When Representative Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast gave his formal nomination today of Chris Sprowls to be the new Florida House Speaker, he told a story about Sprowls as a prosecutor. He said Sprowls wore Superman cufflinks to put children who had to testify at ease. One child asked Sprowls, “Why do you wear Superman cufflinks?” To which Sprowls replied, “Because I am Superman.”
To accomplish all he set forward today in his Inaugural address convening of the 90th term of the Florida House of Representatives, some believe Sprowls might just have to be Superman.
He spoke on everything from Covid-19, to education, to maternal and prenatal healthcare, to the environment, to job creation and state budgets and more.
But at the heart of his speech was his commitment to law and order, patriotism and treating each other with respect.
As the son of a retired New York City Police officer, he said, ”Our law enforcement officers – and our military – face very real risks that those of us who work behind desks cannot begin to fathom. These men and women deserve our understanding, they deserve our gratitude, and they deserve our respect.”
He said his door is always open for any members who “want to have an honest, thoughtful, fact-based conversation about how we can improve policing in Florida.”
However, he said, “We cannot blame all of law enforcement for the sins of a few, we must not take actions that put the lives of Floridians at risk, and we should not allow any government in Florida to defund the police.”
Following his speech he met with reporters. He was asked about Governor Ron DeSantis’ proposed “Combatting Violence, Disorder and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act,” which includes an amendment to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” statute. Under the proposal, business owners defending their property during a riot or looting would be covered under the statute. See the full proposal here.
Sprowls said he was standing next to the Governor when he announced that proposed bill. Sprowls thinks its “wildly important” that people who are driving to work or taking their kids to school don’t find themselves in situations where they are surrounded with rioters jumping up and down on their vehicle or looting businesses. “I think it’s important we send a signal that’s not the kind of behavior we allow in Florida.”
He also drew a line at the type of behavior he expects in the House.
“… while I certainly cannot stop anyone from having a tantrum on Twitter,” Sprowls said, “please know that there will be no place for that kind of Washington, D.C.-style conduct inside this Chamber or in this House. We can disagree and still treat one another with goodwill, patience, and mutual respect. The ties that bind us are always greater than the things that divide us.”
One of those ties, he believes, is patriotism. He said that patriotism is seeing the country as it really is, recognizing imperfections and loving it anyway.
“We shouldn’t be afraid to … talk about the ‘shining city on a hill’ with our kids in elementary school, just as we shouldn’t back away from discussions with older students about those times in our history where we have fallen horribly short. We must have those conversations because if we don’t, if we don’t foster a common faith in our nation, then we will not be able to maintain a civil society. “
“Th(e) denigration of the idea of patriotism is part of a larger movement that disputes the basic tenets of American life,” he said. “I don’t believe intolerance or cancel culture represent the values of mainstream Floridians – Democrats, Republicans, or independents. I do believe that this is still a state where we value free speech, where we recognize good people of good intent can disagree on matters of politics or faith without resorting to personal attacks.”