It's time to set legislative direction for Sunshine State

Already this year, American have seen clearly how our Constitution keeps our country strong. First, the world watched the peaceful transfer of power from one president to the next and then tens of millions exercised their right to assembly by participating in one of the dozens of Women's Marches across the country, including here in Florida. 

Clearly we are at a crossroads as a nation. But here in Florida we also face an inflection point about what kind of state we want to be. With the Legislature already casting votes and debating the issues our communities face and Governor Scott preparing his State of the State address now is the time to have this debate.

Are we a state that actively promotes a better tomorrow?

There is already heated debate about continuing the progress made on quality affordable health care, investing in our public schools and protecting our tradition as a nation of immigrants. It’s an understatement to call these issues complicated but at their root is a basic question: do we believe in investing in America’s tomorrow? No matter the direction the federal government takes, our state can take steps that will protect, and invest, in the youngest, the oldest and the newest citizen among us.

Are we going to be a state that rewards the wealthy or one which rewards those whose work creates that wealth?

There is a lot of talk of creating jobs but nobody holds press conferences to herald the opening of another minimum wage location. While work of all levels is important, we need to focus on creating good jobs that can support families and grow communities. Protecting the workplace rights of Florida employees, investing in our state workers through the first pay raise in a decade and supporting communities when they pass higher minimum wages are just a few easy and affordable steps to gauge how serious we are about creation good jobs.                                                                                             

Will we continue to be a state that governs in the sunshine?

We have long been a state that prides itself in strong transparency laws to ensure government on all levels is conducted in the open and with as much input from citizens as possible. But attempts limiting the freedom of information or allowing quasi-governmental agencies funded with our taxes to remain free of oversight are just some ways our state has moved in the wrong direction. This year, the laws that strengthen the position of the citizen instead of the special interests are more important than ever with the start of the state’s Constitution Revision Commission, a once-every-20-years event that impacts us all.

The questions above don’t cover everything our state is facing, but do serve as three inflection points that, no matter your politics, will help determine the overall course of our state for years, even decades, to come. It is up to us to speak out, and it is up to our leaders to listen, so we can move forward together.