Central Florida Leaders Call Out Governor DeSantis and Republicans for Failed Leadership on Unemployment

FLORIDA– Yesterday, Central Florida leaders called out Governor DeSantis’ failed leadership on Florida’s broken unemployment system and COVID.  Representative Geraldine Thompson, HD-44; Representative Anna Eskamani, HD-47; Representative Jennifer Webb, HD-69; Representative Joy Goff-Marcil, HD-30 highlighted how the Republicans in Tallahassee and Governor DeSantis have not put the needs of Floridians first.
They also focused on how many of the problems we are facing right now are not new problems, but things that were broken before and have been exacerbated by the pandemic. The Republicans designed the unemployment system to fail and now Floridians are paying the price.
Representative Geraldine Thompson, HD-44
“[The unemployment system] has been broken for a very long time, and COVID has just put the spotlight on the problem…we knew that it was inadequate [in 2011], and it is abysmal now”
“Rather than focusing on fixing this broken unemployment system…the governor wants to change the subject and to talk about a law that would criminalize peaceful protest and say that people cannot exercise their 1st Amendment right to raise their voices when the government is not listening.”
“I came up through the civil rights movement, so I know about civil disobedience, and I know about marches and protests because the leaders were not listening then and they are not listening now.”
“The governor has failed. His leadership is wanting, and he is following the Trump playbook, and we need real leadership here in the state of Florida…”
“We would want to address unemployment and we would want to address a mask mandate in any special session.”
Representative Jennifer Webb, HD-69
“This crisis has been a series of highlighting how we’ve divested from our families and our local businesses…”
“[The unemployment system] was designed to be harder to apply for unemployment than it was to find any kind of work…that is unconscionable during any time, but especially during a pandemic.”
“…having an executive order that says one thing, enforcement that says another, and then [Governor DeSantis’] talking points saying a third, totally unrelated thing really made [my constituents] feel very jerked around and made it very hard for them to plan how they were going to be responsible in facing this crisis head-on.”
“When the Governor reopened the state, I heard from small businesses all across my district saying ‘we weren’t told; we weren’t ready for the influx of people.”
Representative Joy Goff Marcil, HD-30
“Because of the Governor’s way of presenting the masks and saying that local governments cannot enforce or have any penalties or fees if [people] do not wear a mask…my constituents are not feeling comfortable going to local businesses…the businesses that they’re going to go to…are bigger corporations because they have the manpower to make [mask-wearing] happen.”
“The Governor and leadership in Tallahassee will make you think that we are out of the pandemic when we are still leading the world for cases…Florida’s numbers are rising as well.”
“We’re not gonna get a hold of the unemployment problem until we get a hold of this virus.”
Representative Anna Eskamani, HD-47
“The need for backpay is huge right now and that is probably the biggest burden that many Floridians are facing. They’ve done everything right… but they have not seen their backpay all the way back to…March and April.”
“We need to provide backpay to claimants, we need to remove holds and open up locked accounts; we also need to dramatically improve the [DEO] call center. The Governor knows this, but the Governor doesn’t talk about it.”
“We literally are not paying enough into our state unemployment system to qualify for federal relief.”
“Republicans are acting like the saviors of unemployment when in reality, they are the ones that broke the system in the first place.”
“I just want to recognize how irresponsible the Governor’s calls were for a special session on his mini-Trump agenda to create election tension around issues like BLM and civil disobedience…It’s a slap in the face to constitutional rights…It should be alarming to every single person in the state of Florida.”

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