Florida Democrats Called Out Racial Disparities, Unemployment Crisis in Florida

12 mins read

Florida Senate Minority Leader Audrey Gibson, State Sens. Victor Torres and José Javier Rodríguez, Dwight Bullard, New Florida Majority Political Director, and Terrie Rizzo, Florida Democratic Party Chair joined a virtual press conference to discuss racial disparities and the economic fallout from Donald Trump’s failed coronavirus response. The May jobs report indicated that America is still in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and that Black and Latino communities are experiencing disproportionately high unemployment rates. On Monday, the DNC published a poll of battleground states, including Florida, in which voters expressed their view that Donald Trump’s mistakes handling the coronavirus pandemic has worsened the economic crisis. 

State Senate Democratic Minority Leader Audrey Gibson (SD-6) discussed how lack of infrastructure and health disparities hurt the African American and Latino communities in Florida:“…health conditions that are related to COVID-19 occur over and over and over in African Americans and Hispanics…Even in Duval, and across the state actually, African Americans are overrepresented in hospitalizations due to COVID-19, as well as deaths due to COVID-19, [compared to] their percentages of the population of the state of Florida.”

State Sen. Victor Torres (SD-15) discussed how Vice President Biden will help working families, including raising the minimum wage and improving Florida’s unemployment benefits: “..Raise the minimum wage. We have working families that are the lowest paid… the need is something that Biden supports: lifting up the wages for the working class.” 

State Sen. José Javier Rodríguez (SD- 37) discussed how the dual health and economic crises have hit people of color especially hard in Florida:“I want to amplify the comments of Leader Gibson and Senator Torres, in terms of the impact that the public health crisis and the economic crisis has had on our communities of color here in Florida, obviously especially our Black and Latino communities…Anytime you have a crisis like this, in a state like Florida, it’s going to hit our communities especially hard… We know that those at the lower end of the payscale tend to work in jobs that can’t be done from home. And we know that our hospitality sector, [where] a greater percentage of Latinos and African Americans work, is one of the sectors hardest hit. And one of the things as well that is not getting enough attention from our leadership here in Florida is how uneven this recovery is.“
“Our leaders at the federal level and the state level want to make a victory lap before we’ve even gone around the track for the first time.”

Dwight Bullard, Political Director, New Florida Majority discussed how inaction from President Trump and Governor DeSantis is exacerbating this crisis:
“We see a calloused and fundamentally flawed system of creating, again, a larger racial and class divide in the state of Florida, that’s been enabled by the inaction — and in many cases the the actual action and policy being put forth by not only Donald Trump and his administration, but again, exacerbated by Governor DeSantis here in the state of Florida.”

Terrie Rizzo, Florida Democratic Party Chair discussed how Trump’s failure to effectively respond to the crisis worsened the economic situation for many African American and Latino-owned businesses: 
“The National Bureau of Economic research released a study showing between February to April, the decline in black and Latino owned businesses was more than double that of white owned businesses. There was a 41% decline in black business owners, 32% decline in Latino business owners, and 17% decline in white owners.Again, failing to assist these businesses snufs out jobs and prosperity.   
You can’t fix what you can’t see, and Donald Trump prefers to ignore problems that seem too hard. That’s what he did at the beginning of the crisis — he downplayed the threat of COVID-19, ignored the experts, and failed to prepare. And, alarmingly, he’s doing that now with a victory tour that completely ignores the fact that many Americans — particularly those in Black and Hispanic communities– are still bearing the brunt of his failed coronavirus response. 

STATEMENT: Florida Democratic Party on the RNC Convention Relocation

In response to the news that the RNC is moving Donald Trump’s acceptance speech to Jacksonville, Florida, Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo released the following statement: 

“First, let me be clear that I sincerely hope that the Republican Party is successful in keeping everyone safe at their events. However, I am deeply concerned that the impetus for moving their highest profile event to Florida was because Donald Trump wanted to give a speech to a crowd of people not social distancing — and, given his previous public events, likely not wearing masks. Those are safety protocols set forth by his own administration’s public health experts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 
“Donald Trump abandoned North Carolina because he wants it to look like the threat of the coronavirus is over when he gives his big televised speech. Unfortunately, optics are not a public health strategy, nor are they a good re-election strategy. No speech this president makes can successfully gloss over his failed coronavirus response to Americans who have watched this president dither for months as more than 44 million have filed for unemployment benefits and 113,000 have lost their lives. Trump is coming to Florida to throw himself a big party — but it’s looking more and more like a goodbye party to his chance at a second term in the White House.”

BACKGROUND: Donald Trump is Losing Support Among Voters Across the Board in Florida 
AP: Unemployment woes a mounting strain on Trump in Florida [6.11.20]“That frustration is a problem for Florida Republicans as they try to secure their state again for President Donald Trump. Trump’s path to winning reelection is exceedingly narrow without Florida’s 29 electoral votes. The broken unemployment insurance system raises the prospect that thousands of out-of-work Floridians will bring their anger to the voting booth in a state where races are decided by the slimmest of margins.
“I’ve been a Trump supporter, but I’m kind of questioning everything,” said Lynch, who voted for him in 2016 when she lived in Minneapolis. She was initially impressed by his business acumen, she said, but is now questioning his leadership in crisis.
Washington Post: In crucial Florida, some senior voters cast a skeptical eye toward Trump’s reelection [5. 25.20] In Florida, more than 20 percent of those who voted in the 2016 election were over age 65, according to exit polls. In 2016, Trump won the Florida senior vote by a 17-point margin over Clinton, according to exit polls. The state ranks as one Trump must almost certainly win to insure his victory, while Biden has other paths to the White House.
Yet for months, Biden has been more popular than Trump with seniors. A national poll of registered voters released by Quinnipiac University last week shows Biden leading by 10 points among voters over 65. A Quinnipiac poll in late April found 52 percent of Florida seniors supporting Biden to 42 percent for Trump, while a Fox News poll around the same time found Biden narrowly ahead.
Florida Politics: Democrats’ poll finds Florida dissatisfaction with Donald Trump’s COVID-19 efforts[6.9.20]“A new poll finds a majority of Floridians are dissatisfied with President Donald Trump‘s efforts to deal with both the health and economic problems of the coronavirus outbreak.
“The poll, which Change Research conducted for the Democratic National Committee in Florida and five other swing states, finds consistent majorities agreeing with negative views of Trump’s handling of the crisis, and more generally about the unemployment rate in Florida and the national economy.”
Bay News 9: Florida Faith Leaders Call Out President Trump for “Failed Promises”[1.3.20] “Hours before President Trump is scheduled to speak before thousands of supporters at a South Florida megachurch, faith leaders spoke out on how the president’s behavior and policies are losing him support with the religious community.”

The Florida Democratic Party stands in solidarity with the LGBTQ community on Pulse Remembrance Day 

FLORIDA- Today, the Chair of the Florida Democratic Party Terrie Rizzo released the following statement in solidarity with the LGBTQ community on Pulse Remembrance Day:

“Today we take extra time to remember and mourn the victims of the Pulse shooting and stand with their families, survivors, and the entire LGBTQ community. The onePULSE Foundation wrote that ‘Every human being is free to live their truth in a more understanding world full of love, unity, acceptance, hope, courage and strength.’ In service of that goal, we continue our fight to end the epidemic of gun violence and hate in this country. We affirm that love will always drive out hate, and call on leaders in Florida to honor the memory of the Pulse 49, enact common-sense gun reform, and fight to keep Floridians safe.”

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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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