Incoming Florida leaders Passidomo, Renner point to housing, ‘woke’ issues as priorities

They previewed some areas of focus for the 2023 legislative session.
Incoming House Speaker Paul Renner, left, and incoming Senate President Kathleen Passidomo spoke Saturday during the Republican Party of Florida's Sunshine Summit.
Incoming House Speaker Paul Renner, left, and incoming Senate President Kathleen Passidomo spoke Saturday during the Republican Party of Florida's Sunshine Summit. [ JIM TURNER | News Service of Florida ]
Published July 25, 2022|Updated July 25, 2022

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. — “Attainable” housing for workers and steps to prevent a push by “woke” billionaires on issues such as energy and fossil fuels will be priorities during the next couple of legislative sessions, incoming House and Senate leaders said Saturday.

As the Republican Party of Florida opened its Sunshine Summit at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Broward County over the weekend,

incoming Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, pointed to a need for lawmakers during the 2023 session to address “attainable” housing for workers.

“We’ve attracted so many great businesses into the state, we have so many good educational opportunities we’re working on,” Passidomo said. “The real key, that is the people that are coming here from all over the country have to have a place to live.”

Passidomo and incoming House Speaker Paul Renner, R-Palm Coast, alluded to a program similar to a $100 million “Hometown Heroes” program DeSantis signed into law this year. The program offers down payment and closing-cost assistance for teachers, health care workers and police officers.

Passidomo added that the state can’t dictate rent or home prices on privately held property.

Related: At Republican conference, Tampa Bay candidates vie to show they're red enough

Renner, who highlighted continued work to expand school choice, also said more attention is needed to address corporate pushes toward what are known as environmental, social and governance principles, which often include favoring investment in green energy over fossil fuels.

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“It’s the biggest threat that I think we don’t really know much about,” Renner said. “And that is really an effort by billionaires, woke billionaires to leverage American capitalism against us and turn our American companies into advocates for the woke agenda. This includes cutting off our energy sector and inducing what I believe is going to be a politically induced energy crisis in America, going against our agriculture sector, going against a lot of things that make America work.”

Related: Trump, DeSantis headline two Republican conferences Saturday on opposing Florida coasts

Florida is in court defending a new law DeSantis dubbed the “Stop WOKE Act,” which some businesses and educators contend violates First Amendment rights. The law, passed during this year’s legislative session, restricts the way certain race-related concepts can be taught in public schools and in workplace training.

Passidomo and Renner will formally become Senate and House leaders after the November elections and will hold the positions for two years.

By Jim Turner, News Service of Florida