2022 Florida Senate Candidate Guide

Val Demings (D) vs Marco Rubio (R)

US Senate | Election | Nov 8, 2022

The Candidates

Val Demings

Val Demings

Democrat

Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio

Republican

Incumbent

The Issues

Climate Change

Address climate as a top priority? Tax or limit output of greenhouse gases, or support renewable energy?

Val Demings (D)

Yes. “Climate change threatens everything we have tried to build as a nation and even as a species.” Introduced bill to support U.S.-based solar energy components.

Marco Rubio (R)

Historically, no. Has consistently questioned human role in climate change. Recently joined bipartisan Senate Climate Solutions Caucus  while arguing to “produce more American oil” to keep jobs and income in U.S.

Economy

Increase or decrease government investment in, and regulation of, economy? Increase support for low- and mid-income families through Biden’s $300-per-child proposed monthly tax credit?

Val Demings (D)

Increase. Voted for American Rescue Plan (ARP)’s, Covid relief and economic stimulus, and Biden’s Build Back Better (BBB) social welfare bill (both bills included child tax credit). Supported $1 trillion infrastructure funding bill. Opposed weakening regulation of banks.

Marco Rubio (R)

Mostly decrease. Opposed American Rescue Plan, infrastructure funding, BBB, and COMPETES Act of 2022 to foster U.S technology competition. Co-wrote Paycheck Protection Program for small-business relief and wants more scientific research funding.

Education

Support teaching history of race and racism in United States?

Val Demings (D)

No specific comment, but says “we have been fighting systemic racism… for 400 years,” including in education. “Racism is so ingrained in… who we are as a nation,” it’s “something that we have to fight back against.”

Marco Rubio (R)

Opposes current approaches. “Critical race theory is Marxist inspired indoctrination and has no place in our schools.” Introduced a bill to investigate teachers promoting “divisive concepts” and “racially hostile school environments.”

Environment

Tighten or loosen environmental regulations?

Val Demings (D)

Tighten. Supported a bill to plug unsafe oil and gas wells and stop air and water pollution. “Each of us, and our children, deserves a future where we can live in health and security, both economic and environmental.”

Marco Rubio (R)

Loosen. Introduced a bill to “limit federal overreach against American landowners.” Tired of “one-size-fits-all federal overreach by Washington-based bureaucrats.” Voted to repeal Stream Protection.

Gun Laws

Pass more or less restrictive legislation on guns?

Val Demings (D)

More. Introduced a bill to expand federal gun regulation. Cosponsored background check bill. “So many of these tragedies can be prevented with simple, basic policies like background checks.”

Marco Rubio (R)

Mostly less. Calls background checks and gun control ineffective. Supported allowing individuals with home-state concealed carry privileges to carry in all states. Allow courts to remove guns from people who pose a threat.

Health care

Support Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare?

Val Demings (D)

Yes. “Healthcare is a right.” Defends ACA. Voted for Medicaid expansion and subsidized ACA premiums as part of BBB bill.

Marco Rubio (R)

No. Voted to repeal ACA.

Immigration

Boost or curb immigration? Path to citizenship for 1.8 million “DACA” participants (DREAMers) brought to U.S. as kids?

Val Demings (D)

Boost. Voted to give DACA participants a path to citizenship. Immigration reform “critical for our economy” to protect Dreamers, Florida farmers and TPS recipients.

Marco Rubio (R)

Curb. “We need laws that decide who and how many people can come here, and those laws must be followed and enforced.” Voted against giving DACA participants a path to citizenship.

Labor

Make it easier or harder to join a union?

Val Demings (D)

Easier. Cosponsored Protecting Right to Organize Act—“the most significant upgrade for workers’ collective bargaining rights in more than 80 years—because unions built the middle class. They can rebuild it.”

Marco Rubio (R)

Mostly harder. Opposes PRO Act, which would “mandate adversarial” labor-management relations.” Supports alternative to unionization. Backed Amazon workers trying to unionize because Amazon allies with “the left in the culture war.”

