Attorneys are Human Too, a Podcast

Episode 20-Senator Lori Berman

October 12, 2020 Florida State Senator Lori Berman Season 1 Episode 20
Attorneys are Human Too, a Podcast
Episode 20-Senator Lori Berman
Show Notes Transcript

Join Host Attorney Steve Wallace and Co-Host Celena Muzic both of The Wallace Law Group, PL as they interview Florida State Senator Lori Berman about Florida Politics, her road to the Legislature, and pop culture.  It is an episode not to miss. 

Steve Wallace:

we have an extremely special guest today. We have Senator Lori Berman, and she is the Senator in my area, which includes point and beach Lake worth, and some other parts of Palm beach County. It's truly a pleasure. Thank you so much, Senator Berman for joining us.

Lori Berman:

Thank you for having me this morning.

Steve Wallace:

And it's truly a pleasure. We've known each other for a long time. I remember that I met you when you first were running for state representative. I think that I believe it was a 2008 or 2009. when I was the, club president of the Boca Delray democratic club and a mutual friend of ours, Andre Philadelphia said I have a great. Candidate that I want you to meet. And we've been friends ever since. And I'm so happy for you that I'm in 2016, you jumped to the senior chamber in the Florida legislature, and it's again, truly a pleasure to have.

Lori Berman:

Thank you so much. Yeah. I started running in 2009. So that's probably when we met and I actually jumped to the chamber in 2018, but that's something I'll take the extra that's all right. No problem.

Steve Wallace:

time flies when you're in, when you're in quarantine

Lori Berman:

I never know what day of the week it is anymore or what number. but yeah, no, and I'm really happy to represent you because I really have enjoyed working with you.

Steve Wallace:

Senator Berman has also been a practicing Florida attorney for many years. So if you could just let us know, where you grew up as well as what made you decide to become an attorney.

Lori Berman:

Sure. So I grew up in plantation, Florida. my family moved to originally to Margate floor 1958, and then we moved to plantation and I went to, Nova high school in Broward County. And I, Oh, I was always, I don't know why, but I was always that kid who was going to be an attorney from a young age. I decided, what am I. Parents friends tell us the story that at my bat mitzvah, he said to me, what do you want to be? And I said, I want to be the first woman Supreme court justice. so I got beat at that pretty early. So I moved on from that. Cool. But it was always something that I knew that I wanted to do. And it's funny because. No one in my family is an attorney. It's not like I had a role model to look up to, but it was maybe it was too much Perry, Mason or something, but I was always what I wanted to do. Law school is tough. I think everybody knows that, it's a tough time period, but you just. do your best, the Socratic methods, a whole different way of learning that you'll be exposed to, but I'm sure, it's a great means to an end because whatever you do in life, having that legal background and the way you now have to approach problems, because you've learned it in law school, analyzing the issue and trying to find solutions, will. I fit you throughout life. you just gotta grind it out for those three years and once you get through it, the rewards are great. Good. it's exciting. It's exciting. it's a great career.

Celena Muzic:

what made you decide to go into politics?

Lori Berman:

So that was also something, yeah, I was always interested in also when I was in high school. So first I knew I wanted to be a lawyer. And then when I was in high school, a good friend of mine, his father ran for Congress and we all got involved in the campaign. It was so fun it was Bernie Friedman is an attorney with Becker Poliakoff in Broward County. Bernie and I were really good friends in high school. And his father who was a dentist just said, I want to run for Congress. And he ran for the seat and we all worked on the campaign. It was so fun. even my parents got involved in the campaign. He did not win, but, it was, that was really the spark that got me involved. And then eventually Larry Smith ran for that seat and didn't win it. And Bernie Freedman became Larry's, chief of staff. And when I went to law school in. I went to law school in George Washington because I liked politics. And when I went to law school, I would hang out with Bernie and Bernie was also going to law school at American university, but he was a year behind. Yeah. and my brother had work, was working for Larry Smith's office on the Hill. So I always saw that part of the political scene when I was in law school. And it was always like, yeah, this is something I would be interested in and I would like to pursue. So it was always in the back of my mind that maybe I would run for office later on. And that's one thing I do want to talk about and that's women, how things have changed a little bit, what, at that time on unforeseen, unfortunately, or fortunately that's just the way it was is my goal was first. I wanted to raise a family and I didn't feel like I could do both at the same time. Whereas I see all these young women now in the Florida legislature and they're doing both at the same time and it's great. Yeah. And I think, if men can do both at the same time, women should be able to do both at the same time, too.

