Against the grain II

It’s time to lean on the Republican Party for our state

Vaughn R. Wilson

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis won re-election in a landslide. With that win, the Republican Party controls the Governor’s office, secretary of state, attorney general, and both chambers of the state legislature.  Florida is as red a state as it could possibly be.

Control of committees on funding, education, health care and all other vital areas will be run as the GOP decides to for the most part.  With that being said, it’s time to start looking at what funding for the 2023 cycle will look like and the best way for Democrats to obtain some of their goals.

One thing I must point out from the education standpoint is the record take Florida A&M received last budget cycle in the same statewide makeup of control. FAMU touted that it received a record $70 million in new funding from the state in the last budget cycle. That doesn’t include the standard annual funding, but money for new projects and enhancements. FAMU President Larry Robinson stated that he was grateful for the boost in helping to not only further the school, but much-needed enhancements to the university’s infrastructure.

Former State Representative Ramon Alexander (D-Tallahassee), Senator Shevrin Jones (D-Broward County), and Senator Bobby Powell (Palm Beach County) all worked together with both Democrats and Republicans to ensure FAMU received the funding.  Former Senator Lorraine Ausley (D-Tallahassee) also supported the initiative that resulted in record spending in the rural Big Bend areas as well.

Speaking with these legislators when the budget was revealed, they all spoke of working with members of the Republican Party to ensure success and support for their goals. If you only listened to the partisan news channels, you would not think this was possible. But, the reality is the legislators in both parties understand that they need each other. At some point, the state could turn completely blue and if that were to happen, the Democratic Party could dwell on past situations if they had not been granted grace by the GOP. It just makes sense anyway.

What we have seen from the two parties has been completely overblown by the mainstream media. The fact that even Bethune-Cookman received $17 million from the state, when for decades the private school was not able to get funds appropriated signals that there is some collaboration going on in the state’s capitol.

DeSantis is in his last term. The world knows that there is a high probability that he will be running for the U.S. Presidency in 2024.  State Republicans are preparing for it by readying to repeal the law that requires him to give up his seat as Florida Governor to pursue the White House. That is the benefit of being in power. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and 15 other U.S. Presidents were once governors. 

The momentum for DeSantis beyond Florida is starting to open up. Former President Donald Trump has begun to finally rule himself irrelevant. After bullying the party for several years, he has now been reduced in authority, basically by his own arrogance. Going against the Republican Party, he put up candidates in the mid-term elections and it did not turn out well. The most notable being Herschel Walker for Georgia Senator. After being nearly defeated by Stacey Abrams for the Governor’s seat in 2018, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp developed a rock solid organization that not only handily won him re-election against Abrams by a considerably larger margin, but it assisted Walker in almost taking the crucial Georgia Senate seat from incumbent Senator Rev. Raphael Warnock. Georgia Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan was a commentator on CNN the night of the election. He said several times that if Trump had not force-fed Walker, a flawed senate candidate, the Republican Party could have earned a crucial part of the U.S. control. The party has begun to express frustrations with the siege to which he had the party under. Previously, Republicans dared not challenge Trump because of the brutal backlash he would force upon anyone who disagreed with him.  

After being defeated by U.S. President Joe Biden, Trump’s light began to dim. He put many in the GOP in the awkward situation of denying that the election was fair. To many Republican’s credit, including vice president Mike Pence, they stood up for America and against Trump on this baseless claim. Court after court ruled that there was zero evidence to support the conspiracy being spewed by Trump. The insurrection that followed has ruined the lives of many who followed his false narrative.

In Florida, we hope that history repeats itself and that Democrats and Republicans again work together for the betterment of our state with the 2023 budget cycle. Contrary to what is going on in the world, though it is not a perfect relationship, the collaboration among Democrats and Republicans worked well for us in many ways in 2022.  We need a repeat and even improvement in this in 2023.

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