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Electing Gillum benefits all Floridians

Speaking+at+the+Women+for+Gillum+rally%2C+gubernatorial+candidate+Andrew+Gillum+campaigns+for+office+at+Waterworks+Park+Oct.+19.+During+the+rally%2C+he+spoke+about+gun+control%2C+healthcare%2C+criminal+justice+reformation+and+climate+change.
Speaking at the Women for Gillum rally, gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum campaigns for office at Waterworks Park Oct. 19. During the rally, he spoke about gun control, healthcare, criminal justice reformation and climate change.

Speaking at the Women for Gillum rally, gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum campaigns for office at Waterworks Park Oct. 19. During the rally, he spoke about gun control, healthcare, criminal justice reformation and climate change.

Isabella Ank

Isabella Ank

Speaking at the Women for Gillum rally, gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum campaigns for office at Waterworks Park Oct. 19. During the rally, he spoke about gun control, healthcare, criminal justice reformation and climate change.

By Isabella Ank, H.B. Plant High School

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Midterm elections are right around the corner, and soon Florida will have a new governor. Among the two candidates competing for this position, mayor Andrew Gillum of Tallahassee is most qualified for the role.  

Recently, I attended the Women for Gillum rally which took place Oct. 22 at Waterworks Park. I had done some research on the gubernatorial candidates beforehand, but attending this rally has solidified my support for Andrew Gillum.  

During the rally, Gillum covered a variety of topics that ranged from economics to social well-being. Part of Gillum’s vision for Florida includes the expansion of Medicaid and fairly taxing the state’s wealthiest 3 percent of corporations.    

“That 3 percent who happens to be the wealthiest … they walked away with $6.3 billion,” Gillum said. “We don’t want to take all of it. They can have 5.3 billion. We’re simply saying we’re going to take a billion of that to pay teachers what they’re worth and to equip our kids with the skills they need to do the jobs that we’re going to create.”   

Gillum’s clear plan for Florida will benefit its citizens. He isn’t trying to scam corporations out of their money; instead, he is equitably distributing it. According to the Tampa Bay Times, despite an increase student population, state funds for public schools have decreased by five percent since 1997.  

Under Gillum’s fiscal plan, more funds will go to education and other public sectors, benefitting many Floridians instead of the select few. Supporters attending the rally also shared this sentiment. 

“He recognizes everyone’s value, including all the hard-working people who are at work right now and can’t get here,” rally attendee Kathryn Elalouf said. “I really think we need healthcare for all. I don’t qualify for Medicare, so I have no insurance.”   

Besides this, audience members also cited Gillum’s background and personal experiences as their reasons for supporting him.    

“He’s a ground-up person, meaning that he’s been through the experiences that he’s trying to turn around,” rally attendee Chris Vela said. “He grew up in a tough time … and now he worked himself up, so I think he understands what he’s talking about and what he’s going to do.”   

Many rally-goers brought signs and posters with slogans to show their support. While some of these signs were created for Andrew Gillum’s official campaign, some posters were homemade.  

Attendee Kay Howell made her own sign, which read: “Vote as if your life depends on it!”   

“I created my poster for the Women’s March in early 2017,” Howell said. “With the Republicans’ control of Congress and the White House, I was immediately concerned about a number of life issues and civil rights.”   

Gillum did not shy away from controversial topics during his speech, such as gun control. He shared a personal experience of dealing with the issue when he and other Tallahassee officials passed an ordinance prohibiting firing guns in public parks. This prompted gun rights advocate groups Florida Carry, Inc. and Second Amendment Foundation to file a lawsuit against Gillum and other Tallahassee officials.    

“Common sense gun reform is no threat to the Second Amendment,” Gillum said. “Common sense gun reform simply says that if you want to carry the power of God at your waist belt, you at least ought to have a background check.”   

Too many politicians have refused to stand up to the NRA, and because of this we are in an endless loop of “thoughts and prayers” rather than effective action.  

Floridians cannot afford politicians who care more about money than the safety of their constituents.  

Gillum, on the other hand, has proven through his actions that he cares about Floridians’ well-being. His plan doesn’t involve abolishing Second Amendment rights altogether; instead, he wants tighter regulations. As Gillum established during the rally, there is no need for an average civilian to have a military-style weapon.  

As I am with all politicians, I remain skeptical of Gillum’s abilities until he takes on the role of governor. It is one thing to talk about progress, but another thing to take steps to achieve it.  

That being said, I hope that Gillum’s determination to help Floridians will allow him to enact his proposed plans. His vision for progress and empathy towards all Floridians are the perfect qualifications for the next governor. 

This story was originally published on The Pep O’ Plant on November 1, 2018.

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