Monday, June 4, 2007

Mark Endorsed By the Tallahassee Democrat

From the article:

Two Democrats are competing for their party's nomination: Suzan Franks of Citrus Hills and Mark Ravenscraft of Tallahassee.

Mrs. Franks is a homemaker who served in the New Hampshire Legislature from 1992 to 2000, and also served on her local Board of Education there.

Though she is familiar with issues of concern to local governments, such as unfunded mandates from the Legislature, Mrs. Franks would likely not be as ready to serve the interests of District 3 as Mr. Ravenscraft, former president of the Democratic Club of North Florida. The owner of a marketing and Internet research firm here, he is a close student of state policymaking - no small advantage for our community.

Mr. Ravenscraft has also served in elective office previously, including 17 years as councilman at large in Akron, Ohio, and president of the County Commission in Summit County, Ohio. He worked for seven years for the Florida Department of Education's Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, helping develop technology for people with disabilities. Having had polio since he was a child, Mr. Ravenscraft has used a wheelchair virtually all of his life, a feature he says has contributed to his desire to be an activist in not only disability issues, but political issues across the board.

Leon County voters in District 3 live in Indian Head Acres, neighborhoods north of St. Augustine Road to Miccosukee Road and east to the county line on Apalachee Parkway. It also includes about 2,500 voters with no party affiliation who could make a big difference when they get their chance to vote on June 26.
In the meantime, for Tuesday's election, we recommend Mr. Dean and Mr. Ravenscraft as strong nominees for their parties."

Chat With Florida Progressive Coaltion

Read the transcript of Mark's chat with the Florida Progressive Coalition.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Chat With SD-3 Candidate Mark Ravenscraft

This Sunday, June 3, Florida Progressive Coalition will be hosting a chat with Senate District 3 Candidate Mark Ravenscraft at the FPC website. This is a difficult, but winnable race and this will be an opportunity for you -- the bloggers, activists and voters of the state of Florida to get up close and personal with one of the few Democrats running in the upcoming June special elections. Have your questions ready and Mark will answer as many of them as time permits. The chat is open to anyone, although it will be moderated to prevent inappropriate comments and questions, and you don't need to register to participate, just go to the FPC website on Sunday at 7 p.m.

We are attempting to negotiate other chat events with the other Democratic candidates and will let you know about them as soon as we can. In the past we have had chats or interviews with candidates such as Alex Sink, James Walker, Michael Calderin, Samm Simpson and others. FPC is breaking new ground in getting you, the voters of Florida, access to state leaders and we hope this is the beginning of a new tradition in politics in the Sunshine state.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Mark on Healthcare

"The healthcare system is broke. It is not only bankrupting many of us, but itself as well. America is no longer a world competitor because we have the most expensive and dysfunctional healthcare system in the world. Healthcare should not be an option, it should be required and available to every American. No one should face anxiety, or financial collapse because they needed treatment. People should not have to choose between needed medicine and food. I will work to broaden coverage for middle income earners who are most squeezed by this situation and give high priority to covering all of Florida's children. Florida, like many other states must step up to the plate and take initiatives to expand healthcare coverages in the absence of reform at the Federal level. The situation is perilous and we must not wait. Productivity, cost of doing business, days lost from school, overall public health - all of these are affected by the problems in our healthcare coverage system. We must address these now on the state level and not wait for Washington to act."

Mark on Growth Management

"I will fight to prevent Florida's water resources from being diverted or pumped out of natural watersheds and not returned. Indians who inhabited this land before us, understood the importance of riparian rights and preservation of the underground aquifer as well as surface water resources in the rivers, lakes and streams. Modern growth and paving thousands of acres of permeable land has resulted in surface runoff and pollution that now threatens the quality of our water. Soon the 'water crisis' will be more serious than the gasoline crisis and even more threatening to human health and economic well being. I will focus on water system sustainability and integrity throughout the state to insure we have the water resources we need to keep Florida healthy and competitive."

Mark on the "For Sale" Florida Legislature

"Special interests in Tallahassee have grown fat and powerful and had their way far too long in damaging the people's interest. Big money has bought influence and placed a big "FOR SALE" sign on the Capitol. With your support I want to take that sign down. Exposing the sweetheart deals and profiteering that diverts needed state dollars from critical services must be stopped. It will take time, but working together with a strong voice, we can stop the influence peddlers from selling Florida's future to the highest bidder. Getting rid of 'no bid' contracting procedures; better accountability and oversight; and full public disclosure can go a long way to cleaning up the profiteering mess that has been created in Tallahassee."

Mark on Florida's Future

"Growth trends indicate by 2025 America will have 65 million seniors 65 and older. Florida will have 7.5 million. Tremendous healthcare, transportation and social services needs will challenge the state's resources. Little is being done in Tallahassee to face this challenge. I will focus on extending healthcare coverage to those without insurance and build ways to lessen the cost burdens of caring for our seniors with dignity.

Florida's fragile environment is being degraded by runaway growth. We must preserve Florida's natural eco-system for the sake of future generations, but also because of our tourism and agricultural industries and our precious water resources - all of which are now threatened. I will work for reasoned growth management policies that are sustainable, not growth for growth's sake alone. Concurrency is not working and we need more teeth in the regulations to insure developers don't make end runs around local authorities or use their influence to subvert effective and appropriate development regulations."

Welcome Message from Mark

District 3 has had a strong voice in the State Senate, but special interests are determined to have their way in Tallahassee and I want to see your interests protected. The property tax crisis, soaring interest rates, runnaway growth, a poor education system, Florida's degraded environment - these things didn't happen overnight. They were allowed to happen by a Legislature more concerned about the wealthy and powerful who fund their campaigns than they were about the future of Florida. I want to take down that "FOR SALE" sign in front of the Capitol and I need your help to do it. I have 17 years of elected experience in local government with an additional 9 years of experience managing statewide programs - I understand how to make the Legislative process work for your interests. I cannot fix everything, but I can make your government wore accountable, fair and responsive. I pledge to you I will remain unbossed and unbought serving you in Tallahassee. Please give me your vote on June 5 and again on June 26. Thank you."

