Gary Farmer apologizes for taking 'emotional' jab at Lauren Book - Florida Politics

Gary Farmer apologizes for taking ’emotional’ jab at Lauren Book

After state Sen. Gary Farmer came under fire for saying state Sen. Lauren Book’s family responsibilities may be too much to balance if she was chosen as the Senate Democratic Leader-designate, he apologized.

“I recognize that I failed to properly express my thoughts about the difficulties that a Caucus leadership role can play for any individual when it comes to family life,” Farmer said in a statement.

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The comments were made Thursday night as the Senate Democrats tried to finalize a vote for the next Leader-designate. Sen. Randolph Bracy nominated Book for the role and that’s when Farmer said her responsibilities as a mother may come in the way. Farmer is also a father of two.

“In the heat of this private moment, I’ll admit that I got pretty emotional,” Farmer said in relation to his comments.

Sen. Kevin Rader called his comments “sexist” and “discriminatory” in a letter to Senate Democrats.

“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,” Rader said.

After Rader sent the letter Thursday night, Senate Democrats held a meeting on caucus business Friday morning. They came out of it without a vote on who will be the next Leader-designate to succeed Sen. Audrey Gibson.

After that meeting, Farmer said he tried to reach out to Book but could not get in touch with her. He did not want to comment as to whether he was planning on apologizing. Hours later he did.

“I admire Senator Book, and her ability to balance being a parent while serving as a capable and effective legislator over the past two session,” Farmer said in a statement.

“I truly apologize for the way in which this came across, and want to be clear that it was in no way meant to be a broad statement on gender, or Senator Book.”

Ana covers politics and policy for Florida Politics. Before joining Florida Politics, she was the legislative relief reporter for The Associated Press and covered policy issues impacting immigration, the environment, criminal justice and social welfare in Florida. She holds a B.A. in journalism from San Diego State University. After graduating in 2014, she worked as a criminal justice reporter for the Monterey Herald and the Monterey County Weekly. She has also freelanced for The Washington Post at the U.S.-Mexico border covering crime in the border city of Tijuana, where she grew up. Ana is fluent in Spanish and has intermediate proficiency in Portuguese.

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