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Darren Soto's Issue Positions (Political Courage Test)

Office: U.S. House (FL) - District 9, Democratic
Project Vote Smart does not permit the use of its name or programs in any campaign activity, including advertising, debates, and speeches.
Darren Soto has refused to provide voters with positions on key issues covered by the 2016 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests. Historically, candidates have failed to complete our test due to the advice they receive from their parties and advisors and out of fear of negative attack ads.

What is the Political Courage Test?

Issue Positions

In response to the increasing unwillingness of candidates to answer issue questions, Project Vote Smart has researched Presidential and Congressional candidates' public records to determine candidates' likely responses on certain key issues. These issue positions, from the year 2016, are provided below as a courtesy to voters.

Pro-choice Inferred Answer Abortion: Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Rated 100% by Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates (
  • "Last year, I was proud to lead the fight on the Senate Floor to defeat an outrageous 24-hour abortion waiting period bill. Soon after, the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging the law that used my arguments as a framework – and in a huge win for women, the Florida Supreme Court agreed with us and put that anti-choice law on hold." (
No Inferred Answer Budget: In order to balance the budget, do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "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." (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Crime: Do you support mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Despite exhaustive research, Project Vote Smart was unable to find information about this candidate's position.
Yes Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "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." (
  • "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." (
Yes Inferred Answer Economy: Do you support lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Voted in favor of H.B.7087 "Increases Certain Business Tax Credits and Sales Tax Exemptions" (
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Education: Do you generally support requiring states to adopt federal education standards? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Despite exhaustive research, Project Vote Smart was unable to find information about this candidate's position.
Unknown Position Unknown Answer Energy: Do you support building the Keystone XL pipeline? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Despite exhaustive research, Project Vote Smart was unable to find information about this candidate's position.
Yes Inferred Answer Energy: Do you support government funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, thermal)? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Sen. Soto is a steadfast advocate for clean energy in the State of Florida. In 2010 and 2011, he co-sponsored amendments to create a renewable energy goal of 5% in 5 years (known as a renewable energy portfolio or RPS). He has served on the Public Service Commission Nominating Board and pushed for the creation of an Energy and Climate Commission. He has also continued to fight for funding the Solar Rebate Program (which has continually been put in jeopardy by my peers), renewable energy tax credits and the PACE program which allows local governments to offer low cost loans for energy efficiency and solar improvements in residential dwellings." (
Yes Inferred Answer Environment: Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "He lead a push to restrict oil drilling near Florida's pristine beaches and waterways during the 2010 Oil Drilling Special Session called in response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. While Darren believes in reasonable oil exploration, he believes Florida's world-class beaches are a critical part of our quality of life, serve as a critical aspect of our tourism industry, and as a result must be protected vigorously." (
  • "In Congress, I’ll fight to ban fracking on all our public lands and finish the work President Obama has started to reduce our reliance on carbon fuels." (
Yes Inferred Answer Guns: Do you generally support gun-control legislation? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • Rated 21% by National Rifle Association (
  • "I’m not afraid of standing up to the gun lobby. In Congress, I’ll fight for commonsense gun safety reforms that respect Second Amendment rights while keeping guns out of dangerous hands." (
No Inferred Answer Health Care: Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Darren believes that access to health care is critical to the success of our children and must be preserved. He also fought the newly enacted health care reforms privatizing our Medicaid system." (
No Inferred Answer Immigration: Do you support requiring immigrants who are unlawfully present to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "Darren is a major supporter of the Dream Act and believes the federal government must pass immigration reform which creates a workable foreign worker program." (
  • Voted for H.B. 755 "Authorizes Certain Non-Citizen Individuals to be Admitted to the Bar\ (
Yes Inferred Answer Marriage: Do you support same-sex marriage? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "In the Florida Senate, I sponsored legislation to remove the provision in Florida statutes that defined marriage between a man and a woman. I also led the effort to filibuster a bill that would allow discrimination of LGBT couples in the adoption process." (
Yes Inferred Answer National Security: Do you support increased American intervention in Iraq and Syria beyond air support? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "I support our Democratic Nominee Hillary Clinton’s call for a no fly zone. However, I will remain vigilant in assessing its effectiveness to determine if long term support for this policy is appropriate. I support US enforcement of Syrian humanitarian safe zones provided it is being done in conjunction with UN Peacekeepers or other allies in the region. We should not be policing these zones on our own." (
  • "Congress should continue to authorize the President to work with our Allies in the region to drive ISIS out of major cities and eventually defeat them entirely. The U.S. should play a supportive role with artillery, military training and limited special forces engagement where appropriate. However, I would oppose authorization for full scale U.S. invasion or U.S. occupying force." (
No Inferred Answer Social Security: Do you support allowing individuals to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts? View Citations

Vote Smart's Research

  • "In Congress, I’ll stand up for our seniors and fight every attempt to privatize or cut Social Security." (


Candidate Answer

Official Position: Candidate had the Political Courage to address this issue directly.

