Re-elect Democrats to continue progress

Election Day is Nov. 6. On that day, I urge you to re-elect President Barack Obama for his strong record of job creation and support of education. I hope that you will also re-elect Sen. Bill Nelson for his strong record of supporting the middle class.

I encourage you to vote to retain our Florida Supreme Court justices and protect its independence. I also urge you to vote no on the 11 state constitutional amendments which would, among other things, allow taxpayer money to support churches, and endanger a woman’s right to choose.

But there is also another key race on the 2012 ballot. The Florida legislature is responsible for many of the laws that affect our lives today. The legislature allocates money for scholarships that we all enjoy and pays for these measures through such means as the sales taxes that we see every day when we purchase goods.

But this session, the state government has not only been un-democratic, but also harmful to working families. State legislators sought to suppress the youth vote and ignored a voter-approved initiative to create competitive districts.

They slashed funding for education including Bright Futures, legalized school prayer and attacked a woman’s right to control her body. Gov. Rick Scott stepped in and stopped the construction of a high-speed railroad that would have brought hundreds of thousands of much-needed jobs to the state and cost taxpayers nothing. Using an executive order, he denied access to health care for millions of Floridians.

Our current state representative has been anything but a representative of our district. He has voted to siphon education dollars from public schools into private, charter schools.

The catch?

His family owns several local charter schools. He voted with the majority on all of the above issues despite them being unpopular in our district. He also failed to show at several local debates that he committed to attending. In all, the people running our state have been focused more on partisanship and ideology than serving our citizens.

But, we can do better than that. His name is Ross Hancock, and we are proud to endorse him to serve us as the District 114 Representative. Hancock is an avid advocate for a sustainable future. We can trust him to protect Bright Futures and to make education cheaper for all Americans.

Hancock supports clean energy, which will create jobs for millions of Floridians and make energy cheaper. Hancock is also an advocate for women’s issues and for the LGBT community. In addition, he’s an avid environmentalist dedicated to restoring the Everglades and Biscayne Bay, and protecting the Florida Keys.

He’s a friend of the UM community, and his wife is a former UM nursing instructor. They’ve lived in Coral Gables for more than 25 years. He’s also been endorsed by the Sierra Club and the Police Benevolent Association.

We are endorsing Hancock because we know he will be an advocate for the UM community in Tallahassee. It’s a rare opportunity to make a difference, so we cannot let this go to waste.

It’s time to send a message to Tallahassee that young people aren’t just students, but active members of our community and important constituents. We need to send an honest, independent voice to be our representative.

Jordan Lewis is the president of UM Young and College Democrats.