In an effort to help you make informed decisions during the General Election, ABC Action News has reached out to dozens of candidates running for office. The following statements have been submitted to ABC Action News by the candidate. Every candidate was given the same set of questions. These are their responses in his/her own words.
Name: Dana Cottrell
Office: US House of Representatives, FL CD11
I have not previously held public office. I am a public school teacher. My undergraduate degree is in social science education, and my graduate degree is in library and information science, both from the University of South Florida.
Why should voters vote for you?
In November, we will vote for a member of our community to represent us to the US House of Representatives. I am the best candidate for this position. I have lived in Hernando County for the past 32 years. I have worked as a teacher for 28 years both in Hernando County and for the Department of Defense on military bases abroad. As a member of the middle class, I understand the needs of our community having a distinct appreciation of where we are, and how we can grow to our greatest potential. I ask you to vote for a change in leadership!
If elected, what are your top priorities?
The greatest challenge facing our nation today is the lack of wage growth in the United States. Consistent positive wage growth has occurred in only 10 of the last 40 years. This has resulted in Americans being unable to buy a home, unable to save for retirement, unable to afford health care, and unable to provide for their families. COVID-19 has only exacerbated this situation as American workers have had to make the ultimate choice of safeguarding their health and the health of their family, or returning to dangerous work conditions. My role in helping to solve this problem is to implement law that will: provide affordable housing, to pass Medicare as a public option, to promote innovative job growth that pays a living wage, to provide quality education, and to make sure every American has access to debt-free vocational training or college education. Education and job training for high-paying job opportunities are paths out of poverty. These initiatives will not only decrease the lack of wage growth, but will move our entire economy forward.
I have consistently listed the environment as one of my top priority issues. I believe one of the most important issues facing Florida is climate change as climate change impacts our health, our water supply, and our declining shorelines. To combat climate change we need a Green New Deal which will revitalize employment and industry in our nation. Florida should become a global leader in green business construction and initiatives. I will work toward bringing federal grant money to our state to sponsor retraining, employment, and business opportunities that promote clean energy and green business.
Health care, inclusive of medical, mental, dental, vision, hearing, and pharmaceuticals is the RIGHT of every citizen. I support Medicare for All as a public option. Medicare should be an open enrollment health care program for all Americans on a sliding scale with Medicare replacing Medicaid so there is one system in the United States. This would allow Americans choice while not tying health care to employment. There should be no need for supplemental insurance under Medicare and this plan should carry zero deductibles for office visits or medications. I understand the medical and housing needs of our aging population. I also understand the crippling financial burden placed on those individuals and families with limited resources to access health care and medication. American families can be one illness away from financial ruin. It is time for a change; no man, woman, or child should be left behind!
What are three key messages of your campaign?
Shift the balance of power to the American people; elect people not beholden to any corporate persuasion or lobby.
End division and promote unity; elect leaders who will lead with reason, compassion, empathy, and inclusion.
Equality and justice for all; elect leaders who will vote for equal rights and equal protection under the law.
What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
Education, employment, environment, Veterans’ affairs, health care.
As it relates to the role you are seeking, how has that governmental body handled the Covid-19 pandemic? What would you do differently/the same in handling both the public health risk and the economic recovery?
We currently face a pandemic in our nation. Over 200,000 Americans have lost their lives, and we will lose many more lives due to the denial of scientific fact and a lack of a coordinated plan of action from the federal government. The federal government should enact legislation to secure the health and financial stability of the American people. When COVID-19 first impacted our nation, I stated the government program should be a $2,000 monthly payment to every American over 18, along with a $500 monthly payment for every American under 18 in effect for one year. During that year all mortgages, credit card payments, and loan payments would be on hiatus. This would have allowed Americans to safely shelter in place and for the disease to run its course without the current impact. I still support this initiative as we work toward a safe vaccine. What we are doing now is not enough to assist Floridians through COVID-19, and unfortunately, the economic, mental, and physical effects of COVID continue to negatively impact the people of the United States.
In the role you are seeking, what will you do to address issues of racism and inequality?
First, I will sponsor voting legislation which does not discriminate at the polls so that every vote counts. I support the full restoration of voting rights for felons. I will work toward prison and sentencing reform which disproportionately impacts communities of color. I will work to end the privatization of prisons, and increase spending on education. I support diversity and inclusion, and federal agencies should be staffed as such. I support the Equal Rights Amendment, and I support programs targeted to promote minority-owned businesses. Low-interest mortgages should be backed by federal programs to lessen the wealth gap.
What motivates you to run for public office?
I care about my fellow man. I care about our children. I care about their future and their success. I care about our planet. I want to serve the public and advocate for federal policy that is fair and just for all thereby improving the lives of those I represent.