Florida House Democrats feature Ben Frazier at Legislative Session kickoff rally
Activist Ben Frazier in 2018. Image via A.G. Gancarski.

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House Democrats gave the Jacksonville activist a statewide audience Monday.

House Democrats showed support Monday for a Jacksonville activist arrested for unauthorized attendance of a Gov. Ron DeSantis press conference last week.

Ben Frazier, a former journalist and president of the Northside Coalition civil rights group, was one of the honored guests as Democrats vowed to stand in opposition to the Governor’s agenda in the 2022 Legislative Session.

Frazier became internationally known for literally standing up to the Governor last week. The incident went viral when the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office walked him out of the room in handcuffs after staffers for both the Governor and the Duval County office of the Florida Department of Health failed to persuade Frazier and those with him to leave.

Rep. Angie Nixon introduced Frazier as “arrested for trying to get answers” from the Governor, noting that Frazier consistently rallies against injustice in Jacksonville.

“This Governor should stop playing politics with the pandemic,” Frazier said, sounding the same themes he did last week after his arrest.

“So many of us are living, in the words of Stevie Wonder, just enough for the city,” Frazier said.

Calling himself “the voice of the people,” Frazier said he and his allies “will rally … will march … will assemble … will protest” until the people are heard.

“Ain’t no power like the power of the people, because the power of the people don’t stop,” Frazier said.

The Zoom meeting then joined in a group chant of that phrase, with each participant picking a different meter. The group then tried a different chant, “United, the people will never be defeated.”

While the chanting didn’t quite sync up, Democrats on the call offered a spirited message vowing to resist the Republican agenda over the next 60 Days starting Tuesday.

Rep. Tracie Davis addressed the topic of “protecting democracy,” saying that Gov. DeSantis’ stabs at election reform are really just a way of ensuring Floridians can’t vote. Davis, running for the Senate this year, said that DeSantis’ call for “election investigators” on the state level is intended to intimidate Democratic voters.

Rep. Anna V. Eskamani discussed reproductive issues, noting that affected women do not seek the counsel of Republican lawmakers nor Gov. DeSantis. Eskamani warned of her expectations of a Republican-backed 15-week abortion ban modeled after Mississippi’s, and said that “those who are trying to make 15 weeks look moderate are complete trash.”

Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith spoke to the housing crisis, saying “Florida has become unaffordable” for many citizens, a trend made worse during 23 years of Republican domination in Tallahassee.

“Floridians can’t take it anymore,” Smith said, noting that it’s not just housing prices going up, but also utility costs from “regulated monopolies” such as Florida Power and Light.

“We know this is an emergency for the people of Florida,” Smith said, urging “people-centered policies” and “people over politics” as the ways forward for Democrats.

Rep. Marie Woodson of Pembroke Pines stressed her origins as a Haitian immigrant in her remarks, vowing to fight for immigrants, including the undocumented.

“Our Governor has located $8 million to relocate immigrants out of South Florida,” Woodson said, regarding a DeSantis budget proposal to move undocumented immigrants out of state. The money would be better spent for priorities like affordable housing, Woodson said.

“We have to save our democracy,” Woodson asserted.

Nixon, wrapping up the call, stressed the need to “push back against bad legislation” and work toward “passing people-centered policies.”

Democrats face long odds in getting their agenda through, but as is always the case ahead of the Legislative Session, they are vowing to fight through until the Sine Die hankie drops.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been the Northeast Florida correspondent for Florida Politics since 2014. He writes for the New York Post and National Review also, with previous work in the American Conservative and Washington Times and a 15+ year run as a columnist in Folio Weekly. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


8 comments

  • Ron Ogden

    January 10, 2022 at 1:16 pm

    What is there about uncivilized behavior that so plainly tickles the tummies of our D friends?

    If this is the way to do politics in America then perhaps Congressional R’s should invite the January 6 caperers in for a few speeches. Why not?

    • Alex

      January 10, 2022 at 1:27 pm

      Bwahahahahha!!

      This from the party of terrorist attacks on congress to overthrow Democracy, flat out lies to the American people that the election was stolen, racism in the guise of CRT lies (you have more than a little experience with that), literally hundreds of baseless conspiracy theories, and causing hundreds of thousands of Americans to die from a virus unnecessarily.

      Uncivilized doesn’t come close to describing the depths of insanity of the Republican party of today, and you just showed us an excellent example.

      • Ron Ogden

        January 10, 2022 at 1:47 pm

        And yet all those stalwart Ds in Congress and VPs office who should be standing right up for truth, justice and the American way are just running flat away. They can’t get outa town fast enough. Scores of them. They see the tide rising. You will too someday, when it submerges your eyebrows. When that time comes, reach out to me about saving you butt. I am a humanitarian, so I promise I will give it some thought!

        • Alex

          January 10, 2022 at 2:02 pm

          Bwahahahahahahaha!!

          Is that what Tucker Carlson told you?

          (and we already know you’re a proven liar)

        • zhombre

          January 10, 2022 at 2:10 pm

          Jeez, Ron, don’t even bother with that asshole. He’s a jerk.

          • Alex

            January 10, 2022 at 2:18 pm

            Yes, I am very intolerant of the intolerant, and liars, and people who believe things that are plainly not factual, then invent crazy theories that’s demonstrably not true to “believe” in instead.

  • Ron Ogden

    January 10, 2022 at 2:55 pm

    Alex is a weakling. Just look at his comments: what Tucker Carlson told me? Juvenile. Care to cite when that happened, there Alex my boy–and I do mean boy. Well over 20 Democratic retirements from Congress and more coming–is that a lie? Staffers fleeing ol’ Kamalface our VP, is that a lie? CRT taught in our schools daily for the sake of destroying the fabric of our country? These are all Alex, they are what he believes in: falsehoods, corruption, perversion and, well, I guess himself.

    • Alex

      January 10, 2022 at 3:09 pm

      The intolerant believer in nonsense and lies now wants me to defend as factual my comment that was punctuated by a question mark.

      Lol

      Then he tries the same lie (CRT is taught in our schools) he failed to show any evidence of whatsoever after I called him out on it.

      Yes Ron, you are an idiot too.

Comments are closed.


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