Florida Gubernatorial Election Overview: Issue by Issue

Hartzell_Governor_Race
Photography by Connor Hartzell

 

Chris Bell
Freshman, Political Science Major

The upcoming Florida gubernatorial election features two high-profile candidates in perhaps the most heated election in the nation during this midterm cycle. On the Republican ticket is incumbent Rick Scott, the former co-founder and Chief Executive of the healthcare company Columbia/Hospital Corporation of America. The Democratic candidate is a familiar face: tenured Florida politician Charlie Crist, the former Republican Attorney General, Education Commissioner, and Governor of Florida. Crist ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate as an Independent, and is now running for governor as a Democrat.

Women’s Rights

Charlie Crist has stated, “I’m pro-life, but I stay out of other people’s lives.” Towards the end of his term as governor in 2010, Crist vetoed a bill requiring ultrasounds before abortions and expressed support for both federal abortion funding, as well as human embryonic stem cell research.

In his past term, Rick Scott signed laws requiring ultrasounds before undergoing an abortion. He also currently supports prohibiting human embryonic stem cell research and opposes federal abortion funding.

Budget, Economy, and Jobs

Charlie Crist continues to consistently express support for the 2009 federal stimulus package. His economic platform consists of investing in infrastructure (including federally-funded high-speed rail), implementing tax cuts for middle-class families, incentivizing smaller energy companies to innovate and promote cheaper and more efficient fuel, making Florida a more attractive job market, as well as branding Florida as a “trade beacon” for the rest of the world through assembling a strong small business environment. Crist also supports raising the minimum wage.

Rick Scott begrudgingly accepted money from the 2009 federal stimulus package after initially rejecting it. His economic platform entails eliminating the manufacturing sales tax to continue to stimulate the manufacturing sector, further incentivizing education and innovation in the STEM fields, and lowering the tax burden for small businesses. He has been critical of unemployment compensation in the past. Scott’s “7 Steps; 700,000 jobs; 7 years” plan consists of implementing accountability budgeting, reducing government spending, enacting regulatory reform, focusing on job growth and retention, investing in state universities, reducing property taxes, and phasing out the business income tax. Scott opposes raising the minimum wage.

Education

Charlie Crist has pledged to restore the cuts to the education budget under Gov. Scott. Crist supports the curriculum set forth by Common Core, but wishes to tailor it to better apply Florida schools. His “challenge” is to send Florida and its educational system to the top 10% globally by 2020. Crist supports incentivizing STEM research and involvement by lowering tuition rates for those who choose to study STEM fields in higher education.

Gov. Scott opposes federal Common Core standards. Scott created an initiative to improve STEM teaching in Florida as well as reduce higher education tuition rates for students involved in STEM fields. He also wishes to increase funding for technical education centers to foster technological innovation. Under Gov. Scott, Florida’s education budget was cut by $1.3 billion

Gay Marriage

After initially supporting a ban on same-sex marriage in Florida during his tenure as governor, Charlie Crist now opposes a ban on same-sex marriage

Governor Scott supports a ban on same-sex marriage.

Environment

Charlie Crist opposes any kind of offshore oil drilling in Florida. He hopes to work with the legislature to allow investors to grow Florida’s solar energy sector. His platform includes fully restoring funding to secure land critical in providing clean drinking water, incentivizing large landowners to abstain from overdeveloping their land, and fighting to keep funding for Everglades protection and restoration.

Governor Scott supports offshore drilling in an environmentally sensitive manner. In his environmental platform, he wishes to continue Everglades and Indian River Lagoon restoration, expand funding for springs restoration and alternative water supply programs, better maintain and invest in Florida’s treasured properties, and manage Florida’s natural resources in a transparent manner.

Medical Marijuana

Charlie Crist supports Florida’s Amendment 2 (on the ballot this November) that legalizes medical marijuana.

Gov. Scott opposes Amendment 2. He did pass the “Charlotte’s Web” bill legalizing a strain of marijuana designed to treat epilepsy, ALS, and cancer.

Bibliography
Carroll, Lauren, and Joshua Gillin. “Fact-checking the second Florida governor’s debate.” Politifact. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2014. <http://www.politifact.com/florida/article/2014/oct/15/fact-checking-second-florida-governors-debate/&gt;.
“Charlie Crist.” On the Issues. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2014. <http://www.ontheissues.org/Charlie_Crist.htm&gt;.
“Policy.” Rick Scott for Florida. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2014. <http://www.rickscottforflorida.com&gt;.
“Policy Positions.” Charlie Crist. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2014. <http://www.charliecrist.com/policy-positions/medical-marijuana&gt;.
“Rick Scott.” On the Issues. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2014.

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