Lauren Book: Gov. DeSantis’ agenda about anything but ‘freedom’

The Senate Democratic Leader took on the Governor's vision of 'freedom' which she argues has increased living costs and limited personal decisions.

The “freedom agenda” might be what Gov. Ron DeSantis is calling the next 60 days’ legislative push, but it’s going to make Florida anything but free, Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book argued.

The Davie Democrat delivered a 1,000-word rebuttal to the Governor’s State of the State address in the opening of the 2023 Regular Session. She issued a call to arms against the Governor’s agenda and his cooperating supermajority of Republican lawmakers as she offered a blistering critique of their agenda that’s garnering national headlines.

“The party of supposed limited government has developed a taste for control — and with it — an aversion to accountability,” Book said, “hiding behind a brand of ‘freedom’ I don’t recognize, while the Governor amasses nearly unchecked power.”

Book did not mention DeSantis’ all-but-declared presidential bid, but nearly did after praising the state’s attributes in growth, diversity, education and environment.

“By my Democratic view, much of this has been put at risk by the divisive agenda of a Governor vying to be the most conservative in the nation,” Book said. 

She argued the state has restricted books, limited protests against the government and claimed to be pro-business while attacking businesses big and small — allusions to an onslaught of controversies shaping up in classrooms, Capitol spaces and DeSantis’ Disney takeover.

“That is not freedom!” Book asserted after every example.

She also evoked the state’s new limit to abortion rights.

“Forced pregnancy and birth, even in cases of rape and incest,” Book said. “That is not freedom!”

Book touched on how the state’s economy might be booming, but working people continue to struggle with the high cost of living.

“When homeowners can’t afford property health and care insurance — with no relief in sight — it’s time to ask why,” Book said, citing the elderly who can’t afford insulin and the teachers who can’t live in the communities they serve.

“This is the true State of our State — and Floridians — you — deserve better,” she said.

Book did not mention the transgender rights that are being targeted by name.

Current Republican bills would prevent school personnel from using personal pronouns that don’t correspond to a student’s gender at birth, prohibit child attendance at drag shows and punish health care providers of “gender-affirming care.”

She gave a shout-out to an agenda item for each member of her caucus. Miami area Sen. Shevrin Jones is leading the fight to keep Advanced Placement African American Studies in schools, and Sen. Jason Pizzo is suing the Governor over migrant flights. Sen. Bobby Powell is fighting for clean drinking water as well.

She wrapped it up with a call to action.

“Over the next 60 days of the Legislative Session and beyond, we need freedom-loving Floridians everywhere to get engaged and stay engaged,” Book said. “To make our voices heard. And to stand up not only for our own rights and freedoms, but for those of our fellow Floridians.”

Complacency has a cost, Book declared.

“Because — make no mistake — dangerous attempts to undermine our freedoms as we know them will continue to occur if we don’t stand up and fight.”

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • Paul Passarelli

    March 7, 2023 at 12:33 pm

    “The hypocrisy runs deep in this one.” — Yoda.
    From the article:

    She wrapped it up with a call to action.
    “Over the next 60 days of the Legislative Session and beyond, we need freedom-loving Floridians everywhere to get engaged and stay engaged,” Book said. “To make our voices heard. And to stand up not only for our own rights and freedoms, but for those of our fellow Floridians.”
    Complacency has a cost, Book declared.
    “Because — make no mistake — dangerous attempts to undermine our freedoms as we know them will continue to occur if we don’t stand up and fight.”

    I would counter that over the past 60 *YEARS* the Democrats have been systematically curbing out civil rights in the name of ‘toleration’ by bribing lo-information voters with tall tales of ‘feel-good’ legislation that has fostered dependency on government and eroded the very ideals of American Exceptionalism.

    Today, 9 out of 10 people are inclined not only to exercise their own personal liberties but th hold back other they know from exercising their own freedoms. We have become institutionalized into accepting the words & actions of legislators whose singular priority is getting re-elected, rather than honoring their oaths of public service.

    Here in Florida we have Governor Ron DeSantis who is taking bold strides to restore *SANITY* to governance. His Parents Bill of Rights was severely attacked by those that are literally too afraid to challenge the bureaucracy of the Public Schools. But the Florida Sunshine Statutes seems to have caused those critics to wither.

    The voter’s rights acts being pushed by the GOP will require voters to present ID. How could such a simple and easily fulfilled requirement be questioned by *ANYONE* unless that have a desperate need to collect votes from *ILLEGITIMATE* sources?

    The Democrats created ‘don’t say gay’ talking point os ludacris prima facie, No one ever suggested that the word gay was problematic. The bill simply prohibits public servants from exposing impressionable children to subject matter that they are undeniably too young to understand and too young to process. Human sexuality is natural, and there are aspects of it that are should be considered *deviant* because they fall way outside of biological norms. The vast majority of *children* need not be made aware of these abnormalities unless and until the flaws manifest. But considering normal sexuality doesn’t develop in the K-3 age range, the material is wholly inappropriate to be taught to those children.

    Should an individual child begin to manifest actual organic sexual problems years too soon, then properly trained *physicians* are the appropriate personnel to treat the abnormality, not school teachers.

    There are dozens more issues that I could address, but the Democrats talking points are like cockroaches in that as soon as one is squashed, more come out of the woodwork, and the casualty is left to dirty the floors, without regards to the mess it caused.

