Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Nan Rich attacks Rick Scott on middle-class issues

Former State Sen. Nan Rich addresses a meeting about children's issues at Broward College South Campus.  (Miami Herald photo)
Former State Sen. Nan Rich addresses a meeting about children's issues at Broward College South Campus. (Miami Herald photo)

Democratic candidate for governor Nan Rich has been barnstorming the state, talking voters about the pressing needs of Florida’s middle class.

Rich, a former state senator from Broward County, is challenging Republican Gov. Rick Scott in 2014.

So far, she is the most prominent Democrat in the race, though much two bigger names are mulling a bid: former governor and Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist and former Florida chief financial officer Alex Sink, who lost to Scott in 2010.

If Rich is the nominee, she’ll face an uphill battled against the multimillionaire Scott when it comes to campaign cash, according to recent reports in the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times.

Rich was known as a passionate liberal advocate for children and social services during her time in the Legislature. As Scott held a "tax cut tour" around the state to promote his idea to cut $500 million in taxes and fees, Rich countered that the state needs to talk about what she considers under-funded services.

"We need to be taking a long hard look at funding the critical needs of the state," she said in a Sept. 11 blog from the Tampa Tribune. "We’re 48th in K-12 funding and 50th in higher education, we have 75,000 on waiting list for child care and 23,000 on waiting lists for CCE (in-home living assistance for the elderly). These are the middle class people we’re talking about."

We fact-checked two claims from Rich’s comments:  

• "We’re 48th in K-12 funding and 50th in higher education."

There are lots of different valid ways to measure education funding. One way is to compare how much money a state provides for education per pupil, and by that measure Florida ranked 48th according to the Census. For higher education spending, the National Education Association ranked Florida 50th for state and local expenditures in 2009-10. But more recent analysis we reviewed showed Florida higher than 50th. We rated the claim Half True.

• Florida has "75,000 on waiting list for child care and 23,000 on waiting lists" for community care for the elderly. Rich’s numbers were about one year old. The child care waiting list has dropped to about 61,000 as of July while the waiting list for community care for the elderly has grown to about 29,000 as of August. There are some caveats about both waiting lists. We rated that claim Mostly True.

Spot a claim in need of fact-checking about the governor’s race or any other topic? Tweet us at @politifactflorida or email us at truthometer@politifact.com.