‘Uniquely poor’: Sen. Chuck Schumer requests probe into Florida unemployment woes

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Today, the Miami Herald / Tampa Bay Times reported that Sen. Chuck Schumer and Sen. Ron Wyden sent an open letter to the U.S. Department of Labor Inspector General asking that they open an investigation into Florida’s failure to process and deliver unemployment benefits during this crisis. 
In response, Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo released the following statement: 
“For months, hundreds of thousands of Floridians have been tortured by an unemployment system that was designed to fail workers, despite repeated warnings that it was grossly inadequate. I hope this request brings us closer to getting answers about why this happened and what is being done to prevent history from repeating itself.” 
Miami Herald / Tampa Bay Times‘Uniquely poor’: Sen. Chuck Schumer requests probe into Florida unemployment woesBy Lawrence Mower 
KEY POINTS: 

  • “In a letter to the department’s inspector general sent Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, wrote that Florida’s failures stand out even among other states that have struggled to pay their out-of-work residents.”
  • “Florida has struggled to process the nearly 2.4 million claims it’s received. During the first month of the crisis, Florida was the slowest state in the nation to process claims and was the only state in the nation to see its trust fund increase.”
  • “More than 1.2 million people have started to receive payments and $4.4 billion has been paid out, but systemic problems still exist. Many Floridians have been paid just a fraction of what they’re owed. Others are locked out of their accounts or have applications still marked “pending.” The state’s website crashes regularly, and state officials started rationing the number of people who can use it last week.”
  • “The senators are asking federal investigators to take a deeper dive into Florida’s system, including why problems that were flagged repeatedly in three state audits, including one after DeSantis took office, were never fixed. A Politico story last week also noted that DeSantis’ transition team warned him the system could fail.”

Florida Democrats Announce $2 Million State and Local Campaign Initiative Tallahassee, FL – Today, the Florida Democratic Party(FDP) announced that Rosy Gonzalez Speers will serve as its first ever Senior Advisor for Down Ballot Elections, overseeing a new push by the FDP to expand the Democratic bench for this election cycle by building power at the municipal, county and state legislative level. Over the next five months, the FDP’s new Elections Department will invest over $2 million into more than 50 down ballot elections and provide critical data, organizing, digital, and communications support to municipal, county and state house campaigns.


Gonzalez Speers’ appointment represents a rededication to strengthening the Democratic Party at every level, said Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo. 
“The policies that improve our lives are just as often local as they are national and we need more Democratic elected officials passing law and policy at the local level. We are dedicating $2 million to elect local leaders who will expand access to affordable healthcare, quality public education, equal opportunity and equal justice in cities and counties across the state.” Rizzo said. “Rosy Gonzalez Speers has a distinguished track record in Democratic politics. She was the founding Executive Director of Forward Florida, has run national and statewide campaigns and remains a trusted advisor to national leaders of our party. We welcome her to the Florida Democratic Party.”


A first generation American from the Dominican Republic, Gonzalez Speers has spent the past two years in Florida after serving as finance director for the MA Democratic Party and as political director for Governor Deval Patrick.   


“Every election is important, but the election this year will determine the character of the state for generations. In order to Flip Florida Blue, we must have victories up and down the ballot and drive turnout from the bottom up, as well from the top down. In a one percent state, every vote counts,” Gonzalez Speers said.  


The new Elections Department will encompass the successful Municipal Victory Program(MVP) led by Lisa Peth and chaired by Miami Commissioner Ken Russell. which has trained over 600 candidates throughout the state. To aid in the success of the department, individual donors and organizations including Forward Florida, the Florida Alliance, and organized labor have donated more than $1 million to support the effort.


Florida Democratic Party Mourns Passing of Pioneer Woman Gwen Margolis Tallahassee, Fl — Today, Senator Gwen Margolis passed away. Margolis was a tireless advocate for the poor, women, minorities and the LGBTQ community. During her career, she fought for progressive and social issues, and to make the government more accountable and transparent to the public. Her forty years of public service spanned from local to state politics, including becoming the first woman president in the Florida Senate.


When asked by a reporter why she first ran for office in 1974 she replied: “My decision was part of the women’s movement, and I realized the only way our issues could get attention was to run for office.” 

Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo released the following statement: “Today, our party mourns the loss of a pioneer. Gwen Margolis was a hardworking leader with a remarkable career. She was a trailblazer for many Democratic women in our state, including myself. During these difficult times as a nation, when our country needs exceptional leaders like Gwen Margolis, her passion, commitment, and leadership will be remembered more than ever. We send our deepest condolences to her family and loved ones.”


DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.


Florida Democrats believe in effective and efficient government that prioritizes quality education, affordable health care, and an economy in which anyone who works hard can succeed.

Most importantly, we believe that we are stronger together. We believe the fundamental American promise — that you can go as far as your own hard work will take you — should shine brightest in Florida.

That is why we champion the middle class and cherish the principle that all Floridians should have the opportunity to work hard and succeed. That is why we will never stop fighting for better public schools, because education is the surest path to a better life for millions.

From standing for affordable health care and better schools to fighting for civil rights and access to the ballot box, Florida Democrats are leading every day to move our state forward.

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