Leadership Blue 2022 not the usual big Democratic shindig

leadership blue
The speaker for this year’s gala dinner is Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Florida’s political world is centered on Water Street in Tampa for the next few days, with the Florida Democratic Party’s (FDP) Leadership Blue events across said street from the Moms for Liberty event which is drawing Gov. Ron DeSantis, First Lady Casey DeSantis, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, two former presidential cabinet secretaries and a host of others.

So, it’s not the typical Leadership Blue Weekend, despite the usual scheduled breakout strategy sessions, caucus meetings and various afterparties.

As soon as the breakfast event with DeSantis ends this morning, FDP Chairman Manny Diaz will lead a news conference taking aim at DeSantis’ education record.

“While DeSantis is focusing on elevating his national profile, pandering to Fox News viewers, and stealing Trump donors in preparation for his presidential ambitions, Florida is ranked 43rd in education funding, 48th in average teacher salary, and faces a teacher shortage,” according to an FDP news release. 

Diaz will be joined by Brevard County School Board member Jennifer Jenkins, Hillsborough County School Board member Karen Perez, and Democratic Public Education Caucus President Scott Hottenstein.

Economic struggles in DeSantis’ Florida will be the topic at a Saturday afternoon press event hosted by SEIU Florida and featuring Democratic gubernatorial candidate and U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, along with state Sen. Lauren Book and Democratic Attorney General candidate Aramis Ayala.

“With just months left in the 2022 election season, the event comes at a critical time for working families who are struggling to pay their bills and provide for their families due to skyrocketing rent hikes and surging housing costs, rapidly increasing gas prices and stagnant wages,” according to an SEIU Florida statement.

“Many working Floridians are also struggling for access to paid sick time, vacation time and quality affordable health care. Florida’s hospitals and nursing homes are also facing critical staffing shortages and retention issues, jeopardizing the quality of care for seniors and families in Florida.”

Among the panels set for the weekend is one on reproductive rights Saturday morning with Book, state Sens. Loranne Ausley, Janet Cruz and Audrey Gibson. Joining them will be Senate candidates Raquel Pacheco (Senate District 36), Janelle Perez (Senate District 38) and Eunic Ortiz (Senate District 24).

The Democratic Black Caucus of Florida will present a panel on, according to state Sen. Shevrin Jones, “how we bring the ‘kitchen table issues’ to the Black community,” later Saturday morning. On the panel are Ayala, Gibson, Jones, House Democratic Leader-designate Fentrice Driskell, Florida’s 23rd Congressional District candidate Allen Ellison and state House District 69 candidate Ashley Gantt, with moderator and former state Rep. Sean Shaw.

The speaker for this year’s gala dinner is Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who notably has a second home in Florida.

“Florida is in dire need of a pro-choice, Democratic governor, and Governor Pritzker is proud to support the Florida Democratic Party in their efforts to flip the state blue,” a Pritzker campaign spokeswoman told Politico earlier this week.

Wes Wolfe

Wes Wolfe is a reporter who's worked for newspapers across the South, winning press association awards for his work in Georgia and the Carolinas. He lives in Jacksonville and previously covered state politics, environmental issues and courts for the News-Leader in Fernandina Beach. You can reach Wes at [email protected] and @WesWolfeFP. Facebook: facebook.com/wes.wolfe


  • David In Shoreline

    July 15, 2022 at 1:48 pm

    The Dems complain about education spending…. But it was DeSantis that gave teachers one of their best raises in years, not to mention a bonus. And an additional bonus if they complete Civics Boot Camp so they can properly teach their students what it means to be an American. Gov DeSantis is doing one helluva good job if you ask me.

    • Sam Nashagh

      July 15, 2022 at 8:42 pm

      David, you’re just presenting facts and reality. Most of that party doesn’t care for what actually happens, just the narrative of what they want people to believe. For instance, Florida is 16th in starting teacher salaries, which one could assume is how you recruit new teachers, but that doesn’t seem to stop Manny Diaz from conflating the issues. Maybe we wouldn’t have had such a exodus in educators if the Democratic party didn’t try to take over schools as political people & mask control campuses. SOURCE: https://www.nea.org/about-nea/media-center/press-releases/nea-unveils-new-nationwide-data-educator-pay-and-school-funding

    • Tjb

      July 16, 2022 at 6:02 pm

      Was the money given to the teachers come from the Biden administration funding to the state, a funding bill that DeSantis and Republican Senators were against?

    • Joe Corsin

      July 16, 2022 at 9:24 pm

      Vote RED for domestic terrorists shilling for grifters and the rich.

      Vote RED for neo nazi propaganda and horrible far right culture.

      Vote RED for neo slavery and wealth and income inequality the likes of which the world has never seen.

      Vote RED for claiming victory on the backs of others while doing absolutely nothing else but talking for a living

      Vote RED for governor’s pandering to the police state… bribing the police for votes… brainwashing the poor with far right propaganda.

  • tom palmer

    July 15, 2022 at 4:28 pm

    Are you referring to the Hillsdale College white bread version of American history?

  • Al

    July 15, 2022 at 8:58 pm

    Don’t you hate it when they make the other guy homeless and in I’ll health… complaint about that job they got and the rate I creases they caused

Comments are closed.


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