Florida Democrats cancel I-4 health care roundtables over coronavirus concerns

And Anna V. Eskamani suspends field operations for her reelection campaign.

Florida Democrats is canceling health care roundtables in DeLand and Orlando Friday as the outbreak of the new coronavirus continues to upend political events.

“Our top priority is the health and safety of our community, so out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to postpone the rest of the Fight for Health Care I-4 Tour. We’re committed to fighting for Floridians’ health care and will reschedule at a later date,” Florida Democratic Party Chair Terrie Rizzo said in a news advisory Friday morning.

In similar news, Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani became the latest election candidate to suspend field operations. Friday morning, she announced she would suspending campaign field activities for her reelection bid in House District 47 and would focus her team on delivering public health information.

Yesterday, FDP kicked off the Fight for Health Care tour in Tampa and Lakeland, hosting conversations with Rizzo and local health care advocates and medical professionals.

The DeLand roundtable was set for 10:30 a.m., with Rizzo, Volusia County Council District 1 Rep. Barbara Girtman, House District 27 candidate and West Volusia Hospital Authority Board Member Dolores Guzman, among others.

The Orlando event was set for 2 p.m., with Rizzo, Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida Orange County Chapter President Mel Lopez, and Alianza for Progress Executive Director Marcos Vilar.

The announcement follows that of the Orange County Democratic Executive Committee that it canceled Friday night’s big Kennedy King Gala fundraiser, which was to feature former Second Lady Jill Biden, Reps. Stephanie Murphy, Darren Soto, and Val Demings, and former Sen. Bill Nelson.

Eskamani’s announcement follows that of Republican congressional candidate Laura Loomer, as campaigns throughout the state reassess traditional campaign methods that involve face-to-face meetings with numerous people.

“The health of our community and volunteers is priority number one, and we do not want to put any individual at unnecessary risk during these unprecedented times,” Eskamani said in a news release issued by her campaign. “Having worked in public health at Planned Parenthood, I know how important it is to focus on prevention, reduce panic, and gain access to necessary care. Right now, Team Anna is focused on delivering critical public health information to our district, and we encourage folks to visit the Florida Department of Health’s COVID-19 landing page for real-time updates and our own website for localized updates.”

Scott Powers

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected].


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