Florida Democratic Party Platform

Florida Democrats believe in effective and efficient government that prioritizes quality education, affordable health care, and an economy in which anyone who works hard can succeed.

Most importantly, we believe that we are stronger together. We believe the fundamental American promise — that you can go as far as your own hard work will take you — should shine brightest in Florida.

That is why we champion the middle class and cherish the principle that all Floridians should have the opportunity to work hard and succeed. That is why we will never stop fighting for better public schools, because education is the surest path to a better life for millions.

From standing for affordable health care and better schools to fighting for civil rights and access to the ballot box, Florida Democrats are leading every day to move our state forward.

Education

Our children’s future depends on their education, and Florida’s future depends on our children’s success. They need to be educated to compete in a diverse global economy.  Improving our schools and creating a skilled and educated workforce is key to our state’s economic health. Democrats believe that to build the economy of the future and attract lasting jobs that pay well, Florida needs an educated workforce.

Florida’s education system is in disarray. Cuts in funding for public schools and universities forced massive teacher layoffs, and classes like art, music, and athletics were eliminated. Scandals and resignations have resulted in constant turnover among top education officials. Band-aid fixes are holding together the accountability standards that should ensure our children are learning. Rick Scott and the Republicans have broken their promises on education again and again.

This is a make or break moment for Florida’s schools and Florida’s future.

Democrats stand committed to invest in Florida’s public schools, colleges, and universities, because education is the bridge that will lead millions into the middle class. And strengthening education doesn’t stop with better schools for our children. Democrats stand committed to improving worker retraining and technical education, because whether you are fifteen or fifty, you deserve a chance to succeed in the modern economy.

Jobs

Florida Democrats believe that Florida prospers when we all pull together. We see a future where everyone who works hard and plays by the rules can succeed.

We are committed to preserving and expanding the middle class by creating well-paying jobs, by strengthening demand for all that Florida has to offer, and by creating an educated, and skilled workforce.

Instead of favoring political insiders, Democrats will empower small businesses with incentives to create jobs. We will expand training and retraining initiatives for workers to ensure Florida can out-compete other states and other countries. We will strengthen our ports to ensure that Florida remains a center of worldwide commerce far into the 21st century.

A strong middle class can only exist in an economy where everyone plays by the same rules, and that means the culture of Tallahassee has to change. When the politically well-connected get special favors, the middle class — and those struggling to get into the middle class — suffer. Democrats will fight for meaningful ethics reform that drains the special interest swamp in Tallahassee.

Together, Democrats believe that we can create an economy where hard-working Floridians can find a job that pays the bills, where small businesses — not the special interests — can succeed, where a family can own their own home and children can get the high quality education that will let them dream bigger than their parents ever thought possible.

Health Care

Democrats believe affordable, high quality health care is part of the American promise, that everyone should have the security that comes with good health care, and that no one should go broke because they get sick. Florida Democrats stand ready to protect the landmark reforms that are already helping millions of Floridians.

We are committed to expanding access to health care under the Affordable Care Act to more than one million Floridians who work hard every day, but cannot afford insurance by themselves. Democrats are also educating the public about the health care law and are giving small businesses the help they need to benefit from it. However, rather than help the public, Rick Scott and the Republicans are spreading misinformation to prevent people from understanding the law, or out-and-out denying people information they need to make decisions.

Women and Families

We understand that women’s issues are economic issues, and that is why creating jobs that pay well is so important to Florida Democrats. We understand that women’s rights are civil rights, and that is why Democrats fight against wage discrimination and violence against women.

Republicans think they know better than women. They know what contraception women should be allowed to use, and they seem committed to getting between a woman and her doctor. Florida Democrats believe that women have the right to control their own reproductive choices, and will fight to ensure that women have access to contraception in their personal health insurance.

Civil Rights

Democrats have a long and proud history of defending civil rights and expanding opportunity for all Americans. From the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009, Democrats have fought to end discrimination in all forms. For too many Floridians, though, this ideal is still far from a reality. We will fight the GOP’s attempts to purge the voting rolls and suppress our votes, and we will fight to ensure that GLBT Floridians win equal rights. Democrats will always stand up for those who continue to be denied their basic civil rights.

Voting Rights

One of the most important rights of American citizens is the right to vote — the right to have a say in who our leaders are and how our government works. But the path to full voting rights for all citizens has been long and challenging. For far too many Floridians, obstacles to voting remain today.

Rick Scott and Florida Republicans have persistently worked to make it harder to vote. The results were plain to see on Election Day in 2012: lines that lasted hours, especially in minority precincts. Democrats will never stop fighting attempts to suppress our votes, and will work for reform that creates accessible, open, and fair elections — a system that ensures that every eligible person can cast a vote and that every lawfully cast vote is counted.

Protecting Our Land and Water

Florida has been known as the Sunshine State for over a century because of our gentle seasons and the natural beauty of our landscape. Millions of people visit Florida every year, and many of them decide that this is the place where they want to raise their families or retire. No sector of our economy is left untouched by the impact of the millions of visitors who decide every year to spend time in Florida. Our land, our water, and our beaches are our state’s greatest economic assets.

Florida Republicans do not understand this basic economic truth, and their disregard for Florida’s natural resources is a reckless threat to our economy. Democrats will stand firm against efforts to weaken Florida’s protection of our land and water. We reject the false choice between economic prosperity and a healthy environment. In Florida, economic strength and environmental health go hand-in-hand.

Immigration

Florida Democrats are working with both parties in Washington, D.C. to pass comprehensive immigration reform that will protect our national security, secure our economic future, and allow hundreds of thousands to step out of the shadows.

Rick Scott and the Republicans see immigration as a threat to be controlled with Arizona-style laws targeting minorities. They disrespect Dreamers and deny them basic rights, because they do not see them as young people who call the United States of America their home.

Florida Democrats will fight to keep America the land of opportunity. We will work to achieve reform that holds everyone accountable, treats everyone fairly, and creates a path for everyone to earn the American Dream.

Accountability in Government

Democrats believe that changing politics in Tallahassee means ensuring that government is open, transparent, and responsive to the people. Democrats are committed to enacting sweeping ethics reform to limit the influence of special interests and lobbyists and ensure that government is accountable to the people — and only to the people.

These days, it seems that special interests get all the attention of our state leaders, from favors dispensed in closed-door meetings to million-dollar taxpayer giveaways, while regular Floridians get shut out of the political process. Real accountability means abandoning the poll-tested gimmicks of the past, which have served as a smokescreen for politicians to keep on practicing business as usual.

….from the Florida Democratic Party web site: www.floridadems.org/our-values

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