The Florida Young Democrats will convene in Jacksonville this weekend, and two Democratic candidates for Governor are confirmed speakers as of now.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and state Sen. Annette Taddeo are among a list of speakers that includes Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz and Jacksonville City Councilman Reggie Gaffney.
Gaffney is a current candidate for state Senate, and he seeks to replace term-limited Sen. Audrey Gibson in a Democratic-dominated Duval County district.
Notable absences from the speaking itinerary, at least at this writing, include Senate candidate Val Demings, a Congresswoman from Orlando who grew up in Jacksonville.
Also not speaking: U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, who is the front-runner by most metrics in the Democratic race for Governor.
Crist’s office confirmed that he would not attend the event.
Though Demings and Crist are not booked to speak, other notable Democrats will hold forth.
Rebekah Jones, “candidate for the FL-01 Congressional District and COVID Dashboard Whistleblower, takes a deep dive into the intersection of science and politics,” according to promotion for the event.
“She’ll discuss how science in policymaking goes beyond just macro issues like climate change and in fact affects nearly every political decision at the local, state, and federal level.”
Baristas organizing for workplace protections also will be featured.
Jacksonville’s chapter of Starbucks Workers United will participate “in a lecture-based Q&A on union organization” and “discuss the growing labor movement, break down the struggles of young organizers across the country, and highlight our national achievements.”
The Democrats will hold their event at a Jacksonville location that sees the lion’s share of political gatherings in the city: the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront Hotel.
We have reached out to the Florida Young Democrats for exact speaking times for Fried, Taddeo, Diaz and Gaffney, and we will update when that information is provided.