In today’s political climate, it can be difficult to find elected officials actually doing the work of the people or speaking about the issues facing working-class Americans or senior citizens. For voters, it is increasingly frustrating to have elected officials who would seemingly rather be career politicians than deliver actual returns for those they represent. But a former Congressman with Guts is looking at a possible run against Senator Marco Rubio to shake up Florida politics and re-establish a national liberal voice. Alan Grayson is on the verge of a full exploratory phase to run for U.S. Senate and his vision is as bold as ever.
In an extensive exclusive interview, Grayson discussed his possible return to the Florida campaign trail and national political scene. From increasing Social Security and providing better health, dental and vision care for seniors, to addressing inequality and stemming another foreclosure crisis, to protecting Florida’s environment and tackling climate change, and children’s healthcare, veteran care, international drone policy, wages and even anti-union efforts by employers – similar to Trump, every issue is on the table for Grayson, who was ready and eager to discuss all of them and more.
“People in Florida deserve someone in elected office that will get good things done for them,” Grayson said. “I believe in the old-fashioned idea that when you vote for someone, you should get something. So, if you vote for me, you’re actually voting for you.”
Grayson spoke in depth on issues and solutions rather than himself or his opponent. It was refreshing speak to someone who understands what public service should be all about. Sure, digs at Rubio were sprinkled throughout the conversation, but it was clear Grayson exemplifies the politician voters truly deserve. Grayson is someone who wants to be in the mix, who wants to get creative to see what he can get for his voters. He likes to do the hard work it takes.
“No one is doing anything specific to making real progress,” Grayson said about both Republicans and his fellow Democrats who now control Congress. “I have no difficulty in finding creative and resourceful ways to get meaningful things done for people.”
In fact, Grayson says he was able to pass 121 laws and amendments with Republicans in charge of Congress. Imagine what he could do with Democrats controlling Congress. But his argument to voters is the same: no matter who is in power, Grayson will work to get things for the voters.
“Rubio has failed to deliver,” Grayson said. “He’s not doing his fundamental job and he’s not going to change. He’s positioning for a presidential run again and after a decade in office he’s done nothing for the state that sent him to Washington.”
Grayson wants to see the focus back on issues impacting Florida seniors. “Seniors deserve a raise!” he proclaimed. “People in the private sector would never go 40 years with a raise, so why should our seniors?”
In Congress, Grayson led efforts to provide better total healthcare for seniors, covering eyes, ears and teeth. He is dismayed that no one has stepped into a leadership role on those issues in recent years. He said his Seniors Deserve a Raise Act was one of the most popular bills to have members of Congress co-sign. He’s eager to raise these issues for Florida again.
“Inequality gets worse every year,” Grayson added. “The people need a champion in elected office who understands these needs and someone who is able to effectively push back. We can’t have 50 winners and 300 million losers. That’s not a rational way to do it.”
It’s clear Grayson hopes his previous track record in Congress shows voters he can make an impact and get results. He promises to fight to keep a roof over the head of all in need with the looming foreclosure and eviction crisis due to COVID-19. As he notes no one is really talking about this issue seriously yet, Grayson reminds that he led on housing in Congress and delivered mediation programs that cut Orange County foreclosures and evictions in half. While many in Congress do not seem excited to talk healthcare after Obamacare, Grayson said to expect a strong effort to protect and expand healthcare. Building off an issue of which he was an early supporter, he wants to make progress on a national minimum wage.
In addition to proposing legislation and seeking amendments in Congress, Grayson has a proven history of being a national political figure, able to push issues to media and generate public discussions and debates. There were national and international consequences to what he said and did. For instance, Grayson held the only Congressional hearing for victims of drone attacks, and he still remembers a Pakistani media representative asking how to stop the attacks and saying there was “no way to stop the Americans.” Grayson recalled replying that thought was ridiculous and suggested if countries withdraw permissions of operations, it could stop the attacks. And it did – drone attacks stopped for over a year, Grayson proudly remembers.
This is something that has been noticeably absent from Florida politicians. Senators Rubio and Scott have no real impact on the national stage as they have slipped behind Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis for the Republican voice of Florida. Democrats have shown to be too timid or just failed to rise to the occasion. Sure, they make appearances on MSNBC every now and then, but considering the opportunity to contrast former President Trump, none of them truly capitalized, including Rep. Val Demings who led one of the failed impeachment cases.
For now, Grayson is clear he is in the very early phases of exploring the run for Senate. He knows he will have to once again rely on the support of small donors and individuals compared to establishment party support, as he did when he was in Congress.
To beat Rubio, Grayson thinks the formula is better organizing, registering voters, and speaking truth.
“The idea of Rubio helping people on any of these issues makes people laugh out loud,” Grayson said. “If Marco hasn’t done anything useful for people, they should vote for me.”