Meet the Candidate: William Sanchez (FL)

25 mins read

William Sanchez- Florida – US Senate

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

My parents immigrated to America back in 1961, believing it to be a land of opportunity for their soon-to-be-born second child, whom they would call William. They were right; this country is a land of opportunity. This country is where I met my wife, Irene, it’s where I became a father and started my own family. This country is where I started my own business, it’s where I call home. And while America, and Florida specifically, hold extraordinary opportunities, far too many of those chances are made unavailable to far too many of the people who live here, especially to those who immigrated or were not born here. It’s why I started my own law practice over 30 years ago, doing immigrant rights and labor protections. My job, more simply, is giving voice to the vulnerable. This has been my defining mission for much of my life. From my studies at the University of Miami and Georgetown Law, to my volunteerism and founding of nonprofits, to 2004, when I was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate as Special Counsel on unfair employment practices at the Department of Justice, I have carried with me the same values of inclusion and protecting those at risk in an unfair system. Beyond my biography, I’m a steadfast believer in the power for things to get better if we work for it. I mean, just ask the YMCA basketball team I coach. I have experience working with some of the most vulnerable among us, hearing their stories, amplifying their voices, and protecting the rights of all families. I’ve fought on their behalf. And that’s exactly what I will do as your Senator.

Why are you running for office?

I go to work every day and meet with immigrants to defend their rights and help build their dreams. And as the child of Cuban immigrants to this country, I often see myself in their aspirations. But, more than that – I can see a vision of America reflected in their experiences. Oftentimes, as they sit in my office – or, more recently, their little zoom squares – they this… look- in their eyes. I can see the hope for new opportunities in their stare. The promise of a new life. The unyielding optimism that defines America. It’s a vision of a better country – a better state, a Florida where no one feels left out or left behind, and it’s oftentimes a vision blocked by inequalities and hardship. So, running for Senate – it’s an opportunity to bring that vision to our communities and make it real for everyone who lives and works here. More than anything, it’s a chance to serve. A chance to make things better for all of us, for the most vulnerable among us. A chance to speak on behalf of those left voiceless in our system. It’s a call to service, and one I readily answer.

What are the three biggest issues facing your community?

America is facing multiple pandemics at once. As we continue to fight the spread of and vaccinate against COVID-19, we are also plagued by deep systemic injustices, rooted in racism and economic inequalities. The crises of the past year have laid bare so many of the ways our government is coming up short for our people: crippling healthcare costs, a changing climate, a failed criminal justice system, a broken immigration process, the list goes on. Our response to these problems must be bold and they must be swift, and they must be made in the interest of those our system is currently failing. Some changes, like raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and decriminalizing marijuana, are more direct. Others, like reforming our immigration system or guaranteeing high-quality healthcare as a fundamental human right, might be more complex. Regardless, I believe we can (and must) assemble a progressive coalition to achieve meaningful change without having to shun and shut out half the population. I think sometimes we get so wound up with politics and polarization that we forget to think about the people our policies are for. I will never do that because I’ve spent over 30 years working directly with people our policies must serve. And for anybody who thinks people can’t come around on these kinds of ideas, tell that to me, a former Republican.

How do you propose to solve those problems?

1. Climate Change
Climate change is not only America’s greatest challenge but the world’s. If we want to ensure the protection of our children and preserve a safe environment for them to enjoy, we must start taking serious action to curtail both carbon emissions and pollution. With the melting of the polar ice caps, Florida’s coastal cities are continuously threatened by rising sea levels, and hurricanes are becoming more severe as our waters grow warmer. Climate change hurts Florida directly, which is why Will believes in establishing a Green New Deal.

To effectively mitigate climate change disasters, the United States must transform itself into a sustainable, green future. As Senator, William supports the federal building of green infrastructure and renewable sources of energy to efficiently reduce America’s dependence on the fossil fuels that damage our environment. Doing this will create millions of good-paying jobs all over the country. Right here in Florida, there is colossal potential for the building of wind farms on the coast and solar panels inland that would generate enough energy to successfully transition the state, and the country, to a brighter future. In our transition, William knows that we must protect the workers who operate in oil fields and coal mines. As Senator, he will ensure that these people are financially taken care of and that they are the first to have a green job waiting for them. We cannot allow the United States to be followers in the struggle to preserve our planet. Let’s create millions of jobs, boost the economy, and be leaders in this fight – just as America always has led. Let’s believe in a better tomorrow through a Green New Deal.

