Dan is incredibly passionate about the public school system here in Pasco. He is a strong supporter of public education and believes wholeheartedly in spending our funding on the public school system. According to the annual US News Public High School Rankings, Pasco County doesn’t have a single public high school in the Top 50 in Florida. District 36 doesn’t have a school above #300 (Anclote-#348, Hudson-#316, Fivay-#383, Ridgewood-#455). He strongly disagrees with the recent legislative decision to fund vouchers while diverting funding from public education. The funding going to these vouchers should be going to programs that improve these schools or programs that assist low income families. He also believes that teachers have not been given the support they deserve in wage increases. Because it’s illegal for teachers to strike for better wages and rights in Florida, we need to ensure that their needs and wishes, and those of our students, are being represented in Tallahassee when it comes to legislation related to education.
Dan grew up swimming in the waters off Hudson Beach every weekend. Now, due to pollution and bacteria, that is impossible. Last year, Florida saw the devastating Red Tide bloom. While the algae bloom is not a direct cause of human pollution, once the bloom has started, it tends to feed off of runoff, causing it to expand and remain on our shores. Because this particular algae is always in our waters (at a low rate), we need to be vigilant about our run off, especially from developments and sugar farms that prevent the natural filtering of overflow through the Everglades. These businesses must be held accountable in order to protect the ecosystems off of our shores.
In addition, Dan believes that we have no excuse to be so behind in solar energy. As the Sunshine State ,we should be leading the charge (no pun intended) in solar power. As of last year, we are fourth in the nation (behind California, Texas, and North Carolina). In order for this to improve we need to increase the incentives for solar. Since Dan will not be taking money from big corporations, it is guaranteed that he will not be bought by big energy companies like NextEra Energy and FPL.
Health care is an issue that Dan holds close to his heart. About 7 or 8 years ago, his mother, Holly, was having severe, undiagnosed health problems. When they took her to the doctor, they were told she needed to have a biopsy on her uterus in order to determine what was causing her such immense pain. Because she was uninsured, she couldn’t afford both the necessary biopsy and the anesthetic. She had no choice but to continue the procedure without the anesthetic. She was in so much pain that the nurse told her that the best thing she could do would be to pass out because losing consciousness would be better than enduring the pain of the biopsy. The results of the biopsy showed that she needed a hysterectomy as soon as possible and that without insurance it would cost close to $350,000 out of pocket. They also told her that they could only perform the necessary surgery if she placed a down payment of $85,000. Dan believes that this is not an uncommon issue in an area like Pasco County. He believes strongly that we need someone in Tallahassee to fight for coverage for the people of not only West Pasco, but all the counties like Pasco in Florida, by expanding Medicaid.