Sen. Soto has fought for living wages, health care, education and benefits for working class families to keep our economy moving forward. He has continually fought privatization efforts in state government to assure our jobs stay in Florida rather than being shipped out-of-state or overseas. Darren has also voted against tax and fee increases (except increasing the cigarette tax to offset related state health care costs) to assure we continue to have a low cost of living here in the Great State of Florida.
Rep. Soto worked overtime to assure SunRail was ultimately passed to finally bring a mass transit light rail system to Central Florida that will help our citizens get to work, lower traffic on I-4 and other highways, and reduce our reliance of foreign oil. This system will boast several stops in District 14 including at Sandlake, Meadowoods, Kissimmee, and Poinciana. With SunRail as the first step, Darren will continue to push for more east-west light-rail options in the future to connect into the north-south Sunrail System in an effort to assure mobility for all citizens.
Darren has been a strong supporter of Visit Florida, tourist safety measures and a first-class airport to assure that Central Florida's top industry, tourism, remains vibrant and strong for years to come. Recently, Orlando has been named the #1 tourist destination for Christmas 2011, New Years 2012 and Spring Break 2012, but we need to keep the momentum going. Darren will continue to push for funding for new runways and other improvements more suitable for international travel at Orlando International Airport to maintain our status as an international tourist destination.
Agriculture also continues to be a major industry in Central Florida and around the state. Rep. Soto has pushed for reasonable liability limits for farmers and ranchers who open up their lands for public use. Darren has also protected property rights by continuing to support pro-property right reforms to the Burt Harris Act regarding takings among other pro-property rights measures. Agriculture is a proud and historic tradition in Central Florida that provides fresh meat and produce to our community as well as numerous jobs and as a result must be protected.
By pushing for transportation improvements and economic incentives, Rep. Soto has helped a vastly growing distribution sector flourish in the district in and around Orlando International Airport. This area boasts numerous top companies including UPS, FedEx, Goya, Whirlpool, Tupperware, Medi-Script and is soon to be home to a new $82 Million distribution center for Publix Supermarkets. While there is certainly much work to be done, our district will continue to head in the right direction as long as we continue to push for sound transportation options, quality of life investments and economic incentive packages.
With an eye to the future, Rep. Soto sees further diversity in our economy through health care technology. This shared vision is coming to life in Lake Nona where a high tech health care cluster is forming with partnerships from the U.S. Veterans Administration, University of Central Florida, Sanford-Burnham Institute, Nemours, University of Florida, Florida Hospital, Orlando Health among many others. Darren will continue to push for economic incentives, transportation and quality of life projects to help foster this burgeoning new health care cluster to provide more high paying jobs and further diversify our economy.