Democrats Name Ranking Members for House Health Committees

Members will get a vote on a variety of health issues as committee weeks launch next week.House Democratic leadership on Tuesday announced Democratic lawmakers who will take lead positions on various House committees during the upcoming 2022 Session that begins Jan. 7.

Kamia Brown, who worked closely with House Speaker Chris Sprowls on extending Medicaid benefits to postpartum mothers by 10 months, was named the ranking member of the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee.

When it comes to substantive health care policy issues, Jacksonville Rep. Tracie Davis, will serve as ranking member of the Health & Human Services Committee. Rep. Emily Slosberg was named ranking member of the Pandemics & Public Emergencies Committee, which was established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a prepared statement, Slosberg said she was honored to be named ranking member and was “looking forward to working with Chair (DanielPerez and the committee to help pass legislation to ensure the safety of Floridians.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Susan Valdés was named ranking member of the Children, Families & Seniors Subcommittee; Rep. Dotie Joseph to the Finance & Facilities Subcommittee; and Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith to the Professions & Public Health Subcommittee.

While it’s not a health care committee specifically, the House Judiciary Committee does address issues that impact health care, such as medical malpractice issues and workers compensation, among others. Rep. Fentrice Driskell was named ranking member of that committee.

House Democrat co-leaders. Reps. Bobby DuBose and Evan Jenne announced the assignments Tuesday.

“The Florida House Democrats are ready to get back to work and help Floridians still struggling because of the pandemic. From keeping our schools safe to fixing our broken health care system, Floridians need us to come up with real solutions to the problems making life in the Sunshine State difficult for so many,” DuBose said in a prepared statement. “We will continue to be strong advocates of the people on the critical health and safety policies that the people deserve.”

Jenne said in a statement the caucus will work for all Floridians.

“This is yet another important session because of the ongoing COVID pandemic,” he said. “We must help provide relief for so many Floridians that need it, ensure small businesses stay open, and continue to defend local governments’ autonomy.”

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Kamia Brown racks up Senate endorsements

The high-profile support came days after Geraldine Thompson joined the race.

Rep. Kamia Brown received a lift to her Senate ambitions with key endorsements from three sitting members of the upper chamber: Sens. Lori Berman, Shevrin, Jones and Victor Torres.

Each is endorsing the Ocoee Democrat in the Senate District 11 contest.

“”I believe Kamia Brown would be an absolute asset in the Florida State Senate,” said Torres, a Kissimmee Democrat. “During her time as a Florida House Member, she has been a proven, positive leader in her community. That is why I am proud to endorse my friend, Kamia Brown, for Florida State Senate, District 11.”

The timing of the endorsements comes days after Rep. Geraldine Thompson, herself a Senator from 2012 until 2016, jumped into the Democratic primary, making it a race. Brown kicked off her campaign in August. The two are running to succeed Sen. Randolph Bracy, who is running for an open seat for Congress in Florida’s 10th Congressional District. So far, no Republicans have filed for Bracy’s open Senate seat.

Brown first won election to the House in 2016. The senators lining up behind her bid said she’s proven to be an effective lawmaker.

“Having served with her, I know Rep. Brown will continue to be a strong and passionate advocate on so many key issues, including women, families and children. Her leadership in the Florida Senate couldn’t come at a more important juncture in time,” said Berman, a Delray Beach Democrat.

Berman served in the House through 2018 before making her ascension to the upper chamber. Jones, a West Park Democrat, served in the House alongside Brown until his election to the Senate in 2020.

“I’ve always been proud to call Kamia a friend, and today I’m extremely proud to endorse her campaign for state Senate,” he said. “I know she will be an unwavering voice for economic opportunity, housing affordability, access to quality health care, justice and equality for all, and our natural resources because that is who she is at her core. Kamia leads by example with empathy, integrity and focus. I’m confident she’ll continue to do great work on behalf of Central Florida in the Senate just as she’s done throughout her time in the House.”

 

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