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 Olivia Babis For Florida Senate District 23

Picture of Olivia Babis





About Olivia

Olivia Babis is a third generation Floridian. She was born and raised in Lakeland, FL where she graduated from George Jenkins High School. Olivia was drawn toward public service at a young age. Having been born with a physical disability, she frequently had to advocate for herself. She incorporated those experiences into her career and made building a more equitable society her passion.

Olivia attended The George Washington University in Washington, DC where she studied History and Political Science, and finished her Bachelor of Arts at The University of Memphis, where she graduated Cum Laude. She is currently enrolled in the City University of New York’s online Master of Arts in Disability Studies Program.

Olivia works at the Suncoast Center for Independent Living as the Peer Mentor, where she assists others with disabilities achieve independence. She also serves on the Citizens with Disabilities Advisory Board for the City of Sarasota. Previously, she was a Community Organizer for the Florida Consumer Action Network, a multi-issue advocacy non-profit where she worked on a multitude of issues including  healthcare expansion, wage issues, disability rights, and transit.

Olivia is a member of the Sarasota chapters of the League of Women Voters, the National Organization for Women, Commission on the Status of Women, and the Democratic Women’s Club where she served as the First Vice President, as well as serving on the Board of the Democratic Women’s Club of Florida as the Handbook Chair.

Olivia wants to ensure that every constituent feels their voice is being heard and that they have true representation in Tallahassee. She understands the struggles people endure accessing healthcare, employment, and affordable housing because she has experienced those same struggles herself. Olivia wants to be a voice for the people of District 23, not moneyed interests.

Issues

Education

Sarasota County has some of the best public schools in Florida. However, many of Florida’s public schools are struggling to meet students’ needs as resources are funneled from them and diverted into for-profit charter schools. These for-profit schools are not held to the same standards as our public schools and many have closed, abandoning students in the middle of the school year, and taking with them the public funds that have been allocated to them.

Olivia believes that every child deserves access to a safe, quality education and will ensure that our public school system is fully funded.  She will also fight to end funding for for-profit schools that aren’t meeting students’ needs.

Healthcare

More people file for bankruptcy in the United States than any other industrialized country due to medical debt. Even with massive healthcare reforms in the past eight years, many Floridians still can’t afford insurance premiums, avoid seeking medical treatment due to high deductibles, and can’t afford prescriptions. Private health insurance policies still do not meet the needs of those with high cost medical needs, such as the elderly and the disabled.

Our public health programs are based on antiquated social policies from 50 years ago. Those that are pushed into these programs due to a lack of alternatives are trapped in a cycle of poverty, having to choose between being alive and living their lives. Olivia sees these struggles every day and has lived them herself. Olivia will fight for meaningful healthcare reforms that allow people to break the cycle of poverty without sacrificing needed medical care.

Environment

Having grown up in Florida, Olivia has seen firsthand the changes to our state brought on by pollution and climate change. Tourists come to our state to enjoy our beaches and unique ecosystem. Olivia believes we need to invest in smart development practices that take into account environmental impacts. We need to ensure we preserve our natural resources for future generations.

Jobs

The unemployment rate is at its lowest in 17 years, but many new employment opportunities are being provided by low-wage jobs which makes it difficult for many to make ends meet. In order to bring higher-wage jobs to Florida, we need to invest in workforce development. We also need to provide incentives to small business owners to provide employment to marginalized communities.

Disability Rights

Olivia knows from personal experience, that disability issues aren’t limited to Social Security payments and healthcare. One and five Americans are currently affected by disability in some capacity and as our population continues to age that number will continue to grow. Citizens with disabilities, in addition to healthcare, need access to affordable, accessible housing, transportation, and employment opportunities. They deserve to be recognized as fully integrated, productive, and participatory citizens. Currently, Florida ranks 46th in the nation on accessibility. We can do better!

Reproductive Rights

The disability community has been subject to forced institutionalization and forced sterilization policies within Olivia’s lifetime. Some states still have marriage restriction policies in place for people with disabilities. While people with disabilities only make up approximately 10% of parents, they are 40%-60% of the defendants in all parental rights termination cases. Olivia has seen the consequences of state policies controlling people’s bodies run amok. As such, she will not grant the state authority over anyone’s reproductive system.

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Endorsements

“I can personally attest to Olivia’s passion for disability advocacy and access, sustainable local development, affordable, quality healthcare for all people, and more. I believe she will make a great addition to the Florida Senate and know she will be a strong advocate for her district and all Floridians. For these reason, I am proud to endorse her candidacy for Florida State Senate, District 23”  –Victor M. Torres, Jr., Florida State Senator, District 15

 

Dear Olivia, I was very pleased to hear of your candidacy for Florida State Senate in District 23. Throughout the years I have known you to exemplify some of the best qualities of leadership and social intelligence, and I find this campaign a very good focus of your skills.”  –Senator Max Cleland (rt.)

 

“We are inspired by Olivia Babis’s strong positions on healthcare, gun violence and protecting the environment, said Jane Hunter, Englewood Indivisible leader. “We plan a vigorous campaign to send her to Tallahassee as our senator!” –Englewood Indivisible

 

Congratulations! We are thrilled to announce that you have received the endorsement of the Florida Planned Parenthood PAC (FLPPPAC). You have been a strong supporter of reproductive health and we know you will continue to be a dedicated advocate.”

 

“Congratulations! I’m happy to inform you that you have been endorsed by the Democratic Women’s Club of Florida.”