Inferred Answer

Inferred Position: Candidate refused to address this issue directly, but Project Vote Smart inferred this issue position based on the candidate's public statements, voting record, and evaluations from special interest groups.

Unknown Answer

Unknown Position: Candidate refused to address this issue.

Project Vote Smart's Research: Click on this icon to reveal more information about this candidate's position.

Other or Expanded Principles & Legislative Priorities are entered exactly as the candidate has submitted it. Project Vote Smart does not edit for misspelled words, punctuation or grammar.

Florida State Legislative Election 2006 National Political Awareness Test

This candidate has responded to a Political Courage Test in a previous election. As a continued effort to provide the American public with factual information on candidates running for public office, these archived responses are made available here.

The Political Courage Test asks candidates which items they will support if elected. It does not ask them to indicate which items they will oppose. Through extensive research of public polling data, we discovered that voters are more concerned with what candidates would support when elected to office, not what they oppose. If a candidate does not select a response to any part or all of any question, it does not necessarily indicate that the candidate is opposed to that particular item.
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding abortion.
a) Abortions should always be illegal.
b) Abortions should always be legal.
c) Abortions should be legal only within the first trimester of pregnancy.
Xd) Abortions should be legal when the pregnancy resulted from incest or rape.
Xe) Abortions should be legal when the life of the woman is endangered.
f) Prohibit public funding of abortions and to organizations that advocate or perform abortions.
g) Require clinics to give parental notification before performing abortions on minors.
h) Other or expanded principles

Right to Privacy guaranteed by the Florida Const. (Art-sec.) protects right to choose to the extent allowed by U.S. Supreme Court in Casey v. Planned Parenthood (no undue burden until post-viability) and possibly greater protection.

State Budget: Indicate the funding levels (#1-6) you will support for the following general categories. Select one level per category.
Slightly Increasea) Education (Higher)
Greatly Increaseb) Education (K-12)
Slightly Increasec) Environment
Maintain Statusd) Emergency preparedness
Maintain Statuse) Health care
Maintain Statusf) Law enforcement
Maintain Statusg) Transportation and highway infrastructure
Maintain Statush) Welfare
i) Other or expanded categories

Greatly decrease local interest projects ("pork")

State Taxes: Indicate the tax levels (#1-6) you will support. Select one level per tax.
Slightly Increasea) Alcohol taxes
Maintain Statusb) Capital gains taxes
Maintain Statusc) Cigarette taxes
Maintain Statusd) Corporate taxes
Maintain Statuse) Gasoline taxes
Maintain Statusf) Property taxes
Maintain Statusg) Sales taxes
Slightly Increaseh) Vehicle taxes
i) Other or expanded categories
Yesj) Should the state sales taxes be extended to Internet sales?
Yesk) Should accounts such as a "rainy day" fund be used to balance the state budget?
Yesl) Should fee increases be used to balance the state budget?
m) Other or expanded principles
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding campaign finance and government reform.
Yesa) Do you support the current limit of terms for Florida governors?
Yesb) Do you support the current limit of terms for Florida state senators and representatives?
c) Do you support limiting the following types of contributions to state legislative candidates?
Yes1) Individual
No2) PAC
No3) Corporate
No4) Political Parties
Yesd) Do you support requiring full and timely disclosure of campaign finance information?
Undecidede) Do you support the power to amend the state constitution through ballot initiative petitions?
Yesf) Do you support imposing spending limits on state level political campaigns?
Yesg) Do you support adopting statewide standards for counting, verifying and ensuring accuracy of votes?
Yesh) Do you support prohibiting media exit polling of voters until all polling locations in Florida are closed?
Undecidedi) Should Florida recognize civil unions between same-sex couples?
j) Please list what changes (if any) you would make to lower property insurance rates. Please use forty (40) words or less.

I would support a pooling system resembling the Federal Flood Insurance Fund as supported by FL Senator Rod Smith

k) Other or expanded principles

e) I support statutory initiatives
i) should be decided by voters

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding crime.
a) Increase state funds for construction of state prisons and hiring of additional prison staff.
Xb) Support the death penalty in Florida.
Xc) Support programs to provide prison inmates with vocational and job-related skills and job-placement assistance when released.
Xd) End parole for repeat violent offenders.
Xe) Implement penalties other than incarceration for certain non-violent offenders.
Xf) Decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
g) Strengthen penalties and sentences for drug-related crimes.
h) Minors accused of a violent crime should be prosecuted as adults.
Xi) Require that crimes based on race, ethnic background, religious belief, sex, age, disability, or sexual orientation be prosecuted as hate crimes.
Xj) Increase state funding for community centers and other social agencies in areas with at-risk youth.
Xk) Strengthen sex-offender laws.
Xl) Support the restriction of the sale of products used to make methamphetamine (e.g. tablets containing pseudophedrine, ephedrine and phenylpropanolamine).
m) Other or expanded principles

