Following a caucus decision, Rep. Fentrice Driskell (D-Tampa) has been elected by her peers as Leader Designate of the Florida House Democratic Caucus. She will assume the role of Leader at the 2022 Organizational Session in November, succeeding Rep. Evan Jenne.
Driskell was the only lawmaker to submit their name as an option for the position and received unanimous support. Driskell was originally slated to serve as the House Democrat leader beginning in 2024 but is now set to serve two consecutive terms from 2022 to 2024 and 2024 to 2026 after Rep. Ramon Alexander announced that he will not seek re-election after being accused of sexual harassment.
“I’m excited and humbled to have earned the confidence of my colleagues. Together, we will fight to create the freedom for every Floridian to be healthy, prosperous, and safe. It’s also not lost on me that together, Florida Democrats made history today. I am the first Black woman to serve as House Democratic Leader and the first to lead either caucus in the House. Growing up in Polk County, my dad worked as a dispatcher and my mom was a public-school teacher. I never imagined I’d one day work here, serving my community. I’m so honored and, also, so ready to get to work,” said Driskell.“And I am so thankful to Leader Evan Jenne for his hard work and mentorship. He’s leaving huge shoes to fill, both in our caucus and the Florida Legislature.”
I am honored to be elected to serve as Leader of the House Democratic Caucus. I couldn’t be more excited to get to work in this new role and lead our Caucus forward, create a brighter future for all Floridians and build a place where we can all be healthy, prosperous, and safe. pic.twitter.com/bAzw3MCKZd
— Representative Fentrice Driskell (@FentriceForFL) May 24, 2022
Driskell has served in HD 63 since 2018 and is currently running in the newly drawn HD 67.
“With an unshakable commitment to making life better for everyday Floridians, Leader Fentrice Driskell has officially made history as the first Black woman elected to lead the House Democrats,” said Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book. “But Leader Driskell is remarkable far beyond simply being the ‘first’ — her exemplary legal career, service to others, and tenacity to do what’s right will continue to bolster not only our Democratic colleagues in the House but our collective efforts to defend Floridians’ rights and freedoms across both chambers. Congratulations, Leader Driskell, on this well-deserved appointment and I look forward to working with you on issues to help the people of Florida.”
Former House Democrat Leader-Elect Ramon Alexander earlier in May announced that he will forego an attempt at seeking re-election for the fourth time following allegations of sexual harassment.
Michael Johnson Jr. claimed that he was improperly released from his duties as Associate Athletic Director at Florida A&M University (FAMU) in January, alleging that he was fired after reporting the wrongdoing of a relative of Alexander, who also works in the school’s athletics department, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
Johnson filed a complaint with the Florida Commission of Human Rights in February, the Tallahassee Democrat reported, also alleging that Alexander swayed his power as a politician and figure at the school in order to protect employees that have been accused of wrongdoing or poor performance.
Alexander reportedly harassed and intimidated Johnson through means of phone contact and work visitations. Johnson additionally accused Alexander of sending him unwanted sexual materials, per the complaint.