Create millions of good-paying jobs by instituting a Green New Deal that transforms America’s infrastructure to be environmentally sustainable
Transition the United States away from fossil fuels and to sources of renewable energy
Reducing our carbon footprint

Living in Miami, William knows the immense threat of climate change and the importance of the fight against climate change. He also knows that the production of carbon with the simultaneous deforestation of our environment leads to the inevitable corroding of our ozone layer. William believes in America’s continued participation in the Paris Climate Agreement for the international reduction of carbon emissions. Additionally, as Senator, Will is prepared to take bold action to reduce our carbon footprint. He believes that those most responsible for carbon emissions – large corporations – should bear the burden of climate change, not the everyday consumer. That’s why, as Florida’s Senator, he will support legislation for a carbon tax on America’s biggest emitters. All over the world, common-sense legislation, like carbon taxes, is already implemented to reduce emissions. It works, so we must do the same.

Join Europe in instituting a common-sense carbon tax on our biggest emitters
Maintain our position in the Paris Climate Agreement
Water Warriors

We wouldn’t let our neighbors dump their garbage into our backyard, so why do we allow corporations to do the same? Deregulatory policies have weakened the efforts of the EPA and allowed toxins to seep into our streams, rivers, and beautiful Florida coasts. We must strengthen the efforts of the EPA and effectively enforce and create regulations that keep our waters safe from pollutants and toxins.

2. Health Care Reform
Our healthcare industry is very clearly in need of a major change. Medical debt is the number one cause of bankruptcy in this country. For being residents of the supposed richest country in the world, patients in the United States are too often put in unrecoverable medical debt. They’re cured by the hospital, but at the cost of spending the rest of their lives paying thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, for the cost of treatment because they don’t have insurance. William believes that this is unacceptable; healthcare is a human right.

Florida has nearly 3 million uninsured people – one of the highest rates in a country with 30 million uninsured individuals. As Senator, William will fight to achieve universal healthcare coverage for everyone through Medicare for All. Regardless of income, regardless of pre-existing conditions, William will support legislation so that Medicare is eligible to every single American. Through a single-payer system, we will effectively save billions of dollars and be able to invest in the development of new medications and technologies. William believes that if you feel ill, you should be able to go to the doctor without the fear that you’re unable to pay for your visit – no copays, no deductibles, no premiums. While serving Florida, William will push for comprehensive Medicare for All because healthcare is a human right, and it’s time we start acting like it.

“Healthcare is a human right”: institute a single-payer Medicare for All so that every American is insured and properly covered

3. Immigration Reform
Take it from Will’s 30 years of experience as an immigration rights lawyer – our immigration system is in dire need of reform. He has seen firsthand how painful and inhumane the system can be, and he is committed to changing it for the better. Throughout the Trump presidency, immigrants were demonized by a racist, xenophobic, and nativist rhetoric espoused by right-wing extremists. In reality, the United States is a country of various indigenous Native American populations and immigrants from every continent.

William knows that America’s undocumented population overwhelmingly consists of millions of families who are simply looking for a better life. As an immigration rights lawyer, William has consistently defended immigrants against nativist sentiment. In 2010, he fought against Arizona’s SB1070 in court – a law that allowed police to profile and interrogate residents regarding their immigration status. Will plans to carry that same compassion for immigrants that he’s implemented into his work as a lawyer all the way to D.C. when he joins the U.S. Senate.

That’s why Senator Sanchez will fight for immigration reform that provides pathways to citizenship for the undocumented, enshrined protection for the nearly 700,000 DACA Dreamers in the United States, an expansion of refugee camps, and a breaking up of ICE, returning their responsibilities to the Department of Justice – as it had been since before 2003. William will always fight for the representation of immigrants, documented and undocumented alike, in our Florida communities and throughout the country.

Build a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented
Develop enshrined protection for the nearly 700,000 DACA Dreamers in the United States
Expand refugee camps
Break up ICE and return their responsibilities to the Department of Justice

What is your stance on environmental and climate concerns that are facing your community?

See previous answer under heading “Climate Change”

What commonsense gun safety measures would have the most impact on your community?

In the United States, gun safety has unfortunately become a partisan issue. In America, there are more mass shootings than there are days in a year. We shouldn’t have to accept that reality, and Florida knows it worst. As Senator, William is prepared to take immediate action to address the surge of gun violence in Florida and throughout the country. Senator Sanchez believes in the establishment of universal background checks, which would ensure that those with a violent history are not able to purchase firearms. It would also eliminate the gun show loophole that allows individuals to buy guns without a background check.

William also believes in the overall reduction of assault weapons. He will propose legislation to institute a buyback program as a means to encourage getting assault weapons off America’s streets. To defend the safety of Americans, William will also put forward legislation so that domestic abusers do not have access to guns through the establishment of red flag laws.