Steve Wallace:

Absolutely.

Celena Muzic:

Absolutely. Do you feel that it's a little bit different? Running or being in politics as a woman, as opposed to men.

Lori Berman:

Yeah. it's still, there's still a lot of old boys club stuff that goes on in Tallahassee. We're up to about 28%, I think right now, even though we're 50% of the population, so it should be 50 50. We're not quite there, but the numbers are. Continuing to increase in the Florida legislature and hopefully in Washington, D C also. but there is a little bit of that old boys club stuff, but we're starting to see, progress being made. I then not this year, Senate president, but the next. Senate president is, will be a woman, which will be really exciting. Oh, that's

Steve Wallace:

great.

Lori Berman:

Yeah. And we have had a few Senate presidents when Margolis was the Senate president. So there have been a few women's Senate presidents, but we need more. And there has not yet been a speaker of the house, in the Florida legislature who was female. So we need to, we need more women. Hopefully we'll get,

Steve Wallace:

yes. let's hope so. So politics was always a passion of yours. So what steps or take, or who pushed you to make the jump and in 2009, For the first day.

Lori Berman:

So I had, then I, as I was, continuing to raise my children and work, I worked for Congressman Robert Wexler. I had worked, I had volunteered on his campaign. I love doing campaigns and I volunteered. And after the campaign was over, another woman who had worked on the campaign and I, I don't know who approached, who they said, do you guys want to split a job? And, cause. I w at that time, my kids were still young. So I said, sure. So I went to work part time for the congressmen. And then, and then it's, I decided I was doing constituent services. It wasn't really using my law degree. And I said, I need to make a change. And at that time I actually considered running then, and that was about 2000, actually it was around 2000. And I thought about running, but I made the decision at that time to wait. I did meet with some people and talk about it a little bit. And I made the decision to wait. And I actually, at that time, decided to go back to school and I went to university of Miami and I got an LLM in estate planning. Yeah. So at that time I decided, all right, rather than do politics, I'll go back. You full time into law. So I went back and got that LLC. And then I practiced for a couple of years. Then my kids got older and I said, and I was still always interested in politics, but I hadn't really, and I will give credit where credit is due. I was at a victory party for Obama in 2008. And, It was actually Ron Klein's victory party also. And Kevin Rader came up to me and he said, Lori, I think you should run to be as state rep and I'll help you. And, unfortunately they say women often need to be asked and have somebody say, push them to do it. Yeah. And that was my impetus. he did ask me and pushed me. I am, I don't know if I'd really been thinking about it at that point in time. Since then, cause men, no one has to push them to run. They wake up in the morning and they put on their pants and we know people who say I'm running for president and most situations. but, so I did, I started exploring it and and I made the decision to run that and then I'm really happy I did. It was a great decision and I'm so glad I've been involved. it's very fulfilling. You get to really. Be involved in, it's funny. I feel like it's the handle, it's an issue. I'm in the room where it happens. so I get to be part of a lot of the decision making and I get to help people. It's really rewarding to be able to know that you're changing people's lives and. I'm a true policy walk, I guess like a lot of lawyers, I don't mind reading statutes and I don't mind, I don't mind doing my, some of my own bill drafting and, for me it's a perfect fit. that's great.

Steve Wallace:

here's the one thing I can definitely say for those listeners that are in our area. I want to give a big shout out to, Lori and her office to constituent services and my very good friend, Abby, Rossouw made this possible. We've been friends for many years and I know she works very hard

Lori Berman:

for all of

Steve Wallace:

the citizens in that area.

Lori Berman:

I have great staff. Abby's been wind beat since I started. There was a brief time period where we, but, she's amazing. And I owe so much to her constituents services are so important and she works so hard. And now since session ended. My staff has worked full time around the clock on the unemployment issues, because it's been such a disaster here in the state of Florida.

Steve Wallace:

Yeah. If you could elaborate a little bit on that as well.

