Samuel proposed a bold agenda for our community in his run for State House
focused on uplifting Florida's working families. Here are some of his priorities:
"As someone who grew up, went to school, works, and lives in District 48, I understand, from personal experience, the issues that affect our communities. In the last two months, we have seen our community devastated due to the coronavirus pandemic, with zip codes 32822 and 32824 having the highest numbers of COVID-19 cases in Orange County. This complex situation calls for an innovative, fresh, and bold perspective to find solutions to our problems.
That’s exactly why I've decided to run to represent District 48 in the Florida House of Representatives. I am convinced that by building an energetic coalition of supporters, we cannot only campaign effectively but also provide real help and relief to our community during the next few months. Thus, I've presented a platform that focuses on what's most important: uplifting our collective voice as a community!
To put it shortly, I am running to ensure every family in our community has access to opportunities to get ahead and accomplish their American Dream."
- Samuel Vilchez Santiago
EXPAND AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE
Having seen his family struggle to afford healthcare coverage and even be totally uninsured at points, Samuel believes access to affordable, quality healthcare should be a right, not a privilege.
He will work to expand Medicaid coverage, make access to mental health readily available for all, and defend women's reproductive rights, including expanding pre-natal and post-natal care options.
EMPOWER OUR WORKING FAMILIES
From personal experience, Samuel understands our community succeeds when no one is left behind, especially during such difficult times for our country and state.
He will work to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour, fix Florida's broken unemployment system and expand benefits , fight to increase affordable housing initiatives like funding the Sadowski Fund.
IMPROVE OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM
Samuel's personal story has demonstrated the value of a good public education, and that's why he has made it his personal goal to expand educational opportunities for our youngest generations.
He will champion our students by fighting to expand the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship, increase wages for teachers and other education professionals, establish support additional systems for ELL and ESE students, and cut excessive testing.
RACIAL JUSTICE AND INCLUSION
Having been discriminated for being an immigrant while growing up, Samuel understands how important it is to uplift the most vulnerable among us, and especially historically marginalized communities.
He will work to establish an independent citizen review board for law enforcement, expand voting rights, and stand up for our Black, immigrant, and Puerto Rican communities.
POSITIONS ON OTHER ISSUES
AFFORDABLE HOUSING FOR ALL
Our rent has gone up, while our wages have remained stagnant.
715 thousand Floridians spend over 50% of their income on rent. Samuel believes this is unacceptable and will work to increase renter protections and fully fund the Sadowski Fund.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
Samuel will champion criminal justice reform at the state level. He will fight to end cash bail, legalize recreational marijuana and expunge the records of those incarcerated on weed-related charges, and stop the opening of immigration detention centers in the state.
A strong defendant of women’s rights, Samuel is ready to fight to defend a woman’s autonomy over her body, pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), and establish stronger systems to report sexual abuse and harassment.
CHAMPIONING THE PUERTO RICAN COMMUNITY
Samuel will champion our vast Puerto Rican community by fighting to ensure that recently arrived Puerto Rican students are allowed to graduate and have access to in-state tuition benefits, allowing students to take any required standardized tests in their native language, and provide mental health support to those affected by the recent earthquakes and hurricanes.
PROTECT OUR ENVIRONMENT
As a member of the Charter Review Commission, Samuel has championed protecting Split Oak forest and expanding our community’s access to clean water. To keep our families healthy, he understands protecting Florida's natural ecosystems must become a priority.
He will work to ban fracking, make our state a global leader in renewable energy (especially solar energy), and protect our green spaces and water sources.
PROTECTING OUR SENIORS
Samuel will work to protect our seniors by ensuring that retirement systems are not privatized, hold senior nursing homes accountable to existing regulations, and increase funding for the All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) program in order to provide a communal environment to the most vulnerable.
GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION
Seeing his family friend Simon Carrillo being brutally killed at the Pulse Nightclub changed Samuel’s life. Since, he has been a strong advocate for common-sense policies, that can prevent the next massacre, including banning assault weapons, expanding background checks, standing against arming teachers, and revising Florida's Stand Your Ground laws.
EQUALITY FOR ALL
Samuel will champion the LGBTQ community by supporting the efforts to pass the “Florida Competitive Workforce Act” to prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ Floridians. He wholeheartedly believes no one should be discriminated against for whom they love.
ETHICS AND ACCOUNTABILITY
As a member of the Orange County Charter Review Commission, Samuel championed the establishment of an Orange County Ethics Commission to create more avenues for holding our elected officials and public servants accountable. He is ready to take this fight to Tallahassee and work to ensure requiring legislators to host a certain number of town halls every year.
INCLUSIVE CRISIS MANAGEMENT
As our state becomes increasingly diverse, it is critical that our public officials think about our most vulnerable communities in preparation for the next natural disaster or public health crisis. Samuel will work to provide critical crisis-related information in other languages, including Spanish and Haitian Creole. He will work with the Governor’s office to host bilingual press conferences as necessary.
As a former refugee who has worked as an immigrant rights advocate for close to ten years, Samuel is ready to stand up for our immigrant communities. He will oppose legislation that seeks to threaten the well-being of our diverse immigrant communities such as SB162. He is ready to champion us all!
Having escaped the Venezuelan dictatorship at a young age, Samuel understands how necessary it is to protect our democracy. He will work to ensure the full implementation of Amendment 4, expand early and vote-by-mail opportunities, and establish automatic voter registration for all eligible voters.
Samuel will work to ensure our communities remain autonomous by empowering local governments to make their own decisions on an array of issues.