State of Florida Archives: on Crime

Charlie Crist: Reimagine law enforcement; restore trust with police

He supported the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act to reimagine law enforcement and restore trust between police and the communities they serve.
Source: 2021 Florida Gubernatorial campaign website May 5, 2021

Ron DeSantis: Opposes insane fantasy of defunding law enforcement

Florida is a state dedicated to law and order. When riots broke out across the nation last year, we saw cities ruined by violent mobs. Law enforcement was targeted and lawlessness prevailed. This was not--and must never be--tolerated in the state of Florida. We have proposed the strongest anti-rioting, pro-law enforcement reforms in the nation. We will not permit localities to jeopardize the safety of their citizens by indulging in the insane fantasy of defunding law enforcement.
Source: 2021 State of the State Address to the Florida legislature Mar 2, 2021

Val Demings: Support police but we also have to deal with social ills

I believe sometimes there are moments before us when we just have to do what we know is right. You know, with politics aside, it may not be the most popular decision. It may not be the best decision for our, quote, "party." But we just do what's right.

Over 50 years ago, President Johnson looked at crime and policing in America. They concluded that we need to hire the brightest and the best policemen. We need to make sure they have the proper training and equipment. But we also need to look at education. We need to look at substandard housing. We need to look at substandard wages. We have got to deal with the social ills that cause decay in communities in the first place.

Source: National Public Radio on 2022 Florida Senate race Sep 22, 2020

Philip Levine: Top-down & bottom-up audit of the Department of Corrections

Our state has almost 100K inmates and the highest voter disenfranchisement rate in the nation. Philip will conduct an extensive, top-down and bottom-up review and investigation of the Department of Corrections. It's time to audit the private prison scheme to identify fraud that is costing taxpayers money, review the vetting of visitors, so it treats families with respect and dignity, and review and decriminalize minor offenses, so we don't clog our prison system with non-violent offenders.
Source: 2018 Florida Governor campaign website Oct 9, 2018

Ron DeSantis: Don't restore voting rights to former felons

Q: Support Amendment #4--a Florida initiative to restore voting rights to 1.6 million former felons, excluding murderers & sex offenders?

Ron DeSantis (R): No. Opposes amendment.

Andrew Gillum (D): Yes. "Floridians who have paid their debts deserve a second chance & should have a voice in our state's future. Our current system is a relic of Jim Crow."

Source: 2018 Issue Guide on Florida Governor race Oct 9, 2018

Andrew Gillum: Stricter punishment doesn't reduce crime

Q: Do you support or oppose the statement, "Stricter punishment reduces crime"?

A: Strongly Oppose

Source: OnTheIssues interview of 2018 Florida Governor candidate Jun 15, 2018

Edward Janowski: Enforce existing sentences; eliminate other crimes

Q: Does stricter punishment reduces crime?

A: There are certainly some crimes that need to have much stricter punishments, but even more importantly: Those punishments need to be carried out. The endless and expensive cycle of appeals is habitually abused, costing taxpayers millions of dollars. Prison˙sentences for crimes that have don't have a long reaching impact on innocent peoples lives or substantial damages to society need to be eliminated and reduce the burden on our prison systems.

Source: OnTheIssues interview of 2018 Florida Senate candidate Mar 30, 2018

Andrew Gillum: Ban the box: re-entry of returning citizens into job market

Our Revolution announced its endorsement of Andrew Gillum for Governor of Florida. He is nominated by multiple Our Revolution local groups across the state including Our Revolution Northeast Florida, Progressive Sarasota, Progressive Democrats Of America, Pinellas County Chapter, and Northeast Florida Democratic Progressive Caucus.

Our Revolution's president said "Andrew Gillum has fought tirelessly for reforms like expanding social service funding, developing an advanced job retraining program for underrepresented workers, and investing in community policing and re-entry programs."

Gillum is running for governor as a proud progressive candidate. As mayor, he implemented a ban the box policy to help returning citizens get jobs [ex-offenders are not asked arrest history on employment applications], stood up to attacks on immigrant communities, and worked to reduce Tallahassee's carbon emission intensity.

