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A time to reflect on family, children and the future: Whitney Fox

While families face these problems every day, politicians in Washington are seeking attention and chasing headlines.

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The New Year is a time to reflect on our priorities and look ahead toward the future.

As a mother of two girls, I find myself reflecting on my family and the future of our children. While the New Year can be an opportunity to be hopeful and plan toward our goals, for too many of us, this time is interrupted by undeserved worries and fears.

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Will we be able to make rent this month? Will we ever be able to afford our own home? How will our family manage the kids’ school breaks and work schedules with child care being so expensive?

So many hardworking families are spending this time meant for optimism and excitement, huddling around the kitchen table and struggling to reconcile the bills. We need leadership that is going to put politics aside and focus on making everyday life affordable again.

Our community is facing an unprecedented housing crisis. Prices are skyrocketing, rent is expensive, and so many are being forced to make tough family budget decisions because their dream homes are becoming more and more out of reach. Seniors on fixed incomes are telling me that they’re concerned about Homeowner Association fees. Neighbors are talking about whether they can fix their flood damage amid the rising price of homeowner insurance.

Florida is a hot spot for the highest inflation in our country and we all feel it, that little sinking feeling in our stomachs, when it’s time to check out at the grocery store. It’s becoming more expensive to buy the same recipes we’ve built traditions around every year.

Grocery shopping is not an exception. Navigating paid leave and child care year-round has turned into a nightmare for families. A friend of mine who recently had her first child does not have paid parental leave. She is forced to use all her vacation and sick days, and then resorts to taking unpaid leave in order to heal from childbirth and bond with her baby.

Another friend, a single mother, used up her limited sick days to care for her daughter whenever she picked up an illness from day care. The next time either of these families get sick, they will have no choice but to miss work and put an even larger strain on their already tight budgets.

In Pinellas County, more than 3,000 children are on waitlists for child care facilities. Parents are being forced to figure out a way to pay their bills and take care of their kids with no solutions in sight. If and when they do get access to child care — parents can spend upward of $300 a week, which is over $15,000 a year, per child in the Tampa Bay Area.

Ron DeSantis’ support in South Carolina drops to 7% in recent poll (eduvast.com)

The hard conversations about the cost of living for so many families too often lead to debating if it’s more affordable for one of them to quit their job and take care of the kids full-time at home instead of paying for child care.

While families face these problems every day, politicians in Washington are seeking attention and chasing headlines.

We deserve leadership in Congress that is going to listen to our struggles and work to find real solutions. Our current representative, Anna Paulina Luna, has done nothing in Congress to help. Instead of working to make housing, groceries and child care affordable, Luna is focused on trying to take away women’s right to make their own health care decisions and playing partisan games with our lives and livelihoods. Our community needs sensibility and pragmatism — not political theater that distracts from the real issues facing Florida families.

I made New Year’s resolutions for myself and my family, but like everyone, I can’t help but think about the hardships we’re all facing. However, instead of feeling discouraged, I’m motivated and eager to work hard and work with anyone, to address them.

I’m running for Congress to ensure that, come next New Year, we have a leader representing Pinellas County who focuses on finding solutions to lower costs, make ends meet, and help us all feel more excited and less worried about the future.

With heartfelt wishes,

A hopeful mother—Whitney Fox — candidate for Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

whitneyfoxforcongress.com

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