Several of Florida’s largest school districts – including Miami-Dade, Broward and Hillsborough – have referendums on the ballot next week to raise funds for operating expenses, school buildings and security.
That makes the Sunshine State a microcosm of the nation overall, says Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, the second largest teacher’s union in the U.S.
“There are 200 ballot initiatives around the country regarding school funding,” Weingarten told the Phoenix last Friday.
Weingarten was in Palm Beach County, helping campaign for an education referendum there that would raise teacher salaries and provide extra school security.
She embraces the $1-billion corporate tax increase being proposed by Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum – a way to give starting teachers as well as veteran teachers in Florida higher salaries.
Weingarten said that there are two things that the public believes government should do – ensure that every child has a right to a quality public education, and every person in the country has access to health care.
Democrats running not only for federal but also state office are relentlessly focusing on health care this year. Weingarten, an outspoken liberal, is critical of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rick Scott and gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis for advocating for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare.
“Both Scott and DeSantis are lying about their records because they know what the public wants is completely different than what their record is,” she said. “Rick Scott must think people in Florida are stupid, because they actually are part of the lawsuit to repeal Obamacare, which is what protects people with pre-existing conditions.”
Florida is one of 20 states suing the federal government to end the Affordable Care Act, claiming that it’s unconstitutional.
Weingarten will return to campaign for education referendums in Florida this coming weekend.
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