State of Florida Archives: on Welfare & Poverty


Andrew Gillum: Address income inequality; remake an innovation economy

Question: How would you diversify Florida's economy?

GILLUM: Nearly half of Florida's families struggle to make ends meet. I know what it's like to have your parents choose which bills to pay before services get cut off. Our state's devastating income inequality forces families to live paycheck to paycheck, because our economy isn't built for everyone to succeed.

As Mayor, I've presided over Florida's fastest-growing local economy, Pres. Obama named Tallahassee a TechHire city for our commitment to training workers, and we eliminated our local business tax, saving businesses $2 million annually.

I believe the way forward for Florida's economy starts with ensuring workers get the vocational and technical training they need for good jobs, attracting those good jobs by investing in our state's schools and infrastructure, and embracing technology--from ride-sharing and home-sharing to renewable energy production--that will remake Florida into an innovation economy that works for all.

Source: Miami Herald on 2018 Florida Gubernatorial race Aug 12, 2018

Andrew Gillum: Public/private program gets youth on right track

Recognizing the powerful effects of summer jobs programs on crime, youth violence and unemployment, we launched the Tallahassee Future Leaders Academy in 2015. The ultimate goal of TFLA is to help youth to see themselves in a more positive light, and show the numerous paths of achievement that are open to them. The diverse partnerships of business and government that have been forged during this program shows just how powerful we as a community can be when we work toward that end.
Source: Tallahassee Democrat op-ed for 2018 Florida governor race Jul 27, 2017

Adam Putnam: Weeding out fraudulent charities

Pushed by Putnam, who oversees charitable solicitations in Florida, HB 629 bans charitable groups that have violated certain laws in other states from doing business here. Under the new law, paid telemarketers hired by charities will have to undergo background checks. Putnam said, "This law will weed out the bad actors who are defrauding generous givers and thus bring integrity back to Florida's network of reputable charities."
Source: Miami Herald on 2018 Florida gubernatorial race Jun 13, 2014

Rick Scott: People don't want handouts; they want their shot at success

I know that it has become fashionable in Washington to think that our people are victims who need handouts. But the people of Florida are diligent and hard working people. They aren't looking for more promises from government, or programs from government. They want their shot at success. They want the freedom to overcome adversity. They have their own dreams--and many of those dreams start with getting a great education.
Source: 2014 State of the State Address to Florida legislature Mar 4, 2014

Rick Scott: Require drug testing for receiving welfare

One of the promises candidate Rick Scott made in 2010 was to push for a law requiring Floridians receiving welfare funds to prove they were drug-free in order to qualify for assistance.

That's understandable as far as it goes, but an unsavory--and, as it turns out, inaccurate--corollary to this notion is that those in need must possess an inherent moral deficiency, otherwise they wouldn't be poor.

The Legislature passed the law in 2011 and Scott signed it, his stated reasoning being that he was protecting taxpayer funds--and the children of welfare recipients--from abuse. It contained a particularly cruel twist--applicants needed to pay the $25-to-$45 testing fee up front, to be refunded by the state if they tested negative. For someone counting every dime, this amounted to a staggering hardship.

Ultimately, only about 2% of welfare recipients tested positive for drugs (possibly because they couldn't afford them). This compares to roughly 8% in the general population.

Source: Sun-Sentinel OpEd on 2014 Florida gubernatorial race Jan 5, 2014

Jeb Bush: Proposed refusing federal money for welfare

Bush's campaign was described as 1 of fervently held ideas. "His appearances became revival meetings.and as he went from country club to country club telling stories about [welfare fraud] to his all-white audiences they would shake their heads along with him, conjuring up their own image of what the lazy welfare mother looked like, and the color of her skin." During his campaign Bush openly espoused a conservative "constrain the beast" philosophy toward government. He proposed to dismantle the State Department of Education and to refuse federal money for welfare. He would have forced mothers and children off welfare after 2 years, with no provision for job training or child care beyond the small amount available at the time.
Source: Aggressive Conservatism in Florida, by Robert Crew, p. 6 Dec 11, 2009

Jeb Bush: Created Governor's Faith-Based Advisory Board

Governor Bush embraced with greater enthusiasm the use of religious organizations to take over activities traditionally provided by governmental agencies. Florida has a long history of working with religious based organizations to provide social services to disadvantaged citizens.

To pursue his strategy, Bush created in the Office of the Governor a Faith-Based Advisory Board designed to mobilize additional religious organizations and to encourage their participation in his efforts to make nongovernmental organizations the primary mechanism for delivering public services in Florida. The board also provided direction to state agencies in their use of religious organizations in their work and technical assistance to the organizations in securing grant funds from both the federal and state governments. Bush also required state agencies to create official positions--called faith-based liaisons--to help eliminate internal obstacles to the receipt of funding for religious groups.

Source: Aggressive Conservatism in Florida, by Robert Crew, p. 34 Dec 11, 2009

Bernard DeCastro: Served on Governor's Statewide Faith-Based Advisory Board

In 2003, Bernie was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to be part of the Governor's Statewide Faith-Based Advisory Board, and in 2006 he was again asked by Governor Bush to sit on the Governor's Ex-Offender Task Force.
Source: Florida 9/12 Candidate survey, 912candidates.org Jun 30, 2009

Betty Castor: Raising minimum wage will help

Itís an embarrassment that we have such a low minimum wage.
Source: Florida Senate Debate, on News4Jax.com Oct 19, 2004

Mel Martinez: A buck an hour is not going to bring someone out of poverty

I believe that the minimum wage increase would be illusory and frankly would not help people. A buck an hour is not going to bring someone out of poverty. Those people just cannot support a family on those meager wages whether or not another dollar is added to it.
Source: Florida Senate Debate, in St. Petersburg Times Oct 19, 2004

Jeb Bush: Welcome community and faith based organizations as partners

Last year, I asked you to join me in an unshakable commitment to educating our children, diversifying our economy, and strengthening the bonds that hold our families together. Today, I thank you for honoring that commitment and ask that we continue on the path of progress for the people we serve.

We are stronger because we recognize that government isn't the sole answer to the most important questions, and we welcome community and faith based organizations as partners to serve the needs of Florida families. Florida is in a better position to serve our people and face our future, and I thank the members of the Legislature for creating that opportunity.

Source: 2004 State of the State speech to the Florida Legislature Mar 2, 2004

Lois Frankel: Training, transport, and childcare for welfare recipients

Q: Do you support establishing a relocation assistance program for WAGES participants that relocate within the state as long as the relocation contributes to them attaining self-sufficiency?

A: Yes.

Source: Florida 1998 National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 1998

Jeb Bush: Limit welfare benefits; supports welfare-to-work

Source: 1998 Florida National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 1998

Jeb Bush: Help welfare recipients into workforce

Source: 1998 Florida National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 1998

  • The above quotations are from State of Florida Politicians: Archives.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Welfare & Poverty.
  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
2020 Presidential contenders on Welfare & Poverty:
  Democrats running for President:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

2020 Third Party Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (L-MI)
CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Howie Hawkins (G-NY)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Howard Schultz(I-WA)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
Republicans running for President:
Sen.Ted Cruz(R-TX)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Gov.John Kasich(R-OH)
V.P.Mike Pence(R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Pres.Donald Trump(R-NY)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld(R-MA & L-NY)

2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
Sen.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
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