Every student deserves an ‘A’ school” with all options: art, music, sports and extra-curricular activities, she said, “and we will bring technical training back, preparing students for the jobs that are really out there.”

“[Governor] Rick Scott is fond of saying ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’,” she said, “That is because you have to work three jobs to make ends meet. I’m fighting for $15” as a state wide minimum wage.

Touching on other issues:

Expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (if it is still available) is “a no brainer” and she thinks there should be “a public option” for health insurance in the state. “After 2018 we are going to reverse course and start caring about the people of Florida,” she promised.

Climate change is already impacting the state, areas of Miami flood at high tides and after normal rains. “It is criminal of [Gov.] Scott to ignore climate change. We have to start planning now to cope with the impact” and reduce Florida’s carbon footprint.

The opioid epidemic is a public health problem, not a law enforcement issue.
“We need to be strong to stand up to the National Rifle Association (NRA). We don’t need guns on campus; I don’t know a single educator who thinks we do.”

Women’s rights need to be protected, and felons who have served their time, and have paid their debt to society, deserve to have their voting rights restored.

Graham knows a governor cannot make all these changes alone, and she cites her reputation for working across party lines in Congress as well as her knowledge of how the state legislature works for giving her an edge. “We are a very diverse state, but what unites us is stronger than what divides us,” she said. Later she added, “I’m not above vetoing every special project” in a budget bill if that is what it takes to get legislators to compromise.