Electing a non-partisan candidate to serve as Florida’s Attorney General means decision-making unfettered by party politics. Your Attorney general is the People’s ultimate lawyer, paid for by your tax dollars and charged with supporting law enforcement and our public servants, protecting victim and consumer rights, our senior citizens and the environment, prosecuting hate crimes, bad corporate behavior, corruption and fraud, while helping improve the function of other state agencies, as further described below:

Inaugurating Florida’s new ‘Gun Compact, which combines support of the Second Amendment with emphasis on the need to regulate the manner in which Floridians may acquire and keep semi-automatic weapons, requiring that they be kept only in secure facilities licensed and regulated by a Commission charged with protecting our citizens while supporting Florida’s commitment to the text and spirit of the Second Amendment.

I believe in the promise of medical marijuana, so much so that in 2016 I authored a 10-year, $20 million research grant to Johns Hopkins Medicine and the institute for Research on Cannabinoids and agreed to underwrite a 6,000 sq. ft. research laboratory to enable clinical studies on whether medical cannabis can obviate the need for opioids.

Florida is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. The most recent statistics released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that, on average, 115 Americans die each day from overdoses of opioid drugs such as oxycodone and fentanyl, with 40 percent of those deaths involving a prescribed drug.

Separate studies published in the April 2nd issue of JAMA Internal Medicine, looking at distinct patient populations, suggest that availability of legalized marijuana may help ameliorate this epidemic. Their findings suggest that states that allow legal access to marijuana show a decrease in opioid prescribing in comparison to states that don’t.

While these studies did not prove a causal relation between legalization and effects on opioid prescribing, or whether medical marijuana effectively relieves pain, they recognized the possibility that medical cannabis may be one tool to mitigate the current opioid crisis.

Florida’s voters approved medical marijuana two years ago by a 62% favorable vote, but our State has been too slow to implement the law’s provisions, mostly because our politicians are leary of associating themselves with the substance.  We need to fulfill the promise which we made to the voters of our State and truly enact the provisions of our medical marijuana legislation.

By means of dramatically increasing fines levied upon ‘bad actors,’ especially crimes by repeat offenders, as with DUI and other petty crimes, is badly needed to assist our county, circuit and administrative judges, and their staffs, to better serve Floridians who depend upon Florida’s courts for enforcement and protection of their rights as citizens. Presently, the cost of bringing these offenders to justice far outweighs fines and penalties collected, and is taxing to other functions of our court processes, unfairly burdening judges who are forced to share staff, practicing attorneys who experience resulting delays and uncertainty, clients who are faced with paying higher attorneys’ fees, and discouraging talented professionals from entering public service.

Immediately upon entering office, this Attorney General will establish several Public Trust Commissions whose mandate will be to protect Florida’s citizens against numerous longstanding and pervasive problems; to insure Citizen Access to Quality Health Care, to implement responsible insurance provider practices, as well as a Program for the Safety of our Students, and Immigrant Protection Policies.

These Commissions, comprised of community leaders from across Florida, will meet regularly to articulate policies and procedures for fast-track submission to the legislature, aimed at eliminating the difficulty which Floridians experience in obtaining health care – a basic right of all Floridians – and appropriate coverage from insurers; assuring adequate coverage from insurers operating in the State of Florida by establishing a claims registry monitored by the Dept. of Insurance to insure that claims for health and property insurance are diligently processed, that immigration issues are addressed quickly and compassionately, and that public school students are guaranteed safety at school, at other education-related programs and in public places.

In observance of Florida Citizens’ Rights to Freedom of Choice as an aspect of promoting individual happiness, the Attorney General’s Office will support a woman’s right to choice, the hard fought rights of our LGBTQ community, respect and protections for our seniors, and recognition of the import of our cultural distinctions including the values held by our Native American population, all of which should be regarded as inalienable.

The balancing of economic opportunity while also affording basic protections for those less fortunate and the environment must remain ever-present, because effective leadership means recognizing the obvious interplay between emboldening personal freedoms and the necessity for regulation, and the extreme care which must be exercised in employing the machinery of our State to ‘make the pie bigger’ instead of merely cutting it up.

The Attorney General serves a unique role in advancing just causes while balancing competing interests on behalf of all Floridians, most of which are presented by the judiciary and legislature.  Improving daily dialog between the Office of the Attorney General and both the judiciary and the legislature will foster better communication and afford streamlining and cost savings, by acting as a necessary bridge between these three independent government functions.  This means of better addressing citizen needs is an important aspect of the Attorney General’s mandate which has been largely neglected by previous administrations, but which will be addressed during the candidate’s first week in office by establishing two new liaison positions to work independently with the legislature on the one hand, and the judiciary on the other.