Lori Berman:

sure. Absolutely. our unemployment system was set up in 2013 when they hired Deloitte to do the, System. It never was the same instructions that they gave to Deloitte, basically we're to make it hard for people to collect. That was like the ultimate goal of the system. So even before COVID hit only 11% of the people who filed for unemployment, who were eligible for unemployment in the state were getting unemployment insurance. So then COVID bits and millions of people are logging in into the system. The system just is. Inadequate. We had to start taking applications by mail, which was crazy. Yeah, it was so crazy. And to this day they put in hundreds of thousands of dollars. They've had to hire call centers. And even with that, we have. Hundreds of thousands of people who have put in claims who still haven't even received anything. And we have many people who put in a claim, got a partial payment and then never got another payment. it's a true disaster. And they know that, the governor has actually asked it, so the governor takes. It was done under governor Scott. And he put some pressure on, saying it was done under him and which he is certainly at fault. but there were three audits since it was done, including, audit when the governor took over, which clearly said that there were problems in it. so the governors has asked for an inspector general to look into what happened when the, the system was actually put in place. But I can tell you, we basically need to scrap it. And just all the hundreds of thousands of dollars we put in, it was $73 million, actually all the millions of dollars. It was 73 million when the system was first put in place. And at this point we need to scrap it right. And move on because it has failed the people, the state, as many people know. They are in dire need and they're not getting the aid that they need from the state that they're entitled to, because this is what unemployment insurance is supposed to cover a situation like this, where people are out of work through no fault of their own.

Steve Wallace:

So Senator, I just have a followup question to that. So you initially said that by basically about 11%. Of folks that apply or are getting it. And so during COVID has that even dropped further. And then I guess the followup that is what happens for assistance? Have you given your constituents? So they were able to qualify. Yeah. it's in the beginning, I think when people were applying, it did drop lower. but now the numbers are higher. Definitely. they're, they're doing a better job of getting more people covered. we are on the phone. We are sending, we are doing everything. We can, we have a relationship. With the, they actually just put in a new head of the department employment and he was a legislator with me. He has been on the phone with all of us saying, what can we do to fix this? What do we need to do? And the person before him was someone from Palm beach County, Jonathan Sater and he's been trying, he inherited a huge mess. the person before him actually ended up resigning recently. I can't blame Jonathan Sater he inherited a very bad system and he's done trying the best he can. but we are in, so if somebody needs help call my office, (561) 292-6014. And we do have a little better in, and we can, hopefully put you, get in touch with the office and have them call you and work with you because we don't have access to the system. I guess my next question would be, you've been in Tallahassee for about 10 years now. Can you tell us what's changed since when you started in the state house to now.

Lori Berman:

Yeah. So what I would say, one of the biggest changes has been the budget, but how that will happen now remains to be seen. When I started the budget was in the six, like $68 billion and we just did our last budget at $92 billion. So we've got up a third, right? Exactly.

Steve Wallace:

money coming from.

Lori Berman:

Yeah, good question. Our population has grown, so there's been increased. Sales was tax, and property tax property values continue to rise for the most part. so there's some increased property taxes. we do, we have one requirement in Tallahassee that's to do a balanced budget. That's it? That's all we have to do. And we do that every year. We do have balanced budget in the state. so I would say that's probably the biggest change. We are continuing to grow the state of Florida, the number of people in the state, the amount of money that we spend in the budget. And, as the number of people rises, we have higher healthcare costs. We have higher education costs. so everything, increases now. I am not sure. We, they just didn't a joint legislative budget conference last week and they said we're down about $2.3 billion already from last year. So I anticipate. Yeah. Yeah. So I anticipate we're going to take a pretty significant hit to the budget. This coming year.

Steve Wallace:

That's billions with a B everybody. Yeah.

Lori Berman:

billions. So I'm hoping that we also not just cut everything because. Now more than ever, we need our social services. but I, yeah, we look for some other sources of income. For instance, the internet sales tax Florida is one of, I think only two States that doesn't require that we cannot collect the internet sales tax. We actually have it on the books that we're supposed to collect it, we just don't do it. and that could be, that will not, that won't even be a billion dollars, but it'll be like six, seven, 800 million. So that would,

Steve Wallace:

and close it. we're adding to that. Whereas we're lessening the deficit.

Lori Berman:

Exactly. And I think there's other things that yeah, you can do. There's there's a lot of them, very big corporations have figured out how not to pay taxes in the state of Florida. And that's a pretty big loophole that we could close, which could lead to that. And then right now, these. The Indian tribes are not paying any money to the state for their gambling right Avenue, because there was a little TIFF back. So it wouldn't be a bad idea if we resolve that with the Indian tribes and figured out how to get some money from revenue from their gambling revenues. So that's another source of income that we could look at. And I think we're going to have to be creative this session we're going to need to.

