It is hard to get people to change deeply held beliefs, so I was not surprised when there was pushback to my letter claiming most people move to Florida for the weather, taxes, and beaches and not for deepening red politics.
Recently, the Chronicle published three Sound-Offs in response to my letter. One asked where I got my information?
I used information from several sources: I googled "Why do people move to Florida?" and got ten answers immediately. None had to do with politics. I then checked Moving.com, NomadsMD.com, Tampa Bay Times, and the South Florida Reporter. Only one outliner, The Cato Institute, mentioned politics as a reason to move to Florida. The rest had ten-plus reasons people moved to Florida, and none were politics.
The other two responses were the reason I wrote the letter. One Sound-Off said: "If you don't like Florida the way it is, go back north." The other said: "We don't think it is an improvement to bring blue state politics here," one said.
My response. If you're happy that 71% of our school kids are eligible for free or reduced lunches, don't consider blue state policies a possible solution, even if they work.
If you're ok with Florida being ranked 31 out of 50 states in affordability. Don't change anything, even if another state has a workable solution to ease our burden.
Just remember, Florida ranks 48 in the nation in access to healthcare. We have a statewide poverty rate of 12.7%. We rank 45th in state funding for schools. We rank in the bottom half of states on economic opportunity, healthcare, quality of life, and pollution. If you're ok with this, stick your head in the sand and don't change.
But if you want a better Florida, be open to considering change, even from a blue state.
Massachusetts, New Jersey, Minnesota, and New York are top-tier states ranked higher than Florida in many areas considered essential for a state's health. All are blue states that might have solutions to some of our problems.
Florida is an exceptional state with a lot going for it. We should garner the best answers to our concerns no matter the state's color. (Most of this information comes from the US News and World Report.)