My number one priority in Congress is creating jobs in South Florida. I understand that for many Americans, it seem like Wall Street has bounced back from this recession while many working families and seniors have been left behind. Though Democratic efforts in Congress have resulted in twelve straight months of private sector job growth, the fact is Florida's unemployment rate remains unacceptably high and thousands of jobless workers are struggling to support their families.
For eight years, Washington turned a blind eye to the needs of working families while irresponsibility on Wall Street ran rampant and then resulted in the near-collapse of our economy. Eight million jobs were lost across America, and the impact of the financial crisis cannot be understated in Florida. Responsible investors, including many seniors, lost their retirement savings. Families struggling to meet their mortgage payments lost their homes. The lost revenue resulting from high unemployment has exploded our national deficit and forced states like Florida to make painful cuts to our schools and critical services.
The ability to get our fiscal house in order very much rests on our commitment to putting people back to work. I support efforts in Congress to cut taxes for small businesses and middle class families, keep our teachers in the classroom and our police officers on the street rather than on unemployment, and incentivize growth in our renewable energy industry. Additionally, in Florida, where so many workers earn a living in the construction industry, it is imperative that Congress also continue to make investments in infrastructure. Putting people to work rebuilding our roads and runways, updating our schools, and connecting our major cities through high speed rail projects will not only lower unemployment rate but set the stage for vibrant economic growth.
Though 2010 saw more jobs created in America than in every year of the Bush Administration combined, that must not be our measure of success. The latest economic data indicates that businesses are beginning to hire new workers once again, but for struggling Florida families, this economy cannot turn around fast enough. The progress we've made thus far indicates that now is not the time to abandon our efforts to recovery the economy but instead move forward with initiatives to encourage hiring by our small businesses, reinvigorate our construction industry, embrace our renewable energy future, and put people back to work rebuilding America.