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A Black State Rep. Wants ‘Swift Action’ Against a White State Senator for Calling Him the Governor’s ‘Little B***h’

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Rep. James Bush speaks alongside Gov. Ron DeSantis during the bill signing ceremony at William A. Kirlew Junior Academy, a Seventh-day Adventist K-8 school in Miami Gardens, on Thursday, May 9, 2019. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald.

MIAMI, Fla. (FNN) – Who’s responsible when a lawmaker insults another lawmaker in public?

On August 5, 2022 an article published by POLITICO, written by Matt Dixon, quoted Senator Jason Pizzo (D-Miami) referring to Representative Dr. James Bush III (D-Miami) as the Governor’s “little b***h.”

Where is the outrage from the Florida Democratic Party, or the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida? Are their heads in the sand or will they call on the senator make a public apology?

Who decides to police the behavior of what lawmakers can’t say? Who’s next on the Senator’s little b***h list?

Was it okay for Republican Congressman Ted Yoho to call Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a “f*****g b***h” a reporter reported in 2020?

State Representative Dr. James Bush III is the longest serving black state lawmaker (since 1992) in Florida and is calling for action against State Senator Jason Pizzo.

Representative Bush, along with pastors, community leaders, and organizations will be condemning the derogatory statement made by Senator Jason Pizzo in a press conference Tuesday, August 16, 2022, at 10am at the Historic Hampton House 4240 NW 27th Ave Miami, FL 33142.

Rep. Bush’s press release Monday stated that “the community, along with Representative Bush, are demanding swift action be taken against this blatantly disrespectful statement not only toward Representative Bush but the wom[en], families, children, and constituents in District 109 and the entire State of Florida.”

Bush, whose service in state government dates back three decades, has drawn anger in recent years over his increased support of GOP-backed legislation endorsed by Gov. Ron DeSantis that critics decry as bigoted and harmful.

Bush was the sole Democrat who voted yes for the controversial law restricting classroom discussion of gender identity and sexual preference (popularly dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law). He was also the only Democrat to vote with Republicans on Florida’s new 15-week abortion ban, with no exceptions for rape, incest or human trafficking victims.

Those two major votes put Bush at odds with his fellow Democrats, turning some to support his Primary opponent this year, lawyer Ashley Gantt, including Sen. Pizzo. Gantt is holding her own press conference at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Joseph Caleb Center in Miami to highlight how her progressive credentials contrast with Rep Bush’s.

Here’s Pizzo’s whole commentary to POLITICO:

“The Governor seems to have issues with Black folks,” he said, referring to DeSantis’ new congressional map critics say reduced the number of Black-performing districts in the state and legislation he called for targeting “woke” indoctrination in public schools and private workplaces.

“But instead of (Bush) leveraging his relationship with the Governor to help, he is the Governor’s little b**ch.”

 

COMMENTARY: IS OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE AN APPROVED STANDARD FOR DEMOCRATIC LEADERS?

Political disagreements are inevitable. Lawmakers are human beings–individuals–who will support or oppose measures based on the combination of their own experiences and intelligence, plus the needs of the people they’ve been elected to serve. At a tertiary level, they’ll also factor in the objectives of any special interest groups who’ve chosen to back them. That said, not every lawmaker will vote along party lines 100 percent of the time–not if they have a mind of their own and are not a political plant.

It’s one thing to disagree with and then attack a person’s voting record. The Democrats and Sen. Pizzo are displeased with the way Rep. Bush chose to vote. That’s fine. That’s political discourse. That’s how the legislature works.

It’s another–and unacceptable–thing to attack a person’s character simply because you don’t like their voting record…or simply because you don’t like them.

That’s immature. That’s what we saw in 2020 with US Rep. Yoho attacking AOC.

And here’s the dangerous part: If Democratic Party leaders or the Democratic Black Caucus don’t speak out on this, white elected officials, regardless of age or level of experience, attacking elected officials of color will become a norm (perhaps again). And this will mean that this deplorable behavior has become the new norm for the Democratic Party as a whole, proving that they no longer care about the people they represent, but their own agenda.

This isn’t Sen. Pizzo’s first attack against Rep. Bush. In tweet supporting Bush’s Primary opponent Gantt back in July, Sen. Pizzo stated, “Florida ‘Democrat’ James Bush is a shill for the Florida Republicans. Voting against Democratic values and kissing the Governor’s ass — all day, everyday. Join me in letting politicians know that their actions have real consequences.”

The Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate are not high school. Such antics as what we’re seeing from Sen. Pizzo need to be called out and held accountable–not just for elected Democrats, but for the candidates, too.

If a candidate like this goes to Tallahassee, as former State Rep. Bruce Antone, who’s running for Florida House District 41, stated on Facebook Monday: “These type[s] [of] legislators operate in a perpetual state of protest and they are ignored the moment they begin speaking.”

Is this the direction the Democratic Party wants to go in? Prioritizing “dissenting voices”–as Antone put it–over effective lawmaking?

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Mellissa Thomas is Editor for Florida National News. | mellissa.thomas@floridanationalnews.com

 

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Florida House Democratic Leader-Designate Fentrice Driskell Announces Leadership Team

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida House Democratic Leader-Designate Fentrice Driskell (D-Tampa) today announced the appointment of the following Democratic Representatives to serve on the House Democratic Caucus leadership team for the 2022-24 legislative term:

  • Leader Pro Tempore: Representative Dotie Joseph (D-Miami);
  • Policy Chair: Representative Kelly Skidmore (D-Boca Raton);
  • Floor Leader: Representative Michael “Mike” Gottlieb (D-Davie); and
  • Whip: Representative Christine Hunschofsky (D-Parkland).

