Tony Dunbar's Campaign Issues

Make Insurance Affordable Again

Insurance costs won't go down, unless we do something about it! Read...

Prioritize Environment Over Out-of-control Development

The aquifer of clean water that all of Florida depends upon is in danger. Read...

Restore Local Decision Making: stop Tallahassee's meddling in our local issues

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Bring Affordable Housing to Young and Working People

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Restore a Woman's Right to Determine Her Own Healthcare

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Restore Civility and Common Sense to Government

Enough mud-slinging! Enough fighting meaningless cultural wars! Let's not be distracted. Let's get back to insult-free, common- sense government and make some badly needed progress for Florida!

Make Insurance Affordable Again

Insurance costs won't go down, unless we do something about it!

In the best of times, insurance companies were happy to sell homeowner policies in sunny Florida. Companies competed for our business and rates were reasonable. Hurricane Ian changed that. Insurance companies fled the state, feigned bankruptcy, cancelled policies, and left behind a mountain of unpaid claims, ruined properties, and ruined lives. Tallahassee shouldn't ignore a problem of this magnitude, but it has barged ahead with absolutely the wrong approach to fixing it. Florida's “insurer of last resort,” Citizens, is controlled by political appointees including three insurance company executives, two real estate developers, and a casino operator. They are dedicated to “depopulating” Citizens of its most valuable assets. They are turning those homeowners over to low-tier insurance companies which may immediately raise premiums by up to 20%. So far, 275,000 Citizens customers have been forced to change providers.

A better course is to shore up Citizens. For starters, add regular “citizens” to the Citizens Board of Governors, like a consumer representative, a mobile home park resident, or a homemaker. Under Citizens, it is taxpayers who ultimately bear the risk of natural disasters. But, why should existing taxpayers bear the risk of every new home being built in Florida? The easy answer is that they shouldn't. The “impact fees” levied upon new home developments, which finance public costs for new roads that developers make necessary, should also be devoted to strengthening Citizens, the company that realistically may become the insurer of each new home built.

Private insurers who wish to be approved for business in Florida should be required to satisfy rigorous financial screening, maintain capital sufficient to actually pay claims in the event of a major natural disaster, and should be obligated to remain in Florida for a period of at least ten years.

Private insurers who wish to be approved for business in Florida should be required to satisfy rigorous financial screening, maintain capital sufficient to actually pay claims in the event of a major natural disaster, and should be obligated to remain in Florida for a period of at least ten years.

Hurricanes and sea level rise are our problems in Florida. While some envision a future national approach to insuring homeowners in the many states that face natural disasters, we live in the present day, and it is up to us to provide a “Florida solution.” Living in Florida should not just be a right for the super wealthy. Along with sharing the plentiful sunshine and bountiful water, all Floridians share the risk of hurricanes. Let's protect against that risk with a sensible approach that preserves affordable insurance for all of the people who live here.

Letter to the editor, The Daily SUN, May 23, 2024

In a recent “Letter to the Editor,” a reader wrote “Insurance companies pay executives millions and those of us who are at lifetime lows are left holding the bag. This election cycle I will be looking for solutions Mr. Politicians!”

One candidate, Tony Dunbar who is running for State Representative in District 75 in Charlotte and Sarasota Counties, has pledged to fight hard for lower insurance rates. His proposals include increasing accountability of the Citizens Insurance Board by including regular citizens – not only Tallahassee insiders, requiring insurance companies who reap immense profits from Florida’s billion dollar insurance business to provide years' advance notice before leaving the state, preventing Citizens from giving away its best policies to private insurers who are free to raise rates up to 20% in the first year, beefing up the state's subsidy of the reinsurance market, and preventing insurance companies from siphoning off their profits to out-of-state subsidiaries. If you vote in District 75, you will have a choice this year.

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Port Charlotte, Florida

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Bring Affordable Housing to Young and Working People

District 75, which spans much of Sarasota County and Charlotte County, is a great place to work — if you can afford a place to live. It is no secret that home ownership is expensive here, and as YOUNG and WORKING PEOPLE know, affordable rentals are hard to find. As a result, many of the people we depend upon to make our community livable, and the young people we hope will keep our future bright, make the economic decision to leave the area. I support current efforts to create affordable housing for the elderly, the disabled, and low-income families. My pledge is to explore additional programs aimed at supporting young people trying to get a start and those who are holding a decent job.

If you have a full time job at $20 an hour, you are making a little over $40,000 a year before taxes. If you carve out 30% of that for rent, then you can afford about $1,000 per month for rent. GOOD LUCK finding a place in Port Charlotte or Englewood at that price! I support expanding the development of Alternative Dwelling Units,” which are apartments a homeowner can build (or re-purpose from a garage), either attached to the house or on the same lot. ADU's create affordable housing, and they create income for homeowners. However, anyone now wishing to construct an ADU must navigate a labyrinth of local zoning and building codes which seem designed to discourage progress. My pledge is to support ADU's and streamlined rules for their development.

