Op-Ed - My 100 Days Focus: South Florida - South Dade News Leader: Opinion

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Op-Ed - My 100 Days Focus: South Florida

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Posted: Friday, April 12, 2019 1:50 pm | Updated: 3:34 pm, Fri Apr 12, 2019.

In the first 100 days of the 116th Congress, we’ve been able to accomplish so much for our South Florida community – a community that I am proud to

represent in Congress. We’ve raised our voices to demand change and call out leaders who stopped paying attention to us and instead focused on lobbyists. The country showed up and voted into office the most female and most diverse group of people ever elected to Congress. And now, we’re tackling complex policies, debating how to move our country into the future, and challenging the status quo. I am proud that we are making progress on an agenda For the People.

  In our first 100 days in office, we have prioritized giving power back to the people instead of perpetuating a system that benefits the special interests by passing historic legislation to take dark money out of politics, tackle corruption head on, and protect voting rights because we must make it easier – not harder – to vote. We stood up to the NRA when we passed

universal background checks for firearm purchases and reauthorized the most comprehensive Violence Against Women Act ever.

But we’re just getting started.

  We’re continuing to fight for women and families because when they succeed, America thrives. I won’t stop fighting until we close the gender paycheck gap because, even though it’s 2019, women on average make 79 cents for every dollar a man makes. For women of color, that gap is even wider. Equal pay for equal work. Full stop. In Florida and in 25 other states our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters can still be denied housing, fired from their employment, or discriminated against because there isn’t a federal law on the books. That’s simply unacceptable, and it’s time we acted.

  Another of my priorities in Congress is making significant progress to restore the Everglades. This is the largest ecological restoration project in the world, and they are a critical part of South Florida’s ecosystem, an important source of fresh water for our community, and an economic lifeline for the region. Yet each year that passes without significant restoration, we put our economy and our public health at risk. There’s bipartisan support for the Everglades – I’ve worked with Republicans and Democrats to request maximum funding, so we can finally finish these projects that have been going on for 19 years!

  I also want to take a moment to address an important topic we’re tackling in Congress: the rise of white nationalism. It’s not an easy topic to discuss – it can be downright scary to think that there are Americans who hate their fellow Americans simply because of where they are from or what they look like. We are demanding that social media companies like Google and Facebook do more to stop the spread of hate and bigotry. I also introduced a resolution condemning white nationalism. A lot of the rise in white nationalism is a product of anti-immigrant language that we hear coming from Trump and his Administration, and we must recognize it so that we can fight it.

  Despite all the changes we’re effecting, we cannot sit and hope that our country and our democracy will continue to flourish if we don’t get involved. We must keep demanding more change until we feel our government truly represents us. I firmly believe that what stands in the way of progress is a system in Washington that hasn’t afforded South Floridians enough seats at the decision-making table. These 100 days in office have taught me that the more our Congress and our workplaces look like the rest of America, the stronger we will be. It’s been an honor to represent you in Congress,

and I’m excited to keep working for you.

Rep. Mucarsel-Powell (D) represents Florida’s 26th District.

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