Source: Our Revolution endorsement for 2018 Florida Governor race Mar 22, 2018

Andrew Gillum: Restorative justice programs to reduce teen recidivism

Gillum championed the opening of the first Tallahassee Teen Center, The Palmer Munroe Center, which serves as a safe haven for many area youth and operates a restorative justice program. Restorative justice programs have shown significant success, compared to non-restorative measures, in improving victim and/or offender satisfaction, increasing offender compliance with restitution, and decreasing the recidivism of offenders.
Source: Wikipedia summary for 2018 Florida Gubernatorial race Mar 11, 2017

Al Lawson: Smart justice for non-violent offenses: system isn't working

Safety: We must strengthen the initiative to prevent violent crimes. All too often North Floridians become victims in their own communities. Our communities need to be safer, children and seniors need to be protected, and we need to take back our neighborhoods.

Smart Justice: As we look at criminal justice, we also have to look at "smart" justice for non-violent offenses. We have to re-evaluate the criminal justice system because the current path is not working. Our resources are limited and need to be invested in policies that are proven to lower crime rates, reduce recidivism, and rebuild communities.

Source: 2016 Florida House campaign website Nov 8, 2016

Brian Mast: Supports capital punishment & mandatory minimums

Q: Do you support capital punishment for certain crimes?

A: Yes

Q: Do you support alternatives to incarceration for certain non-violent offenders such as mandatory counseling or substance abuse treatment?

A: Yes

Q: Do you support mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders?

A: Yes

Source: Vote-Smart 2016 Florida Political Courage Test Nov 8, 2016

John Rutherford: Give law enforcement all tools and resources needed

Keep Our Community Safe: As a former Sheriff, John is uniquely qualified to address our crime problems and work to address the threat of terrorism. John will fight to give law enforcement all of the tools and resources needed to prevent crime, improve community relationships, and keep our streets safe.
Source: 2016 Florida House campaign website Nov 8, 2016

Val Demings: Improve relationships between police & community

During her tenure as Chief of Police Val Demings reduced violent crime in Orlando by 40% She credits this unprecedented success to improved relationships between the police, community leaders, and the public they serve. Chief Demings created innovative programs like Operation Positive Direction, a mentoring program that empowers at-risk students through tutoring, community service, and positive incentives. She also launched Operation Free Palms, a project focusing on rejuvenating Orlando's most crime-ridden housing complex, the Palms Apartments. Collaborating with city officials and faith leaders, this initiative included increasing access to childcare, building playgrounds, a GED program, and job skills training to improve the quality of life in Orlando's most distressed community. Chief Demings will bring this experience to Washington, helping to push policies that will reduce gun violence and create safer neighborhoods.
Source: 2016 Florida House campaign website Nov 8, 2016

Val Demings: Police work should be about building communities

Asked whether she was a reformer during her time as chief, Demings responded, "Some of my predecessors certainly thought so. They told me that the community-oriented policing programs we were doing had 'nothing to do with police work.' I disagreed. Building fair, safe, strong communities is exactly what police work can and should be."
Source: e-zine on 2022 Florida Senate race Jun 14, 2016

Rick Scott: Let's Keep Florida Safe: focus on reductions in crime

At least a half-dozen on-duty law officers in uniform took part in a re-election event Monday for Gov. Rick Scott despite Florida laws saying public employees must avoid political activity during working hours. A spokeswoman for Scott's campaign said campaign officials made the nature of the event clear in all invitations and announcements but some of the officers present say they didn't get the message.

Either way, the Tampa event provided Scott with a backdrop of uniformed law officers him as local TV news crews filmed him talking about reductions in crime during his administration. The Florida Police Chiefs Association endorsed Scott on Monday.

The event was the kickoff of Scott's "Let's Keep Florida Safe" tour, the latest in a series of statewide tours Scott is holding on key issues. It was held at a store on Adamo Drive that sells law enforcement uniforms and other equipment.

