Progress Florida names 18 Democrats as “Champions of Florida’s Middle Class”

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Progress Florida has unveiled their “Champions of Florida’s Middle Class” for 2016,” consisting of 14 House Democrats and four Senate Democrats. There are no Republicans on the list.

The progressive activist group is celebrating these Democrats for their stances on fracking bans (HB 191/SB 318), public schools (HB 7029), reproductive health care (HB 1411/SB 1722), guns on campus (HB 4001/SB 68), and what they label “the corporate tax giveaway” (HB 7099).

“We salute these eighteen lawmakers who stood up 100 percent of the time, on every vote, for Florida families against constant attacks from an out of touch legislative leadership that’s captive to special interests,” said Progress Florida Executive Director Mark Ferrulo.

The four state Senators are: Oscar Braynon from Miami Gardens, Dwight Bullard from Cutler Bay, Jeff Clemens from Lake Worth, and Tampa’s Arthenia Joyner.

The 14 representatives are — St. Pete’s Dwight Dudley, Lori Berman from Boynton Beach, Randolph Bracy from Orlando, and John Cortes from Kissimmee, Miami’s Jose Javier Rodriguez, Miami Gardens Barbara Watson, Miramar’s Sharon Pritchett, West Palm Beach’s Evan Jenne and Mark Pafford, Joseph Geller from Dania Beach, Tampa’s Janet Cruz, Cynthia Stafford from Opa Locka, and Weston’s Richard Stark.

“We need a growing economy that works for all Floridians, not just the wealthy and well-connected,” says Ferrulo. Too often our state lawmakers put corporate special interests and ideological extremism above the needs of everyday Floridians. Today we applaud these eighteen lawmakers who championed efforts to protect and expand the middle class.”

Progress Florida notes that Berman, Paffford and Stafford have made their list ever year since the group began naming such “champions,” going back to 2011.

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Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the 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. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at