Barry University College Democrats Endorsement Statement

Barry University College Democrats Recommend…

One of the most active student organizations in the Florida College Democrats state federation, BUCD would like to go on record to endorse the following candidates and amendments for this upcoming election cycle. In full college student fashion, we have waited until THE day before the August 30th primary. There will be another round of endorsements for the November cycle as well. These endorsements were each considered carefully in how each subject of endorsement fell in line with the own goals and vision for impact within our community. No candidate interviews were conducted, putting what the candidates have offered to the public front and center. Any office not listed is a race that BUCD has decided to hold on endorsing until the next round.

Pillars of our organization begin with a call to end the Drug War, including a full legalization of cannabis, decriminalization of all drugs, and an extensive push for mental health treatment as opposed to jailing for substance abuse. We stand for a single-payer healthcare system, the ability of congress to negotiate drug prices, and a restitution of the public option amendment to ease the transition to single-payer healthcare. We advocate an in-house bill creating a mandatory bodycamera program for police officers as well as major reforms in our criminal justice system. We support a full ban on fracking. We oppose any attempts at privatizing public water supplies and utilities in general. We support tuition-free college for all. We support expanding social secuity and a $15/hr minimum wage tied to inflation for years to come.

Below is a short summary of endorsed candidates and quotes from a selection of highlighted candidates asked to provide one after receipt of their endorsement:

U.S House of Representatives

Tim Canova, District 23,

A longtime law professor and trade expert, Tim has taken on the challenge of a lifetime and gained national recognition for it. Unlike his incumbent opponent, Tim has much more progressive policy positions and major funders. In 2011, Tim taught a workshop on the Federal Reserve at the Occupy Los Angeles encampment. At that time, he was also selected by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders to serve on an advisory committee on Federal Reserve reform along with such leading economists as James Galbraith, Robert Reich, Jeffrey Sachs, and Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz. Of the endorsement,Tim said:

“I am so proud to receive the endorsement of the Barry University College Democrats. We are working together for a progressive agenda of jobs and justice for all. We must all serve as stewards for our natural resources and that means protecting our waterways, our most precious resources, from the threat of fracking as well as the blue-green algae toxins from Big Sugar and industrial farm runoff into Lake Okeechobee. My campaign supports a ban on fracking now and we support Yes on 4, the Solar Amendment on the ballot on August 30th. Thank you Barry Democrats! Together we demand Progress For All!”

Frederica Wilson, District 24

Incumbent and longtime CBC (Congressional Black Caucus) champion, Frederica Wilson is seeking reelection in the district encompassing Barry U. Strong on civil rights issues, Wilson has a more moderate record on the issues we hold dear like cannabis reform (while still maintaining a B from NORML) and others. Her opponent, Randall “Thrill” Hill is former NFL player and US Customs agent. He boasts an even more moderate record in his first bid for office with little traction against a well-insulated and longtime ally in Congresswoman Wilson. While BUCD understands the need for new leadership, Hill represents a step backwards in the progressive struggle for justice.

Alina Valdes, District 25

A tireless candidate with little tracking outside of progressive circles, Dr. Alina Valdes represents how tough the struggle is for an Hispanic female to gain traction, despite having rock-solid policies and a spirit that can combat the big-money culture in campaigns. An early Sanders supporter, Valdes supports a single-payer healthcare system, legalized cannabis, tuition-free college, and a full ban on fracking. Valdes provided a quote to BUCD, saying:

“I want to express my appreciation for your support and endorsement of my campaign for US House of Representatives FL CD 25. It will be my pleasure and commitment to support issues important to young people and future leaders like Universal Health Care for all and to work for the validation and progression of global warming and climate change. We can and will find solutions for these and many other progressive issues as we work towards a sustainable and better future where people come first again.”

Scott Fuhrman, District 27

A newcomer to the political sphere, Fuhrman has lived progressive policies in his capacity as President of Florida Bottling company, an organic juice business in Miami. His employees all earn a living wage and paid family leave. Running against a longtime incumbent in Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, he represents a solid progressive choice for a district held by the GOP since 1988. Running on similar policies to Sen. Sanders, supporting a ban on assault rifles, expanding social security, and a full ban on fracking, to name a few, Fuhrman has caught the eye of local and national support.

In the interest of transparency, it is the responsibility of this organization to make it clear that two members of this organization’s executive board serve on his campaign. We want to take the opportunity to reassert that each candidate chosen for endorsement was based upon their own merit and viability and that members of the board are on his campaign because of his policy vision. Fuhrman provided the following statement:

“South Florida, and the country as a whole, is in need of new leadership unafraid to say that climate change is real, reversible, and urgent to our attention. Our district needs new thinking ready to bring the postal service into the 21st Century through postal banking that can help our brothers and sisters most in need and more. Our congress needs a shakeup via leaders who are ready to take on student debt and address our foreign relations with a diplomatic mind and a steady hand. Our communities need legislators ready to advocate for a massive rebuild of our crumbling and dated infrastructure including high-speed rails, new roads and bridges, and working towards more renewable energy consumption; bringing new, decent paying jobs along the way. Our schools need advocates to strengthen the value of our teachers and the funding for our schools to ensure every American, regardless of zip code, can have the same opportunities to learn and succeed.

