Q: Who makes up the Hernando County Progressive Caucus?
Founded in the spring of 2019, the Hernando County Progressive Caucus is a grassroots, community-led organization that wants to see change at the local and state level. Our group of neighbors, friends, and activists came together around shared progressive values. We are building a coalition because when we unite and fight, we win!
Q: What does the Hernando County Progressive Caucus support?
As our name suggests, the Hernando County Progressive Caucus analyzes all issues through a progressive lens. We believe there is no better time to act than the present, and no better group of people to represent our community than its residents. To that end, some key issues the HCPC supports include:
- Medicare For All
- A Green New Deal
- A Livable Wage
- Legalizing Marijuana
- Gun Reform
For a specific breakdown of our political positions, check out our platform.
Q: How can I join the Hernando County Progressive Caucus?
You don’t need to be a member to attend our monthly meetings, support our positions, or volunteer with us — you just have to bring a respectful and supportive attitude. If you like what we are doing and want to become an official member of the Hernando County Progressive Caucus, then you can join online or in-person at our next meeting. Dues are $25 annually and you must be a registered member of the Democratic Party.
Q: Where does the Hernando County Progressive Caucus fit in with regards to the Florida Democratic Party?
The Hernando County Progressive Caucus is an official chapter of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida, which is chartered under the Florida Democratic Party. We operate parallel to the local Democratic Executive Committee of Hernando County.
Q: What does it mean to be a progressive and why here?
The Progressive Movement believes that all levels of government should work to defend the welfare of all people. Progressives stand for equity, social justice, and democracy. Progressivism is not new, and it is not radical. We believe that people are not truly free if they are discriminated against, disenfranchised, and dismissed. Progressives represent what the majority of people in the United States believe, and now we are taking action.
The Progressive Movement gives folks something to fight for. The Hernando County Progressive Caucus does not assume people will vote a certain way every four years — we fight for their votes. We believe that you are not just voting for yourself, but for your neighbors and for the residents who cannot: for your community. Places like Hernando County are pivotal election locations, and our voices matter. It won’t happen overnight, but if we swing the county, we swing the country.
Q: Can I be X and be progressive?
Our membership likes to refer to us as “the party of We, not the party of Me.” The Hernando County Progressive Caucus includes all faiths, ethnicities, ages, and abilities. We are building a coalition. We are building momentum. We are building a movement. If you don’t feel welcome, please talk to us about how we can be more inclusive.
Q: Why don’t you endorse certain candidates?
The Hernando County Progressive Caucus is chartered within the Florida Democratic Party, so we cannot endorse candidates who are not registered Democrats. Moreover, state level candidates are endorsed by the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida. We only endorse local candidates that meet particular qualifications.
Q: Who are my current elected officials?
If you live within Hernando County, you can easily review your representative here.
Q: How much will it cost me if Medicare For All is implemented?
Medicare For All will save you money. The United States pays far more in healthcare costs than other industrialized countries, but folks (if they have healthcare at all) are less healthy. Medicare For All would save $2 trillion over 10 years by eliminating premiums, copays, and deductibles. Medicare would be expanded to include dental and vision, and everyone in the United States would be enrolled.You may pay an increased amount in your taxes, but it will be far less than the combined costs of premiums, copays, and deductibles.
For more information, check out the National Nurses United.
Q: How are we going to pay for everything that progressives support?
Republican agenda items are often just as expensive, if not more than, progressive plans. No one asks how they will pay for endless war and tax cuts for the wealthy. We, however, do have a plan. We start by actually taxing the millionaires, billionaires, corporations, and conglomerations. When we all pay our fair share, we all benefit. Choosing what we fund and how is the true way that we show our priorities. This is true in DC and at home in Hernando County. A federal government instituting and backing progressive policies, such as a livable wage and jobs guarantee, can pay for it all. With renewable energy, mass infrastructure, healthcare for all, union jobs, and more the United States will get more back in value than was invested. Our people will thrive with dignity. There is plenty of evidence that what stimulates the economy is putting money in the hands of the everyday consumer, so that they put it back into our economy. Low taxes and protections for businesses only allow the few to hoard wealth outside of the active economy.
For more information on “How do we pay for it?”, check out Modern Money Theory.
Q: Do progressives support socialism?
The Progressive Movement supports Democratic Socialism. We all pay our fair share and get the promise of a healthy, happy life from all levels of our government. There are many styles of socialism. Another example would be Republican Socialism: socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor. Those who are wealthy get tax breaks and write-offs. Corporate conglomerates get unlimited profits and bailouts. The workers, the parents, the students, the retired, and the sick of this nation all get to cover the check. This is a redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich.
Under Democratic Socialism billionaires cannot make unlimited revenue on the backs of underpaid, uninsured workers. Insurance companies cannot profit from the ill. Fossil fuel companies cannot continue to gain from the destruction of our environment. Kids will not have to amass monumental debt just to get an education. The weapons manufacturers cannot gain from the perpetual domestic mass shootings and the Forever Wars abroad. Indigenous populations and communities of color will not be discriminated against and disenfranchised by businesses and authorities that lack anything mildly resembling diversity.
The United States has always believed in socialism for the wealthy few. Progressives believe in redistributing the power to the many.
Q: What is white privilege and why does it matter?
Hernando County is a very white region, and it is the responsibility of white folks to educate themselves on their privilege and how they benefit from systemic racism. Progressives fight for equity, diversity, and inclusion, but it starts will self-education. It starts with acknowledging the simple fact that our current society has been designed to disproportionately benefit white people. This is not to dismiss the struggles and hardship of low-income, white people; rather, it is to recognize that — as a group — white people have more political clout. If we hope to continue to bend that moral arc towards justice, then white people must accept responsibility and use their privilege to help build a more just society.
Robin D’Angelo provides a primer on deconstructing white privilege.
Q: Are the people of the United States ready for X?
A majority of people in the United States support Medicare For All and Free College Tuition. A majority of people in the United States support gun safety reform, which includes universal background checks, gun licensing, and banning assault-style weapons. A majority of people in the United States support full access to reproductive healthcare, including abortion. A majority of registered voters in the United States support A Green New Deal. The concentration of progressive voters in densely populated cities, while conservative voters are living throughout sprawling rural areas, provides more political power to conservatives. For instance, Wyoming with a population of over 575,000 people and California with a population of over 39.5 million people have the same amount of power in the US Senate. Representatives in the US House are tied to a state’s population, but when you consider the effects of gerrymandering, the deck is stacked against the desires of the majority of people in the United States.
Systemic change seems to happen all at once. For the longest time same sex marriage was illegal, but then — all at once — rights were no longer denied to a large swath of people in the United States. Folks were working toward ending injustice for decades, during which a majority of the people in the United States were ready for change. That tipping point would never have been reached had we continued to propagate the myth that “America isn’t ready.” We believe the same is true for the entire progressive platform and the election of progressive candidates. These are not radical ideas; they are common, universal values demanded by the majority of people in the United States.
Q: Why do progressives support drastic systemic change instead of taking small steps?
Unfortunately, small steps have allowed the effects of racism to fester for decades after the passing of the Civil Rights Act; small steps on fighting climate change have led to increasing planetary devastation, a growing loss of life, and skyrocketing financial costs; small steps to overhaul our healthcare system have allowed a growing number of the millions of uninsured people to die as more and more folks in need are kept off of Medicare and plunged into bankruptcy; small steps to implement a fair wage have compounded the effects of poverty, while continuing to enrich the wealthiest in this nation. People shouldn’t die fighting for their rights. They should be able to live with dignity and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Taking small steps — incrementalism — is not enough, because these systemic inequities must be fought at scale.