I believe our criminal justice system needs to treat individuals who are continually convicted of crimes related alcoholism or other substance abuse addictions as mentally ill rather than as regular criminals. I believe we must focus our tax dollars more on preventing violent crime
d) 3 strikes
f) but high civil fines

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding education.
a) Support national standards and testing of public school students.
Xb) Support a constitutional amendment to provide parents with state-funded vouchers to send their children to any public school.
c) Support a constitutional amendment to provide parents with state-funded vouchers to send their children to any private or religious school.
Xd) Increase state funds for school capital improvements (e.g. buildings and infrastructure).
Xe) Increase funds for hiring additional teachers.
Xf) Require that 65 percent of Florida's education funding be spent in the classroom.
Xg) Support teacher testing and reward with merit pay.
h) Endorse voluntary prayer in public schools.
i) Support requiring public schools to administer high school exit exams.
Xj) Provide state funding to increase teacher salaries.
k) Increase funding for Head Start programs.
Xl) Provide state funding for tax incentives and financial aid to help make college more affordable.
m) Relax class-size limits for Florida public schools.
Xn) Support sexual education programs that include information on abstinence, contraceptives, and HIV/STD prevention methods.
o) Support abstinence-only sexual education programs.
p) Other or expanded principles
Employment: Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding employment.
Xa) Increase funding for state job-training programs that retrain displaced workers and teach skills needed in today's job market.
b) Reduce state government regulations on the private sector in order to encourage investment and economic expansion.
Xc) Provide low interest loans and tax credits for starting, expanding, or relocating businesses.
Xd) Provide tax credits for businesses that provide child care for children in low-income working families.
Xe) Increase state funds to provide child care for children in low-income working families.
Xf) Support the inclusion of sexual orientation in Florida's anti-discrimination laws.
Xg) Increase the state minimum wage.
h) Other or expanded principles
Affirmative Action: Should race, ethnicity or gender be taken into account in state agencies' decisions on:
Yesa) Public employment
Yesb) State college and university admissions
Yesc) State contracting
d) Other or expanded principles

I believe economically challenged individuals should also be added to this list of protected classes

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding the environment and energy.
Xa) Promote increased use of alternative fuel technology.
b) Support increased production of traditional domestic energy sources (e.g. coal, natural gas, and oil).
Xc) Use state funds to clean up former industrial and commercial sites that are contaminated, unused, or abandoned.
Xd) Increase funding for improvements to Florida's power generating and transmission facilities.
Xe) Support funding for open space preservation.
Xf) Enact environmental regulations even if they are stricter than federal law.
g) Other or expanded principles

I believe Florida has a responsibility to protect two national treasures with our borders: The Everglades and our beaches. While this may require us to force businesses and government to internalize environmental costs, we have a national duty and a duty to tourism to do so.

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding guns.
a) Maintain and strengthen the enforcement of existing state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
b) Ease state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
c) Repeal state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns.
d) Allow citizens to carry concealed guns.
e) Require background checks on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows.
Xf) Require a license for gun possession.
g) Other or expanded principles
Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding health.
Xa) Ensure that citizens have access to basic health care through managed care, insurance reforms, or state-funded care where necessary.
b) Transfer current Medicaid recipients into managed care programs.
c) Limit the amount of punitive damages that can be awarded in medical malpractice lawsuits.
Xd) Support patients' right to sue their HMOs.
e) Guaranteed medical care to all citizens is not a responsibility of state government.
Xf) Legalize physician assisted suicide in Florida.
g) Allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to their patients for medicinal purposes.
Xh) Other or expanded principles

d) ...with a prevailing party attorneys fees provision to discourage frivolous lawsuits

Indicate which principles you support (if any) regarding welfare.
Xa) Support increased work requirements for able-bodied welfare recipients.
Xb) Increase funding for employment and job training programs for welfare recipients.
Xc) Increase access to public transportation for welfare recipients who work.
Xd) Redirect welfare funding to faith-based and community-based private organizations.
e) Use federal TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) funds to extend health and child care subsidies to the working poor.
Xf) Support marriage promotion programs for welfare recipients.
g) Eliminate government-funded welfare programs.
Xh) Remove the cap on affordable housing spending in Florida.
i) Other or expanded principles
Please explain in a total of 75 words or less, your top two or three priorities if elected. If they require additional funding for implementation, please explain how you would obtain this funding.

Lower State Debt -- reinstate prior intangibles tax and vote against most local impact state funding ("pork")

Growth Management -- statewide program creating land trusts to assure ample "green space" for the future

Education -- (a) Increase teacher salaries (b) enforce class size amendment (c) reject school vouchers (d) deemphasize FCAT as Rating tool

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