Jeff Brandes, Matt Gaetz make case for “inevitable” Uber, as cabbies picket


Republicans Sen. Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg and Shalimar Rep. Matt Gaetz held a joint conference with representatives from Uber Technologies late Wednesday morning. Their message: Uber is here to stay in Florida’s streets and in state statute.

“On the other side of this issue, though,” Brandes said, “you’ve got municipalities who, be it through crony capitalism or collusive capitalism, continue to throw up regulations to stop the free market. But I will fight with anyone who will fight with me to make sure we have free enterprise in Florida.”

That “other side” was right downstairs, and drivers and influencers with the Florida Taxi Cab Association and Florida Limousine Association held a show of force downstairs in the Capitol courtyard.

The associations contend they want to insure public safety for Floridians by seeking legislation to “require that [Uber and Lyft] follow similar requirements as their industries in the areas of insurance, background checks, vehicle safety and more.”

Gaetz teed off on that line of inquiry in his talk on the third floor of the Capitol.

“I’m sure that when the cab companies come to testify that their only concern is public safety, and not their rapidly depleting market share,” said Gaetz with a wry smirk.

Ryan Ray

Ryan Ray covers politics and public policy in North Florida and across the state. He has also worked as a legislative researcher and political campaign staffer. He can be reached at [email protected]


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