Celena Muzic:

margarita providing some sort of relief because of COVID to these property owners, that, have deferred their mortgage payment or won't be able to pay or have lost their jobs and are still on the list waiting for their unemployment benefits. And even if they get that, it's probably not enough to pay their mortgage. W

Steve Wallace:

we handle a lot of bankruptcies in our office. So similar to the constituent calls that you get after they call you, then they call us. So we probably get five or 10 calls a day from homeowners that can't pay their mortgages, another five or 10 from tenants that can't pay their lease payments. So it's pretty tough out there right now.

Lori Berman:

Yeah. Wow. That's a pretty big number. That's just discouraging. So a couple of different things. Palm beach County does have some character money that they're using to help people pay their rent and their mortgage. the application process was closed in the end of August, and I believe they had about 6,000 applicants, but they're hoping that if. Once they get through that group, they might reopen that in October. So that's something the thing to keep in mind. obviously, I'm sure there are people who are asking for forbearance from their lenders and their, landlords. but it's a huge problem and it's going to be a big problem. And I'm not sure about the issue about property taxes, doing anything right now in the state of Florida. Anytime you do anything that affects property taxes. It has to be a constitutional amendment. it has to go through, cause you're changing the amount that people owe. so I don't think that they're, we don't have time now to do a constitutional amendment saying okay, if somebody can prove that they're, they can't pay their property taxes because of coven, they should get a break. Yeah. I mean that, to me, that's the only way at this point that we're going to do it. And interestingly, would that care act money? they are paying the mortgagee or they are paying the landlord directly, which I think is great. if you prove you can't pay your mortgage, you're, they're going to pay the mortgage for you, but it's not going to go to you. It's going to go to your mortgage company, or your landlord, to make sure that the money goes exactly where you said you said, you're having the, so we'll see how this all plays out, but it's going to be a really tough session. I am sure we are. I remember 2010 when I started, which was right around the great recession and we were cutting everything and things were really cut to the bone. And I don't want to have to do that again. And that's why I'd like us to look for other sources of income so that we don't have to cut programs that are really crucial right now.

Steve Wallace:

Okay. My next question for you, Senator Berman is when you first started in the legislature, was there a mentor or someone, some colleague that you had that kind of helped you through the ropes?

Lori Berman:

That's a good question. I would say our leader at the time in the legislature who was Ron Saunders, who was from the key West area or the keys area, he was great. He really, he took it upon himself to mentor all the new legislators in my class. Of Democrats, especially the Republicans had about 30 new legislators that year. And I think we had nine in the democratic class, so we were pretty tiny, so it was easier for them, but because we were so outnumbered, we also didn't have a real chance to like, sit back. And watch, we were like thrown in there. Like you got to get up, you got to stand up on the floor, you gotta talk, you gotta be part of it because you can't, we didn't have enough numbers for somebody to just sit back and learn and watch the situation. so Ron Saunders really helped us get in there and learn how to stand up and speak and, be part of the process. I would say he did a really good job of that.

Steve Wallace:

you're definitely a success story. You've been in the legislature for awhile, right?

Lori Berman:

Yeah.

Steve Wallace:

So along those lines, everybody comments that the Florida Senate is a lot more collegial than the Florida house. So my question is who is your Republican bestie in the Senate?

Lori Berman:

Ooh, that's a good question. It's my Republican bestie in the Senate. That's a really good question. I dunno. my office was near Debbie Mayfield's and she was the chair of a lot of the committees of some of the committees that I was on having to do with the environment. And she was really, she was, yeah, she was trying to, she actually got legislation passed. That, some of the environmental groups feel like it didn't go far enough, but I'm one of those people who believes don't let perfect be the enemy of good. so we got it through. So I would say Debbie was one of the people that I've worked with the most, in the legislature.

Steve Wallace:

Okay, but my next question is that you've been in the legislature a while. So what bill that you've passed is your pride and joy.

Lori Berman:

what bill am I the most proud of? Okay. So the bill that I'm the most proud of? I have three. Okay. Okay. Perfect.

Steve Wallace:

we'll want to hear all three of them.

Lori Berman:

Okay. So the first one was, that we added. To state law to say that you can't discriminate against pregnant women in the workplace. So that was really exciting. We already have federal law on that issue, but that made it a lot harder for people to bring claims. Now that we have it under state law, it's real clear, do not discriminate against pregnant women in the workplace. so that was really a really good. Positive bill. the other bill that I liked was one of my local bills and it was just to change some, requirements so that we could build the ballpark of the Palm beaches. And I loved that. We were able to have to build the ballpark it's there. It's successful. It's working. We'll see. What happens when spring training hopefully resumed after coven?