More Media Coverage

Citrus County Chronicle:

As an activist for the disabled in the Democratic Party, Mark Ravenscraft has seen state government up front.

He doesn’t like the direction it’s headed.

“I see a big ‘for sale’ sign in front of the Florida Legislature,” Ravenscraft said. “It’s been there nine, 10 years — probably longer. It’s disheartening for me to see legislators lose their focus.”

Ravenscraft, who owns a marketing consulting group in Tallahassee, is on the June 5 De-mocrat primary ballot for state Senate District 3.

He has some experience in elective office, having served on county and city boards in Ohio.

He also worked for seven years for the Florida Department of Education’s Division of Vo-cational Rehabilitation. Ravenscraft, 59, said he’s help developed technology for people with disabilities.

“I’ve been in a wheelchair all my life,” he said, adding he’s had polio since childhood.

Ravenscraft said he realizes that the Senate race is focused on two Republican candidates — state Reps. Charlie Dean of Inverness and Dennis Baxley of Ocala. He said voters in the sprawling 13-county district have the chance for a change.

“There’s a widening gap between the haves and the have-nots in this state that just frightens me,” he said in an interview. “I hope the voice that comes back from Senate District 3 will be a loud voice for stop doing business the same old way.”

On some issues:

* Ravenscraft said he supports property tax reform, but he believes the Legislature should be careful about it because of the potential consequences on local governments.

“A lot of mistakes are going to be made and many local citizens are going to find their ser-vices sharply curtailed by this drastic maneuver the Legislature is about to make,” he said.

* On property tax reform, Ravenscraft said that the Citizens Property Insurance should be seen as insurance of last resort. He said he supports legislation that creates competition in the marketplace.

* Ravenscraft said the state must provide affordable health care to people who are not now covered by other state programs.

“The vast majority of middle class is at risk,” he said.

Ocala Star-Banner:

There will be a forum for the Senate District 3 race at 6 p.m. Friday at Queen of Peace Catholic Church, 6455 S.W. State Road 200. The public is invited.

Age: 57
Residence: Town of Hernando, Citrus County

Family: Husband, Richard; three grown children

Education: Pasadena (Calif.) College, studied physics but did not graduate

Public Service: Includes six years on Nashua (N.H.) School Board, four years as alderman-at-large, eight years in New Hampshire House

On the Web:

Age: 59
Residence: Leon County, north of Senate District 3. If he wins election, plans to establish a permanent residence in the district.

Family: Partner, Diana; three children
Education: Bachelor's degree, University of Pittsburgh; studied for an executive MBA, Baldwin-Wallace (Ohio) College; graduate, Program for State and Local Government, JFK School at Harvard; graduate work, Cleveland State University and Florida State.

Occupation: Started marketing/Internet research firm, The Ravenscraft Group.

Public Service: Served 17 years in elective office as Akron (Ohio) councilman-at-large in Summit County, Ohio and as Summit County commissioner and president of the Board of County Commissioners. Serves as chair of the Florida Democratic Disability Caucus.

On the Web:

Franks: Find an equitable solution to the property tax crisis without raising sales taxes or imposing a state income tax.

Ravenscraft: Immediate property tax reduction is needed, but without bankrupting local governments or causing them to increase local taxes. Concerned about giving control to the state by taking away local decision making. Property taxes should be indexed to 2003 millage rates, allowing for portability.

F: Supports establishment of a federal catastrophic insurance program to reduce homeowners insurance.

R: The burden of paying catastrophic claims has been placed unfairly on all Floridians who will be charged for claims paid from a major storm because the Legislature created Citizens Insurance. We must attract a wider risk pool and establish caps for home values in coastal areas. A Floridian living in a modest home should not be paying to replace a millionaire's estate. Basic insurance that covers one's ability to repair, or replace their home is reasonable. With caps and a broader risk pool we will once again have a competitive rate structure.

F: Use FCAT as a tool for improving education; remove the punitive aspects.

R: Measurement tools are needed, but should not be used as weapons. Bring down Florida's drop-out rate (one of the highest in the nation) and give options in vocational training to those who choose a non-college career path. The FCAT has done nothing to improve Florida's overall prospects. It results in high teacher turnover, student/teacher stress, and it boosts the drop out rate. Measure we must, but no child should be discarded. Must think of education K-85, not just K-12.

F: Preserve and protect our rivers and aquifers for local use.

R: Florida water resources are vital to the economy and well-being of our state. Tourism and quality of life require us to preserve these resources. Instead, we have allowed developers and those who would divert our water for profit to south Florida to degrade our watersheds. Local needs should be addressed first before any deals are made to reroute water resources elsewhere.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Mark on Guns

>1. Closing the gun show loophole

Gun sale precheck/waiting periods should be uniform for all gun sales

>2. Renewing the Assault Weapons Ban

Assault weapons have no place in private hands

>3. Maintaining a data base for tracking guns used in crimes

Weapons used to commit a crime should be destroyed

>4. "Take you guns to work" legislation that forces employers to allow guns on their private property against their will.

Employers have a primary responsibility to provide a safe and healthy workplace - that includes the option to prohibit weapons on their property.

NOTE: Having said all of the above, I would add we live in a nation filled with firearms and the basic right of an American to bear arms should not be taken away - firearms education should be compulsory to bring up the awareness of our people to the issues of safety and prudent practice around firearms. It only makes sense to educate the people, gun owners or non-gun owners to the proper handling of firearms.