Good, Jouniari Tout Progressive Credentials in District 72



Editor's Note: This is the first in a two-part story. The second installment will appear in tomorrow's edition of SRQ Daily.

If a Democrat ultimately wins a election to represent District 72 in the Florida House, they will head to Tallahassee as part of a minority caucus; Republicans currently hold 76 of 120 seats. But both Democrats running, Ruta Jouniari and Margaret Good, each remain confident they can find allies across the aisle to support progressive parts of their agenda. Democrats in the district vote Tuesday on who will be the nominee.

As Good stresses her environmental credentials and support for better funding to public schools, Jouniari pushes an economic message about wages and access to health care.

Good supports a ban on fracking in Florida, and notes two bills enacting such a restriction have been filed by Republican House members. “Let’s form a coalition around those issues that we can agree on,” she says. In this case, she believes lawmakers from both parties would support a push for more renewable resources in the state, and wants to explore ways to boost solar power and other non-traditional but clean ways to generate energy. “We need to do whatever we can to move in that direction,” she says.

Jouniari believes she can convince members on health care reform. She runs a free clinic in Sarasota, where she sees a wide range of people who cannot afford insurance, something she credits to the federal Affordable Care Act “collapsing.” She notes that, for most Floridians, the only insurance available in the federal marketplace is Florida Blue, which can pull out at any time. “Then it’s going to go into crisis mode,” Jouniari says. She favors a move to single-payer health care, and feels state governments will need to lead the way on that.

Good, though, says the ACA will not fail, and says Republicans in Washington—who ran on repeal-and-replace and have failed to move that way even with a GOP-controlled Congress and White House—realize that. She wants the Legislature to instead pursue a Medicaid expansion. Jouniari would support such an expansion, but says Florida needs a true safety net for citizens beyond that.

Campaign reports through Oct. 19 show Jouniari raised $7,479 in monetary contributions, compared to Good’s $87,870. The winner of the primary on Tuesday will face Republican James Buchanan and Libertarian Alison Foxall in a Feb. 13 general election. The seat was vacated by state Rep. Alex Miller, who resigned earlier this year citing family and business obligations. 

Photos: Margaret Good, Ruta Jouniari

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