Our seniors, should have access to world-class healthcare, and we must lead the nation in implementing patient-centered, market-oriented healthcare policies that lower costs and increase access to quality care. To meet our growing demand for healthcare, we must look for ways to recruit top doctors and medical professionals, like waiving board fees for those graduating from a Florida university. We must remove barriers to using cutting-edge medical technology and must invest in creating facilities that meet the needs of the community.
A strong education system is the key to a strong economy and a bright future for Florida. We owe all Florida students, regardless of background, the best education possible so they have every opportunity to fulfill their God-given potential.
Our state budget must enable Florida to attract and retain outstanding teachers to educate our next generation. We must also provide proper maintenance of school buildings to foster a healthy learning environment. Enhanced security for schools is non-negotiable; we have an obligation to make sure that our schools are the safest in the nation.
Parents know what’s best for their children. We must continue to promote school choice so that every child has the opportunity to learn in the setting that suits them best, whether that is: virtual learning, charter schools, vouchers, or traditional public schools, all options must be on the table.
Twenty-first century students should not be educated in twentieth century schools. We must ensure that all schools have the technology they need to prepare students for the demands of the economy now and into the future.
We must not leave students with developmental challenges behind. They deserve the same opportunities all students receive, and our budget priorities must reflect that we value the contributions they make to their families and communities. Also, importantly, childcare costs for hardworking single-mothers must be reduced.
Police, firefighters, and other first responders are the glue that holds our communities together. They never know what challenges they will face on any given day, but lacking adequate resources to perform their jobs should never be one of them. Residents of our communities must feel confident that the response to their emergency will be swift and effective. Safety and security are imperative to a free state; without first responders we have neither.
In order to comply with our obligation to keep our children safe, there must be a qualified, well-trained school resource officer in every school. There is no greater priority than keeping our children safe, and we must provide and maintain the funding to make this a reality in Florida.
Law enforcement must be adequately resourced to work with neighborhood residents and to use crime watch programs that deter would-be criminals. Social media is one of the most effective tools for accomplishing this goal, and our police departments and sheriff’s offices should be properly trained to employ the community they are sworn to protect.
Traffic And Tolls
Gridlocks on our roadways negatively impacts our economy, our safety, and our quality of life. State government should work hand-in-hand with local governments to provide long-term solutions for Miami-Dade County’s traffic crisis. We must study alternative modes of transportation, including mass transit, to reduce congestion on our clogged highways.
Tolls are taking an increasing bite out of lower-income families’ bottom lines. We must provide ways to limit their toll costs.
Jobs And Economy
State government itself does not create jobs, but public policy has a significant impact on Florida’s business climate for private job creators that fuel our economy. We must continue to foster the policies that have allowed Florida to lead the nation in recovering from the Great Recession.
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and our communities. We must continue cutting burdensome regulations that keep entrepreneurs from expanding their businesses, serving their customers, and hiring more employees. All state and municipal government mandates should be subject to periodic review.
Taxes must be kept low. Every tax and fee should be reviewed and lowered, if possible. The commercial sales tax, especially, should be phased out.
South Florida is an international hub. We should also focus on attracting and retaining international business, that only serves to strengthen our economy.
Florida’s natural environment supports the pillars of our economy: Our beautiful beaches lure tourists from around the globe, and our agriculture industry helps feed the country and the world. Our abundant natural resources must be treasured and protected. We must implement commonsense policies to protect our precious water resources and our state parks system. An all-of-the-above approach to developing energy resources for the future will allow us to maximize energy production and protect our quality of life.
Florida can never let its guard down when it comes to hurricanes and tropical storms, and the time to prepare is well before a storm hits. We must build upon plans and procedures that are already in place by developing statewide guidelines for preparedness, including working with utilities, local governments, and other stakeholders to further harden our electrical grid and ensure that dangerous debris is removed in a timely manner.
Because law-abiding citizens have the right to protect themselves and their families, the Second Amendment must continue to be protected. But we must also find commonsense solutions to keep weapons out of the wrong hands, like programs to help the mentally ill and a swift and sure system of punishment for violent criminals.
Veterans and their families are an integral part of our community. Their commitments and sacrifices should not be taken for granted. We owe a debt of gratitude to their service and sacrifice, and should make every effort to welcome them back into our communities. With tax relief and regulatory reform for our combat veterans, Florida already leads the way as the most veteran-friendly state in the country. We must continue to fully fund our state veterans nursing homes and make sure that we make it easy for veterans to start their own small businesses.
Adequate housing should be available to all Floridians, regardless of income. Policies that promote increased affordable housing options like property tax reductions for seniors on fixed incomes and first-month rent deposit waivers for single-mothers will help keep a roof over the heads of our most vulnerable citizens.