A race to provide "the most good for the most people."
Having traveled extensively across the United States as an author, educator, and business owner, I’ve seen firsthand that we are far more alike than politicians lead us to believe. So while registered as a proud ‘Harry Truman’ Democrat, I am running as an American — and as a Floridian. It is a civic responsibility and a moral obligation to give back when I have been given so much. But this isn’t my race alone. Democrats, Republicans, and Independents would agree it is our shared responsibility to find common ground and create a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Here are areas in which we can achieve that goal together.
Throughout my life, senior citizens have assisted me by imparting advice, bestowing wisdom, and offering lessons that helped define my positions on topics such as work, education, and my responsibilities as a citizen. As your senator, the goodwill of this generation will be returned in a society where a senior citizen’s lingering illness won’t lead to a lasting bankruptcy and where quality housing, nourishing meals, and accessible transportation for seniors in need will be seen as a testament to our collective compassion as Americans.
Equal Justice Under the Law
Martin Luther King, Jr. knew “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” That arc also bends toward progress. Attitudes change over time, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the evolution of acceptance of our gay family, friends, and neighbors. Discrimination against anyone doesn’t cut it with me. If people are searching for legal loopholes to validate their prejudices, I am more than willing to strengthen laws to ensure equality for everyone.
An Ounce of Prevention
The majority of Floridians who recognize healthcare as a right and not a privilege are far too generous to allow a fellow citizen’s minor ailment escalate into a major illness. Ironically, while American healthcare is the most expensive, it is the least effective among developed nations. This sad contradiction can be traced from Big Pharma and insurance companies to hospitals, lawyers, lobbyists and, especially, legislative leaders who put thousands of children and seniors at risk by denying the Medicaid funding source in the Affordable Care Act. This is not how we treat our friends and neighbors in the land I love. I’ll fight to ensure quality, affordable, preventative healthcare for everyone and stand up for the least among us by supporting Florida’s funding of Medicaid, food stamps, and the Meals on Wheels programs.
The Great Outdoors
Within the borders of District 12 are some of the most beautiful rivers, lakes, and forests in Florida. To establish Lake, Sumter, and Marion counties as Florida’s capital of outdoor recreation and ecotourism, I will strongly support legislative initiatives that protect Florida’s fragile ecosystems and the quantity and quality of Florida’s water and public lands. We’ll do this by banning offshore oil rigs, prohibiting fracking, advancing solar power and other renewable energy options and, most critically, adequately funding science-based research to devise effective solutions to environmental issues.
Reward Hard Work
Along with most folks, I believe in a strong work ethic. In Lake, Sumter, and Marion counties, conservatives and progressives alike are working side by side -- often at two jobs, sometimes three -- just to make sure their families are fed and their bills are paid. This willingness to work is their common ground. Their common goal? Improving their quality of life.
Yet while these people know the rigors of hard work, too few know its rewards. I believe when someone is willing to accept personal responsibility to create a better life through the strength of their own labor, it is our responsibility as a community to set them up for success through better training, better education, better jobs, and better wages. As your senator, I will focus on the needs of working men and women; putting them on a path that leads to the American Dream.
Support Public Education
Among the many roles public school teachers play in the lives of our children, perhaps the most important is helping them set a trajectory that will guide them throughout their lives. Too often, though, politicians armed with an agenda and with little regard to the training, dedication, and experience our educators bring to the classroom, interfere with the lesson plans of these professionals; tampering with the curriculum and further hastening the decline of public schools by transferring millions of tax dollars into charter and voucher schools.
As a proud graduate of public schools, educators on the front lines of public schools will have a champion in the Senate as I work to limit the politicization of public schools and demand that private schools receiving taxpayer money be held to the same standards applied to our public schools.
Hold Our Leaders Accountable
Buy a box of cereal and you know its ingredients. Shop for a car and a sticker will tell you where the parts came from. Why should our laws be any different?
In Florida and across America, many of our laws are not written by the people you elected. Those laws are strategically formulated and precisely written by anonymous, unelected lawyers and lobbyists who draft boilerplate state-level legislation that rewards special interests at your expense. Florida’s workers, business owners, and seniors who still recall an era of honest government can easily recognize this as wrong, dangerous and, above all, irresponsible. Add to this gerrymandered districts drawn to stack the deck in an incumbent’s favor, and the dream of a representative government fades further into the past.
As your senator, the first bill I’ll introduce will require any legislation proposed by a member of any party explicitly state the origins of the proposed laws to reveal whether it was written to benefit the public – or abuse the public trust by catering solely to special interests.
Better Jobs, Better Pay
For too long we’ve accepted low-wage jobs as our destiny. But aiming higher is what Americans do best, so we’re making a change in November.
Growth is coming our way and, with it, an opportunity to up our game. Intersected by the Florida Turnpike and I-75, District 12 is a logical place to base a business and I’ll do everything I can to lure high-paying, high-tech jobs to the region; from healthcare professionals and the schools that train them to industries that look to the future through innovations in solar and renewable energy, electric vehicles, and mass transit.
As your state senator, I’ll help us plan not just for today, but for decades down the road by working closely with business leaders as well as vocational schools, colleges, and universities to train our citizens for jobs that will help them work their way into a higher standard of living. We can do this through better training, better education, better jobs, and better wages. I will focus on the needs of working men and women; putting them on a path that leads to the American Dream.
Keeping Citizens Safe
Where responsible gun owners and gun control advocates agree is on the need for tighter restrictions to keep assault weapons out of the hands of those who intend to do harm to others. Sadly, their shared voices are silenced by lobbyists and politicians who claim massacres at churches, schools, concerts, nightclubs, and workplaces are solely a mental health issue, failing to mention the near absence of mass shootings in nations with tighter gun laws and, very likely, similar instances of mental illness.
My campaign is based on compromise and finding common ground, and I submit the common ground is already there. By an overwhelming majority, Americans want their elected officials to act. Yet because career politicians willfully allow lobbyists to muddy the waters, it is up to citizens to take control of the conversation. As in the redrawing of gerrymandered districts and restoration of voting rights, I will pursue a referendum that directs government to address this crisis.
Approved and paid for by Gary McKechnie, Democrat for Florida State Senate, District 12