My family has achieved the American Dream and our business success has helped hundreds of families over the years achieve it too. I’m running for the House of Representatives to advocate for structural change and new jobs to help every American, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual identity have the opportunity to have a fair shake at the destiny we call the American Dream.”

Florida House of Representatives

Patricio Moreno, District 105

A top leader in the Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida, Moreno is taking his first dive into politics after a heartwarming story of redemption after the 08 economic crash. In the community, Moreno works as a real estate agent and supports a full ban on fracking.

Francesca Menes, District 108

Since 2010, Francesca has worked at the Florida Immigrant Coalition, a statewide immigrant rights organization and now serves as the Director of Policy and Advocacy, creating a foundation for intersectional social justice movements focused on worker’s rights, racial justice, criminal justice and women’s rights. Francesca leads strategic legislative and policy campaigns locally and statewide for the coalition. In partnership with community members and elected officials, she assists in drafting and proposing legislation that strengthens our families and our communities.

For 2 years, Francesca was the coordinator of a national network of organizations fighting for the designation of Haiti for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). She’s also been the co-coordinator of the Florida Wage Theft Task Force, which led the passage of ordinances in several counties throughout the state. In 2014 she also led the statewide campaign “We Are Florida’s Future” to pass in-state tuition for undocumented students, which became law on June 9, 2014.

Nick Duran, District 112

Nick became State Director for Enroll America in Florida in order to ensure that every Floridian had the protections that his family enjoyed. While there, he managed a team of 40 staff across the state in implementing an innovative outreach campaign that used data-driven, campaign-style methods to increase enrollment under the Affordable Care Act. After helping Enroll America become the national leader in healthcare signups under the Affordable Care Act, Nick shifted his focus to those caught in the coverage gap and became the Executive Director of the Florida Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, a state association that represents and supports Florida’s free and charitable clinics and networks.

Nick currently serves as chair for the University of South Florida Covering Kids and Families State Coalition and is part of Leadership Florida’s Connect Florida Leadership Institute Class VI.

David Richardson, District 113

Facing a primary in his reelection bid, Richardson has gone above and beyond what it means to be a progressive legislator. An openly gay legislator, Richardson has been strong advocate for LGBT+ rights and has taken time to do spot checks of our prison structure to ensure quality.

Robert Ascensio, District 118

A 30-year veteran of the military and police, his statement speaks for itself:

“I’m running because our elected officials need to be held accountable. It seems as if our state government has lost its way. Politicians spend more time arguing as opposed to coming together to solve issues that affect all of us. Our elected officials need to be held to a higher standard. If elected, I will always put my constituents first and I will lead the way to find common ground in finding solutions for our communities. One of the most important issues that I want to tackle is improving our public education system. Fair and equitable access to education is a priority. I want to ensure that kids from all parts of the state are able to get a good education and if they decide to pursue a college education, they shouldn’t have to deal with a large burden of debt. Improving public education, the public health system, and reforming our criminal justice system are all important to improving our quality of life in Florida.”

Dan Horton, District 120

Running on a platform of environmental jsutice, Horton has poised himself to cruise past his primary opponent and be competitive against the GOP incumbent for this seat covering Homestead to the Keys.

Florida Senate

Jose Javier Rodriguez, District 37

A progressive rockstart, JJR has set his eyes on the Florida senate against Miguel Diaz De La Portilla. As one of the few members of the state congress to take the minimum wage challenge and has advocated heavily and early against the FPL dumping in Turkey Point.

Dwight Bullard, District 40

The most progressive elected official in Florida, Bullard has been a champion for criminal justice and cannabis reform and has been supportive of our bodycamera legislation. Bullard also wrote legislation to ban fracking. An early Sanders supporter, Bullard has been a true voice of the people for a long time and deserves even more time to continue.

Ballot Initiatives

We support Amendment 2 which allows for medical cannabis to Floridians who apply, 3 which seeks to provide tax exemptions to first responders disabled in the line of duty, and 4 which seeks to allow property tax exemptions for solar panel use, while we denounce Amendment 1 as a corporate sell-off.

With pride and enthusiasm, the Barry U. College Democrats support these candidates and initiatives. We see each candidate as individuals that can live up to the responsibilities of her or his office and fellow citizens both locally and nationally making each the most qualified.

Emma Anderson Beavers and Chris Riker, President and Vice President of the Barry University College Democrats.