Keith Perry: More long-term solutions needed in government today

September 24, 2018

Being a small business owner is a lot like being a dad. With both jobs, you are responsible for creating opportunities and focusing on the future of others. You need to be able to think long term.

Will your business be successful down the road? Will your kids be able pursue their dreams and build a life they’re proud of? Instead of focusing only on just today, you need to anticipate the problems of the future.

This way of thinking is what led me to run for office.


Our Founding Fathers often referred to posterity — the focus on our lives not being about ourselves but to provide a better life for the next generation. This major theme is what is lacking in government today.

All too often budgets are only focused on yearly cycles and politicians only craft policy looking at the next election. Let’s put a Band-Aid on the problem today and not try to understand what caused the wound. Let’s throw money at a serious problem like housing instability, but not focus on why housing costs have increased 76 percent in the past two decades.

While in office I’ve worked every year to lower housing costs by reducing taxes and providing more homestead exemptions giving homeowners a leg up. Some may tell you we need to expand Medicaid because we need to care for our most vulnerable citizens. I agree we need to help those in need, but why increase our debt for a health care system that we wouldn’t think is adequate to use ourselves?

In 2014, I sponsored a bill revolutionizing our health care system. We need solutions to problems — not just politicians who want to pat themselves on the back for a job well done.

To me, that’s just common sense.

Future workforce

After a long day of meetings and driving throughout the district, I stopped for a quick bite to eat. As I was sitting there, I thought to myself, how many of these middle/low income jobs will soon one day be replaced by kiosks and automation? I wondered what our future job force will look like.

Will there be a huge hit to our economy because of the loss in jobs? Or will it mean we are moving in a positive direction because automation will lend to higher paying jobs and require a more skilled workforce?

I believe the truth will be both.

Next generation

So how are we addressing the ever-changing economy and problems of the future? Here in North Central Florida, we are well on our way. We’ve done tremendous things in our community and I’ve never been more hopeful about the talent and ingenuity coming out of the next generation.

I’ve been proud to support the University of Florida as it works toward becoming a top five university and spearheading funding initiatives like a new School of Music that will become a hub for the best and brightest musicians in the country. Santa Fe College continues bringing our community together with the expansion of the Blount Center, which will bring a new presence to downtown Gainesville and serve as a tremendous resource offering both college and vocational courses.

I’ve been proud to sponsor bills that focus on more opportunities for arts in elementary education to ensure creativity is cultivated at the youngest age. If we do our job today, I know the next generation will be ready for whatever the future brings.

These are things I believe in. This is a community I believe in. I look forward to continuing to work for you.

Keith Perry is running for reelection to the Florida State Senate, District 8 in the Nov. 6 election.