Kevin Rader has pulled his support of Gary Farmer for Senate Democratic Leader-designate, saying the Broward Democrat’s derogatory comments about their colleague, Lauren Book, are “obnoxious.”
As Florida Politics first reported in “Sunburn,” all hell is breaking loose within the Senate Democratic Caucus in the run-up to voting on who will lead the members during the next four years.
Last night, during what was supposed to be a routine vote to coronate Audrey Gibson, a movement against Farmer becoming Gibson’s successor began to develop.
That’s when Randolph Bracy unexpectedly nominated Book as Leader-designate. After she accepted the nomination, that’s when things really got heated. In an effort to unify the caucus, current leader Oscar Braynon pulled both Farmer and Book into a private meeting.
That’s where Farmer mansplained to Book about her limits as a legislative leader because she has two young children.
That was too much for Rader, who wrote his colleagues late Thursday night (something he says he had never done before and hopes to never do again) “because I am so upset by Senator Gary Farmer’s comments to Senator Lauren Book that we all have heard by now.”
“I just can’t believe that we have a member in our caucus that would insult another member by using sexist and antiquated comments about her children being a hindrance for her to be the Leader of our caucus,” writes Rader.
Because of his comments, Rader, who said he entered yesterday’s caucus meeting with the intention of voting for Farmer, says he can no longer do so.
Rader is now calling on Farmer to apologize to both Book and their Democratic colleagues.
Here is the full text of Rader’s letter to his Democratic colleagues.
I am writing you this evening — something I have never done before and hope to never do again — because I am so upset by Senator Gary Farmer’s comments to Senator Lauren Book that we all have heard by now.
I just can’t believe that we have a member in our caucus that would insult another member by using sexist and antiquated comments about her children being a hindrance for her to be the Leader of our caucus.
This is so obnoxious & I just can’t sit by while a fellow member makes these sorts of comments.
I couldn’t imagine not speaking up if someone said comments about Senator Rodriguez having 2 young children and not being able to run for Leader.
Senator Book hasn’t missed a beat and has been as effective of a Senator as we have in our caucus and indeed the entire Florida Senate.
Elected officials find a way to do their official duties in combination with their personal lives and their families. It’s tough for all families, but members make it work.
I think at the minimum Senator Farmer must apologize publicly to both Senator Book and to the Caucus.
I know that things get heated while we’re here in Tallahassee and it’s the last week of session and sometimes tempers flare up, but there is no room in our caucus for sexist, discriminatory comments!
I entered yesterday’s Caucus meeting with the intention of voting for Senator Farmer, but I can no longer do so.