Hooper: Demand a legacy of inclusion from Florida's new leaders

The lack of an African-American on the Florida Supreme Court signals an increased need for accountability.
New Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva, R- Miami Lakes, expressed a tone of cooperation after being sworn in on Nov. 20. SCOTT KEELER | Times
New Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva, R- Miami Lakes, expressed a tone of cooperation after being sworn in on Nov. 20. SCOTT KEELER | Times
Published December 3
Updated December 3

With Florida poised not to have an African-American on its supreme court for the first time in four decades, many say the lack of diversity on the state’s highest court will define Gov. Rick Scott’s legacy.

The question, however, is what will be the legacy of Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva and State Senate president Bill Galvano. They now stand as the state’s three most influential leaders, and each has a chance to craft a legacy of greater inclusion.

Some may scoff at such a possibility. But those of us who want greater diversity among state institutions have no choice but to challenge them to live up to those moments when they express a cooperative tone. Their promises to represent everyone and govern together must be more than mere words.

Our new leaders must address today’s regressive decisions, not lean on revisionist history. Through policies, appointments and access, they must send a new signal of inclusion to all Floridians, including women and minorities. Diversity must always be intentional — in state government and in private companies.

Power, of course, concedes nothing without a demand. …

Seen on a bumper sticker: If Every Day Is A Gift, I Want To Exchange Monday. …

Pamela Robinson, whose son suffered an accidental death after years of battling mental illness, continues to advocate for families and caregivers. Tonight Robinson convenes a Tampa town hall on what to do when a family member with a mental health issue is arrested.

It starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Saunders Library, 1505 N. Nebraska Ave. RSVP for the free event at tinyurl.com/ydy65owa. …

Thirty years ago, George Herbert Walker Bush called for a “kinder, gentler nation.” Now more than ever, we owe it to him not to let those words be buried as we celebrate his life this week.

That’s all I’m saying.

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