While Governor Rick Scott was outlining his priorities in the State of the State address, Awake The State, the progressive advocacy group, was offering a much different take.
Huddled on the Fourth Floor of the Capitol, a small knot of advocates watched Scott’s speech on large-screen TVs, some of them shaking their heads. Veteran social services advocate Karen Woodall said Scott’s call for another 618 million dollars in tax breaks couldn’t be more misguided.
“We continue to rank in the bottom quartile of virtually every need of the state --education, health care, social services, child welfare, our prison system is in a shambles.”
Twenty-six-year-old Florida State University graduate student Haley Gentile, says Republican proposals to restrict abortion put them at odds with most Floridians. Gentile says she will fight every step of the way.
“Me and many other folks who mobilize around issues of reproductive health care very strongly believe that every decision surrounding abortion is a very personal decision.”
Florida Immigrant Coalition executive director Francesca Menes is tracking nine bills that would restrict immigrant rights. She says the anti-immigrant climate , and Scott’s close ties to President Donald Trump, are sparking a backlash.
“People have awoken themselves after the election of the 45th and they’re not sitting quietly and idly by as these things impact their communities. They’re like, we’re going to take a stance, we’re going to run for office, all of these things we’ve been wanting people to do for years.”