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Following the Currents that Guide Florida's Future
Should Florida voters support the re-election of President Barack Obama or the election of former Gov. Mitt Romney as president?
Rich Bard's picture
Rich Bard
Who can forget the 2000 presidential election? Al Gore and George W. Bush were only 537 votes apart in Florida when the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling. Florida remains a battleground state, with early voting already underway. President Obama's campaign emphasizes how much progress the economy has made since the Great Recession began. And Gov. Romney's campaign reminds voters of the large numbers of Americans who are still unemployed.
Mel Martinez
A Republican, a former U.S. senator and former secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

This November, I am voting for Mitt Romney for president because he has a plan that will reclaim American prosperity. Governor Romney has a strong record of achievement and leadership, and a firm a grasp on what is required to pull the United States back from the edge of another economic downturn. Romney has the ideas, knowhow and demonstrated ability to put government back on track to help spur growth in Florida and the nation.

We need a new president because Barack Obama’s policies have failed Florida. Over the last four years, we’ve seen our economic challenges grow deeper and more complex. Florida’s housing crisis is more intense; job creation is fragile; and unpredictable federal policy creates an uncertain future.

Under President Obama, Florida’s housing crisis continues unabated. Our state leads the nation in foreclosures. One in every 318 homes is in some stage of foreclosure. Nearly half of Florida’s homeowners owe more on a mortgage than their home is worth. President Obama promised to stem the tide of foreclosures, but few of his initiatives were enacted and, of those that were, none had even modest success.

Conversely, a President Romney will revive the housing market by reviving the overall economy. His plan to create more than 12 million jobs during his first term in office will stimulate housing demand, help clear out the current housing inventory, add to new construction, and help homeowners recover lost equity.

Further, Mitt Romney will reduce the oversized role government plays in the housing market and he will remove regulatory barriers keeping credit-worthy consumers from securing a mortgage. Government’s lax oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac created conditions ripe for a housing market crash, and its overreaction after the fact has crippled credit availability for well-qualified borrowers.

Mitt Romney is anxious to create robust job growth and untangle the housing market mess, but our next president has to do more; he has to return America to the leading edge of expansion.

Trade is a strong job-generator for Florida, but under President Obama, international trade policy has languished. In the last four years, the president has not sent a single new trade agreement to Congress. Though he claims credit for “renegotiating” the Colombia, Panama, and South Korea trade agreements, the fact is they were negotiated and signed during the Bush Administration. The three-year delay caused by President Obama’s minor “renegotiation” cost America tens of thousands of trade-related job opportunities.

Mitt Romney understands trade creates jobs, especially in port-rich states like Florida. According to the Florida Chamber Foundation trade supports more than 1.7 million jobs, a fifth of Florida’s workforce. With 95 percent of the world’s consumers outside of the United States, a President Romney will continue working to open new export markets for the United States, while protecting our workers by holding countries accountable if they violate existing agreements.

After four years of hollow promises and failed policies, Florida and the U.S. economy are ready for recovery.

For me, the United States has been a place where dreams come true, no matter where you started. As Americans, it is part of our character to know that if you work hard, have faith in your God and play by the rules, all things are possible. We need to elect a president who believes in the endless opportunities of the American Dream. We need Mitt Romney.

Click here for the Orlando Sentinel's Romney endorsement.

Scott Arceneaux
Executive director of the Florida Democratic Party

At few times in our history have Florida voters been presented with such a clear and decisive choice about the future of our country – a choice never more critical for our future prosperity.

President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney have presented Floridians with two contrasting visions for America.

On one hand, Romney envisions a country where the very few and the very wealthiest are given priority at the expense of middle-class families. He envisions a society where you’re on your own if you are sick or old or weren’t born to wealth and privilege as he was. And Romney, like President George W. Bush, would build this vision of America on the backs of Florida’s middle-class families.

In Romney’s vision, billionaires and multi-millionaires deserve six-figure tax cuts. If you’re a CEO of a major multinational corporation or a Wall Street bank, this proposal might seem like a good idea. But to pay for their tax cuts, Romney would raise taxes on middle-class families by more than $2,000 a year. He would end Medicare as we know it, turning this program into a voucher system and raising the cost of health care for seniors by thousands of dollars every year. He would slash funding for education programs like Pell Grants, making it harder for students to afford college. And instead of focusing on helping businesses create jobs, Romney and his party would pursue an extreme agenda that threatens the basic rights and freedoms of our mothers, sisters and daughters.

We’ve seen these failed Republican policies before: They are the same Bush-era ideas that drove our economy into the worst recession since the Great Depression. It’s a plan that pushes the American Dream further out of reach for more middle-class families.

President Obama believes that America succeeds when every American has a fair shot at success. That’s why his plan would grow the economy from the middle out: asking the wealthiest few to pay a little more so that we can cut taxes by $3,600 for the middle class; invest in education, small businesses, infrastructure and clean energy so that we can create the next generation of good-paying jobs here at home; and end our costly wars, using the savings to responsibly reduce the deficit and do some nation-building here at home.

Four years ago, our country was bleeding jobs and teetering on the brink of economic collapse. But now, under President Obama, we are moving forward: growing our economy for more than 30 straight months, creating millions of new jobs and dropping unemployment below 8 percent for the first time in years.

