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Progress Florida hails 12 House Democrats as championing “Middle Class Champs”

As Michael Kinsley writes in the current Vanity Fair, all politicians say they are going to work to help the middle class. In a new report from Progress Florida, the progressive group says that there were 12 Democrats in the state Legislature who were “champions” for the middle class, based on their votes during the recently concluded session(s).

“We salute these twelve lawmakers who stood up 100% of the time, on every vote, for Florida families against constant attacks from Gov. Rick Scott, his allies in the Legislature, and the corporate interests that control their narrow ideological agenda,” Progress Florida Executive Director Mark Ferrulo said.

The group used as its criteria issues such as expanding access to health care, stopping political interference in women’s access to reproductive health care, standing up for public schools, “and opposing a budget that, among other things, failed to close Florida’s health care coverage gap or adequately fund land and water conservation as voters mandated under Amendment 1.”

The 12 lawmakers are all House Democrats: Lori Berman from Boynton Beach, John Cortes from Kissimmee, Janet Cruz from Tampa, Reggie Fullwood from Kissimmee, Joseph Geller from Dania Beach, Evan Jenne from Hollywood, Mark Pafford from West Palm Beach, Jose Javier Rodriguez from Miami, Irv Slosberg from Delray Beach, Cynthia Stafford from Opa Locka, Richard Stark from Weston and Clovis Watson Jr. from Gainesville.

“We need a growing economy that works for all, not just the wealthy, but too often our state lawmakers put corporate special interests and political expediency above the needs of everyday Floridians,” Ferrulo said. “Today we applaud these twelve lawmakers who, with every one of their votes this legislative session, championed the middle class and those aspiring to be in the middle class.”

High-profile votes that were considered in naming the 2015 Champions of Florida’s Middle Class included Medicaid expansion (HB 2-A), online voter registration (SB 228), the mandatory abortion delay (HB 633), protecting Florida’s school system (HB 7037), the anti-gay adoption bill (HB 7111) and the budget (SB 2500-A). The complete list of bills scored can be found at

Written By

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served five years as political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. Mitch also was assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley and is a San Francisco native who has lived in Tampa since 2000. Mitch can be reached at

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