Florida Representative Gwyndol “Gwyn” Clarke-Reed lashed out at Governor Rick Scott over the recent legislative session in Tallahassee.
“He did nothing to intercede in what was happening,” said Clarke-Reed, the ranking Democrat on the Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee.
Clarke-Reed addressed the Palm Aire/Cypress Bend Democratic Club Monday night at the Skolnick Center in Pompano Beach. In her speech, Clarke-Reed described the 2015 legislative session as “very chaotic.”
“Lobbyists were going bananas,” Clarke-Reed said. “Nobody wanted to do what needed to be done.”
Republicans, who hold a supermajority in the Florida House of Representatives, refused to expand Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act. This decision led to a shutdown of the Florida government and resulted in a special session to craft the state’s billion dollar budget.
In the new budget, Clarke-Reed said, Governor Scott vetoed several of her proposals including a $10 million appropriation for vocational rehabilitation services and $650,000 for improvements to Dixie Highway.
“There is still a lot left on the table that has not been funded,” Clarke-Reed said. “It is very, very difficult in these times particularly when you have a Governor with the mindset of our Governor who knows he doesn’t have to run again.”
In his second four-year term, Scott cannot seek re-election and like the Governor, Clarke-Reed is also term limited. Currently serving her fourth two-year term representing House District 92, Clarke-Reed has filed papers to run for the Florida Senate in District 31.
When asked her greatest accomplishment as an elected official in Tallahassee, the 75-year-old retired educator said it was the passing of a “civil citation” bill at the conclusion of the 2015 session --- a bill she authored.
“That program will help our juveniles who for some reason between the ages of six and 18 do some crazy little things…nothing violent. They are not hurting anyone. They are hurting themselves by getting a (criminal) record that will live with them for the rest of their lives,” Clarke-Reed said.
The program, Clarke-Reed said, allows juveniles three chances of not getting a criminal record and their name entered in the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s database. By avoiding arrest, juveniles increase their chances of attaining college scholarships, military service and good paying jobs.
“I worked for three years on that piece of legislation and for some reason this year it caught hold,” Clarke-Reed said. The law will be effective Oct. 1, 2015.
“I definitely support that,” said Sajan Kurian, a medical technician who has filed for the open House seat in District 92. “Children are our future and this program saves a lot of taxpayer money and it saves the kids.”