Progressive Florida Representative Maxwell Frost, 26, is taking on Governor Ron DeSantis for his policies targeting and disproportionately affecting Black and LGBTQ people.
Frost, whose district includes the western half of Orlando where Walt Disney World is located, told CNN on Sunday that DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential candidate, was not trying to improve education, but “goats emissaries of vulnerable communities because of its failures”.
It comes as the Florida legislature, which has a Republican super majority, returns to session this week for two months. Meanwhile, GOP lawmakers plan to pass a slew of education-focused bills — legislation that the freshman lawmaker says is fascist.
Part of the broad agenda for this legislative session is to extend the ban on teaching sexual orientation and gender identity to 7th and 8th graders when a previous version of the law made it past 6th grade. Critics call the ‘Parental Rights in Education’ Act the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill.
Another education-focused bill would ban gender studies courses and diversity programs at state-funded universities in Florida.
The legislature is also weighing a bill that would require teachers to use students’ pronouns for the gender they were born in and prohibit the use of preferred pronouns in kindergarten through 12th grade. This bill is now dubbed the “Don’t Say They” Bill by opponents.
“That’s what we’re dealing with in Florida right now, and it’s hard to keep up because it looks like there’s a new victim — there’s a new bill every day,” Frost told Jim Acosta. from CNN on Sunday.
“But we have to call him for what he is — he abuses his power and uses the state to target political opponents and political enemies,” the first Gen Z lawmaker alleged. one word for it, and it’s fascism, and we have to be honest about it.”
Elected to the 2022 midterms, Frost represents a rare Democratic blue oasis in a Florida sea of red. Of Florida’s 28 districts, only eight are represented by Democrats in the US House of Representatives. Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott are also Republicans.
The Florida Legislature is also controlled by a Republican supermajority on both the House and Senate side, which means they will likely be able to pass almost any proposed law on the right side of the aisle.
In the State House, there are 84 Republicans and 35 Democrats; in the Senate, there are 28 Republicans and 12 Democrats.
Frost’s remarks on Sunday come as DeSantis is widely seen as the main contender against former President Donald Trump in the 2024 Republican primaries. DeSantis has yet to announce a race but has begun touring the country as part of a a pre-announcement book tour.
“It’s just a problem for Florida now, of course,” Frost said in his CNN interview of DeSantis. “But in a few years it can be a problem for the nation.”
Progressive Rep. Maxwell Frost has called Gov. Ron DeSantis a ‘fascist’ for imposing laws he says target black and LGBTQ people under the guise of improving education
The Florida Legislature enters session this week and will consider a slew of education-focused bills and other items on the conservative agenda. Pictured: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at the Ronald Reagan Library in Southern California on Sunday, March 5
DeSantis vowed during his inauguration in January (pictured) that he would tackle ‘woke’ educational institutions and ‘woke’ businesses. He is widely considered the frontrunner to be the GOP nominee in 2024 even though he has yet to announce his candidacy.
DeSantis was in Texas over the weekend, then at the Ronald Reagan Library in Southern California on Sunday. He will deliver his State of the State Address to the Florida Legislature on Wednesday.
He will then stop in Alabama on Thursday before an early stop in the state primary in Iowa on Friday for the first time since becoming a potential 2024 contender.
Over the weekend, he will then spend time in Nevada, a critical condition and first caucus. He will head to New Hampshire’s first primary election later in March.
DeSantis is also expected to sign bills during this two-month legislative session that include: removing requirements for needing a license to carry a firearm, making it easier to impose the death penalty on criminals and requiring companies to use E-Verify, a web-based system operated by the Department of Homeland Security, to confirm that a worker has legal status in the United States before being hired.
Famously, the session could also see increased spending on a program ferrying illegal migrants out of Florida to Democratic landlocked states.
DeSantis also wants to cut taxes by $2 billion in the state.
Frost is the first Gen Z legislator elected to the US Congress. It depicts a blue oasis in a sea of red in Orlando, Florida, home of Walt Disney World