Florida House Dems Pick Rep. Fentrice Driskell as Next Leader

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Florida House Democrats have tapped Rep. Fentrice Driskell as the caucus’s next leader for the 2022-2024 term, the first Black woman to hold the position.

Driskell, of Tampa, will replace current leader Rep. Evan Jenne. In a statement, Driskell said she was humbled to take on the role.

“Growing up in Polk County, my dad worked as a dispatcher and my mom was a public-school teacher. I never imagined I’d one day work here, serving my community. I’m so honored and, also, so ready to get to work,” she said.

Driskell, who was the first Black woman elected student government president at Harvard University and one of the first Black women to make a partner at the Carlton Fields law firm, said she appreciated this opportunity and a chance to again be a “first.”

“I am honored to be elected to serve as Leader of the House Democratic Caucus. I couldn’t be more excited to get to work in this new role and lead our Caucus forward, create a brighter future for all Floridians and build a place where we can all be healthy, prosperous, and safe.”

“The fact that my colleagues put their confidence in me and trust me to not only do a good job but also have the opportunity to break this barrier means a lot,” she said.

Fentrice Driskell was elected in the general election on November 6, 2018, winning 53 percent of the vote over 47 percent of incumbent Republican candidate Shawn Harrison from the 63rd House district in Hillsborough County. She is the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee.

Her election comes after Rep. Ramon Alexander, who was set to be leader, said he would not seek reelection following allegations that he sexually harassed a former employee of Florida A&M. Alexander has apologized and said the interactions were consensual.

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