  • Senorita Margarita

    March 7, 2023 at 3:54 pm

    Creepy she is.

  • Tjb

    March 7, 2023 at 5:28 pm

    Hey Paul, what are your views on CRT , Advance Placement African American Studies, and Florida’s HB1467?
    As a parent should I have the freedom to allow my children to read and take courses that I and my children support. These should be individual decision and not one made by state bureaucrats in Tallahassee.
    Also, do you have any thoughts on how the state is taking the freedom of our cities and counties to make local decisions?

    • Keystone Keys

      March 7, 2023 at 9:33 pm

      Tjb. Yup, as a parent should I have the freedom to allow my children to not read, not take courses that I and my children do not support, these should be individual decisions and not one made by whiners like you. In regard to local decisions, counties and cities are creations of the State, and are regulated as such.

      • Tjb

        March 8, 2023 at 10:45 am

        Keystone, I stated that it is an individual decision…. How does it make me a whiner?

    • Paul Passarelli

      March 8, 2023 at 12:49 am

      My ‘views’ on the politically charged “CRT” that is attracting so much controversy is that it is probably inappropriate for children under 17 years old.

      When I was in high school I took ‘AP US History’. The textbook was by Bailey and I still keep a copy to this day. It was a full sized volume and about 3-1/2 inches thick. It had an illustration at the front of each chapter and a thin section of plates at the end. Other than that it was all text. In all candor I cannot imaging what an ‘AP African American Studies’ text would look like. But if the textbook is 7.5 x 4.5 x 3/4 inch and the content is 60% images, then I would be loathe to call it an AP course. The thing is in my AP History class we read an additional 2-3 books a month to supplement the textbook. My teacher only taught one class at NHS; AP US History. Her regular gig was at WestConn University, where she taught, wait for it, US history, don’t-ya-know. Unfortunately she died early in the school year, and the sub they got to fill in for her was simply not up to the task. It’s because she died that we, her last class got to keep our Baileys.

      On HB-1467 I have mixed feelings. I think school textbooks should be rigidly screened for content that is factual, accurate, and unbiased. I think math books should be about *math*, science books about *science, ahd history books about, you guessed it, *history*.

      I think that books like “1984”, Atlas Shrugged, The Wealth of Nations, Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird, Aesop’s Fables, Huckleberry Finn, Little Women, Hiroshima, The Holy Bible, Around the world in 80 days, Bhagavad Gita, The Jungle, The Count of Monte Cristo, Principia Mathematica, etc. and a list that simply too long to enumerate here should be *MANDATORY* reading over the 12 years that kids are in school. To that I would add books like the Kama Sutra, Origin of Species, the works of Freud & Jung, Selections from Life Magazine from the years 1939-1948 & 1966-1975, many things that people *SHOULD* find difficult to view. Because those things happened, and must not be forgotten. And believe it or not I would include Marx’s Communist Manifesto, reprints from Pravda, and Neues Deutschland, because kids need to learn that governments *LIE*. And the cherry on top would be reprints from The Village Voice (NY, NY) accompanied by copies from the New York State Department of Vital Statistics so the kids can learn how an entire generation of deviants from that era are now dead from AIDS.

      Here’s the thing, as a parent you do have 100% freedom to buy or borrow virtually *ANY* book written in the past 500 years and read it to your kids. And I think it would be wise to do so with as many as time permits — almost without regard to the contents of said books. That’s because good data tends to self reinforce, and bad data is easily weeded out of a sufficiently large sample.

      But that’s the ideal situation. In the real world we can and do need to rely on experts to help screen out the inordinate volume of trash, and bring the cream to the surface.

      In my youth I was a voracious reader. Even today I still probably read more in a day than most (not all) adults read in a year. And I probably write more in a week than most have written in their adult lifetimes.

      And finally: “any thoughts on how the state is taking the freedom of our cities and counties to make local decisions?” Do you realize that’s a loaded question? I’ll point to the most insidious city I know of that took away the rights & freedoms of people over a vast area. But first let’s play multiple choice. Is it:
      a) Boston, MA
      b) New York, NY
      c) Los Angeles, CA
      d) Jacksonville, FL
      e) Washington , DC
      f) Chicago, IL
      g) Mexico City
      h) London, England
      i) Moscow, USSR
      z) All of the above.

      The correct answer is ‘d’, but I’d award partial credit for ‘All of the above’ (50%) and ‘e’ (25%) as well.

  • Grant

    March 8, 2023 at 8:49 pm

    A ban on “Books” somehow just seems even more appealing after reading this

    • Paul Passarelli

      March 9, 2023 at 10:02 am

      Ha-ha-ha! That made me smile!
      Welcome to The Dark Side, Grant. LOL

  • Andrew Linko

    March 18, 2023 at 12:28 pm

    DeSantis can take credit for the ‘Freedom’ of Insurance companies to charge 40-150% increases on premiums for home and auto. Floirida will become the NUMBER ONE highest price insurance market in the nation. He protected the ability to allow Insurance companies to use the higher premiums to give him $19 million dollars in donations to travel the Country to promote his power hungry efforts, and his book. He gave the freedom of the huge growth in lobby firms who amass the largest amounts of money from insurance companies, and he and the legislature gave the freedom of insurance companies to have ‘ZERO’ liability on the premiums they charge as they protected them with ‘Tort reform’ Yes, that Freedom has costed me more than any of my federal, state and local taxes!

Comments are closed.


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