Florida’s Chief Financial Officer backed Gov. Ron DeSantis in his opposition to school mask mandates during a television appearance Wednesday.
CFO Jimmy Patronis noted that even if a majority of people in a school district wanted a mask mandate, that doesn’t accord with state policy, which protects the individual’s rights in this decision.
“I think it’s about making sure the parents have the rights to do what (they want) with their child,” Patronis said, noting that he had a friend whose child has a cleft palate.
“She is very passionate about the ability of her child understanding and enunciating and being able to understand and develop that young little mind at such a young age. I can see where some parents are very passionate about wanting to be able to have their children, to have that normal type of development,” Patronis told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto.
Patronis spent much of his interview lamenting the politicization of the school mask debate.
“It’s unfortunate this conversation has become much more polarized than it should be. Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to put parents in charge. He wants to put them in the driver’s seat regarding their own children’s health care. Some of the media implicate that his order means that children cannot wear masks. It does not,” Patronis said.
“There’s some pathways for parents definitely. If they want to take care of their children, let their children wear masks, there’s nothing that’s prohibiting Mom or Dad from putting a mask on their child,” Patronis added.
Patronis noted, regarding hospitalizations in the state, that the “unvaccinated” predominate and that DeSantis has been pushing Regeneron treatments. He urged people to talk to their doctor about vaccinations, and then touted the monoclonal therapy.
“If you catch it early enough, you can get people back out into society. But it’s been so emotional, so challenging, and so political,” Patronis said, closing his segment.
This likely will continue to be “political” for some time to come, with the state Board of Education cracking down Tuesday on two counties, Alachua and Broward, that had violated the board’s edict banning mask mandates.
Florida Politics’ Capitol reporter Haley Brown contributed to this post.