What you should know about Florida’s gubernatorial candidates

Midterm elections are on Nov. 2. There are three candidates running for senator and two candidates running for governor. NSU will host the candidates in two debates on Oct. 19 and Oct. 20. Based on information gathered from the candidates’ campaign publications, this is who they are and where they stand on pressing issues.

Alex Sink, Democrat

Running for Governor

Alex Sink has served as Florida’s chief financial officer for the past four years and has been a businesswoman for 26 years.

The issues:

» Education: As part of her platform, Alex Sink plans to make Pre-kindergarten education stronger by placing a teacher with a bachelor’s degree in every classroom and track absenteeism, behavioral problems and failing grades to prevent students from dropping out.

» Energy: To reduce the state’s dependency on foreign oil, Sink proposes the development of a solar program for homes and businesses. To do so, she plans to increase the federal government’s investment in Florida’s alternative energy research.

» Environment: Sink is against offshore drilling and supports the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.

» Government accountability: Sink plans to rewrite state regulations so that everyone can understand them. This way, people will know where the state’s budget
is going.

» Immigration: Sink believes that it is up to the federal government to control illegal immigration. How-ever, to control the problem Sink plans to ensure that companies that hire illegal immigrants pay a high fee.

Rick Scott, Republican

Running for Governor

Rick Scott is a Navy veteran and has been a businessman for the past 23 years.

The issues:

» Education: Rick Scott wants to prepare children to get good-paying jobs, even if they do not go to college. He plans to measure students’ readiness for higher education and reward teachers depending how well their students do on assessment tests.

» Energy: Scott supports offshore drilling. However, he said he would enforce tighter regulations to ensure Florida’s coastline and its ecosystems are not affected.

» Environment: Scott said he wants to protect Florida’s natural resources and the Everglades.

» Government accountability: Scott plans to hold government agencies accountable for the way they spend money. He will ask each agency to make a plan for how they will spend the money they are given.

» Immigration: Scott supports immigration laws like Arizona’s. He believes that if someone is illegal, that person is breaking the law. As governor, he will require all Florida businesses to check the immigration status of their employees.

Kendrick Meek, Democrat

Running for Senator

Kendrick Meek is the son of former congresswoman Carrie Meek. He has served as the representative for the 17th Congressional District of Florida for eight years.

The issues:

» Economy: Kendrick Meek supported the Recovery Act of 2009 and the Employee Free Choice Act, which allows workers to unionize.

» Education: Meek believes people have high expectations of teachers and wants to invest in early childhood, bilingual and special education.

» Health care: Meek supports the health care reform because he believes everyone should have access to affordable, quality health care.

» Immigration: He opposes immigration laws like Arizona’s. Instead, he believes in facilitating the naturalization process.

» Offshore drilling: Meek op-poses offshore drilling. He believes that Florida should instead focus in developing alternative energy resources, such as solar.

Charlie Crist, Independent

Running for Senator

Charlie Crist has served as Florida’s governor for the past four years.

The issues:

» Economy: CharlieCrist signed the New Markets Development Program to provide tax incentives for businesses to create jobs.

» Education: Crist supports the Race to the Top program. He believes in strengthening the state’s education system, so that students can compete with international students.

» Health care: As governor, Crist signed into law Cover Florida, which he hoped would give Floridians access to affordable, accessible and quality health care.

» Immigration: While Crist does not favor an amnesty law for illegal immigrants, he favors a law that would facilitate the process for them to become legal citizens.

» Offshore drilling: Crist thinks it should be up to Florida’s residents to decide whether to make offshore drilling unconstitutional, but he is in favor of a ban on drilling leases.

Marco Rubio, Republican

Running for Senator

Marco Rubio served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2000-2008.

The issues:

» Economy: Marco Rubio has a 12-step plan to help the economy. One of the steps is cutting taxes on businesses. Another one is to end double taxation.

» Education: To improve the state’s education, Rubio has another 12-step plan, which includes cutting taxes on education, giving grants depending on performance, and improving parental information of schools’ performances.

» Health care: Rubio opposes President Obama’s health care reform. He has a plan to make health care accessible and affordable to citizens. His plan includes increasing the number of community health centers and giving individuals the same tax break that businesses receive when they buy insurance.

» Immigration: Rubio believes it is up to the federal government to control illegal immigration.

» Offshore drilling: While he has a plan to help the coast’s economy recover from the oil spill, Rubio does not oppose further drilling. In fact, he believes that drilling holds the answer to independence from foreign oil.

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