Following the midterm elections in Florida, Black representation in the GOP has increased in the state Legislature, compared to the last term from 2020-22 when there was only one lone Black Republican – state Rep. Webster Barnaby of Volusia County.
But now the Florida Legislative Black Caucus has increased to four GOP members overall in the Florida Legislature for the 2022-24 term.
That said, there are three African Americans who are Republicans in the Florida House. And in the Florida Senate, Corey Simon is the only Black Republican lawmaker. Simon represents parts of several North Florida counties: Dixie, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor and Wakulla.
In addition to Barnaby, the other two new Republican members in the Black Caucus from the Florida House are Berny Jacques and Kiyan Michael. Jacques represents part of Pinellas County, while Michael represents part of Duval County.
Overall, the Black Caucus is made up of 29 members from both major political parties, according to an analysis by the Florida Phoenix. Still, most of the Black members are from the Democratic Party. The Senate has seven Black lawmakers; the House has 22.
State Sen. Shevrin Jones, a Democrat representing part of Miami-Dade County, told the Phoenix that “for the first time in a long time, in both chambers, Black legislators make up the majority of the Democratic caucus.”
He added: “It is going to be very important for the Black Caucus to use this as an opportunity to amplify the needs of our communities; that goes from infrastructure to economic development. This time is an opportunity to be strategic about what and how do we use our collective power at the table.”
What issues will be pushed by the Black Caucus in the upcoming legislative session has yet to be determined, according to state Rep. Patricia Williams, a Democrat representing part of Broward County.
“I don’t know at this time what we will focus on,” Williams said in a phone conversation Thursday with the Florida Phoenix. “We are meeting this weekend.”
She added that the interim chair of the Black Caucus is state Sen. Darryl Rouson, a Democrat representing parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. State Rep. Kamia Brown, who had campaigned for a Senate seat, lost that race. She had earlier been chosen as the chair of the Black Caucus.
Meanwhile, the Florida House Democratic Caucus will host a ceremony Monday for its new leader for the 2022-24 term, Leader-Designate Fentrice Driskell, according to a news release from the House Democrats.
Driskell, who represents part of Hillsborough County, made history as the first Black woman to serve in the role of House Democratic Leader in the Florida Legislature.
Issac Morgan reporting via Florida Phoenix.
Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Diane Rado for questions: [email protected]. Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.
November 18, 2022 at 12:07 pm
Black people that do not stand for something ,are Black people that will fall for anything, especially GOP racist policies
November 18, 2022 at 4:06 pm
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November 19, 2022 at 6:19 pm
November 18, 2022 at 1:01 pm
Yeah get up there and hee haw with those crackers in the GOP. They want to turn everyone into slaves these days.. black, white, asian, anybody they can get their gd hands on to feed their trickle up economic schemes and grifting.
November 22, 2022 at 8:09 pm
You’re freaks, all of you! All of you, freaks, mutations! I am a man! The last man!
November 18, 2022 at 4:04 pm
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November 21, 2022 at 9:30 am
Hopefully, the Black Caucus will focus on attainable goal that will make a difference in troubled communities, and set the largely unattainable partisan nonsense aside.
Got to love how condescending and disrespectful Leftists are towards Black conservatives.
November 22, 2022 at 3:33 am
Leftists who paint every African-American Republican with the same broad brush are simply racist. They think their wokeness will inoculate them from well-deserved criticism, but it won’t … ever.
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