This week, the Florida Legislature held its organizational session and new state House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa, named her leadership team.
Controlling less than 40 of the 120 House seats, the Democrats are not expected to be much of a factor in the next two years. However, Driskell offered an upbeat note as she took over the caucus.
“The House Democratic Caucus is made up of some of the strongest, most fierce champions of the people in the entire state,” said Driskell. “It is an honor and great pleasure to work with these individuals in this new capacity, and all of them are prepared to lead the Caucus in the face of the challenges that lie ahead of us.”
Driskell named state Rep. Dotie Joseph, D-Miami, as minority leader pro tempore.
“I have had the distinct pleasure of knowing Representative Joseph for over 20 years. From the time we were at Georgetown Law to now, she has always been a consistent champion for justice. The issues she advocates for on behalf of all Floridians makes Representative Joseph an invaluable asset in defending Floridians against extremist Republican policies,” said Driskell. “I look forward to Representative Joseph’s leadership as a key member of my team over the next two years.”
State Rep. Kelly Skidmore, D-Boca Raton, a former legislative aid who served four years in the House from 2006 to 2010 before returning to the House in 2020, will be policy chair.
“As the previous policy chair for the caucus, I know what is needed to do this job. Appointing Representative Skidmore as policy chair was an easy choice,” said Driskell. “She stood out as a prime member in understanding policy during the last legislative term. Representative Skidmore also brings with her a wealth of experience as both a former House and Senate staffer and House member. Applying her unique skillset to this new role will benefit the Caucus and all Floridians.”
State Rep. Mike Gottlieb, D-Davie, will be the floor leader and state Rep. Christine Hunschofsky, D-Parkland, is the whip.
“Two things I greatly appreciate about Representative Gottlieb are his refreshing candor and strong fortitude,” said Driskell. “As the minority party in the Legislature, we’re aware of the challenges that lie ahead of us. What we need right now is someone who is unwavering under extreme pressure to help guide our caucus during difficult moments. Representative Gottlieb is perfectly suited for this role.
“Representative Hunschofsky has an amazing ability to get things done,” she added. “Not only does Representative Hunschofsky possess a wealth of knowledge due to her experience as the former mayor of Parkland, Florida, she is also a champion of many initiatives close to Floridians’ hearts, such as expanding access to quality mental health care. I know Representative Hunschofsky’s knowledge and ability will help prepare our caucus for the challenges of the next two years.”