“The House Democratic Caucus is made up of some of the strongest, most fierce champions of the people in the entire state,” said Leader-Designate Driskell. “It is an honor and great pleasure to work with these individuals in this new capacity, and all of them are prepared to lead the Caucus in the face of the challenges that lie ahead of us.”

As Leader Pro Tempore, Representative Joseph will assist the Democratic Leader in carrying out designated responsibilities and perform such Leadership responsibilities as are assigned, including stepping in for the Leader as needed.

“I have had the distinct pleasure of knowing Representative Joseph for over 20 years. From the time we were at Georgetown Law to now, she has always been a consistent champion for justice. The issues she advocates for on behalf of all Floridians makes Representative Joseph an invaluable asset in defending Floridians against extremist Republican policies,” said Leader-Designate Driskell. “I look forward to Representative Joseph’s leadership as a key member of my team over the next two years.”

In her role as the Caucus Policy Chair, Representative Skidmore will be responsible for ensuring the Caucus continues to champion legislation that positively impacts all Floridians, and will lead discussions about bills before the House at Caucus meetings.

“As the previous Policy Chair for the Caucus, I know what is needed to do this job. Appointing Representative Skidmore as Policy Chair was an easy choice,” said Leader-Designate Driskell. “She stood out as a prime member in understanding policy during the last legislative term. Representative Skidmore also brings with her a wealth of experience as both a former House and Senate staffer and House member. Applying her unique skillset to this new role will benefit the Caucus and all Floridians.”

In his role as Floor Leader, Representative Gottlieb will be responsible in interpreting the House Rules, ensuring the Caucus adheres to the agreed upon rules, and working with his Republican counterpart in advocating for fair amounts of time be allotted to the Caucus in debating different pieces of legislation.

“Two things I greatly appreciate about Representative Gottlieb are his refreshing candor and strong fortitude,” said Leader-Designate Driskell. “As the minority party in the Legislature, we’re aware of the challenges that lie ahead of us. What we need right now is someone who is unwavering under extreme pressure to help guide our Caucus during difficult moments. Representative Gottlieb is perfectly suited for this role.”

As Whip, Representative Hunschofsky will be responsible for keeping all Democratic Caucus members apprised of Caucus policy on any bills or issues before the House.

Representative Hunschofsky has an amazing ability to get things done,” said Leader-Designate Driskell. “Not only does Representative Hunschofsky possess a wealth of knowledge due to her experience as the former mayor of Parkland, Florida, she is also a champion of many initiatives close to Floridians’ hearts, such as expanding access to quality mental health care. I know Representative Hunschofsky’s knowledge and ability will help prepare our Caucus for the challenges of the next two year.”

The Florida House Democratic Caucus will convene during Organizational Session taking place Nov. 21-22, 2022 in advance of the 2023 Legislative Session scheduled to begin on March 7, 2023.

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VIDEO: State Rep. Dianne Hart elected chair of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus

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ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – State Representative Dianne Hart (D-Tampa), incoming Chair of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, talks briefly with Florida National News on the importance of the Florida Blue Florida Classic at Camping World Stadium in Orlando Saturday. The Florida Classic is an annual college football rivalry game between Bethune–Cookman University and Florida A&M University.

Hart’s Twitter Statement:

Hart’s statement: “I’m honored to have been elected as the Chair of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus.” “I’m grateful to my colleagues for their support and for trusting me to move this important caucus forward.”

During the 2021 and 2022 Legislative Sessions, Rep. Hart served on the following House committees, including Democratic Ranking Member of the Infrastructure and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee, Judiciary Committee, Joint Committee on Public Counsel Oversight, Ways & Means Committee, Criminal Justice & Public Safety Subcommittee, State Legislative Redistricting Subcommittee and Select Subcommittee on Authorized Gaming Activity.

Hart was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2018. She is also the CEO of the East Tampa Business and Civic Association.

 

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Former State Rep. Bruce Antone Ready To Rejoin Florida House

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Former State Representative Bruce Antone respond to questions by CFABJ, NAACP, and the Florida Voters League panel during a candidates forum in Orange County, Thursday, October 19, 2022. (Photo by J Willie David, III / Florida National News)

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Former Florida State Representative Bruce Antone served 12 years (six terms) in the Florida House of Representatives and defeated incumbent Democratic Rep. Travaris McCurdy during the August primary election to represent Orange County in the newly draw District 41 House seat.

CFABJ, NAACP, and Florida Voters League held a candidates forum for candidates seeking county, state and Congressional seats in Orange County, Thursday, October 19, 2022. (Photo by J Willie David, III / Florida National News)

CFABJ, NAACP, and Florida Voters League held a candidates forum for candidates seeking county, state and Congressional seats in Orange County, Thursday, October 19, 2022. (Photo by J Willie David, III / Florida National News)

Antone was among eleven candidates seeking election to county, state and Congressional seats participating in a candidate forum hosted by CFABJ, NAACP and the Florida Voters League, Wednesday, October 19, 2022.

Green Party nominee Robin Denise Harris is the only potential road block in Antone’s return to Tallahassee and faces off with him in the November general election. The District 41 House seat has an overwhelmingly Democratic voter base.

During his time in the Florida House, Antone was elected by his colleagues to serve as the Chairman of the 29-member Florida Legislative Black Caucus.

The general election is Tuesday, November 8, 2022.

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