Updated On: Aug 20 2014 06:38:17 AM EDT
Family: Married to David, four children and three grandchildren
Occupation: Public Policy Advocate
Education: Attended the University of Florida
Political experience: State Representative, 2000-2004; State Senator, 2004-2012; First Woman Elected Senate Democratic Leader, 2010-2012
What do you see as the top three issues in this race?
Florida is a very large and diverse state with many complex issues. Certainly, the economy and jobs are of primary importance to every working family. And I believe improving our state’s education system is directly linked to the strength of our economy. That’s why, for me, the top issue is education.
Nothing has a greater impact on the state’s economic development and the creation of new jobs than the skill of its workforce. Investing public education to make Florida’s public schools, colleges, and universities among the best in the nation would be my top priority.
I believe all Floridians are entitled to affordable healthcare. I will work to fully implement the Affordable Care Act and I would accept Florida’s $51 billion share of federal funds for Medicaid Expansion. It would provide health insurance for 1.2 million Floridians and create 122,000 new healthcare jobs.
I have always been a strong advocate for children and believe that the state has an obligation to protect Florida’s most vulnerable children. Tragically, from 2008 to 2013, 477 children known to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) died needlessly. DCF failed in its primary responsibility of keeping children safe. That’s why I would make a top-to-bottom examination of the agency at every level and a reaffirmation of its core mission of protecting children among my top three priorities as governor.
Why should people vote for you?
As governor, I will reset Florida’s priorities and put the needs of working families first. As the Democratic Leader in the State Senate, I effectively worked across the aisle to find common ground with my Republican colleagues. I believe my legislative experience and the fact that I am a woman, wife, mother, and grandmother gives me a very different perspective on Florida’s priorities than either my primary opponent, Charlie Crist or my ultimate opponent, Rick Scott.
What do you hope to be remembered for after you leave office?
I hope to be remembered as someone who was true to her principles. Our principles are what define us as individuals. They are not transient ideas; they are the core of our moral barometer. Throughout life we are measured by how we stand by those principles. I hope my actions, as the first woman governor of Florida, are remembered for standing for the defense of civil liberties, the needs of children, the rights of women and minorities, the protection of seniors, and the preservation of our environment. These are the principles I live by — and they are the principles by which I would govern.
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