There's a way to ensure that your elected officials truly work toward the benefit of all Floridians, and the first step is to find a candidate without party loyalty. Because when politicians reach across the aisle, they risk fighting in a tug of war, and that's a scenario in which someone inevitably loses - more often than not, it's the people those politicians serve. But when you elect someone without party loyalty, that official doesn't have to reach across the aisle - that person lives in the aisle and is free to roam all seats in pursuit of cooperation to the benefit of as many constituents as possible. Non-partisanship opens the opportunity for the most powerful form of conflict management: collaboration. Instead of competing for resource or compromising on flawed solutions, non-partisan candidates can devote themselves to solving problems for their constituents in a way that benefits all Americans.
Campaign Finance Reform
The second step is to make sure that candidate is free from the influence of money. If corporations or wealthy donors comprise the bulk of the candidate's funding, they will consume the bulk of the candidate's attention. In our society, money and power are inextricably linked. Money begets influence, and influence is power in action. Candidates that reject corporate cash and limit the ability for wealthy donors to hold disproportionate influence are more freely able to devote equal attention to all constituents. Consequently, candidates that meet both of these criteria are uniquely qualified and driven to fix campaign finance laws and ensure fair and trustworthy elections for future generations.
The Marketplace of Ideas
The First Amendment is considered by many to be the foundation of the Marketplace of Ideas - the notion that when arguments are publicly expressed, those with the most merit will ultimately prevail. Candidates that are free of monetary and political influence are free to express a wider range of ideas without repercussion. And when it comes to ideas, the Law of Big Numbers dictates that when more ideas are debated in the open, the more likely it is that a more perfect solution will be chosen. I won't claim to always have the best ideas, but I do have a track record of exploring a wide gamut of ideas, seeking inputs from all sides, and building consensus on a path forward. By opening the U.S. House of Representatives to the full spectrum of possibilities, the chamber can without challenge once again proclaim itself one of the world's greatest deliberative bodies.
The Three Fs
While the "how" and the "why" of what I am running for the U.S. House of Representatives are interwoven, there are three additional areas I will focus on if elected: Family, Future, and Fixes.
Family. Raising a family is hard and noble work, and its benefits shouldn't be limited to those who earn enough to ensure a bright future for their children. We need to reach higher than tax credits and put into place a foundation for families to work together in bringing up the next generation. If it takes a village to raise a child, then that village ought to have the proper resources available for its youngest inhabitants, regardless of its ZIP code - and nobody ought to be denied their right to choose when and whether to raise children, especially until a strong and supportive village exists for everybody. Parents need not feel the potentially dire consequences of unpaid leave when welcoming a new member. Adoption need not be a pursuit available only to those with the means of paying agencies. Loving families with a heart for fostering should not be shut down because of religious influence among third-party organizations. Those unable or without the desire to raise a family of children should not be thought of as lesser-than. Families come in many shapes and sizes, each bringing their own blessings to our communities.
Future. Public office is a position of leadership. Honoring that position requires forward-looking clarity of vision to keep our state and country safe and prosperous. The future hinges on at least three key areas:
Public education is a hallmark of a functioning democracy. I envision a nation in which public schools are supported instead of dismantled; where every child can be raised up according to their desired vocation and natural gifts; where civics and the arts are held in as high a regard as science and technology; where history classes aim for the same accuracy and rigor as engineering and math; where the safety of children is not measured by the presence of gates, walls, metal detectors, and other hardening measures; where every teacher gets to keep more of their paycheck because their classrooms are provided for. School choice shouldn't result in the gutting of our public schools and the propping up of private education through public taxes, but it should result in community cornerstones and civic pride.
Whether or not you believe the science of man-made climate change, it's difficult to argue against the fact that we know of only one habitable planet within our realistic reach: Earth. If we don't take reasonable steps to protect our home, then we risk making it less habitable for humans and other species. It is incumbent upon us in this moment to ensure that the river of grass keeps flowing through the Everglades, that our natural springs aren't bottled up, and that saltwater doesn't creep up beneath our feet. If the best way to accomplish those goals is to curb our carbon emissions, then let's do it in a way preserves employment and economic opportunity while fostering markets that naturally favor carbon reduction. And if it turns out there's a better way, let's support that.
Infrastructure will be key to energy independence and environmentally friendly mobility. Securing our energy and ensuring the free movement of goods is a matter of national security and a good defense policy. Just as Eisenhower leveraged the defense budget to help build our interstate highway system, we too should consider it an imperative use of defense resources to protect our energy and mobility infrastructure. Otherwise our defense systems will be left protecting nothing more than a desolate wasteland. We must ensure that the mountains, valleys, and oceans white with foam are forever in enviable health and worthy of our defense.
Fixes. We can respect tradition while acknowledging faults with the status quo. But hanging onto a mistake from the past does little to help mend the wounds of history. We've made missteps in our past, and it is wise and honorable to admit it. Indigenous tribes and nations deserve resolutions to our past transgressions, as do descendants of slaves and internment camp captives. Police, teachers, postal workers, and other community helpers are overworked, under-resourced, and unsupported. Let's ensure the most essential of workers get the resources they need and have supplemental services to augment their core functions - in other words, let's not ask teachers to be nurses and police officers to be social workers. The entire network and fabric of the community is worthy of our investment. These may be controversial topics, but we do no good in ignoring them and passing the buck to future generations.
What I wrote above is what I think is important for us to talk about and work on together. But this campaign is ultimately about all Floridians. So I want to know more about what's on your mind. Your priorities are my priorities, so please share them with me below.