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Democrat lawmakers plan to counter Ron DeSantis’ State of the State address with progressive plan

The Sunrise Agenda tackles progressive issues like minimum wage and Medicaid expansion.

Progressive lawmakers and activists are planning a “people’s response” to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ State of the State Address Tuesday.

DeSantis is set to deliver remarks before the start of the 2020 Legislative Session outlining the success of the past year and looking forward to the upcoming improvements in 2020.

The group plans to unveil its Sunrise Agenda, which is a series of proposals aimed at building a Florida that works for all Floridians, not just what they describe as the wealthy and well-connected.

“The tone deaf majority has lorded over our state government for some twenty years plus and has failed to lead on the issues that matter to everyday Floridians. Rather than insuring healthcare for all, the majority instead pushes poor people into the street with no place to go when they are sick or need medical treatment; allows for the lack of accountability in education; and has dragged their feet on addressing climate change,” said Senate Democratic Leader Audrey Gibson. “Instead, the bend has been towards those with buckets of money. The Sunrise Agenda gives Floridians a government that works for them.”

Gibson is leading a group of more than a half dozen Democratic lawmakers including Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez and Reps. Anna Eskamani, Carlos Guillermo Smith, Dianne Hart, Fentrice Driskell, Geraldine Thompson and Shevrin Jones.

Also included are activists Rich Templin, the legislative and political director for the Florida AFL-CIO, Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates Legislative Manager Laura Hernandez, Florida Conservation Voters Executive Director Aliki Moncrief and Progress Florida Digital Director Ray Seaman.

The Sunrise Agenda seeks to raise the minimum wage, invest in affordable housing, modernize public transit, expand Medicaid, stop attacks on women’s reproductive health care, raise teacher pay, combat climate change, ensure all Floridians have access to clean water and implement common sense gun legislation, among other things.

The event will take place on the fourth floor rotunda of the Florida Capitol at about 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, or immediately following the conclusion of DeSantis’ address.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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