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Florida Democrats shine spotlight on ‘Sunrise Agenda’ after DeSantis’ speech

Florida senators, representatives and other state officials in joint session on opening day of 2020 legislative session.
Florida senators, representatives and other state officials in joint session on opening day of 2020 legislative session. (Photo from Florida Channel coverage)

TALLAHASEE, Fla. – After Gov. Ron DeSantis delivered his State of the State speech Tuesday, Florida Democrats unveiled their own plan for where they want to see the state go in 2020.

The Sunrise Agenda, as Democrats call it, touts an alternative plans for key issues like health care.

“We care deeply about expanding Medicaid,” said Rep. Anna Eskamani.

Democratic lawmakers argued for reducing carbon emissions.

“When we ignore the needs of our environment, we ignore the needs of our friends, our children and our neighbors,” said Jonathan Webber with the Florida Conservation Voters.

Democrats condemned Republican efforts to restrict access to abortion.

“My pregnancy is between me, my family, my doctor, my faith and not politicians,” Eskamani said.

When it comes to the economy, Democrats argued that Republicans have repeatedly chosen corporate handouts over the working class.

Democrats said they favor a minimum wage increase and an end to affordable housing trust fund sweeps.

“Three-point-two million households, 45 percent of all the households in the state of Florida are working poor,” said Rich Templin with the Florida AFLCIO.

As in years past, many of the ideas proposed by Democrats will likely fall on deaf ears, but they’re hopeful for the 2020 election.

“To narrow the gap between the Republicans in the House and the Democrats in the House, the Republicans in the Senate and the Democrats in the Senate,” Rep. Geraldine Thompson said.

But with the presidency also on the ballot, it’s guaranteed to be a hard fought battle on both sides.

In an effort to increase voter turnout, Democrats for the second year in a row have proposed changes to the state’s elections including making Election Day a state holiday and automatically registering Floridians to vote when they turn 18.