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: Kathy Castor
Office: US House of Representatives, District 14
Education – High school, college, postgraduate (Years and degree(s) obtained)
Chamberlain High School (1984)
Emory University (B.A. - 1988)
Florida State University (J.D. – 1991)
Current employment and professional history
U.S. Representative, Florida – 14th Congressional District – 2007-current
Hillsborough County Commissioner – 2002 – 2006
Partner, Broad and Cassel - 1995-2000
Attorney, Icard Merrill - 1994-1995
Assistant General Counsel, State of Florida, Department of Community Affairs - 1991-1994
Why should voters vote for you?
The past few months have been a remarkable time of challenge for all of us - a global pandemic, more unemployed Americans, an awakening to systemic racism, and a complete absence of leadership in the White House. Through it all, I have worked to tackle these challenges and stand up to the president and his Washington enablers. I will continue to do everything in my power to work for Florida families and the American people to oppose the chaos and callousness displayed in Washington.
If elected, what are your top priorities?
My priorities are universal, affordable health care, raising wages, solving the climate crisis, and tackling systemic racism.
What are three key messages of your campaign?
- Keeping families safe, supported and healthy during COVID19 pandemic
- Solving the Climate Crisis through building the clean energy economy
- Growing our economy in Tampa with higher-paying jobs through improved transit, affordable housing and educational opportunities
What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?
Health care and solving the climate crisis. I will not allow President Trump and GOP to end the Affordable Care Act, take health care away from families including coverage for preexisting conditions and young people up to age 26 - particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic! On top of that, more than 30 million Americans are now unemployed, and likely without access to employer-sponsored healthcare options, making the ACA even more vital.
When it comes to the climate crisis, Floridians know better than anyone that we must take ambitious action. We have all seen the impacts of hotter summers, more intense hurricanes and increased flooding. We have seen how drilling off our coastline is dangerous to our health, environment and economy. I was thrilled that Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked me to lead the charge in Congress to develop solutions for the clean energy economy. Speaker Pelosi and I recently release a climate action plan that focuses on good-paying jobs and environmental justice for communities that are traditionally ignored. I also was honored to serve on the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force on behalf of Florida working families to develop ambitious recommendations for environmental justice, racial justice and public health – because every American has the right to clean air, clean water and a healthy community.
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?
In addition to a comprehensive strategy to control the virus, Congress must aid our heroes - firefighters, teachers, postal employees, public safety and frontline health workers – through support for states and local communities. In order to operate our economy and schools in a safe manner, I am pressing for widespread and rapid testing, and medical supplies to communities as fast as possible. I worked with my colleagues to pass the Heroes Act in May 2020, which included funding, among other things, for:
- Substantial support to area residents in need through Hillsborough County and the City of Tampa Tampa, and added help for first responders, health workers, and teachers who are in danger of losing their jobs.
- Another $75 billion for coronavirus testing, contact tracing and isolation measures, ensuring every American can access free coronavirus treatment, and supporting hospitals and providers.
- $100 billion for the Department of Education to help educational institutions with providing PPE, sanitizing and cleaning schools and school transportation, and providing support, including counseling and mental health services for students and staff.
- $10 billion for Covid-19 emergency grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
In the role you are seeking, what will you do to address issues of racism and inequality?
I was proud to stand up with my Democratic colleagues in the House to pass the Justice in Policing Act of 2020 – some of the strongest civil rights changes in decades to reimagine the role of public safety in our community by increasing accountability, demilitarizing police departments and ending systemic racism in law enforcement. We’ve seen citizens across this country, and the globe, take to the streets to protest, and I have worked hard in Congress to turn these peaceful protests into policy. We can’t be silent on this issue.
What motivates you to run for public office?
I was taught from an early age to care for my neighbors. In the midst of Washington politics too often fueled by corruption, ignorance and vitriol, I have served my community with honesty, humility, empathy and experience. Public service is rooted in the values we share and in the ability to listen to working people, scientists, and a diversity of voices. I would be honored if you supported me to continue to do so!