Progressive advocate group For Florida’s Future unveiled their new billboard Monday, featuring a quote from President Barack Obama praising and endorsing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
On Thursday, four community leaders made their case: Hillary Clinton has to be the next president, both to preserve Obama’s legacy and to ensure the next president represents all Americans — which her opponent, Donald Trump, does not, they said.
State Sen. Geraldine Thompson, City Commissioner Regina Hill, Bishop Kevin Cobaris, and Beverlye Neal of the National Congress of Black Women appeared to make that case. They said Obama had been a great president for eight years on everything from education to women’s rights and black peoples’ rights, and it was important that Trump not get elected and unravel those achievements.
“Hillary Clinton understands the problems we are facing,” Thompson said. “She understands we need to reinstate the assault weapon ban. She understands we need to help people who don’t have health care, and that health care is a right and not a privilege.”
She also criticized Trump for refusing to pay his taxes for years.
“Trump refuses to pay taxes for education,” she said. “He says he loves the poorly educated, but he won’t pay his fair share. Hillary Clinton supports education. I am with her.”
Hill offered an impassioned contrast between the two candidates.
“We must preserve his legacy by passing the baton to Hillary Clinton,” she said, paraphrasing Obama’s quote on the billboard, placed along Interstate 4 in Orlando. “What do we call the baton? We call the baton hope, we call the baton equality, we call the baton fairness. The thing that we despise is someone who will segregate not only the United States, but the world.”
She cited some of Obama’s most luminous achievements as helping reduce the number of people without insurance, moving the country forward on climate change, and helping the country’s economy out of the recession.
Clinton, likewise, would be good at making sure everyone’s voice is heard and working across the aisle with the Republicans, Hill said, based on her previous experiences in public office and in her life as a whole.
Neal said Obama represented to the black community a beacon of hope, a “Moses”-like figure who showed many African-American children that someone who looked like them could take the country’s highest office. Trump, by contrast, has only elevated racist, bigoted, divided language, Neal said.
“In 2016, racism has never played out like this campaign,” she said. “I was alive in the ’60s, and it wasn’t even this bad then. Donald Trump’s degrading remarks do not depict the black community as it is. I grew up in a black home as a child, and I was raised in a village. He doesn’t know what it’s like. He is going off what he sees in comic books or on YouTube. It’s not true — it’s made up.”
She said she hoped the billboard would do its job and convince people Clinton was the best choice.
“Go out and vote like your life depended on it,” she said. “Because it does.”
For Florida’s Future press secretary Blake Williams said the sign’s placement on I-4 was crucial, as Florida — and especially Orlando — is a swing area. So the billboard was placed in an area he said could potentially decide the whole election.
The billboard will remain up for four weeks.