Florida Democrats choose leaders after GOP gains supermajority
Democrats in the Florida legislature on Monday chose their leaders for the next two years.
After Republicans flipped several Blue seats across the state earlier this month, Democrats now have an even smaller minority than they had before the midterm elections. They make up just under 30% of the legislature, giving the GOP a supermajority that enables them to pass whatever they want.
Of the Senate's 40 members, 12 are Democrats and 28 are Republicans.
In the House, Democrats have 35 members and Republicans have 85.
Senate Democrats chose Sen. Lauren Book of Broward County to lead their caucus with a unanimous vote.
House Democrats made Rep. Fentrice Driskell of Hillsborough County the chamber's minority leader.
"Republican influence feels outsized in the state, but they don’t represent the full diverse sentiment of our state," Driskell told members after she was designated the House minority leader.
"I’ve heard from Democrats across the state asking what happened to the Democratic Party? Maybe some of you are asking that same question. From my perspective going forward, you are the party, we’re the party. And change starts right here, right now.”
Senate Democratic Minority Leader Lauren Book was also selected by the party’s caucus yesterday.
Book says Democrats under her leadership won’t stop fighting on key issues like abortion, gun violence and voting rights.
"There are other very serious issues or aggressive issues that are going to come before us this session, whether it’s further restricting a woman’s right to choose or any number of things that I’m sure are going to come down the pike," she said. "We’re going to meet that challenge head on. We’re going to keep our heads held high. And we’re going to be strategic and different in the way that we address those legislative issues that come before us.”
Book says she believes Democrats and Republicans can find common ground more easily when it comes to passing legislation that helps make housing more affordable and working to curb the rising cost of property insurance.
Gov. Ron DeSantis has called on lawmakers to meet by the end of the year to pass property tax relief for those recovering from Hurricane Ian and to do more to address the state’s troubled property insurance market. Dates for that session haven't yet been set.