Linda Stewart, Victor Torres plead with Governor to do more on COVID-19

Linda Stewart
The Orange County Democratic Party also called for the school board to stand up to the Governor.

Central Florida Democrats condemned Gov. Ron DeSantis‘s mixed messaging on COVID-19 as the pandemic continues to rage and fill hospitals, and they urged him to recognize and address it as a crisis.

With record COVID-19 hospitalizations and new case numbers, Sens. Linda Stewart and Victor Torres of Orlando and the Orange County Democratic Executive Committee issued separate calls late Wednesday and Thursday for DeSantis to stop preventing school boards from deciding on mask usage for students, to start making strong and frequent calls for Floridians to get vaccinated and wear masks, and to stop blaming the media and others for calling attention to it.

Data provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show Florida’s outbreak is by far the worst in the nation in numbers of new COVID-19 cases, COVID-19 patients in hospitals, and in deaths.

“It’s rampant and it’s going to be worse next week,” Stewart said at a news conference at an Orlando COVID-19 testing site Thursday morning.

DeSantis continues to stand behind his order banning mask mandates in schools and to downplay the summer surge as a seasonal phenomenon. On Wednesday, he suggested the situation is not so bad because the fatality rate is not nearly as high as it was last summer. The Governor has repeatedly said vaccinations are safe and effective, but he has stopped short of urging them, saying people should be free to choose without undue pressure. On Wednesday he said vaccinated people are going to hospitals, too. Also Wednesday, he snapped at President Joe Biden for urging him to do more, saying he didn’t want to hear criticism from a President who has Mexico border security problems.

Democrats pleaded with DeSantis to treat this summer’s COVID-19 surge as a public health crisis, not a chance to talk about personal freedom.

“Governor DeSantis is trying to change the subject and blame others for his failed leadership by raising the immigration issue which has nothing to do with the COVID-19 crisis,” Torres said in a statement released late Thursday morning. “If the Governor is looking for someone to blame he can simply look in the mirror to see who is at fault and from this day forward, every death that occurs in Florida as a result of COVID-19 falls squarely on his shoulders.”

The Orange County Democratic Party issued a statement late Wednesday decrying DeSantis’ ban on school mask mandates and urging the Orange County School Board to challenge it.

“Ron DeSantis is failing to act like a Governor, instead choosing to act as a tyrant who is willing to sacrifice our children for political gain on his mission to play President,” Orange County Democratic Chair Wes Hodge said in a news release.

Results from a St. Pete Polls survey released Tuesday showed a sizable majority of Floridians want schools to be able to decide whether students should wear masks.

Stewart and Torres concurred.

“Please, Governor, let us do our jobs. Let us look at what is happening in our own communities,” Stewart said Thursday. “You can’t just rule from Tallahassee on one-size-fits-all.”

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].


  • Matthew Lusk

    August 5, 2021 at 1:37 pm

    Translation: we want mo money and power for our democrat party school employees. If de gubernor don’t give us mo money, we will scream even louder. You know we got da bitches to do it. So give us mo money!

  • Matthew Lusk

    August 5, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    Screw public school teachers, just about every one of them is a damn democrat!

  • diana allen

    August 5, 2021 at 1:52 pm

    I’m saying GOV. Desantis is True to the Core. My vote for him standing up for US AMERICANS.

  • Andrew Finn

    August 5, 2021 at 7:33 pm

    Good luck !!!! The Florida Fuhrer has spoken and us poor subjects must obey !!!!! What a moronic jackass, trying to “play God” when he can’t even “play Governor” !!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Ed

      August 6, 2021 at 10:23 am

      Just imagine if the guy you voted for Governor, Gillum, was in charge. He certainly couldn’t play Governor as his preference was playing with male prostitutes and illegal drugs all the while pretending he was this family man which he wasn’t. I’ll take DeSantis any day over Gillum, Crist, or Freak.

Comments are closed.


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