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Key Issues and Areas of Advocacy

Shawn Williams believes in effective and efficient government that prioritizes quality education, affordable health care and housing, and an economy in which anyone who works hard can succeed.

Most importantly, he believes that we are stronger together. He believes the fundamental American promise — that you can go as far as your own hard work will take you. Those that do should shine brightest in Florida.

That is why he champions the middle class and cherishes the principle that all Floridians should have the opportunity to work hard and succeed. That is why he will never stop fighting for better public schools, because education is the "great equalizer" and the surest path to a better life for millions.

From standing for affordable health care and better schools to fighting for civil rights and access to the ballot box, Shawn Williams is leading every day to move our state forward.

Select a topic to learn more about it and what Shawn is doing to Build a Better Florida Future.

Economic Justice

Shawn Williams supports a living wage, fair compensation, paid sick and family leave, collective bargaining rights, green job creation, investment in our crumbling infrastructure, and policies that aim to address economic inequality by ensuring that working people receive their fair share of Florida’s prosperity.

Shawn believes in a future where everyone who works hard and plays by the rules can succeed. He is committed to preserving and expanding the middle class by creating well-paying jobs, by strengthening demand for all that Florida has to offer, and by creating an educated, and skilled workforce.

A strong middle class can only exist in an economy where everyone plays by the same rules, and that means the culture of Tallahassee has to change. When the politically well-connected get special favors, the middle class — and those struggling to get into the middle class — suffer. Shawn will fight for meaningful ethics reform that drains the special interest swamp in Tallahassee.

Instead of favoring political insiders, Shawn will empower small businesses with incentives to create jobs. We will expand training and retraining initiatives for workers to ensure Florida can out-compete other states and other countries. He will strengthen our ports to ensure that Florida remains a center of worldwide commerce far into the 21st century.

Together, we believe that we can create an economy where hard-working Floridians can find a job that pays the bills, where small businesses — not the special interests — can succeed, where a family can own their own home and children can get the high quality education that will let them dream bigger than their parents ever thought possible.


Education

Shawn Williams believes every Floridian deserves access to a free, accessible, equitable, high-quality education from pre-K through post-secondary education—whether that’s through a college education or a trade and technical school. 

Massachusetts got it right in their constitution: From Chapter V, Section II: 

"Wisdom, and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties; and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education."

While the Massachusetts Constitution was the predecessor of our nation’s constitution written in 1780, an importance of education was excluded from our national constitution, written in 1787 and signed in 1789.

Our children's future depends on their education, and Florida's future depends on our children's success. Improving our schools and creating a skilled and educated workforce is key to our state's economic health. Legislators have continued to cut public education funds, in turn short changing our students. Cuts in funding for public schools and universities forced massive teacher layoffs, and classes like art, music, and athletics were eliminated. Tallahassee has broken their promises on education again and again.

This is a make or break moment for Florida's schools and Florida's future. Shawn stands committed to invest in Florida's public schools, colleges, and universities, because education is the bridge that will lead millions into the middle class. And strengthening education doesn't stop with better schools for our children. Shawn stands committed to improving worker retraining and technical education, because whether you are fifteen or fifty, you deserve a chance to succeed in the modern economy.


Environment

Shawn Williams supports environmental protections, renewable energy, clean air, food and water for all Floridians.

Toxic algae bloom crisis has been devastating for our state for the past two decades. Our land, our water, and our beaches are our state's greatest treasures and greatest economic assets. Our current "representatives" do not understand this basic economic truth, and their disregard for Florida's natural resources is a reckless threat to our economy. Shawn Williams will stand firm against efforts to weaken Florida's protection of our land and water. He rejects the false choice between economic prosperity and a healthy environment. In Florida, economic strength and environmental health go hand-in-hand.


Womens' Rights

Shawn Williams is committed to ensuring full equality for women and will introduce, sponsor or cosponsor a bill to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

Women are still waiting 48 years later! Only ONE state is needed to add this important language to our nation's constitution.

Shawn will fight to end gender discrimination in the areas of education, employment, health care, or any other sphere. He will combat biases across economic, political, and social life that hold women back and limit their opportunities.

Shawn and women share common values and priorities, including supporting our families, protecting our state, and advancing the issues that matter most to women of all ages and ethnicities.

Shawn continues to fight to expand opportunity for women. By confronting violence against women, fighting for workplace equality, pushing for pro-family policies like paid family leave, and defending a woman’s right to control her own healthcare decisions, Shawn will make sure that women thrive in our state, because we know that when women succeed, Florida succeeds.


Equity

Shawn Williams believes in the equal rights, inclusion and protection of all people regardless of race, gender (sex) and gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, socio-economic status, disability, etc. and condemns all forms of
discrimination and hatred.


Affordable/Attainable/Workforce Housing

Shawn Williams believes that Sadowski Funds should be used solely for Affordable Housing.

2019/2020 Budget diverted $125 million to Florida's General Fund.  By doing this, the Legislature:

• Failed to create more than 14,500 Florida jobs,
• Lost over $1.5 billion in total economic output, and
• Approximately $419 million in labor income.

