Florida ranks 42nd in per-student funding, 44th in average teacher salaries, and 49th for teacher-student ratios. We must provide all children in Florida with an excellent, well-rounded education to prepare them for our rapidly changing world. The health of our society, our state, our nation, and our planet depend on our children, and our children’s teachers, having the resources and tools necessary to lead us into the future. Hillsborough County School Board received yet another budget cut this year of $154 million. With over 200,000 students and 250 schools to manage, budget cuts are the exact opposite of what this district needs. Schools are reporting a transportation crisis, air conditioning failures, overcrowded classrooms, and overworked teachers. If elected, we will fight to increase the budget and ensure that our children, teachers, and staff are treated with the respect that they deserve.
Ahmad will fight to ensure no Floridian working full-time lives in poverty. With the rising costs of rent, transportation, utilities, and food, millions of Floridians are struggling to pay their bills. The housing market crash associated with the Great Recession forced many Floridians into rental homes after losing their houses to foreclosures. This development has led to a dramatic increase in rental prices. Increases to the cost of rent combined with increases to the price of food, daycare, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals have forced many hard-working Floridians to live paycheck to paycheck. Upon taking office, Ahmad will initiate legislative action to raise the minimum wage in our state to $15 per hour.
Florida is on the front lines of climate change. Florida sea levels are rising six times faster than average. It’s estimated that by 2100, there will be 2 billion climate refugees with several million of them migrating from Florida. Global warming is an existential threat. We are running out of time. Governor Rick Scott has unwisely banned the use of the term ‘climate change’ and has pandered to the energy companies that deny its existence. Nations and cities around the world are publicly committing to being fully powered by renewable energy by 2050. Once elected, Ahmad will work to require all energy companies in our state to begin the immediate transition to innovative renewable energy solutions like wind, solar, and hydro power. By doing so, we will literally “save the world” and create thousands of clean energy jobs for Floridians in the process. Climate change is real. It’s time to start acting like it.
There are over 23,000 people on the affordable housing waiting list in Hillsborough county. Over 180,000 people (15 percent in Hillsborough county alone) are living below the poverty line. Low wages and high rent are causing families to spend up to half their paychecks on housing. Families are struggling to keep a roof over their head, feed their families, and provide them with a dignified life. This is absolutely unacceptable in the wealthiest nation in modern history. If elected, we will fight to increase the budget for affordable housing and work to bring the price of rent down in our district. Families deserve to live in a safe and affordable home.
Despite the progress made due to the Affordable Healthcare Act, millions of Floridians still do not have access to healthcare. Governor Rick Scott unwisely rejected federal funds to expand Medicaid services to millions of Floridians. This has harmed seniors, mothers, children, and the poor. If elected, we will fight to expand Medicaid and improve our healthcare system. We will also put an end to the dangerous opioids epidemic that is plaguing our people. The United States spends the most on healthcare, yet ranks 27th out of 35 in developed nations with healthcare. We need to be more efficient with our spending and improve the quality of care.
Transportation in the state of Florida is in an absolute crisis. The local bus routes have been reduced yet again due to budget cuts, making transportation for the low income and poor even more difficult. We believe that movement is a human right. Instead of developing highways for the rich at the expense of the poor, we need to increase the budget for bus routes and develop innovative solutions for our rail system. Florida is falling behind in terms of transportation infrastructure, but it is not too late. We can reduce traffic on our highways, clean up the air pollution, and increase bus and rail transportation. If people move, people can get jobs. This means more money in our economy. Improving transportation is a win-win for everyone and an investment for our future.
We want to end the profit industry behind prisons. Our goal is to reduce the prison populations, reduce recidivism rates, and stop the War on Drugs against Americans. A healthy community means that the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of our citizens is preserved. We will remove all private prisons from the state of Florida and return to an ethical system which treats people with compassion and intelligence.
I have not and I will not accept any contributions from any PAC, any special interest group, and any corporation. I am only taking contributions from the people. That is how you will know I will represent your interests.
Americans deserve to bear arms. However, we cannot allow a clearly flawed system of gun control continue to go unchecked. If you are a law abiding citizen, you should take no issue with gun control reform. American lives depend on this. Together, we can prevent gun violence, save lives, and protect children in every neighborhood across Florida.
We need a state permit-to-purchase policy that has background checks to screen violent criminals and mentally ill. This has proven to decrease homicide/suicide rates in Connecticut since 1995.
We need to limit magazines capacity. Mass shooters prefer high capacity magazines, because they can shoot lots of people without having to reload.