I talk with Dr. Mindy Koch from the Seniors for Crist Coalition. We talk about Charlie Crist's political background and the reason he changed parties from Republican to Democrat and his thoughts on caring for seniors in Florida, his Covid policies, gun reform, school safety, parntal rights in education, election gerrymandering, the Florida State Guard and Critical Race Theory. But most importantly, we discuss the difference in the definition of freedom beteen Charlie Crist and the current governor.
Web site: CharlieCrist.com
Disclaimer: Unedied AI transcription
You are connected and you are listening to specifically for seniors, the podcast, for those in the remember when generation today's podcast is available everywhere you listen to podcasts and with video at specifically for seniors YouTube channel. Now here's your host, Dr. Larry Barsh.
My guest today on specifically for seniors is Dr. Mindy Koch. Mindy is the senior advisor for seniors for Christ, and is the leader of the seniors for Christ coalition. Mindy has served as elected precinct leader for the Palm beach democratic executive committee for more than 20 years. And president of the democratic club of Boca Raton and Delray beach. Mindy has recently retired from teaching. She and her family have lived in Florida since 1986. Welcome to specifically for seniors, Mindy.
Mindy Koch (01:17):
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Oh, thank you for joining us for those newcomers to Florida. Let's introduce Charlie Christ by talking about his political career. He began his political career as a Republican, right?
Mindy Koch (01:34):
Right. And then, and then then there was a hurricane in Florida and Barack Obama came with pockets full of money to assist us in rebuilding parts of Florida that were affected by the hurricane. Charlie Christ as the governor was photographed hugging the president of the United States. And that was basically the end of his career as a Republican cuz they didn't accept that very well. Then he became an independent, which he was for a very short time because the move from Republican party to the democratic party is I guess, shocking to some people. And then he became a Democrat, but it's an evolution that happened over a period of time. And you know, we all know that with learning and changes in the atmosphere and all of those things that happened to us, we evolve into something different than we were originally.
Mindy Koch (02:44):
And Charlie became a Democrat and had, was elected to Congress from what he calls Pinellas, the rest of us called Pinellas. And, but he should know cuz he's lived there almost all his life and has been a great asset in the Congress. He served three terms in the Congress of the United States as a Democrat and has voted with the Democrats almost a hundred percent of the time. So, you know, we're really glad we have him and he's really become a, a war supporter of Democrats, their issues and where we stand nationally on all the things that affect Floridians.
What is the senior program?
Mindy Koch (03:39):
So seniors make up such a large part of Florida that Congressman thought it was a very good idea to evaluate what's happening with seniors in Florida. And as a result, he has a plan. And if you go to Charlie, chris.com and go to the issue section, you can find that he wants, of course, what most Democrats have wanted since the Medicaid expansion became available to expand Medicaid because many seniors need that support in the medical field. He wants to lower prescription drug costs, which thank goodness they just did in mm-hmm <affirmative> in the United States Congress, which of course he voted for, but he also wants to give seniors in Florida, a drug card, which they can show at a pharmacy and maybe the cost will all go further, become further, more, more affordable. He wants to support safe and comfortable living in Florida.
Mindy Koch (04:49):
He also supports he has the endorsement of the disability caucus, the democratic disability caucus, and he of course supports all the Floridians with dis disabilities and wants life to be much easier for them as we go down the road than it is today. He wants to make sure that our pensions are secure if we worked for the state retirement system and he wants to roll back, which affects all of us tremendously. The voter suppression bills that have been passed here in Florida. And those are a few of the things he wants to do with seniors and four seniors when he gets elected,
Can seniors become involved in this program in any way?
Mindy Koch (05:45):
Well, certainly so we meet weekly with the seniors for Christ. They can certainly send me an email at Mindy, M I N D Y at Charlie, chris.com. And I will add them to the cadre of seniors, which we now have almost, excuse me, almost 500 of them who come on the call every every week or whenever you want. You don't have to come every week. You can come every two weeks or once a month. And we keep you informed in a abreast of all the exciting events that are happening in the Chris campaign and helping you get out the vote and do phone banking. And you know, if you're up to it, you could go canvasing, which is walking neighborhoods. And because the real trick here is to get out the vote because we all know when we vote, we win. So that's the trick.