Quick Facts (Florida Housing Coalition, 2019 Home Matters Report)
Florida has an affordable housing crisis.

  • 912,967 very low-income Florida households—which include hardworking families, seniors, and people with disabilities—pay more than 50% of their incomes for housing.
  • Florida has the third highest homeless population of any state in the nation, with 32,190 people living in homeless shelters and on the streets. This includes 2,817 veterans and 9,422 people in families with at least one child.
  • Low-wage jobs are prevalent in Florida’s economy. In many occupations, workers do not earn enough to rent a modest apartment or buy their first home.

Key Economic Benefits (2019 Home Matters Report)

Economic  Benefits of Affordable Housing

Affordable housing—like any other housing development—stimulates state and local economies. When a developer creates affordable housing through new construction or rehabilitation, the community gains jobs through direct, indirect, and induced economic impacts1 (see below). For example, each dollar of Sadowski State and Local Housing Trust Funds leverages $4 to $6 in private investment, federal tax credits, and other funding sources. If the Sadowski State and Local Housing Trust Fund monies are fully appropriated for housing in Fiscal Year 2019-20 ($325 mm), the projected economic impact will be:

• More than 30,000 jobs,
• Over $4 billion in total economic output, and
• Approximately $1.09 billion in labor income.2

Once an affordable housing development is built and occupied, the residents create demand for ongoing jobs to meet their needs. Additionally, families living in affordable housing have more discretionary income to spend on food, clothing, and other goods and services, thereby boosting the local economy3.

What is Affordable Housing?

Misconceptions about affordable housing are widespread, with many citizens associating it with large, distressed public housing projects in central cities. That conception of affordable housing simply does not fit reality. Plenty of Public Housing Authorities across the nation, from large to small in size, are well-managed and have quality units. Furthermore, public housing is only
one type of affordable housing. In this report, “affordable housing” refers to privately owned housing that receives a subsidy to bring its rent or purchase price down to a level affordable to a low- or moderate-income family. Except for the subsidy, affordable housing is indistinguishable from market-rate housing—it has the same architectural and landscaping styles and often has basic amenities like energy efficient appliances and community gathering spaces. Substandard housing is, by definition, not affordable housing. The price thresholds for housing affordability will be discussed later in the report.

Affordable housing is also important for employers trying to attract skilled workers to a region. When local housing costs near employment are out of reach for entry-level and mid-level employees, employers may find it difficult to attract skilled workers and may face challenges with employee absenteeism and turnover4,5.

An additional economic benefit of affordable housing comes from the foregone costs of providing social services to persons who are elderly, homeless, or have disabilities. Studies show that home and community-based services for elderly as well as permanently supportive housing for persons with disabilities are significantly more cost-effective than institutionalized care or relying on jails and emergency rooms6,7. An investment in affordable housing is fiscally responsible, with a significant return on investment.

A Note On Terminology

Activities such as housing construction and rehabilitation stimulate local economies in several ways. For affordable housing development, “direct” impacts occur when developers hire workers and purchase materials from local suppliers. The suppliers, in turn, purchase additional materials and labor to fill the developer’s order, producing “indirect impacts”. The workers employed, directly and indirectly, further stimulate the economy by spending their wages locally (“induced impacts”).

Read the full report HERE

References:

1) Wardrip, K., Williams, L., and Hague, S. 2011. The Role of Affordable Housing in Creating Jobs and Stimulating Local Economic Development: A Review of the Literature. Washington, DC: Center for Housing Policy. Via The National Resource Network at:http://www.nationalresourcenetwork.org/en/Document/306097. Retrieved 1/17/18.

2) Sadowski Coalition. 2018. Estimate based on October 2018 revenue projections from the Florida Revenue Estimating Conference, 2016 IMPLAN Sector multipliers, and 2016 affordable housing industry profiles configured by Dr. Julie Harrington (Director, Center for Economic Forecasting and Analysis, Florida State University). An exception is the Total Development Cost multiplier for SAIL, which was adjusted by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation to be configured for an economically viable tax-exempt bond/SAIL structure expected in 2017.

3) Golden, T. 2016. Insufficient Affordable Housing Limits Florida’s Economic Potential. Lake Mary, FL: Florida Policy Institute.http://www.fpi.institute/insufficient-affordable-housing-limits-floridas-economic-potential/. Retrieved 1/17/19.

4) Wardrip et al. 2011.

5) Golden 2016.

6) Houser, A., Fox-Grage, W., and Ujvari, K. 2018. Across the States: Profiles of Long-Term Services and Supports. Washington, D.C.:AARP.https://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/ppi/2018/08/florida-LTSS-profile.pdf Retrieved1/17/19.

7) Shinn, G.A. 2014. The Cost of Long-Term Homelessness in Central Florida. Orlando, FL: Central Florida Commission on Homelessness.http://shnny.org/uploads/Florida-Homelessness-Report-2014.pdf. Retrieved 1/17/19.



SHAWN MICHAEL WILLIAMS
DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE FLORIDA
HOUSE of REPRESENTATIVES DISTRICT 78
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