CHARLIE CRIST WILL SHOW UP FOR US
It’s no secret why Black Floridians are supporting Charlie Crist. To quote the Honorable Sean Shaw, Senator Shevrin Jones, the Honorable Arthenia Joyner, and Senator Bobby Powell, “when Black Floridians need a helping hand, or a seat at the table, or an equal opportunity to build successful careers, Charlie Crist has been there.”
DeSantis doesn’t share those priorities. His policies have benefitted corporations and the folks at the very top and left everyone else out to dry. Black Floridians are hurting, and Charlie has a plan to help.
As governor, Charlie will fight for our businesses, our neighborhoods, our rights, our children, and our health care:
■ Black-Owned Businesses: When Black-owned businesses are successful, we all benefit. In Congress, Charlie defended fair lending and provided record funding for the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. He fought the big banks that weren’t giving PPP loans to smaller, Black-owned businesses. As governor, Charlie will deliver fairness in state contracting by helping identify Black-owned businesses that can deliver, increasing awareness of contracting opportunities, and providing technical assistance to new applicants. Empowering Black entrepreneurs not only creates jobs and strengthens our economy, it enables Black families to build the type of generational wealth previously denied due to Jim Crow, redlining, lender discrimination, and other systems of racism.
■ State Government Should Reflect Florida’s Diversity: Charlie knows that one of Florida’s greatest strengths is its rich and vibrant diversity. This understanding drives his commitment to appoint individuals who reflect the diverse backgrounds and talents of our state. When Charlie was governor before, more than 21% of his new hires were minorities, and he named 15 Black judges to the bench – including appointing Justice James Perry to the Florida Supreme Court. As Governor, Charlie will keep a direct line to Florida’s Black communities.
■ Safer Neighborhoods and Schools: While gun violence continues to threaten majority-Black communities, it seems like it gets little attention. Charlie has a comprehensive plan to reduce gun violence, including getting illegal weapons off our streets, while investing in locally driven focused deterrence. We should fight gun violence with solutions that work like what St. Petersburg’s Black chief of police, Anthony Holloway, is doing: community policing, solving homicides, and getting tough on illegal guns. The children of Florida deserve to grow up in communities that are safe.
■ Housing You Can Afford: It’s never cost more to be a Floridian. Home prices and rents are out of control, and Ron DeSantis is making it worse. Moreover, property insurance premiums have doubled under DeSantis, and 1 million people have lost their insurance during hurricane season. Charlie stabilized the property insurance market in 2007 and lowered premiums 10%. He’s got a plan to do it again. For housing, Crist will fully fund the Sadowski Trust Fund for affordable housing and work to repeal the law that permanently cut it in half. Better yet, he’ll replenish the billions of dollars that have been raided over the past decade. He’ll also appoint a housing czar to help local communities meet their affordability goals. Finally, Charlie will help local governments crack down on Wall Street-backed firms that are coming in – particularly Black neighborhoods – buying up houses, and turning them into rentals that no one in the community can afford.
■ Protecting the Sacred Right to Vote: In the United States, voting is a sacred and fundamental right. When people were waiting in long lines to cast their ballot in 2008, Charlie unilaterally extended voting hours so that every citizen who wanted to vote could do so. At the time, Republicans told him he was handing the election to President Obama, but Charlie knew it was the right thing to do for Floridians. As governor, Charlie will make it easier to vote, including reversing limits on mail ballots, fighting for automatic registration, and making Election Day a holiday. Charlie will also make it easier for the governor and Cabinet to restore civil rights for returning citizens, honoring the will of the people when they passed Amendment 4. When he was governor, he automatically restored the rights of 155,000 Floridians who paid their debt to society. In Congress, Charlie helped advance the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and passed an amendment to protect Souls to the Polls Sunday early voting. Charlie knows that voting is right that ought to be protected and cherished, and he’s got a plan to deliver.
■ Justice for All: Charlie’s comprehensive criminal justice plan will keep communities safe and fight racial discrimination built into the system. Black Floridians deserve to be safe from crime and safe from racial bias. Charlie will legalize marijuana and expunge all non-violent marijuana convictions. He’ll support prosecutors like Hillsborough’s Andrew Warren, whose juvenile diversion programs kept streets safe and kept kids out of the system.
■ Freedom to Learn: As Florida’s last elected Commissioner of Education, Charlie will be a governor who guarantees a world-class education for every Florida student. Just as he did when he was your education commissioner and your governor, Charlie has a plan to put education first and invest in our children’s future. He’ll declare a teacher shortage emergency and aggressively begin recruiting teachers and education support staff to fill 9,000 empty classrooms and other critical education positions. Parents deserve to be listened to and respected, along with their pain of politicized classrooms and pandemic learning loss. Under DeSantis, our own history is being whitewashed, while reading scores are down. To invest in our future, Charlie will bring starting teacher salary beyond $47,500 and veteran salary to the national average of $67,000. He’ll increase investments in students to enhance curriculum and improve ESE and career, technical, and entrepreneurial (CTE) education, so graduates can get a job. To help more students get ready for kindergarten, Charlie will expand voluntary pre-kindergarten to 3-year-olds and increase availability of all-day pre-K – a win-win so more parents can work! He’ll make schools safer by building a culture and climate of trust and respect between parents, teachers, students, non-instructional staff, elected officials, and law enforcement. Students deserve to feel that people are rooting for them and their success. Finally, Charlie helped bring home over $156 million for Florida’s four HBCUs. He’ll continue that strong support as governor, by fighting for fair and equitable university funding and reviewing performance-based budgeting.
OUR HEALTH CARE
■ Affordable, Accessible Healthcare: Charlie has vowed to veto any budget that does not expand Medicaid for the 800,000+ working Floridians who are uninsured. Medicaid expansion will improve coverage, while bringing billions in additional health dollars into our state and lowering premiums for everyone. Under the American Rescue Plan and the Inflation Reduction Act, Charlie cut the cost of premiums, co-pays, and deductibles under the Affordable Care Act, making it more affordable for you to see your doctor and afford your prescriptions. Finally, Medicare will now be able to negotiate for cheaper prescription drugs, while seniors will soon have their out of pocket prescriptions capped at $2,000 per year.
■ Reducing Health Disparities: Charlie was proud to work with Rep. Lauren Underwood as a founding member of the Congressional Black Maternal Health Caucus because we are facing a crisis. The United States has the worst maternal mortality rate in the developed world, and for Black mothers, it’s three to four times worse. That does not even count the “near misses,” where Black women face severe, sometimes debilitating complications during pregnancy and childbirth. Charlie is also committed to tackling diseases that disproportionately impact the Black community. Crist wrote and introduced groundbreaking legislation to give everyone who needs insulin access to the price Medicaid pays, with the goal to lower the cost to $10 per month. He’ll bring that same fight to Tallahassee. Finally, Charlie was proud to work with doctors and advocates to draft and introduce the Sickle Cell Care Expansion Act to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to improve care. Florida for All means that the color of your skin should not determine your health outcomes.