Marihelen Wheeler – Alachua County Commission District 2 Candidate Questionnaire

1) Do you support paying a living wage to all County workers including part-time, temporary, seasonal, and contracted workers? (The ACLC defines a living wage as 125% of the Federal Poverty Level – currently $14.78 an hour).

a. How will you ensure contracted workers are paid the set wage?

I will work with the Commission to convince employers of the need to circulate monies in our community by increasing pay to the targeted living wage of $15 an hour. I will encourage those most active in this movement to continue to speak to the issue before the Commission and invite them to bring most affected workers with them to challenge any resistance to the goal. I will continue to support wage   theft recovery and help to set system in place for workers to report problems.

b. What is your plan to get us there?

I will continue the conversation forward so  to keep the focus and momentum towards the $15 goal. Moving people out of poverty also helps to insure that their children will go to school well fed, less stressed and prepared to learn. We can break the cycle of ignorance,neglect and despair by improving the living conditions of children and the elderly by supporting the work force. I intend to use my experience as a public school teacher of 32 years in North Florida to make this point firmly and consistently.

c. What ideas do you have to help improve wages and benefits for workers throughout our community?

As a teacher, I have the experience of working with families from a wide range of socioeconomic and cultural communities. Many of those were not academics. One of my goals is to work with labor and the School Board to push for vocational training  options and renew respect for the trades. Our community goal must be to help provide the right jobs for prepared workers, and pay well enough so no working family lives in poverty.

2) Do you support providing paid administrative leave for part-time, temporary, seasonal, and contracted City workers in the event of emergency work closures (e.g., hours missed due to Hurricanes)?


3) Do you support a “Renters Bill of Rights’” which would:

  • inform renters of their rights under existing laws
  • offer an alternative to costly courts to settle disputes over security deposits and damages
  • protect renters from high utility bills by enacting policies that require landlords to make basic investments in energy efficiency


4) Do you support a local hiring preference that includes the use of certified apprenticeship programs for taxpayer funded projects?