Republican leaders hope a strong conservative ideology will be a driving force in the upcoming legislative session. But Democrats say they’re trying to temper the philosophy with reality.
Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran is making a name for himself as a lawmaker with strong convictions. And his stances could lead to friction in the upcoming session. But top democrats are hoping to break with their more doctrinaire colleagues, and draft what they call "realistic" public policy. When it comes to gun control and the economy, Senator Oscar Braynon of Miami Gardens says lawmakers should look closely at Floridians’ lives.
“I heard a lot of talk about philosophy. But for me, I have a reality. I really represent people. People live a life. People don’t live a philosophy," Braynon said. "They live a life where they have to provide for their children and keep their family safe. And that’s their reality.”
Braynon says he can be a 2nd Amendment proponent and still advocate for "common sense" regulation. And he takes issue with Republican lawmakers' attempts to expand gun access this session.
"I have to tell you, my reality is a little different from theirs," he told reporters in the state capitol. "I have to ask, how many people in here have ever been in a club that got shot up? I can raise my hand and say that I have."
In the House, Minority Leader Janet Cruz of Tampa is also taking a practical approach to policy, with a particular emphasis on the economy. She hopes to create more financial stability for those at the bottom by mandating equal pay for women, cutting the sales tax on tampons and diapers, and increasing funding for public education. She’s motivated by her experience as a teen mom and says she hopes to advocate for those who can’t speak for themselves.