Steve Wallace:

It's actually funny because I went, my best friend's father is a big Houston Astros fan. And we went to the game the Monday before everything was shut down. So we were one of the last people to take advantage of it.

Lori Berman:

Yeah, that's cool. Yeah. I really like it. And what I really like about it is partly why I ran is because I want to diversify our economy here in South Florida and then the whole state. And I want my children to be able to have jobs, good paying jobs. And I thought the ballpark was a really great way for us to diversify, to become a spring training hub. Since we have the other facility in Jupiter. and I'm really glad that I was able to be a part, a tiny part of promoting the ballpark of the Palm beaches. And then the bill that I am probably the most proud of is one that I don't get specific credit for, but I will take credit for it. and it's kinda, it's disturbing. before Parkland happened, I've always filed various gun control, legislation. And I do every year, I did a different one because they would never get any hearings, but the Republican legislature would never hear anything having to do with any kind of gun safety. so one year I did magazines one year. I did. You can't take a gun into a daycare center and one year I did, you can't take a gun into a hospital and, the year,

Steve Wallace:

Oh, common sense. All common sense bills that still aren't passed.

Lori Berman:

All gun safety. Exactly. But the year apart Parkland happened, I've been involved with some of the gun, when the, groups that promote gun safety. And so I know what kind of legislation is out there. And the year that Parkland happened, I filed a bill, which we called a risk protection order. And that bill, said that. A law enforcement personnel or a family member could go to court and ask for it gun to be removed from someone that they felt was a danger to themselves or to others. So needless to say, my bill was not moving at all was not getting any action. was another common sense. Gun prevention, gun violence prevention, bill and Parkland happened. And the governor. Went through and recommended that we pass my legislation. I actually had another bill too, about guns and domestic violence that he included on his list, but that one got shot down, not literally, but, by the legislature. But my risk protection order bill actually passed in the Florida legislature. they changed it. They would not include family members, which even this year we filed it, trying to include family members. I still think that's a good idea, but so far we haven't been real successful. We did get a hearing on that issue, but we didn't get it. Over the finish line at all? not really excited. I think it's amazing. So since then the bill has been passed, which was right after Parkland. So now we're coming up. I guess two years, that thousands of times it has been used. Law enforcement love it because up until now, they didn't have a way to get guns away from people who were in danger to themselves or to others. And this gives them the tool to take the guns away from people that they're worried about. And it's really worked out fantastic in the state. Most of the time when law enforcement files. They prevail because they're not they're doing it because they're worried. And the judge listens to the case. It's a full, blown hearing and everything you can do. You do an ex parte motion first, and then you have within, I think 10 or 14 days, you'd have to do a full. That actual hearing and decide if the gun should be removed. so I'm really proud of that legislation, even though it doesn't have my name on it. I know that I was the one who sponsored it and that it was because of that. I think because the legislation was just sitting out there when the governor started panicking after Parkland and looking what are we going to do? And that a piece of legislation was there and he made that recommendation. Very happy about that.

Steve Wallace:

That's excellent. So for those of our listeners that don't know you do have an election, in November. so could you tell our listeners, why they should vote for you for another term in the Senate?

Lori Berman:

Thank you. Yeah. So I really want to continue what I'm doing. And I think that given the environment that we're in right now with COVID. where we're seeing the economic collapse, here in the state of Florida and also the problems we're seeing with racial injustice here in the state, which I've been working on also I'm in the position to get right, to work on these issues again, to continue to be an advocate. like you said, I've worked very hard for my constituents and we're still gonna continue to do that. And I think that given my experience and my institutional knowledge, I'm the best person to be able to continue in this position. Fantastic.

Celena Muzic:

I want to know. Yes, we're having a lot of, Ratio out. I want to go into more detail on what you mean by that. And what does that mean? When it comes to law enforcement, because we've seen so much unrest and even call for, the funding, the police, what are your views? And can you elaborate a little bit more

Steve Wallace:

on that?