William recognizes that gun safety is also a mental health issue. In Florida, 63% of gun deaths are suicides. Nationally, that percentage is 60%. Senator Sanchez will invest in America’s mental health by proposing legislation to federally fund mental health facilities, suicide prevention services, and addiction services throughout the United States – especially in under-funded rural communities. Senator of Florida, William Sanchez, will take on the gun lobby, not take a dime from the NRA, and fight for a safer future for everyone.

Implement universal background checks
End gun show loopholes
End the sale of assault weapons and institute an assault weapon buyback program
Put forward red flag laws for domestic abusers
Federally invest in mental health facilities, suicide prevention services, and addiction services

How would criminal justice reforms impact your community?

Police brutality must be pushed back against at every level. Not only by protesting in the streets – demanding justice for the many, many innocent lives taken by police abuse – but also in the legislature. William knows this, and he has the policy plan to transform America’s police to effectively and safely protect our communities.

In the United States, federal initiatives like the 1033 program have given the police military-grade weapons, like grenade launchers, that are collectively worth billions of dollars. America’s police don’t have the training nor the responsibility to match those of our military, so why are they given military weapons? Will knows that this makes no sense, which is why he will demilitarize America’s police by ending the 1033 program. William knows the power of police unions must also be combatted to build a safer America. Serving as Senator, he will take on the power of police unions by federally defining misconduct standards and not allowing police unions to change that definition as they can now. The violence and abuse perpetrated by members of America’s police must also be well documented to study and learn from. William supports the creation of a federal database that tracks police use of deadly force.

Additionally, too many lives have been lost as a result of police misunderstanding mental illness. Senator Sanchez will propose legislation to train America’s police to effectively identify and safely deal with a mental health crisis. Finally, Will believes that we need to end qualified immunity for officers because no one is above the law – including the police. Like all of us, Senator Sanchez knows America’s police needs reform – and he has a plan for a safer Florida.

End the 1033 program and demilitarize our police
Take on the power of police unions by federally assigning misconduct standards
Create a federal database to track police use of deadly force
Standardize training for police to be able to identify and properly handle a mental health crisis
End qualified immunity for police officers

How would you work to protect a woman’s reproductive health?

Although civil rights movements and feminist movements throughout the 20th century bravely struggled for the equality of the genders, women today still experience unjustifiable economic and social disadvantages.

William will always commit to the fight for women’s equality. Despite efforts by Republican legislation to strip a woman’s right to choose, William will fight for its defense. Senator Sanchez is committed to the proper funding of Planned Parenthood for increased access to contraception and access to safe and legal abortion. In the Senate, William will support key legislation like the Equality Act, as well as adopt legislation that fights against sexual harassment in the workplace.

Defend a woman’s right to choose
Properly fund Planned Parenthood for increased access to contraceptives and safe abortions
Pass the Equality Act
Fight against sexual harassment in the workplace

What measures would you advocate to ensure that your constituents have the right to vote?

We as a country must acknowledge and combat not only societal racism but also systemic racism from both past and present institutions. William strongly believes that America’s focus should be purposely investing in communities that have been so fractured by past programs and policies.

Many past programs and policies existed for the sole purpose of putting African Americans at a social and economic disadvantage. Slavery, poll taxes, FDR’s refusal to extend the New Deal to African Americans, the building of our highways that destroyed 37,000 urban housing units per year, and voter suppression bills that we’ve seen all over the country all bring Will to the same conclusion: serious steps need to be taken to bring justice to communities of color. Senator Sanchez will fight for the simultaneous social and economic prosperity of Black communities by putting forward legislation for reparations through baby bonds to effectively combat the historical and growing racial wealth gap.

William is also dedicated to defending voting rights for all Americans against the wave of anti-Democratic voter suppression laws as instituted by Republican leadership across the United States. He supports the For The People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Additionally, William knows how the War on Drugs has dismantled communities of color throughout the country. To effectively end the War on Drugs, Will believes in the federal decriminalization of marijuana possession, the release of all prisoners convicted on marijuana possession charges, the expunging of marijuana possession charges on criminal records, and the prioritization of rehabilitation over punishment.

Finally, Senator Sanchez will advocate for and push legislation to appropriately educate the youth on America’s very well-documented past and current relationship with racism. Through action and education, William will fight for racial justice.

Defend all American’s voting rights
Institute reparations through baby bonds
End the War on Drugs by federally decriminalizing the possession of marijuana
Gradually release of all prisoners convicted on marijuana possession charges
Expunge marijuana possession charges on criminal records
Educate America’s youth on the history of racism in the United States

“Posts by or about political candidates do not imply endorsement. All posts are created by answers from our Meet the Candidates survey.”

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