TALLAHASSEE (FLV) – Florida Democrats face a challenging road ahead as Republicans hold a supermajority in the both the House and Senate.
House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell told reporters Monday that Florida Democrats have persisted as the minority in the legislature for quite some time.
“So we know how to do this. We know how to be a minority or a super minority. We are still going to fight for the people and make sure that we are a voice and that we hold the line,” Driskell said.
“Of course, we’ll do that in accordance with the house rules but we are going to speak up for the people who need us to speak up for their freedom to be healthy, prosperous and safe.”
While differences between Republicans and Democrats are expected, Driskell said Republican House Speaker Paul Renner has been “wonderful” and the offices have been communicating with each other.
“I think there are going to be some areas where we would probably disagree on in terms of policy, but that’s to be expected,” Driskell said. “I think there also will be a number of areas where we can work together and I do look forward to working with him this upcoming term.”
In Driskell’s Tuesday remarks, the Minority Leader emphasized the plan for Democrats to speak up and ask questions throughout debate. She also touched on controversial issues such as abortion.
“The majority of Americans, and Floridians, do not want excessive, abusive regulation over their bodies. If you take us there, we will have no choice but to push back and hold the line,” she explained.
Speaker Sprowls outlined his agenda ahead of the 2023 session Tuesday.
Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book told reporters Monday that Democrats will need to be more strategic as a super minority.
“We have to keep our head up for pathways and work across the aisle,” Book said. “We found some process that has left the process. There are other people that we can pull with us sometimes and we’ve got to work harder to do that and we’ve got to be more strategic in that process.”
Book was asked whether Senate Democrats would take a defensive position to stop legislation or whether they saw an opening to pass policy platforms. She explained that both parties agree there needs to be work done on affordable housing and property insurance.
“There are things that we are not going to agree on. There are things that we are going to fight like hell on,” Book said. “We know that we’ve seen a preview of some of what that may be. But on things that we can work on we are working together.”
Senate President Kathleen Passidomo held a similar tone Tuesday during parts of her speech, listing out the issues both parties could agree on.
“I assure you we are going to listen to each other’s concerns and incorporate suggestions to make every bill better,” she explained.
“But at the end of the day, we each have a responsibility to the voters who elected us, and those voters overwhelmingly support the conservative agenda of fiscal responsibility, protecting parents’ rights, honoring the dignity of work, and expanding education opportunities for our students. That will drive our work for the next two years.”
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