In an open letter to the Lakeland City Commission yesterday, Republican state Senator Paula Dockery urged the commission to pass domestic partner benefits for city employees.
For months, Equality Florida has worked with local activists to push for employee benefits in the city of Lakeland.
"I would like to commend the Commission as a whole for your sober, careful, and respectful approach to this issue," said Dockery. ”Your staff’s thorough analysis indicates that there is virtually no fiscal or administrative burden associated with this policy. It simply allows a few city employees a level of family security approaching that of their peers. That’s a successful conservative policy, one that strengthens families and makes for better employees.”
The policy change is facing opposition. Auburndale Mayor Jack Meyers, a candidate for the seat Dockery is vacating due to term limits, sent a letter to registered Republicans saying, "Stop Lakeland from adopting liberal, wasteful San Francisco style values." In the same letter he asked for donations to send out more letters to build opposition for the policy change.
Dockery addressed Meyers in her letter saying, "“It is disappointing that a candidate for the Senate seat I will be vacating, who does not even live in Lakeland, has sought to politicize this issue and divide Lakelanders for his own selfish gain. There is no reason for it. Voters are tired of the divisiveness and the injecting of social personal agendas into what should be a thoughtful business decision,” she said.
“…Supporting a policy of fairness in the benefits packages of all City employees is in line with what many others cities are doing. It does not reflect a personal opinion toward same-sex partners as Mr. Myers would have you believe, but rather an acknowledgement that all employees should be treated equally.”