Republicans walk out of Orange County Legislative Delegation meeting

Jason Brodeur led the move in protest of rules limiting who chairs the county delegation.

Republican lawmakers walked out of an Orange County Legislative Delegation meeting over a rule on who can run for chair.

Rules for the delegation only allow lawmakers to serve as chair or vice chair if a majority of precincts in their district lie in Orange County. That effectively means only lawmakers in Democratic-leaning districts.

Sen. Jason Brodeur, a Lake Mary Republican, called for that issue to be reviewed, but a Rules Committee did not recommend a change. Disallowing some members of the delegation from seeking the chairmanship effectively compromises the political participation of elected officials, he said.

“Why do we have this artificial threshold limiting minority access to leadership?” he said. “There’s nothing that says I’m obligated to participate in this.”

Brodeur compared the discussion to a “kangaroo court.” He also compared the limitation on Orange County lawmakers who primarily represent neighboring counties to the three-fifths compromise initially limiting the counting of slaves in population counts after the nation’s founding.

Lawmakers living in Orange County scoffed at the comparison, with Democrats noting they haven’t walked out of the legislative process in Tallahassee, where GOP majorities control the House and Senate.

Sen. Victor Torres, an Orlando Democrat, noted the rule was put in place in 2017, after Democrats won a majority of seats representing the county. He served before then, when Republicans won election to chair and vice chair routinely.

“I’ve been in the minority up in Tallahassee for 12 years. Twelve years,” he said. “What are the chances of getting us heard? How many of our bills are being heard? Or our appropriations not being vetoed, helping the community? So when I hear minority representation or fairness, well guess what. Now you know how I feel. Now you know how we feel.”

Sen. Geraldine Thompson, a Windermere Democrat, also noted the rule has been in place for several years, and so it is not a new development.

Delegations for Orange and Palm Beach counties are the only ones in Florida with such a restriction in place.

Democrats also noted there’s little power in a delegation chairmanship, compared to committee chairs in the Legislature who determine what bills get heard.

Brodeur walked out of the meeting and was quickly followed by Sen. Dennis Baxley, a Lake County Republican, and Rep. Doug Bankson, an Apopka Republican.

Several other Republicans had excused absences and did not attend the meeting. The remaining lawmakers approved a rules package that preserved the restrictions on chair and vice chair in a unanimous vote.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Crybabies cry

    November 29, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    Is anyone surprised that when it doesn’t go the way of the GOP they don’t play, they cry and go about trying to change the rules.

  • PeterH

    November 29, 2023 at 12:57 pm

    It’s not like Republicans are responsible managers! They should stop their whining and allow current laws to govern leadership.

    Republicans are America’s worst enemy!

    Vote all Republicans out of office!

  • rick whitaker

    November 29, 2023 at 9:25 pm

    haters gotta hate

  • Luiz Ricardo Gomes Pamplona

    November 30, 2023 at 7:58 am

    Have you been to a state control by Democrats?
    You don’t have to be an expert to find out which one is better than other. Just go to California or NYC and then you can see with your eyes.

  • perry chamberlain

    November 30, 2023 at 12:57 pm

    Why would anyone who represents anyone out side of the county even be in this assembly.
    This is a old slavery law, that allows them to even run.
    This is antique civil gerrymandering .
    Only in Florida, can elected officials be elected to positions in a county they don’t represent.

    • just sayin

      December 6, 2023 at 10:31 am

      Come on, use a little critical thinking. Your last sentence is especially silly. Many states have over a hundred counties. Florida has 67, meaning you would need 67 senators just to achieve your little utopia. And even this would mean that Miami-Dade (2.7 million people) would have the same number of senators as Liberty County (7,603).

Comments are closed.


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