In keeping with the tenor of the Candidate’s grass roots beginnings, the Attorney General will maintain a direct connection with Floridians by means of monthly meetings with former campaign workers who live across the state, and will continue to represent their districts. So often, when campaigns end, most of the workers who devoted so much of their precious time to advancing the candidate’s agenda simply disband.  Together, these individuals present a terrific pool of talent, determination and motivation.  They represent a ready resource whose continued representation and participation in government can help assure that the needs of Floridians are continually met.

More than 1.2 million Cuban Americans call Florida their home.  Having fled Cuba, Florida’s Cuban population faces unique challenges, due to a large extent to the Castro regime’s confiscation of property.  Our State must recognize our hardworking Cuban American citizens; we must condition all interaction with Cuba, be it through trade or other dealings, on approval by a Commission comprised chiefly of Cuban-Floridians and whose charter mandates that each and every one of these dealings entail a reparative element which addresses the suffering inflicted upon Cuban-Floridians.

Floridians continue to be victimized by persons who offer legal representation but are not licensed to practice law, which is already a third degree felony.  In the latest version of this crime, unlicensed representatives attempt to acquire some portion of a case or cause of action in consideration for the promise to conduct or oversee litigation.  Sometimes, these untrained individuals may ask that the assignor pay or contribute to out-of-pocket expenses or otherwise remunerate the wrongdoer.  While hiring an untrained person is not unlike obtaining medical assistance from someone who is not a doctor, and usually ends badly the acquisition of a case or cause of action by an unlicensed person where litigation is advanced on behalf of an assignor is textbook unlicensed practice of law.  The Office of the Attorney General will seek to raise the penalty of such practices five-fold.

Although Florida’s Department of Elder Affairs provides Florida seniors with many valuable assistance programs which provide benefits that surpass those available anywhere in the country, our seniors still suffer by not having a direct voice in government.  As a result, issues affecting seniors are often translated by well-meaning officials who have not ’walked in their shoes.’  As a result, legislation affecting seniors often misses the mark.  For this reason, the Candidate will institute a Senior Floridian’s Council during his first week in office.

Recent unfortunate events have demonstrated the importance of input provided by younger Floridians, whose ideas and concerns are often neglected by politicians and political institutions that are focused on constituencies which can provide financial assistance need to advance their own agendas.  The Candidate will, within his first week in office, establish a Young Floridian’s Council which to meet monthly to discuss and formulate resolutions on issues affecting this valuable but often neglected demographic, for submission to state decision makers.  This process mirrors the Candidate’s graduate school experience serving on the Harvard Council of Student Leaders, which articulated a resolution on the University’s apartheid policy to the Board of Overseers that quickly became University policy.

The Office of the Attorney General will seek enactment of measures designed to prevent Floridians from being held hostage in their own homes by telephony practices which have caused many Floridians to avoid answering their phones.

  • Cold Call Permission

Cold calling is prohibited absent advanced permission from the recipient.  Businesses must first place a call to request permission from a citizen to receive an automated or live sales call from anyone not already doing business with the intended call recipient.

  • Collection Call Restriction

No collector may place more than one call per day or three calls per week to any one telephone number for the purpose of attempting to collect a debt.

  • Prohibiting Call Stacking

Nothing is more frustrating than answering your phone only to have no one on the other end of the inbound call, which occurs when sales organizations ‘stack’ calls made by computer.  The Office of the Attorney General will seek prohibition of this practice in Florida.

Institution of new rules to expand opportunities for Florida real estate professionals; to memorialize transactions without the fear of liability or practicing law without a license, brokers and realtors licensed for more than three years with at least five closed transactions will be permitted to write special clauses in sale and lease contracts, and business brokerage agreements provided that a clause is included which notifies each participant that the form is prepared without assistance of counsel and that the realtor cannot be held liable for misinterpretation by a party.  Also, to obviate much wasted effort promoting properties with title issues and surprises at or near closing, realtors will be authorized to require sellers to provide a preliminary title commitment before accepting a listing.

We must also attend to the import of strengthening our communities against the danger of conflicting institutional norms.  Almost always, large institutions formed with the best intentions of service to their constituencies mature to focus to an ever-increasing extent upon their own needs and adhere less to original visioning.  Governmental agencies must avoid this tendency by always conducting themselves as ‘service organizations’ benefiting our citizens.  Recognizing and observing the importance of decision-making at community and local levels also protects our citizens against otherwise disserving state-level institutional norms and concomitant bureaucratic waste.

One final comment on the Role of Lawyers in Society and on how our State’s Attorney General can help improve the way in which lawyers function; the freedoms which we espouse, and which comfort us, are no more than words on paper without lawyers who fight every day within the context of our State’s social and legal institutions to further them, enforce them, and redefine them consistent with the ever-changing needs of our society.  A proactive Attorney General will constantly strive to improve the system, and not perform the functions of the office, by closely coordinating with practicing attorneys, bar associations and other civic organizations, all the while being mindful that the ultimate consumers of legal services are you, the citizens of the Great State of Florida.