While the ACLC does not endorse candidates, we do poll them to learn where they stand on issues that are important to our members. In May we began sending out questions regarding the Living Wage and access to health care to candidates at the local and state level. Below are the responses that we’ve received thus far. Needless to say, this election cycle will be an extremely important one for our community, our state, and our nation. We strongly encourage Labor Coalition members to familiarize themselves with the various candidates for office and to get involved in their campaigns.
At the state level, we’ve heard back from two candidates on a range of issues, including the Living Wage, home rule, and statewide Medicaid expansion:
1. Do you support increasing the Florida minimum wage, currently at $8.05 an hour, to a living wage? If so, what amount do you think this should be?
*Clovis Watson: “I am strong supporter of raising of the minimum wage. I have co-sponsored legislation to increase the minimum wage and have participated in the minimum wage challenge. No one should work a full-time job and in some cases 2 jobs and qualify for public assistance. As we move forward, I will continue to fight for the increase to a living wage.”
*Marihelen Wheeler: “Yes, I do support a living wage and feel we should follow the lead of those who are raising to $15.00 an hour.”
2. Do you support or oppose local initiatives that benefit working families such as: family sick leave requirements, wage recovery ordinances, living wage ordinances, and project-labor agreements?
*Clovis Watson: “As a former city manager, I have always championed home rule authority. With that being said, I am in support of communities who have taken it upon themselves to enact local initiatives to better their communities and working families. My voting record is reflection of this position.”
*Marihelen Wheeler: “I support local initiatives that benefit working families as outlined in this question. It is ridiculous for a government that espouses “less government” to continue to interfere with local governance. Local initiatives are crafted to meet the needs of local people.”
3. Do you support the repeal of FL Statute 218.077 which preempts local governments from enacting a living wage that isn’t solely for their workers, their contractors, or entities receiving tax incentives?
*Clovis Watson: “Yes, I would support the repeal of this statute as I have strong record of voting against legislation that would preempt home rule authority.”
*Marihelen Wheeler: “I do support the repeal of FL Statute 218.077 which restricts local governments from decision making that is best for the community they serve.”
4. Do you support Medicaid expansion so that almost 600,000 Florida residents, the majority of whom are in working families, can get health care at less than 10 percent of the cost to the Florida taxpayers?
*Clovis Watson: “I have been a strong supporter of Medicaid expansion since my election to the Florida House. I have not only debated and voted in favor of Medicaid expansion but have also stood with my colleagues in procedural moves to force the conversation and put pressure on the Legislature to expand healthcare. I will continue to fight for the expansion healthcare for all Floridian who may find themselves in need.”
*Marihelen Wheeler: “I do support Medicaid expansion to the extent that universal health care becomes the ultimate goal.”