Lori Berman:

Absolutely. So right after everything happened with George Floyd, Melissa McKinley, and I were talking and she said we should arrange a panel. So we did. and she said, Commissioner McKinley and myself and, Congresswoman Lois Frankel. We convened a panel. We had people from all different walks of life on it panel. and then, we agreed that and we would keep the piano going I'm going to be working with my colleagues and bring legislation to, improve African American history in our schools. last year we improved Holocaust history and we need to do the same for African American history. Cause we're finding that these areas are falling very far short of where they were originally discussed when we put these items in there curriculum. so we are working, back to the issue of defunding police. I'm not a supporter. Of the defund police movement. I am a big public safety advocate, but what I do support and what I do want to see happen is take away some of the things from the police that they should never have been given in the first place. Like right now, our jails are number one, mental health provider. That's a disgrace. I just don't understand why, why we need to do more diverse mental health diversion, and we need to keep that away. And then a lot of the work that our police officers are doing is equivalent to social workers kind of jobs. And if we can take that away from them and give that to social workers and let them do the real crime issues, that would help things. And then I am, I do think the criminal justice system needs significant reform. We need to change some of the mandatory minimum sentencing. We need to really look at that as a holistic, idea also. So that's pretty much where I am, but I will say that the George Floyd killing, murder has really raised my consciousness. My awareness I've been reading books. I read a lot of the Abraham kidney's books, how to be an anti-racist. and I'm really. It devoting myself to being aware of the issues and trying to see what we can do to address them.

Celena Muzic:

very happy to hear that. I also want to know a little bit more about, because I find that it's very taboo to discuss mental health and even in the police department, even in our school systems,

Steve Wallace:

we had a guest on before she was a legal advisor to the city of plantation beliefs. And so she has a whole, we knew we had, we already have addressed this, but we're curious to hear.

Lori Berman:

Yeah, no mental health has always been high on my priorities years ago, even I did a bill, for mental health first aid, which is a program like CPR. Like they, that is going on that has, it's pretty popular in Palm beach County. and so the more people that. Are aware of mental and the program teaches you to look for the signs and what to do. If you see someone who has problems with mental health and the real purpose of it is to de-stigmatize the mental health problem, because it is a real pro health concern and people it's so stigmatized that people don't talk about it. And Florida unfortunately ranks 48th or 49th in mental health funding per person. we, we put some money from Parkland into the schools for more mental health counseling, but not enough. and that's, it's something that money would definitely help. We need more counselors, we need more awareness of it. and it's something I'm going to continue to advocate for it, but it's been a real uphill battle. In the Florida legislature, unfortunately,

Celena Muzic:

Blab your advocate and fighting for that because it's something just be being a bit younger. It's something that I always noticed, even in high school, I always felt okay, this person probably needs help, when you're young, it's what do you now?

Lori Berman:

They actually. They have a mental health first aid for, for children also that you can do, that focuses on children and they, and the teach. I think all the teachers in Palm beach County, a lot of them have been through that program. So to recognize, the signs of when somebody needs help, Great.

Celena Muzic:

That's great. we need more of that. I want to know what. Advice, would you give someone who's trying to decide what political party to run as a, and I say this because we have a friend who wants to run, but she doesn't know, she's clear on her views, but she doesn't know which party to really run for.

Steve Wallace:

we just don't think she should be in the party that she's two she's in Chicago.

Lori Berman:

Oh God. interestingly in Palm beach County, we're pretty democratic Cali. if you want to run for an office in Palm beach County and be successful, you pretty much have to be a Democrat. our supervisor of elections who just got elected was originally Republican and she switched her membership just, because she knew that in order to be elected on a countywide basis in this County, you need to have a Democrat behind your name, but. that being aside, I'm a Democrat, not so that I can be elected, but I'm a Democrat because of the values that I support and that the party supports. I'm a firm believer in, separation of church and state and, we're in women's reproductive rights. I'm a strong believer in, clean, having a clean environment and recognizing and addressing climate change. Something that the Republicans wouldn't even talk about. Journey eight years while I was in the Florida legislature, I believe that everybody should be entitled to healthcare. And I think we should have expanded Medicaid here in the state. And in Florida, we have about 800,000 people who have no health insurance because we have not been willing to expand Medicaid. and then I believe every child is entitled to a public, top rate public education so that they can succeed. And I've seen. The Republican party has become the party of vouchers and charter schools. And they're trying to hurt our public schools and not help our public schools. So those are the reasons why I, a Democrat because of the real policy issues that I find are much more are the issues that are in my heart. And then I believe in.

