Florida Democrats walked out of a committee vote to confirm Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ nominee Dr. Joseph Ladapo as surgeon general.
“We don’t feel that we’re getting any answers,” state Democratic Sen. Lauren Book said after Senate Health Policy Committee members asked questions about vaccines and masks, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
“The Florida Senate Democrats in this committee now are going to abstain, walk out and come back when we have more business.”
Florida is a free state, and we intend to keep it that way. pic.twitter.com/60TjJ7TOWG
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) January 21, 2022
Why the walkout?
— ☘️⚜️🎨 Kat Melanson (@Katmelan777) January 28, 2022
The walkout was based on concerns among Democrats of Ladapo’s approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. His approach, matching that of DeSantis, is to keep the state open and to leave freedom from mandates and vaccinations.
The efforts have continued despite growing COVID-19 numbers across Florida.
Ladapo has also personally not worn a mask in many situations where Democrats have had complaints.
#Florida House Democrats walked out before a vote came on the state surgeon general’s confirmation.
Democrats said the reason for the walkout was because Dr. Joseph Ladapo could not “adequately answer questions on his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.” https://t.co/19KpA9R7Qf
— The Epoch Times (@EpochTimes) January 27, 2022
Despite a walkout by the state’s Democratic lawmakers, the confirmation passed as Republicans held the majority.
The confirmation will now go before the full state Senate for consideration. Ladapo is expected to be confirmed despite Democrat opposition due to the state’s Republican majority.
Democrats will likely continue to protest, though they understand they are outnumbered in the battle. Instead, the state’s Democrats hope to make some noise and draw attention to a leader whose approach they do not like as the state draws near to midterm elections in November.