But perhaps nowhere is the contrast more clear than when it comes to health care.  Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, if you get sick, you won’t have to worry about your insurance company dropping your coverage, or denying you medical care because of a preexisting condition. If you’re a student, you can stay on your parents’ health plan through college. And if you’re a senior citizen, Obamacare reduces the cost of prescription medicine, closes the donut hole and extends the life of Medicare by almost 10 years by eliminating billions in waste, fraud and abuse.

President Obama and Democrats have a vision for the future that embodies the best qualities of America – a belief that we all do best when we all have a fair shot. It’s a vision of opportunity for middle-class families.  I hope you’ll join Floridians in re-electing President Obama.

Click here for the Tampa Bay Times' Obama endorsement.

Bob Martinez
Former Republican governor of Florida (1987-91) and a senior policy adviser with Holland & Knight, Tampa

Governor Mitt Romney is a clear alternative to President Barack Obama and his four years in office.

Florida has had a difficult time the last four years, with unemployment staying above the national average, construction still being way down and general business activity remains sluggish.  That's why the economy is the number one issue in Florida – jobs, business opportunities and the growth of our existing businesses. 

The second major issue is Florida's senior citizens.   Their investments are generally in fixed-income instruments that currently have a very low return.  Their retirement income has declined and so has their standard of living.  Many have returned to the work force. 

The third issue I want to point out is President Barack Obama's drastic sizing down of the military.  Floridians want a well-funded military for defense and to help maintain the state's economy.  Florida military bases create many civilian jobs and countless businesses provide goods and services to the installations.  Many veterans who retire in Florida make use of services provided by the various bases.

I believe Governor Mitt Romney has a better plan to take us out of the morass that we’ve been in the last four years. This election is a referendum on President Obama.  The question is, "Are you satisfied with the last four years?"  If your answer is “no,” vote for Governor Mitt Romney.  He will reduce regulations on business, increase North America energy production, expand trade with Latin America, create jobs by making certain small businesses can succeed and maintain a strong national defense system.

I believe Mitt Romney will win Florida Nov. 6, for the above reasons.  Evidence of his momentum in my home city of Tampa is everywhere.  Since Oct. 1, yard signs for Romney/Ryan have sprung up like a new crop throughout our community and their bumper strips are on countless numbers of cars. The same is not happening for the President.

Click here for the Tampa Tribune's Romney endorsement.

Rich Bard's picture
Rich Bard
Associate Editor

Here’s a second view supporting President Barack Obama’s re-election – from an editorial endorsement by The Miami Herald, published Sunday. Brief excerpts follow:

On President Obama’s record:

“[I]t includes ending the war in Iraq, which seemed like mission impossible when he took office. It includes beginning the wind-down of U.S. involvement in Afghanistan that began when today’s high school seniors entered first grade. He made a gutsy call to get Osama bin Laden.

“Saving the car industry was an equally tough call, and a good one. And the much-maligned Affordable Care Act ensures that Americans won’t go broke just because they get sick. He found two well-qualified women for the Supreme Court and got them confirmed without too much fuss.

“No one’s happy with the pace of the recovery, but the president deserves credit for starting to turn the economy around. Instead of losing 800,000 jobs a month, workplaces have added some five million jobs.”

On former Gov. Mitt Romney’s “contradictory positions”:

“[Mr. Romney] has taken so many contradictory positions on important issues — abortion, immigration, even Obamacare (first he said he would repeal it; then he said he would keep the parts most people like) — that he could take any action he chooses once in office and claim that it fulfills a campaign promise he made at one point or another.”

In conclusion:

“In the end, Mr. Obama’s policies across the board — the environment, social policy, taxes and immigration — offer a more generous vision for America. The issues he has fought for, coupled with the lingering doubts about Mr. Romney’s persona and his true intentions, make this a clear choice. In the race for president, The Miami Herald recommends BARACK OBAMA.”

Click here for The Miami Herald's Obama endorsement.

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FloridaVoices User Comments

Mr. Romney has from time to time listed four parts of his biography, all of which lead to serious questions about his candidacy. First, he was governor of Massachusetts, where he designed Obamacare, which he now denounces as a federal takeover of health care, which it is not. Can't really run on that. Second, he was a bigwig in Bain, a company that used leveraged buyouts and hostile takeovers to ruin companies, send jobs overseas, and wreck hard-working employees' pensions. He's running on it, but it should be a negative. Third, he says he saved the Olympics, but neglects to mention the $1.3 billion the federal government kicked in at his request. A lot of us could save the Olympics with that kind of help. Fourth, he is a rich, old, white guy. A lot of us are one or two of the three and some are all three, but that shouldn't qualify us, even to other rich, old, white guys. Mr. Romney claims that lowering taxes on the wealthy will stimulate job growth. Look back at the W.Bush administration. In the first four years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there was actually negative job growth, despite getting us into two wars, which usually increases employment, and two large tax cuts. In Bush's second four years, job growth was less than one percent. Increases in public sector job growth, a terrible thing to conservatives, was the only real growth during the W years. Reagan had to raise taxes multiple times when his tax cuts ballooned the deficit. The first Bush had to reverse tax cuts for the same reason. Yet Romney claims that this will not happen again. Trust history, both Romney's and the tax-jobs-deficit triad. Romney claimed during the primary campaign only a few months ago, that he is a "severe conservative." Now, he is portraying himself as a moderate. This guy will say anything to get votes. Anything!