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Progressives push back against Gov. DeSantis’ State of the State with "The People’s Response"

Lawmakers, advocates unveil series of bold proposals to build a Florida that works for all Floridians

TALLAHASSEE – Progressive lawmakers and advocates today provided a “people’s response” to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ State of the State Address. The group unveiled their Sunrise Agenda to build a Florida that works for all Floridians, not just the wealthy and well connected.

“The tone deaf majority has lorded over our state government for some twenty years plus and has failed to lead on the issues that matter to everyday Floridians. Rather than insuring health care for all, the majority instead pushes poor people into the street with no place to go when they are sick or need medical treatment; allows for the lack of accountability in education; and has dragged their feet on addressing climate change. Instead, the bend has been towards those with buckets of money.” said Senate Democratic Leader Audrey Gibson. “The Sunrise Agenda gives Floridians a government that works for them.”

The group offered progressive alternatives to the policies of Gov. DeSantis and his legislative allies across a broad range of issues based on the five key pillars of the Sunrise Agenda: our economy, our health, our students, our environment, and our people.

“In this new decade, bold and progressive leadership is required – now more than ever,” said James Chan of SiX Action. “The Sunrise Agenda ensures our economy works for everyday Floridians: raising the minimum wage, ensuring the right to organize, and using our state budget to build more affordable housing and modernize public transit options instead of wasting taxpayer funds on corporate tax giveaways that reward special interests but not workers.”

“Our current health care system fights patients to grow corporate profits. We believe it’s long past time for substantial change,” said Rep. Anna Eskamani. “This begins with finally expanding Medicaid so hardworking Floridians get quality health care. It’s also time to use the power of our state government to regulate and bring prescription drug prices down. Finally, we need to protect and expand reproductive freedom and mental health care services.”

“The GOP majority here in the legislature seems only to want to weaken public schools, diverting funding to unaccountable corporate operators while turning our children into bored and burned out test taking machines,” said Rep. Shevrin Jones. “Let's be clear: our Sunrise Agenda calls for strong, well-funded, and locally-led public schools that deliver a wide range of classes, opportunities, and services for students and their families.”

“Floridians are tired of waiting for their state legislature to act on climate. With only ten years left to make a difference, there is no more time to delay,” said Jonathan Webber, Deputy Director of Florida Conservation Voters. “We need Gov. DeSantis and legislative leaders to implement policies that reduce our reliance on dirty fossil fuels and build the clean energy future we need. The health of our children and the future of our state depend on the actions taken over the next sixty days. Bold leadership is needed now.”

“Florida’s progressives believe it’s time for a Sunrise Agenda to put Floridians first, prioritizing our economy, our students, our health, our environment and our people. By standing together, we can change the direction of Florida,” said Ray Seaman, Digital Director of Progress Florida.