Let's talk about Charlie's stance on some other issues.
Mindy Koch (06:56):
And how they differ from the current governor.
Mindy Koch (07:00):
<Laugh>, let's start with COVID. Is Charlie for vaccinations or treatment exclusively as is the case?
Mindy Koch (07:13):
Well, we, we now have in Florida, a surgeon general who has very little experience in public health. He was a assistant professor associate professor at the university of UCLA, I believe. And he did that for quite a while, but has no experience in public health per se. So Charlie would give us someone who is a public health expert as we had before this current surgeon general. And he believes strongly in vaccinations. He's working very hard at also to get VA sufficient vaccines here in Florida for the monkeypox event that's going on. And Florida is affected tremendously by that. So he's four vaccines. He was for masking because that helped us all get over the hump in this terrible pandemic that we had ha and are still having, as we see issues pop up every once in a while and it gets very hot in the COVID arena. So, so yes, he would support vaccines and continue to make sure people were safe here in Florida, because he believes that Florida is for all of us, not just for some of us.
How did he feel about this failure to order vaccines for the young kids?
Mindy Koch (08:50):
Ye well he, it upset him tremendously. He tried to work on it with the other Democrats from the state of Florida who represent us in the house and they put some pressure on governor DeSantis and therefore he did order those vaccines late, but he ordered them
That and the special Olympics issue.
Mindy Koch (09:16):
Yeah, well, you know, special Olympic that's, that's why he has such a focus on people with disabilities because we're all part of the fabric that makes up Florida, which is quite diverse. And it's really important that everyone is valued. Not just some, but everyone.
I never understood how someone could bully the special Olympics.
Mindy Koch (09:45):
Well, you know, it's not a good look. It, it, to me, it's very, it's it, it creates terrible conversations among people and you know, the kids in the special Olympics, that was where I spent most of my teaching career dealing with special ed. And so they're very special to me. And I think they should be treasured because they have so much to offer that they're now being able to, with all of the new techniques and, and a lot of technology and it makes everything more accessible for them. And they become part of society instead of excluded from. And I think we all miss a lot. We're leaving people out who are different than we are. And I think Charlie agrees with that.
Mm-Hmm <affirmative>, I am concerned that if the current governor gets reelected, that we're gonna have open carry of
Mindy Koch (10:50):
Gods. Yeah. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>
What is Charlie's position on, on gun background checks?
Mindy Koch (10:59):
He magazine size,
Mindy Koch (11:01):
Right? He supports all of the things that moms demand and all of the gun action groups believe in. He, you know, this is not, this is not an anomaly. The majority of Americans believe that there should be background checks. The majority of Americans believe there should be red flag laws. Florida is not, even though we think we are, we are really the same as the rest of America and we believe the same thing. And so it's really important and he will work really hard. We need a democratic legislature, but one of the things he's gonna be able to do is veto bills that he disagrees with. And as long as we maintain what we in the business call a veto proof minority, which is 44 house reps, I believe then he will be able to uphold. They will be able to uphold that veto. So it's really important to, you know, think about our future as we go down the road. Do we really want people in Starbucks carrying an AK 47 with a magazine of a hundred bullets? And so that's what they're gonna try to do. And hopefully he'll be able to the, the, the house will be able to sustain his veto.
As long as we're talking about guns, a lot of listeners, our grandparents, and they worry about their grandkids in schools and school safety what's Charlie's plan for protecting our kids.
Mindy Koch (12:42):
Well many, many, many districts in Florida have counties in Florida have secured their school properties. For example, there's a camera at the outside door where you have to ring a bell and people in the office wanna see your ID, you have to put your ID up. And he would like to see that happen in all schools, in all counties in the state of Florida to help secure the buildings. I know myself that, you know, as a former teacher it's very frightening to be on lockdown and doing all those and simulating, you know, live shooter drills and all those things, but they say that's very helpful. If your school is ever violated by someone like, you know, has happened recently, certainly Alde is a great example. And, and this is gonna be very expensive. So, you know, a lot of money will be going towards public schooling and making sure our kids are safe all the time when they're on school property.
