Last November, Rep. Dan Daley (D-Coral Springs) joined with others to call on congress to increase support for Florida’s National Guard.
By Bryan Boggiano
As Election Day approaches and voters prepare to make their choice for commission, congress, senate, and governor, State House District 96 will also be on the ballot with incumbent Rep. Dan Daley (D-Coral Springs) facing off against political newcomer Jenna Hague on Nov. 8.
Formerly District 97, District 96 includes parts of Coral Springs, Tamarac, and Sunrise. Before redistricting, Plantation was also within the boundaries.
Ahead of the election, Coral Springs Talk caught up with Daley to discuss his positions and priorities for the next legislative session if elected.
In 2012, Daley won a seat on the Coral Springs City Commission. While serving as a commissioner, he graduated from law school, passed the bar, and in 2019 he won a special election to the State House.
As a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School graduate, Daley considers mental health reform, school safety, and gun reform as high-priority issues he would continue fighting for.
Daley had 13 bills passed during his tenure and helped bring $3 million to his district for various projects related to initiatives ranging from school safety and infrastructure to community programming.
He believes that this legislation and the funding that came from it made Florida better and safer. In his first term, he worked to pass Alyssa’s Law, which requires that all schools have a panic alarm.
He also worked on the Parents Need to Know Act, which requires districts to notify parents of a threat or situation on campus within 24 to 48 hours.
“A lot of what I focused on in Tallahassee is preventing something like Douglas from happening again,” he said.
Daley stated that state preemptions that curtail home rule are major obstacles to enacting gun reform at the local level. This means that local governments cannot pass stricter legislation than the state legislature passed.
He said that the state legislature needs to allow local governments to handle issues such as firearms, vacation rentals, and solar energy within their own jurisdictions, which he hopes to work on.
Daley also helped sponsor bills related to electric vehicle charging stations, environmental wellness, swimming requirements for school-aged children, tax rebates for certain appliances, and special districts.
These special districts are independent of municipal governments with certain government functions, such as taxing authority.
In Florida, there are more than 1,800 special districts. In Coral Springs, these include the Coral Springs Improvement District and the North Springs Improvement District, specializing in water treatment and stormwater management.
According to Daley, only landowners can vote for who controls the multimillion-dollar budget of these districts. He stated that he championed legislation that would change the voting mechanisms to allow voters to choose who will serve on the district boards.
“I think that increases transparency and accountability for these districts with multimillion-dollar budgets,” he said.
For economic issues, Daley stated that the state legislature has not focused on property insurance rates enough but hopes to change that. He is still reviewing legislation the state proposes and hopes to work with officials to get substant; tangible reform passed that benefits insurers and homeowners.
The issue takes more importance as five insurance providers recently announced that they would pull out of Florida.
Daley said inflation, the rising cost of living, and the overall state of the economy compound the housing and property insurance crises, all of which the state legislature needs to act on.
Hurricane Ian will also pressure the state’s already troubled homeowners insurance industry further.
Instead of focusing on these issues, he said the Republican-led legislature focused on culture-war issues that do not affect most people.
He turned his attention to education, focusing on issues such as restricting critical-race-theory-related material in schools and businesses, the Parental Rights in Education Act, and book banning.
“Let’s not waste time on issues that really don’t exist,” he said. “That’s a solution in search of a problem.”
The fallout from the Parental Rights in Education Act, also known as the Don’t Say Gay bill triggered further controversy when Disney announced their opposition to the bill.
Gov. Ron DeSantis and the state legislature responded with legislation that abolished certain special districts, including Reedy Creek, where Disney operates.
“It’s easier to fight with Disney world; it’s easier to talk about nonexistent critical race theory than it is to solve the actual everyday issues like property insurance and housing that are impacting Floridians,” he said.
Florida already faces a teacher shortage, and the fact that Florida’s teachers receive some of the lowest pay in the country does not help, and neither does the focus on cultural issues or banning books, he said.
In his role as a state representative, he said it had been an honor to serve the community and that he has always tried to do what is right. He said his office handles more constituency issues than most, whether advocating for legislation, filling potholes, or replacing stop signs.
“You may not always agree with me 100 percent of the time, but I hope people find that what I do is right and within the best interest of my community,” he stated. “I would be honored to have [my constituents’] support again this election.”
Daley stated that he would accept the election results regardless of the outcome after the results are reviewed and certified.
“I believe in the institution of democracy,” he said. “We had a free and fair election two years ago. I am confident that this election will be free and fair.”
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- A University of Florida journalism graduate, Bryan plans to pursue geosciences at Florida International University for his master's. He has a strong interest in weather, entertainment, and journalism.
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