Florida State House District 88 encompasses a jagged line stretching from Lake Park down to Delray Beach. In looking at the map of many state districts, including District 88, one would never guess we passed a constitutional amendment to end gerrymandering of districts. The District is made up of over 156,000 residents and voters will have a choice between Rubin Anderson, Omari Hardy, and Danielle Madsen on November 3, 2020. The incumbent for the district, Al Jacquet, was defeated in the primaries last month.
Anderson is a 64-year-old pastor from West Palm Beach. Hardy is on the Lake Worth Beach City Council and had his 15 minutes of national fame when he confronted the mayor over COVID-19 issues. Madsen is an English Language Arts Teacher at a Title 1 School with the Palm Beach County School District.
On the issues, Anderson and Hardy are in favor of infringing on the Second Amendment rights of District 88 residents, while Madsen is respectful of the Second Amendment. Madsen has said, “The Second Amendment is about individual freedom, and I support the freedom and rights of law-abiding citizens of the United States to bear arms. Americans should and do have the right to defend themselves.”
In dealing with education, Madsen is in favor of having the parent choose what type of education their child receives. Madsen states, “Parents in Palm Beach County should have the power to choose the best educational option for their child. This includes the opportunity for parents to choose live in person instruction for their children. Parents in need, including single parents, should be provided with scholarships to facilitate their freedom to choose. Every child in District 88, regardless of race, who their parents are, or what neighborhood they live in, deserves and should receive a top-notch education.” Anderson, though not opposed to charter schools, favors stricter guidelines for their operation. Hardy would like to expand trade school education in the government-run high schools, as would Madsen.
Affordable housing is an issue that is coming back as home values are rising to higher levels in Palm Beach County. The median home value in the county is just under $400,000, so where do the candidates stand on the issue? Hardy believes that housing is a human right and renters should not be “unfairly evicted” (though he does not make it clear what this means). He is also looking to use the government to end housing segregation, even though the government is largely responsible for the segregation that exists.
In regard to affordable housing, Madsen states, “District 88 should have affordable housing for its residents. By working together with partners in Palm Beach County and beyond, we can increase and develop affordable housing in our community. As we work together with builders, real estate professionals, and innovators, we can move towards our common goal of creating more affordable housing in Palm Beach County. Creating more affordable housing will create a better quality of life for those that live in our community and allow residents of District 88 to continue to grow and thrive.”
Anderson has said, “Affordable Housing is not just a problem in District 88, it is a national crisis. I believe if we all collaborate together, banks, businesses, developers, real estate agents and politicians and work with housing advocates we can build affordable housing, sales and rental to meet the needs of the people. The housing needs are greater than the supply.”
Jobs and the economy are top-of-mind for many in Palm Beach County, so where are the three candidates on the issue? Madsen states, “A thriving local economy creates high-paying jobs for Palm Beach County residents. Teenagers, young adults, and those changing careers in District 88 need access to skills training, apprenticeships, technology training, and career resources to empower job growth. As we work together in District 88 to support policies that unleash the potential of our local economy, we will continue to thrive and prosper. District 88 will be empowered by common sense solutions such as removing overregulation that hurts our local businesses, lowering taxes, and supporting pro-American Energy policies and pro-business policies.”
Regarding jobs and the economy, Anderson states, “With this Coronavirus health crisis, the state of our economy is a mess. Jobs have been lost, businesses are suffering. Collaboration is the key to fixing some of our problems. Governments give tax cuts, those who are able to spend, spend more, train workers. Finish unfinished public work projects. These and others suggestions will help increase AD and AS, jobs and stimulate the economy.”
Hardy’s plan for jobs and the economy is to raise the minimum wage of workers and strengthen workplace unions while increasing the state corporate income tax and lessening the number of “tax loopholes.” Although raising taxes on corporations is a favorite political statement as it makes it appear “we’re sticking it to the rich,” in fact the opposite happens. The consumers of that corporation will pay any rise in taxes, harming most the least that can afford to pay. Although the corporation may pay more, it is a conduit for its customers to pay the tax, so when corporate taxes go up, so do prices of what they offer, adversely affecting the poorest among us.