Progressive Florida Rep. Maxwell Frost, 26, is lashing out at Governor Ron DeSantis for his policies disproportionately targeting and affecting black and LGBTQ people.
Frost, whose district includes the western half of Orlando where Walt Disney World sits, told CNN on Sunday that DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential candidate, is not trying to improve education, but is ‘scapegoating vulnerable communities due to his failures.’
It comes as the Florida legislature, which has a Republican supermajority, comes back into session this week for two months and plans to pass a slew of legislation, many bills focusing on education, that the freshman lawmaker claims are ‘fascist.’
Part of the extensive agenda of this legislative session is to expand the ban on teaching about sexual orientation and gender identity to 7th and 8th graders when a previous version of the law topped out at 6th grade. Critics call the Parental Rights in Education law the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill.
Another bill focused on education would ban gender studies classes and diversity programs in state-funded universities in Florida.
Progressive Rep. Maxwell Frost called Gov. Ron DeSantis a ‘fascist’ for imposing laws that he claims target black and LGBTQ people with the guise of improving education
The Florida legislature comes into session this week and will considering a slew of bills focused on education and other conservative agenda items. Pictured: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Ronald Reagan Library in southern California on Sunday, March 5
The legislature is also weighing a bill that would require teachers to use the pronouns of students for the gender in which they were born and bans the use of preferred pronouns from kindergarten through 12th grade. This is now being dubbed the ‘Don’t Say They’ bill by opponents.
‘This is what we’re up against in Florida right now and it’s hard to keep track of because it seems like there’s a new victim – there’s a new bill every day,’ Frost told CNN’s Jim Acosta on Sunday.
‘But we have to call it for what it is – he is abusing his power and using the state to target political opponents and political enemies,’ the first Gen Z lawmaker alleged. ‘And there’s a word for that, and it’s fascism, and we have to be honest about it.’
Elected in the 2022 midterms, Frost represents a blue oasis in a sea of red in Florida. Of the 28 districts in Florida, just eight are represented by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Both Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott are also Republicans.
The Florida legislature is also controlled by a Republican supermajority in both the House and Senate side – meaning that they will likely be able to pass almost any piece of legislation put forward on the right side of the aisle.
In the Florida House there are 84 Republican and 35 Democrats and in the Senate there are 28 Republicans and 12 Democrats.
Frost’s remarks on Sunday come as DeSantis is widely seen as the leading contender against former President Donald Trump in the 2024 Republican primaries. DeSantis has not yet announced a run, but he has started traveling the country in a pre-announcement book tour.
‘It’s just a problem for Florida now, sure,’ Frost said in his CNN interview when speaking of DeSantis. ‘But in a few years, it can be a problem for the nation.’
DeSantis vowed during his inauguration in January (pictured) that he would take on ‘woke’ education institutions and ‘woke’ corporations. He is widely seen as the frontrunner to be the GOP nominee in 2024 even though he has not yet announced his candidacy
DeSantis was in Texas over the weekend, then at the Ronald Reagan Library in southern California on Sunday and 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-primary-state stop 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 swing and early caucus state. He will go to the first primary election state of New Hampshire later in March.
DeSantis could also sign bills during this two-month legislative session that would end requirements for needing a permit to carry a firearm, make it easier to impose the death penalty on criminals and mandate companies to use something called E-verify, which is a program that verifies a worker has legal status in the U.S. before they are hired.
Famously, the session could also see an increase in spending for a program transporting illegal migrants out of Florida to Democratic enclave states.
DeSantis also wants to cut taxes by $2 billion in the state.
Frost is the first Gen Z lawmaker elected to the U.S. Congress. He represents a blue oasis in a sea of red in Orlando, Florida where Walt Disney World sits