Source: The Tampa Tribune on 2014 Florida gubernatorial race Jul 7, 2014

Rick Scott: Signs death warrant for murderer

Gov. Rick Scott has signed a death warrant for the man convicted of kidnapping, raping and murdering 9-year-old Jimmy Ryce on his way home from school almost 20 years ago. 46-year-old Juan Carlos Chavez is scheduled to die by injection Feb. 12 for the Sept. 11, 1995, slaying.

The boy was abducted after being dropped off by a school bus near his home in south Miami-Dade County. Chavez took him back to his trailer, where he raped him. He held Jimmy captive for three hours before he shot the boy as he tried to escape.

The case horrified the state and led to the passage of the Jimmy Ryce Act. It allows authorities to commit dangerous sexual predators to mental institutions once they have completed their prison terms.

Source: First Coast News on 2014 Florida gubernatorial race Jan 2, 2014

Ted Yoho: Support capital punishment

Q: Do you support capital punishment for certain crimes?

A: Yes.

Source: Florida Congressional Election 2012 Political Courage Test Nov 1, 2012

George LeMieux: Argued in favor of death penalty in Supreme Court case

As Deputy Attorney General, LeMieux led an agency of more than 400 attorneys. He argued a death penalty case before the United States Supreme Court and won the case with a unanimous decision. LeMieux oversaw the office of governor for the administration's first year as Chief of Staff and helped oversee and manage Florida's state agencies.
Source: 2012 Senate campaign website, Apr 28, 2012

Alexander Snitker: Supports capital punishment

Q: Do you support capital punishment for certain crimes?

A: Yes.

Source: Florida Congressional Election 2010 Political Courage Test Aug 11, 2010

Alexander Snitker: Job-training, substance-abuse, & early-release for prisoners

Q: Do you support programs that provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related training and job-placement assistance when released?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support programs that provide prison inmates with substance abuse treatment?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support reduced prison sentences for non-violent offenders

A: Yes.

Source: Florida Congressional Election 2010 Political Courage Test Aug 11, 2010

Charlie Crist: Chain-Gang Charlie: reinstitute prison chain gangs

Crist has been doggedly reminding people: He says he is a pro-gun, anti-abortion, small-government conservative who worships Ronald Reagan. He says he is against gay marriage, frugal (he pays off his single credit card every month) and despised by criminals (he once proposed that chain gangs be reinstituted, earning him the nickname Chain Gang Charlie).
Source: New York Times on 2010 Florida Senate debate Jan 10, 2010

Jeb Bush: Symbol of crime needs a human face on it

Many political observers say that a particularly offensive Bush TV ad was the turning point of the campaign. The ad featured a mother whose 10-year-old daughter had been murdered in 1980, 14 years prior to the campaign. The killer had been sentenced to death but never executed, because of appeals. The victim's mother said that her daughter's killer "is still on death row and we're still waiting for justice." She then said, "We won't get it from Lawton Chiles because he's too liberal on crime."

The ad, personally approved by Jeb, proved to be a disaster for his campaign. Chiles attacked Jeb directly for it: "All my political life I have supported the death penalty, as governor I have executed 8 men." He wagged his finger at Jeb and said: "You knew [the ad] was false. And I am ashamed that you would use the loss of a mother in an ad like this."

Bush "seemed flustered by the force of Chiles's words and responded weakly that the symbol of crime needs a human face on it."

Source: Aggressive Conservatism in Florida, by Robert Crew, p. 8 Dec 11, 2009

Jeb Bush: Passed Habitual Offender Accountability Act

Bush's first campaign against Lawton Chiles was dominated by his efforts to appeal to the "tough on crime" constituency and to portray his opponent as "soft."

Governor Bush continued to focus support for "get tough on crime" laws. These include a variety of mandatory sentencing laws such as the 10-20-Life Act, the Three Strikes Violent Felony Offender Act, and the Habitual Offender Accountability Act, all passed in the glow of Bush's 1st-term victory. Despite evidence that the 10-20-Life law had no effect on the state's crime rate (Stoddard, 2006) Bush continued into his last year in office to cite these laws as some of the primary accomplishments of his administration.

