A Little About Rita
My name is Rita Harris, and I'm proud to be the State Representative for Florida House District 44!
In addition to being a public servant, I am a mother, an advocate, an activist, and a twenty-year resident of our community. I started my activism at Planned Parenthood when I was in high school. As a theater kid, I worked with other teens to develop skits to perform at high schools that dealt with everything from safe sex to drunk driving. I was also trained to be a certified peer counselor and talk to other teens about the issues we faced.
My journey back into activism started in 2017. My daughter had just started college, so I was deciding what I wanted to do in my next chapter in life - I could go back to school or back to work, but Trump had just been elected, and the threat to our values and way of life was very real. As a wife to a Black man and mother to a biracial Black child, I was horrified by the blatant racism, and I feared for their safety, so I rolled up my sleeves and got to work with the goal of electing as many Democrats as possible in 2018. I became the events chair for the Orange County Democrats and founded the Democratic Women's Club of South Orange County. E
Eventually, I was elected the Vice-Chair of the Orange County Democratic Party. In August of 2022, I was elected to office for the first time. I am grateful to serve the great people of District 44 and can't wait to go back to Tallahassee to continue to serve you with dedication and hard work.
As one of the few people of Jewish descent in the Florida House of Representatives, I know that Representation matters. As someone who has struggled with money, I know what it's like to be unable to afford childcare or pay for medication one week at a time because of the extreme costs of prescription drugs. I bring my compassion, my perspective, and my work ethic with me, whether it's up in Tallahassee or in the District.
This district includes Universal, International Drive, Seaworld, and the Orlando airport. COVID has exposed cracks in our system - the people that work at these economic engines should be able to afford to live here, have access to affordable housing, and earn fair wages with benefits and paid time off.
I will continue to fight for you!
Work hard to make sure there are economic opportunities and an economy that works for you, by supporting small-business and fair wages.
Fully funding our public schools by increasing teacher pay for all teachers, and education support staff like bus drivers. Make sure that school funding resources are allocated by need, and ensure that our students have what they need to learn in a safe and inclusive environment.
As a teenager, I found my voice in advocacy at Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood is why I discovered my passion for being a champion of bodily autonomy and the right to privacy. Our right to agency over our body is innate, and as your State Representative in Tallahassee, I will be diligent in protecting it. However, access to healthcare, like abortion, requires us to be bold and willing to stand up. I am that candidate that will stand up for the right to choose.
As Ruth's List endorsed candidate, I know what's at stake, and I'm ready to go to Tallahassee and work for our community.
I stand up for our civil rights and, work to ensure that voting is accessible, and stand against attacks on historically excluded communities like Black, Brown, Indigenous, LGBTQIA people. Black Lives Matter and the LGBTQIA community shouldn't be erased. As legislators, we are incumbent on being leaders and using our platforms to speak out against hate.
Climate change is the existential issue of our lifetime, and we must address the issue at hand. I will work to protect Florida’s wetlands by limiting unfettered sprawl. I work with leaders on expanding opportunities for clean energy use, that will bring good-paying jobs to Florida and ease the state’s dependence on fossil fuels. Our district has beautiful Shingle Creek, considered the headwaters of the Everglades, and will work to preserve it.
Affordable housing - As your state rep, I fight against the continued raiding of our Sadowski Funds and work to protect them to help those who are dealing with housing insecurity. Up in Tallahassee, I have been an affordable housing champion and an advocate for good wages and economic opportunities that Floridians can thrive on, not just survive on.
Every family deserves the opportunity to do a little better than the last generation and offer their children a better future. That's the Florida I believe in.
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