Mindy Koch (14:05):
And it doesn't necessarily have to be additional police. I'm just, you know, it can be, it can be done by the school staff that's already there, but you need to have we in Palm beach county, Broward county, Pinellas, they have gates around their schools. So you can't access the campus very easily. The school I worked at in Broward county had a locked gate. You couldn't even get your car on the campus. So you had to call the office and they would come and unlock the gate. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>. So, you know, it can be done. It has been done since, of course, the Stoneman Douglas tragedy here in, in, in south Florida. And now the goal is to do it statewide
As a teacher. How would you feel being armed, carrying a gun in a school?
Mindy Koch (15:04):
You know, I would be very unhappy if they asked me to carry a gun because I would probably shoot my foot instead of the guy who's coming through the door. Although you never know, but I have never fired a gun in my life. So, so I would not know what it would be like, cuz you know, they tell me that if you go like this with a gun, you better be willing to go like this immediately. So I don't know that I could think that way because you know, my job is to protect children. So, and they are, they, when I taught they were my children. So, so that's the way I would feel about that. <Laugh>
Also as a teacher, how do you feel about banning books?
Mindy Koch (15:53):
Yeah, banning books is the worst thing that I think I've ever heard of. This was something they did in Europe, in the 1930s. There is nothing wrong with learning about different people, different cultures, different styles, different origins, you know, we all come, we're all immigrants unless we're native Americans and there's nothing wrong with learning all of that. And it really doesn't harm children. I don't think their parents sometimes have to have a conversation with them and maybe they should get more comfortable with the topics of diversity instead of banning the books and stopping children from learning. But you know, we can always get around that because moms and dads at home can help their go take their children to the library. Hopefully they won't take books out of the public library, but this is the beginning of a very bad trend at the, a very, very bad trend.
I I'm worried about taking books out libraries mm-hmm <affirmative> as well. Parental rights in education. The so-called don't say gay law.
Mindy Koch (17:11):
Mindy Koch (17:12):
Parents have always had rights in, in public schools. We can't run our organization without parent parental input. Unfortunately what's happening now in public schools is they are so vociferous and they speak at every opportunity they can against any kind of difference. Why do I keep saying diversity and difference that's and, and we are a very diverse culture and society. And what happens I think is that when you don't know about people, you, the fear level goes up and everybody gets hysterical. And so when you learn about other cultures, other lifestyles of the races, other religions, it only enhances what we, how we deal with other people, I think. And so I think that the moms for Liberty are very, very frightening to me personally. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> and, and I think to, to the Chris campaign, because attacking teachers has caused a tremendous, you know, there was a time I think, and I started teaching in 1975.
Mindy Koch (18:41):
So there was a time when teachers were respected by the community w large, we weren't paid very well, but we were all very well respected. And your teacher said that. So that's the way it is, is what most parents used to say. But now because teachers teach everything to everybody that makes people nervous and I can't figure out why. And so as a result there, we're missing, I think 14,000 teachers here in the state of Florida. And if their goal, you know, the, when public school began, the goal was to teach everybody and it made us the great society. We are, I hold the public education system, totally responsible for the great democracy in America. And if we stop this and start to have church schools and voucher schools and charter schools, then we don't have an agreement that everyone is important.
Mindy Koch (20:02):
So that's what I think about. And I think governor Chris, who was the last education commissioner here in the state of Florida, absolutely agrees.
What does Charlie, what can Charlie do about this election gerrymandering?
Mindy Koch (20:27):
Well, now we're kind of in it for 10 years and because that's how, that's how the law works every 10 years on the new census, we get to Redd divide our state politically and the legal women. And then the voters of proposed an amendment to the constitution that said there will be no gerrymandering. However, they only did it for the United States Congress and the state Senate. They did not do it for the state house. And so gerrymandering is something we have to deal with where the minority cuz the Republicans until very recently where the minority here in Florida now they have a 3000 voter edge on the Democrats, but I will say that we are an equally divided state, which makes us, you know, one of those swinging kind of states and they are trying to take the majority when they're not really entitled to do that.
Mindy Koch (21:44):
And so gerrymandering, the Republicans are because they're the ones in power and they're the ones who do the state redistricting. And so we're kind of stuck here. They did take the two districts that they took away from the African American, historically African American voters. And so they do have a law case for that. They were told to cease and desist, but then they took it to the next level and they said, no, you have to vote on the way the districts are right now. So that's what we're doing. And that's why it is imperative that everybody who feels the same way as governor Chris Congressman Chris does goes out in votes because we need to have our voices heard as well.