Legal Abortion

Legal or ban?

Val Demings (D)

Legal. “Our right to control our bodies and our lives is a Constitutional guarantee and we must fight to protect our freedoms.”

Marco Rubio (R)

Ban. Calls“abortion epidemic” an “atrocity” and right to life “fundamental” and “sacred.” Voted to confirm justices who helped overturn Roe v. Wade.

LGBT Rights

Give LGBTQ people more or less protection from discrimination based on sexual preference?

Val Demings (D)

More protection. “The most fundamental freedom is to be who you are, and to exist without fear of prejudice and harm based on your identity.” Co-sponsored Equality Act. Opposes the Florida education bill that opponents call the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Marco Rubio (R)

Less protection. Supports right of Catholic schools receiving public funding to not hire staffers whose lifestyles go “contrary to the teachings of the church.” Has said marriage “should be between one man and one woman.”

Marijuana

Legal or ban?

Val Demings (D)

Legal. Voted to decriminalize marijuana. Voted for 2021 SAFE Banking of Act, prohibiting federal banking regulators from penalizing banks for serving legitimate cannabis-related business.

Marco Rubio (R)

Ban. Calls recreational legalization “a terrible idea;” sees marijuana as a “gateway” drug. Is open to possible FDA approval for medical use if doctors see marijuana as a medicine.

Minimum Wage

Raise federal minimum from $7.25/hour? If so, how much?

Val Demings (D)

Yes. “A $15 minimum wage is the least that American workers deserve.” Cosponsored Raise the Wage Act of 2021 to increase the federal minimum over five years.

Marco Rubio (R)

No recent position found. In 2013, said “I don’t believe a minimum law works.” In 2015 said the solution to low wages is to “create millions of jobs that pay more.

Police/Community

Reduce police use of force? Increase public oversight?

Val Demings (D)

Yes. Cosponsored a bill to “ensure higher levels of training and accountability.” Cosponsored a bill to “attract the best to the profession” and “hold bad cops accountable.” Bill would make it easier to sue police officers, prohibit no-knock drug case warrants, and ban chokeholds and military weapons transfers.

Marco Rubio (R)

Limited. “Bad police officers need to be fired,” and prosecuted “if they’ve committed a crime.” Police “should be reformed, not defunded.” Supported a Republican alternative bill to train and collect data on use of force, with a limited chokehold ban and few additional restrictions on police conduct.

Student Financial Aid

Support forgiving student loans or lowering interest on them? Increase federal student aid programs?

Val Demings (D)

Yes to both. Voted to provide $10,000 in student debt cancellation. “We should be reducing the amount of debt by reducing fees and payments, offering greater federal support and simply cancelling some debt.”

Marco Rubio (R)

No to forgiveness. Biden loan cancellation would mean “hundreds of billions of dollars shelled out without congressional authorization.” Exceptions for some service members and terrorism survivors. Yes to eliminating interest, replacing with a one-time fee.

Taxes

Should corporations and wealthier individuals pay more or less taxes?

Val Demings (D)

More. Voted for Build Back Better Act to ensure “wealthy and big corporations pay fair share.” Voted against Trump tax cuts.

Marco Rubio (R)

Less. Voted for Trump tax cuts, which reduced corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, though he also criticized them. Attacked Build Back Better as “Build Back Socialism.”

Voting Rules

Support voting rules such as voter ID requirements and restrictions on absentee and early voting, even if they make voting harder? Was Biden elected legitimately?

Val Demings (D)

No. Supports making voting easier. Introduced a bill making states facilitate absentee voting for federal elections. Cosponsored John R. Lewis Voting Rights bill to expand voter registration and ease of voting.

Marco Rubio (R)

Yes. Supports voting restrictions. Says absentee ballots had “massive fraud… so we banned those practices here in Florida.” Voted against John R. Lewis Act, for “trying to ban voter ID and put Washington in charge of Florida’s elections.” Says Biden was legitimately elected, but called Jan 6 committee a “partisan scam.”

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