Source: Aggressive Conservatism in Florida, by Robert Crew, p. 72-73 Dec 11, 2009

Bernard DeCastro: Founded gospel-based Florida Ex-Offender Reentry Coalition

His past is [not] perfect, but he has turned it around for the better. He founded the Florida Ex-Offender Reentry Coalition ( ), the Time for Freedom, Inc, which is a non-for profit organization to help teach and preach the gospel to prisoners and helps to provide services for reentry to them.
Source: Florida 9/12 Candidate survey, Jun 30, 2009

Charlie Crist: Supports 10-20-Life and Stop Turning Out Prisoners program

And we must also work together to address crime in our state, including gang activity.

I was proud to launch the Attorney General’s Cyber Crime Unit in 2005 to thwart the actions of those who target our children. Attorney General Bill McCollum has made fighting this crime a top priority.

Source: 2008 State of the State Address to Florida legislature Mar 4, 2008

Mitt Romney: To reduce black on black crime, get more moms and dads

Q: What are you going to do about black on black crime; the war in the inner city?

A: Number one is to get more moms and dads. Number two, we’ve got to have better education in our schools. And number three, we have to do a better job with our policing. And I was very proud that I added one state police class after another.

Source: 2007 GOP YouTube debate in St. Petersburg, Florida Nov 28, 2007

Marco Rubio: Toughen laws against prostitution & sex trafficking

Rubio voted YES on HB1231, Prostitution Act (Passed House, 85-31)

State government synopsis: Increases penalties for procuring minor for prostitution; revises provisions re sex trafficking; revises provisions prohibiting deriving support or maintenance from earnings of prostitution; provides for payments to persons who provide information that materially assists law enforcement in investigation of specified violations leading to felony convictions or withholdings of adjudication.

Source: Florida state legislative voting records Apr 27, 2007

Marco Rubio: Collect DNA of those convicted of sexually deviant behavior

Source: 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida's Future by Marco Rubio Nov 1, 2006

Jeb Bush: Adopted Three-Strike Violent Felony Offender Act

Governor Bush and the Florida Legislature have worked together to adopt public-safety reforms such as 10-20-Life, the Three-Strike Violent Felony Offender Act, and the Habitual Juvenile Offender Accountability Act. These initiatives and related laws passed in 1995-1997 have successfully reversed the lenient criminal-justice policies of the early 1990s. Thanks to the dedicated work of professional local and state law enforcement, the Governor’s leadership and the Legislature’s criminal-justice policies, Florida’s 2000, “Index Crime” rate was the lowest in 28 years. The 2000 index-crime rate, based on murder, forcible sex, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft, dropped 18% since January 1, 1999. This two-year decline in index-crime rates is the lowest ever recorded by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Source: Governor’s web site,, “Initiatives” Nov 7, 2001

Jeb Bush: 10-20-Life: Increase mandatory minimum sentences

Source: Governor’s web site,, “Initiatives” Nov 7, 2001

Lois Frankel: Death penalty but also alternative sentencing

Source: Florida 1998 National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 1998

Jeb Bush: Build more prisons; private contracts OK

Source: 1998 Florida National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 1998

Jeb Bush: Alternative sentencing & rehabiliation acceptable

Source: 1998 Florida National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 1998

Jeb Bush: Supports death penalty

Source: 1998 Florida National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 1998

Jeb Bush: Stricter penalties for drug, sex, & gun offenses

Source: 1998 Florida National Political Awareness Test Jul 2, 1998

  • The above quotations are from State of Florida Politicians: Archives.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Crime.
  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
2020 Presidential contenders on Crime:
  Democrats running for President:
Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

2020 Third Party Candidates:
Rep.Justin Amash (L-MI)
CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
Howie Hawkins (G-NY)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Howard Schultz(I-WA)
Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
Republicans running for President:
Sen.Ted Cruz(R-TX)
Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
Gov.John Kasich(R-OH)
V.P.Mike Pence(R-IN)
Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Pres.Donald Trump(R-NY)
Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
Gov.Bill Weld(R-MA & L-NY)

2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
Sen.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
Please consider a donation to!
Click for details -- or send donations to:
1770 Mass Ave. #630, Cambridge MA 02140
(We rely on your support!)

Page last updated: Oct 12, 2021