The South Florida Democrat says providing Floridians with quality, affordable health care is her top priority for running for the state Senate.
Janelle Perez is a woman on a mission. The South Florida advocate, policy maker, and small business owner is running for state Senate with one overriding goal: to provide Floridians with quality, accessible health care.
“It is my absolute, top priority,” Perez told Floricua. “Access to high quality, affordable health care is the reason I am running for state Senate.”
Perez’s passion is fueled by her own experience with a life-threatening illness. She was 28 years old when she was diagnosed with stage IV Follicular Lymphoma, an aggressive cancer. Fortunately, Perez had access to quality health care.
“And I think that is a big part of the reason why I’m still alive today,” said Perez, who is one of the owners of a family-owned Medicare company in Miami-Dade County that provides additional Medicare Advantage benefits to Medicare beneficiaries in Miami-Dade County.
Because of her experience, Perez believes that as senator she will be able to “bring a perspective to Tallahassee as the first healthcare business owner to be elected.”
‘Republicans Should Be Angry’
For years Democrats have been trying to expand Medicaid using money provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) an action that would provide health coverage for an additional 800,000 to 1 million low-income, uninsured Floridians. But state Republicans have consistently refused to accept federal money to expand the program.
“We’ve had a Republican legislature in power for twenty years in the state of Florida,” Perez said. “And I think it’s embarrassing when it comes to health care that in the state of Florida, we haven’t expanded Medicaid in over twenty years. And there is no reason for it.”
In fact, Perez said, Republicans should be “angry” that they are paying for Medicaid with their federal tax dollars, and the state government is rejecting that money every year. “It not only doesn’t make sense financially for our state, but it’s inhumane and it goes against what will benefit our community. There is an incredible need in the state of Florida for Medicaid expansion.”
Once elected, she promises to “to fight tooth and nail for anything that is going to create more access for Floridians,” said Perez, who is running to unseat Latinas for Trump founder Ileana Garcia in District 37.
A Passion for Democracy
The fire to get things done comes straight from her roots. The daughter of Cuban exiles who fled Castro’s communist dictatorship and worked hard to become successful entrepreneurs in their adopted country, Perez is a strong believer in Democracy. That is why she reacts with outrage and disbelief when some conservatives equate Democrats with Communists.
“There are a lot of things that this Republican party is doing that remind me of the stories that I’ve been told of Fidel Castro and how he stripped away freedoms and choice from Cubans,” Perez said, citing DeSantis’ voting law that makes it harder for minorities and seniors to vote, his stance against teaching the racial history of the US in schools, and his support for the “Don’t Say Gay” bill that prohibits classroom discussion of LGBTQ subjects. “So, calling me anything close to that is a slap in the face and a genuine insult,” she said.
A passionate advocate for LGBTQ equality, women’s rights, gun safety laws, and creating opportunities for small businesses, Perez lives in Miami with her wife, and is expecting their second child together.