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  • Carolynn Zonia

My plan to put Florida Families First

Putting families first is the right thing to do and I know a strong economy will follow.

No matter where we come from, what we look like, who we love, or how we define family, we all want the people we love to have the safety and freedom to thrive. But when greedy politicians continue to prioritize big corporations over Florida families, it damages our communities. Right now, essential workers cannot find or afford a place for their families to live. Homeowners can no longer find or afford property insurance. Folks are working hard but wages are stagnant and aren’t keeping pace with costs, like rent, gasoline prices and utilities. Adding to the pain that so many are feeling is the prospect of loss of healthcare coverage. I’ve seen all this firsthand as a physician working on the frontlines of our Communities.

This is happening because many legislators in Tallahassee offer excuses instead of solutions. They blame the federal government for the high cost of living, but do nothing here locally to solve these problems. They are more interested in maintaining their power, and only jump to action when their big donors call. The result is legislation that supports big corporations and the wealthy, while damaging our communities and families. It hurts everyday people. We all want a fair opportunity, that with hard work, we can build a good life for ourselves, our Families and our Communities. But today, the American Dream is out of reach for many families who struggle to meet even the basic necessities.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

You can be the hero in this story. Your vote decides whether Florida puts #FamiliesFirst or works for big corporations. Send me to Tallahassee and I’ll work with every legislator regardless of political party on behalf of all of Florida’s families. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it’s the smart thing to do. When we focus on quality of life and the needs of everyday people, it’s been proven again and again to strengthen the economy for families and businesses.

The number one issue facing Florida Families is the cost of living.

We need safe, secure, affordable housing. Families cannot thrive if they are constantly worried about eviction, and it's not just Floridians who say rent and housing costs are unaffordable. Florida is now the least affordable State in the Nation. While the reasons for our lack of affordable housing are complex, one issue is that houses used only for short-term rentals aren't available to local families looking for stable long term housing. These houses often stand empty for months.

As a member of the Walton County Affordable Housing Advisory Committee, I've worked directly on this issue and I see what needs to be done. But when the funds approved by voters to solve the problem are misappropriated, our efforts are handcuffed.

Here are some things that I will do:

  • Restore 100% of the funds collected on document fees from home sales to fund affordable housing as intended and stop misappropriating these funds. This misuse of these funds directly hurts #FloridaFamilies. This will be the floor of funding for housing when I get to Tallahassee and not the ceiling.

  • Create public/private partnerships which provide incentives to developers to build affordable housing.

  • Replicate public/private/non-profit partnerships with proven success for transition homes for homeless, those with disabilities and others struggling to find secure housing

  • Make sure anyone who owns a home being used for short term rentals has a business license. This should be monitored and enforced. This will ensure that these homes are safe by requiring them to have adequate parking, and fire exits and hazard detection systems. The new fees generated could help fund local solutions to the housing crisis.

  • Ensure that big businesses who hire seasonal workers secure housing for these employees

Watch for our my next blog where I'll continue to outline my plan to address the high cost of living. I have #SolutionsNotExcuses

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