And let's look at affordable metal houses, concrete structures and bungalows. They are popping up in District 75. I support these innovative approaches to creating single-family housing that is relatively affordable to own and occupy or to buy as investment property for rentals, and I will work with neighbors to clear away regulatory impediments to their construction.

By the time students graduate from a state college or university, Florida taxpayers have invested many thousands of dollars into their training. Often, however, those students can't find an affordable place to live in District 75 — so they leave and never return. I would support a two-year rental subsidy of $500 a month to any student who graduates with a C+ average from a state school, and who has a job in the area. That's not a give-away any more than a taxpayer-subsidized education is a give-away. It is protecting the investment you already made in educating a hard-working and qualified young Floridian.

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Prioritize Environment Over Out-of-control Development

The aquifer of clean water that all of Florida depends upon is in danger. It is disturbing that in June, Florida aquifer levels were at 29% in the South region, which is where we live. A year ago they were at 58% according to Southwest Florida Water management District. The “streamflow” of the Peace River at Arcadia was at 10%, well below its normal range of 25-75%. Weather may fluctuate, but the demands on the aquifer just grow and grow as more residential developments come on line. We are depleting our own future as the price of permitting sprawling growth.

I support OVERTURNING Tallahassee's restrictions and restoring county governments' ability to increase the “impact fees” paid by real estate developers. If the voters of Charlotte and Sarasota Counties wish to, they should have the right to raise “impact fees” to compensate for the loss of water quality and natural habitat as well as the infrastructure expenses of new subdivisions.

The result of combining out-of-control development with artificially low “impact fees” is that existing residents and homeowners are giving a free ride to the developers and newcomers who are not paying for the environmental and infrastructure costs they impose.

I also strongly support passage of a constitutional amendment creating in Florida a fundamental right to clean and healthy waters.

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Restore Local Decision Making: stop Tallahassee's meddling in our local issues

I support HOME RULE. You and your neighbors know best how to run your communities. Yet, the titans of Tallahassee have stripped from local governments (like Charlotte and Sarasota Counties, North Port, Venice, and even communities like Englewood, Wellen Park and Rotonda) the power to make dozens of decisions affecting their own quality of life and local oversight. These range from the truly picky, like prohibiting local communities from banning plastic single-use grocery bags (which often end up fouling our rivers and lakes) to the critically important, such as prohibiting counties from raising the “impact fees” they charge real estate developers by more than 3% in a year.

Tallahassee legislators voted to abolish all local laws concerning vacation rentals, because they believe they know better than you and your neighbors what kind of activities should go on next door. Governor DeSantis (while courting corn farmers in Iowa) vetoed a Florida bill requiring state and local governments, colleges and universities to buy vehicles based on lowest lifetime costs. You get to pay more taxes so that state vehicles can use ethanol instead of electricity. Buildings in Sarasota can now be higher than the City Commission permitted, thanks to Tallahassee.

The word for this is “Preemption,” and it has become Tallahassee’s automatic response to anything a local government wants to do that might offend some special interest. If a town wants to mandate rest periods in the shade for roofers working in the blistering heat, Tallahassee passes a statute preempting that right, which means the right has been taken away from local government. If a county wants to discourage the use of sunscreen brands that end up in the Gulf and kill the coral, Tallahassee passes a statute taking away that right. Who benefits from these assaults on local freedoms? Special interest groups that give campaign contributions, not you! The best, and most accountable, government is closest to the people it affects. Trust your neighbors, not Tallahassee.

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Restore a Woman's Right to Determine Her Own Healthcare

About six-in-ten (63%) say abortion should be legal in all or most cases, according to an April 2024 poll by the Pew Research Center.

I support Amendment 4 which will be on the Florida ballot on November 5. The Amendment provides that:

No law shall prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion before viability or when necessary to protect the patient's health, as determined by the patient's healthcare provider. This amendment does not change the Legislature's constitutional authority to require notification to a parent or guardian before a minor has an abortion.

I agree with the sentiments expressed by a letter-writer to The Daily Sun.

I am perplexed that the “Freedom Party” seems focused on stripping freedoms away from the rest of us. One of the most troubling is stripping the right of women to the medical freedom we’ve enjoyed for decades. (Men, I might add, would never think of control over their bodies as “medical freedom” that could be taken away — they wouldn't stand for it!)

Fifty percent of women seeking to terminate a pregnancy live below the poverty line; sixty percent already have children. (CDC statistics) The most common reason for their decision is to provide a better life for the children they already have. Isn't that the right and responsibility of every parent?

Forty-five percent of women who decide to end a pregnancy are married or live with a domestic partner. What about these men? Aren't they in the best position to work together with their wives / partners and decide the right way forward for their families? Are these men “free” when federal and state legislators (majority male) make the most intimate decisions a husband and wife can make — taking away their fundamental right to control their own lives?

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Englewood, Florida

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