Steve Wallace:

my pop culture question is what is your favorite song of all time and why? And what does that song reminds you

Lori Berman:

of? Mine would definitely be sweet baby James by James Taylor. And it reminds me of when I went to summer camp in North Carolina and I was just in North Carolina last week and we drove by the camps and all the memories flooded back. it's a really nice memory and, and I love James Taylor. Excellent.

Celena Muzic:

Awesome. Okay. My question is what is your favorite movie of all time?

Lori Berman:

Ooh, that's a really hard question. I think, or like back to the future, it's just such a fun movie. I don't, I, I've seen it a lot of time. I would say that's probably my favorite movie of all time. That's a hard question though. I thought we're in a movie club right now. My husband and I. And we watch movies like we can once a month. And so I've gotten much more. So this Decatur that my movie watching now, we talk about the directors and the cinematography and all those things, but I just thought back to the future was just a lot of fun and very clever and very different movie than anything else I've ever seen.

Celena Muzic:

I love that because I just feel like that makes you the coolest

Steve Wallace:

I would love to be in a movie club. How do I join a movie club? That's

Lori Berman:

it? Yeah, just your friends. We just put it together. And then we actually, got somebody who's a movie critic and he comes and facilitates so great because he brings the level of discussion of much higher. then if we just sat around and talked about the movie and we don't, we got you see the movie on your own, and then we get together afterwards and talk about the movie.

Steve Wallace:

Awesome. Alright, Selena, take us home with a lightening round.

Lori Berman:

Okay.

Celena Muzic:

These are going to be very quick. This or that question? It's very easy. So pizza

Lori Berman:

or burgers? Pizza. Okay.

Celena Muzic:

Ocean or

Lori Berman:

mountain? Ooh, I love both. I love to be on the I'm on the beach and we also have a place in Colorado, so I love boats, but, I don't, I guess ocean would be number one, but I'm living with them.

Celena Muzic:

You're in the sunshine state.

Lori Berman:

So I wish it was number one, but I do like the mountains,

Celena Muzic:

movies or television series.

Lori Berman:

before coven, I would have said movies, but because of COVID, I have watched so many TV series. And I loved them. I just really, we just finished away the new Netflix series. and before that I saw in Yellowstone. And so I really liked the series because they keep, it's not just a one shot deal. You get involved with the characters and you really get to see some character development. So now I would switch to TV series

Celena Muzic:

keeps on giving,

Lori Berman:

right? Coffee or tea either. I don't drink hot drinks. Oh yeah. Okay. And

Celena Muzic:

lastly,

Lori Berman:

Batman or Superman? Oh, probably Superman. yeah, probably Superman and I'm not even sure why. I like both. I grew up with both Batman and Superman, but probably Superman. Clark.

Steve Wallace:

You are a first Superman, so that's yeah. Everybody likes Batman. Senator Berman. Thank you so much. If you could let all of our listeners know how to find you.

Lori Berman:

Certainly. as I said before, my office phone number is five six one. Two. Oh, two six two two zero nine four. I think I just had a senior moment there. I hope I said it right. I need to check that, and, the best way to reach me. If you need to email me, you can email Berman, B E R M a N dot Lori, L O R I dot web at. F L Senate S E N a T E gov. and I think the phone number is two nine two six Oh one four. Yeah. I don't know if I said that before, but it is two nine two six zero one four and that's area code five, six one. So anybody is welcome to call my office. We're happy to help you with any issue having to do with the state. You're not sure if it's state or federal, we're happy to address that also in and send you in the right direction. And if it's County, we'll send you in that direction also.

Steve Wallace:

Okay. Excellent. And don't and remind our voters that you do have an election on the ballot vote early

Lori Berman:

but if you can make sure you put in for your mail ballot, getting your mail ballot personally, put a plan together. Personally, my plan is to get my mail ballot, which is only the second time I've ever done it because I used to like to go, but now with COVID I'm not going. And then the actually dropping off at one of the drop sites, to make sure that it gets there. So that's my plan. Yeah. Make sure, put your plan together and make sure that you vote. Thank you.

Steve Wallace:

thank you so much, Senator Berman and good luck in November. And you're truly a great representative as this. And hopefully if all works out well, my, myself and my contingent we'll come visit you up in Tallahassee.

Lori Berman:

I hope so. I hope everybody. I hope we're able to be up there in person and have people come visit us. So we will say it's a great unknown this year, but thank you so much for having me on. It's been a lot of fun and, keep up the good work, Steve.