Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis called out Representative Anna V. Eskamani (District 47), specifically, and other “certain elements of the Florida Legislature” who he said are pushing an anti-law enforcement culture that is sweeping the country in a blistering speech to the Florida Sheriffs Association 2021 Winter Conference today in Ponte Vedra.
“Frankly, some of these leaders have no business being in elected office,” he said.
“What makes me angry is that these politics of ‘defund the police’ hurt our poor communities the most. We already know that the crime rate is higher in places with less economic opportunities. Cutting law enforcement hurts our poor communities the most, which is often where we have the most diversity in population,” Patronis said.
“I’m concerned that certain anti-police elements are beginning to take roots in the political institutions of our state. For example, last summer Representative Anna Eskamani proposed ‘Divest[ing] in Law Enforcement’ and argued that funding police ‘threatens communities.’ Moreover, when Orange County was considering increasing its budget $15 million for the Sheriff’s office, Eskamani railed against the proposal,” Patronis said.
“That’s you – the people in this room,” he said to the gathered law enforcement officers, “You are now not just a target for criminals but also elected officials. They are coming for your jobs and in some instances, your badge. It’s time we fight back. Enough is enough. In Tallahassee there are even whispers that Eskamani has her eyes on the Governor’s Office. We cannot let that happen.”
The Capitolist reached out to Eskamani for comment who referred us to her response on Twitter, “Nice to know I live rent free in Jimmy Patronis’ head. He’s attacking me via a speech at the Florida Sheriff’s Association — spreading disinformation and proving how afraid the Florida’s GOP leaders are of me. If only our CFO attacked rising property insurance rates w/the same fervor!”
She continued, “And for the record— I’m a proud to sit on a local task force with community members and law enforcement as we work hand in hand to build trust and center race and economic equity in our communities. Leaders like Patronis should join in these efforts instead of politicizing them.”
Patronis also said during his remarks to the Sheriff’s Association he is supporting Governor Ron DeSantis’ proposed “Combatting Violence, Disorder Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act” and will oppose any cuts to the state budget that impacts partnerships with local law enforcement that may come up during the 2021 Legislative Session.
“I vow to fight against anything that would defund or hurt police. I may not have a vote in the legislature anymore, but I have a microphone like this one and I plan to use it,” he said.