There is so much more we could talk about with this the institution of a Florida state guard
Mindy Koch (22:49):
Against something that doesn't exist.
Mindy Koch (22:54):
<Laugh> exactly. Well, they were in Broward county the other day because somebody complained about a, a Dropbox was in guarded and they discovered that there was no cause for action because the Dropbox was guarded. And just, it's just something that we do now, I guess,
And, and critical race theory. That's not being taught
Mindy Koch (23:19):
That that never was.
That is a legal principle maybe.
Mindy Koch (23:23):
Right. Well, I have a PhD. It was written by a professor at Harvard as, as his dissertation. And I have a PhD and I taught in public school in Pittsburgh, in Tennessee, in Alabama and in Florida. And I have never heard of critical race theory until six months ago. Never.
Mindy Koch (23:49):
Okay. One, one other thing,
Mindy Koch (23:53):
Freedom first budget that governor DeSantis just signed it supposedly prioritizes the freedoms of Floridians to live work and have successful businesses in the state. And yet he restricts freedom of knowledge by burning, by burning by banning certain textbooks. You know, what's on my mind. Yes. freedom of L G B T Q kids to define and express themselves threatening the special Olympics. If they mandated vaccination, anti riot law, which is really an anti protest law mandating women to carry unwanted pregnancies, gerrymandering, how, how is this freedom?
Mindy Koch (24:47):
Well, it's freedom for certain people. And that became up close and personal. And in your face, when he suspended state attorney Andrew Warren, a duly elected state attorney, because he didn't agree with him and he's waging war on free speech, he's waging war against businesses that don't agree with him against teachers against public servants. The Florida house passed a bill against public rallies. Like you said, except, you know, if it had been Democrats in front of the Mar Lago this week, they would've all been arrested, but it was, you know, the ch cadre of Trump demonstrators and they were left alone and they blocked all the streets. So he has a blind ambition to run for president. And very often he's doing it at the expense of our democracy and our freedom. And Charlie is, you know, absolutely against all of this. So the very first thing he's gonna do when he gets in office is sign an executive order that secures women's right to abortion. Yeah. That's the very first thing at, you know, 1201. Well, not actually three o'clock in the afternoon, probably after we sworn in on January 3rd and he'll help us do some stuff for affordable housing and you know, the insurance industry's gonna be dead in Florida if somebody doesn't take action.
Mindy Koch (26:34):
Is there any way any events where my listeners can meet Charlie in person?
Mindy Koch (26:43):
Well, I would suggest to you that you stay tuned Mindy, Charlie, chris.com. And I will add you to my list because we inform everybody, we know where he's gonna be a week in advance. He was just in Palm beach county and we did a rally on OK. CCHO Boulevard. And there were 40 people in the room and it was very exciting. And Charlie was up close and personal with all those folks for about 45 minutes. That's unheard of. So, you know, stay in touch with me and I will and you will know where he is and what he's doing. And you can follow him around the state where he's going all the time. He's never in the same place for more than I was shocked that he stayed with us for F 45 minutes yesterday. So so he, he, I think he's going to poke coming up and he spent some time up in the panhandle in bay county and Leon and Alachua up that way. And, you know, cuz everybody, every voter in Florida is important and he wants to meet everybody. So
Mindy, thanks so much for coming on. Specifically for seniors. This has been an enlightening, informative discussion, good luck in the PRI primary good luck in the election and to our listeners vote
Mindy Koch (28:12):
Democracy matters, choice matters, elections matter, Mindy. Thanks. It's been great.
Mindy Koch (28:19):
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Dr. Mindy Koch has served the Palm Beach County Democratic Executive Committee as an elected Precinct leader for over 20 years. She was President of the Democratic Club of Boca Raton and Delray Beach for 6 years.
She and her family have lived in Florida since 1986. Mindy recently retired from teaching after 40 years as an educator, administrator and union representative. Now she spends most her time working for the party, getting democrats elected, but when she’s not doing that you can find her with her grandchildren or on the golf course.