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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Governor candidate Gwen Graham: 'Time to paint Florida's future in sharp lines, and bold colors"

Gwen Graham.

Times files

Gwen Graham.

Democratic former congresswoman Gwen Graham announced her candidacy for governor today, declaring,  "We do not have time for typical politics, because this is the time to paint Florida’s future in sharp lines, and bold colors."

The daugther of former governor and Sen. Bob Graham made her announcement by Miami Carol City Senior High, where she spent a "workday" the previous day and where Bob Graham did his first workday in 1974. She decried high stakes testing and the lottery "shell game" that she said diverts money from Florida schools.

“As governor, I won’t just criticize this culture of teaching to the test. I will end it,” Graham said. “Because high-stakes standardized testing has led us to one-size-fits-all learning. Yet our children, parents and teachers are not one-dimensional. Our children, parents, and teachers are not standardized. I will work with the legislature – and do whatever it takes, including using the governor’s line-item veto to end high-stakes testing.” 

She also shared her vision for Florida's economy and environment. Graham called for Florida to raise the minimum wage, provide paid sick leave, invest in infrastructure, and diversify Florida's economy.

"Instead of passing commonsense economic policies, like raising the minimum wage and paid sick leave, Rick Scott repeats, 'Jobs, jobs, jobs!' — as in you’ll need three jobs just to get by," she said.

On the environment, Graham said she would use Amendment One funds to protect sensitive land and water, fight oil drilling off our beaches and ban fracking in Florida — and she addressed the threat climate change poses to the state.

"We all know climate change is real. It’s already harming our state — tides are rising in Miami, fires are ravaging our forests," Graham said, according to a campaign release. "But instead of facing reality, Donald Trump calls climate change 'a hoax,' and Rick Scott doesn’t call it anything at all – literally banning those the words, 'climate change' from our state government."

Graham plans to highlight her economic agenda with a workday installing solar panels in Orlando and "an environmental-focused Workday in Tampa, before returning to Tallahassee where she will highlight her record working with Florida public schools," the campaign said.

Graham joins Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Orlando businessman Chris King, and Miami Beach mayor and Philip Levine in the race for the Democratic nomination, and Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan also is considering it.Likely or potential Republicans include Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, officially kicking off his campaign next week in Bartow, and Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran of Land O'Lakes and state Sen. Jack Latvala of Clearwater.

Gov. Rick Scott is term-limited out of office after 2018. The primary election will be Aug. 28,  2018.

[Last modified: Tuesday, May 2, 2017 12:58pm]


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