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Sarasota Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017 1 year ago

Special election Democratic candidates share their views ahead of primary

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Margaret Good and Ruta Jouniari explain in their own words why they should represent their party in the District 72 special election primary.
by: Ryan Butler News Innovation Editor

On Dec. 5, registered Democrats will go to the polls for the House District 72 special-election primary between Sarasota attorney Margaret Good and businesswoman Ruta Jouniari. Ahead of the election, the two candidates shared why they would be the best candidate and what they would accomplish if elected to the statehouse. 

Margaret Good

Good is an attorney with Sarasota-based Matthews Eastmoore and a member of the board of directors for the Sarasota County Bar Association. She is a graduate of the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where she served as an editor of the Florida Law Review.

What are the most pressing local issues for the 72nd District?

People know our government is not serving us and want a representative that will. They want someone that is going to fight for them and make sure their interests are represented. They want someone that will protect the environment, help fix our public school system, and make sure the economy actually works for them.

If elected, what would be your top priority in the statehouse?

There are 2.5 million uninsured people in the state. We need to expand Medicaid coverage so more people have access to health insurance. The federal government would pay for more than 90% of it. That’s over $60 billion that could go to providing health insurance to people who don’t currently have it. We could cut the uninsured rate by almost half. This is common sense and we can do it. That is one of the easiest and most important things we can do. It is my biggest priority.

Margaret Good

 

What sets you apart as the best candidate?

I think voters in this district want somebody that can get things done on day one. 2.5 million people in the state don’t have healthcare. If we expand access to Medicaid, over a million uninsured people would be able have to healthcare. I want to incrementally increase the minimum wage to help prop up working families. But, I want to make sure that we don’t hurt small businesses when we do that. If voters want a common-sense candidate, a fighter, who will roll up their sleeves and reach across the aisle to get things done, I’m their person.

Ruta Jouniari

Jouniari is the founder of International Staffing Group, Inc., a company that works with the federal government to find jobs for veterans, and co-founder of the Universal Crescent Clinic, a non-profit that provides free healthcare to people without insurance in Sarasota County. She earned a Bachelor of Science in finance and an MBA from the University of Massachusetts.

What are the most pressing local issues for the 72nd District?

District 72 faces many challenges – affordable housing, higher wages, protections for seniors, sustainability, but the most pressing is healthcare. Expanding Medicaid is not enough, and we can’t save the ACA. Right now, only one insurance provider serves our district; if it pulls out, we’re in trouble. Plus, insurance is too expensive. Every week, I see working people who can’t afford healthcare, when I volunteer at the free clinic I co-founded. We need Medicare for All, so that every single person has medical care when they are sick or injured.

If elected, what would be your top priority in the state house?

Ruta Jouniari

Protecting seniors will be first on my to-do list when I get to Tallahassee. Forming a bipartisan coalition, I will work to regulate nursing homes and assisted living facilities, so that seniors are never again abandoned in extreme heat, as happened during Hurricane Irma. In addition, I will work to repeal “guardianship” laws that allow the state to remove seniors from their homes and take their assets without the consent of them or their families. 

What sets you apart as the best candidate?

My real-world experience, track record of success, and progressive values make me the best candidate to represent District 72. I spent years working inside the insurance industry. I founded my own business, placing veterans in good jobs. I co-founded a free clinic that serves uninsured people in Sarasota. I know how to get things done, and, more importantly, because of my progressive values, I will use my skills to fight for everyday people, not big donors or special interests. 

 

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