As more families struggle to make ends meet, GOP politicians in Tallahassee are diverting people’s attention from their failure to address the economy, says the Florida Senate Minority Leader.
Magicians use a nifty ploy to fool their audience. As they attempt to pull a rabbit out of a hat, they will draw the audience’s attention to what the other hand is doing. So, with the public duly distracted, they’ll be able to perform their trick with no one becoming the wiser.
So, what has this bit of “magic” to do with the price of gas? Or the housing shortage?
As families across the Sunshine State are being crushed by an outrageously high housing market that ranks Florida number one in the US in housing unaffordability; as almost one million Floridians lack healthcare coverage while Republicans refuse to expand Medicaid; and a growing number of residents continue to struggle in the COVID-19 economy, Republicans are diverting people’s attention from their failure to address these issues by creating needless culture wars, suggests Florida Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book.
“We are facing an affordability crisis in working and housing in our state, we have property insurance that people cannot afford, companies are insolvent, people are having to make decisions about whether to pay for prescriptions, put food on the table, or put gas in the car,” the Florida-born Democrat, who has served in the Florida Senate since 2016, and has been the state’s Senate minority leader since 2021, told Floricua.
“My caucus and I have spent hours and hours talking to Floridians about the problems they are facing, and these have nothing to do with these ‘culture wars’ we’re fighting.”
Creating a Distraction
Indeed, these “culture wars” have taken the lion’s share of the people’s attention as Republicans pass the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which prohibits discussions of gender and sexuality in classrooms; allow the banning of books in public schools; wage a war against female transgender athletes by trying to bar them from competing in girls’ sports, and seek to limit diversity training in companies, while spending millions of dollars to investigate baseless claims of voter fraud.
“They choose to focus on these culture wars, instead of ensuring that there is affordable workforce housing, or making sure we address the insurance crisis. [They] are not making sure that Floridians are having their basic needs met,” said the senator.
Book sees the Republicans putting up “barriers and barriers and barriers” that keep hardworking Floridians from achieving the American Dream for themselves.
“If you don’t have a place to live, if you can’t pay for your prescriptions, if you can’t pay for gas, if you don’t have a place to put kids that is safe, whether it’s school or early learning centers, you can’t get to work,” she added.
A Decisive Election
Republicans have controlled Florida’s governor’s office and Legislature since 1999. At this time, the state has a Republican trifecta, with the Republican Party controlling the offices of the governor (Ron DeSantis), secretary of state (Wilton Simpson), and attorney general (Chris Sprowls), as well as both chambers of the state Legislature.
Leader Book, as well as Rep. Charlie Crist, Sen. Annette Taddeo and Rep. Val Demings, the Democrats who are challenging incumbents Ron DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio, respectively, see the urgent need for change.
“Absolute power corrupts absolutely,” added the senator. “There is this prevailing sentiment in Tallahassee amongst Republicans, which is ‘Because we can.’ And so [that’s why] we’re finding dangerous policies.”
Book strongly believes that the way to stop some of the policies that negatively impact Floridians, while doing nothing to improve the economy, is to elect more Democrats to the Florida Senate. The idea is to focus “on the real, true needs of Floridians,” such as affordable housing and health care, and providing hardworking families with the resources they need. “We were able to pass $15 minimum wage for state employees. But that’s not enough for everyday workers throughout the state.”
For this reason, she says, “we are fighting the fight, working hard to create a path for [Democratic] candidates. I think people need to pay attention to the elections in November.”