Andrew Gillum Clear Choice for Governor After Florida Debate (OPINION)

Oct 22, 2018
2:56 PM

Even before the Florida gubernatorial debate on CNN, it was clear to anyone paying attention that Andrew Gillum is the right person to lead the state after 20 years of disastrous Republican control.

Ron DeSantis started his campaign for governor by saying that Floridians should not “monkey this up” by electing Gillum. The Republican candidate thought that kicking off his campaign with a clear racist dog whistle was the right way of honoring the first black nominee for governor in Florida.

That comment alone disqualified DeSantis, but if you were unsure, the CNN debate gave concrete proof that he is unqualified, unprepared and dishonest.

DeSantis started the debate going straight into attack mode and he continued throughout the hour-long debate. He attacked Gillum on a number of falsehoods that I won’t list here because I have no desire to spread them further.

He routinely dodged questions, deflecting at every possible opportunity.

Asked about his stance on the minimum wage? He gave a rambling answer about tax policy that contained a lie about Gillum’s stance on the state income tax.

Asked about healthcare? Lied about his voting record and the fact that he supported taking away protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Asked whether he considered Donald Trump a good role model for children? Inexplicably went on a rant about Israel and the moving of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

The audience did not learn anything new about DeSantis. With two weeks to go until election day, his campaign has so far evaded releasing substantial policy plans and it seems like their plan is to continue this modus operandi until Election Day.

Floridians deserve better.

Our water is polluted, largely thanks to Governor Rick Scott, with toxic green algae and red tide making our beaches a health hazard to the public and killing marine wildlife.

Our minimum wage is at an abysmal $8.25.

Republicans in the state legislature continue to reject Medicaid expansion, leaving around 660,000 Floridians who would qualify uninsured.

Public education is increasingly defunded as charter schools continue to raid taxpayer funds with the aid of Tallahassee lawmakers.

No meaningful action has been taken to prevent more senseless gun violence, even though the state has had 51 shootings since the tragedy at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.

Millions of Floridians are disenfranchised through various methods of voter suppression.

Floridians deserve a governor who has actual plans to deal with these and the many other issues in the state. Floridians deserve a governor who will seek to bridge our differences instead of exacerbating existing divisions. Floridians deserve a governor who understands the working class experience and is willing to enact reforms to help all Floridians thrive.

Ron DeSantis failed at last night’s debate. Andrew Gillum is the Governor that Floridians deserve, because like he says “we all do better when we all do better.”

Early voting statewide is October 27 until November 4. Check your supervisor of elections office as they may offer additional dates. Election day is November 6.


Thomas Kennedy is the Political Director for FLIC Votes and a communications fellow for the Center for Community Change Action. He tweets from @Tomaskenn.