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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.