FL GOP Grassroots Rebel Over Common Core While Leadership Suppresses Final Vote

January, 2014

The Florida GOP grassroots rebellion against Common Core continued and intensified at the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) annual meeting in Orlando over the weekend.  Thanks to the great efforts of Randy Osborne, Marion County chairman of the Republican Executive Committee (REC), Bill Paterson, St. Lucie County chairman, Representative Debbie Mayfield and activists all over the state, two important resolutions against Common Core were passed.  Despite numerous poor arguments and parliamentary efforts to table or otherwise suppress them, both the REC chairman's caucus and the state committeeman/committeewoman's caucus passed them by commanding majorities. 

Unfortunately, the party leadership cared not a whit about the sentiments of the representatives of GOP activists that make up the heart and soul of the Republican Party in Florida.  Chairman Lenny Curry would not allow a vote by the full executive board or during the general meeting on the resolutions.  Instead, he deep-sixed them in the legislative committee.  Although he said, "I'm going to make sure the party's legislative affairs committee works with the Legislature," given that the membership of that committee is unknown and Curry's past record of suppressing dissent, we see it is far more likely that nothing will be done about the issue until the next meeting of the RPOF in May AFTER the legislative session.

The rules committee meeting was closed on Friday apparently to be able to discuss how to prevent the resolutions from going anywhere or to block any efforts to bring them up in the executive committee on Saturday.  Activists were left to chant outside the room, "Stop Common Core! Open the Door!"  There was such fear and trembling about any discussion on Common Core or efforts to pass a resolution in the general annual meeting on Saturday, not a single vote on any issue was allowed.  Instead, the members were subjected to three hours of long-winded speeches.  These pronouncements from on high included the absurd notion that the party is only there to elect Republicans and not to take any positions on issues.  Both Governor Scott and Senator Tom Lee, while trying to say that they have heard the concerns about Common Core, then proceeded to refer people with questions or concerns to the very same elected officials and bureaucrats that have ridiculed or ignored the cries of the citizens against this monstrosity. These include state school board member John Colon who first came to one of Dr. Effrem's presentations and wouldn't even identify himself or his position and couldn't even defend the standards. Later in the summer, he called people that opposed Common Core "whackos" and "crazy" during an RPOF conference call.  Senator Lee extolled the virtues of Senate President Don Gaetz as someone who "really cares about education," conveniently forgetting that Gaetz was quoted as saying:

"You can't dip them in milk and hold them over a candle and see the United Nations flag or Barack Obama's face," Gaetz said. "They're not some federal conspiracy."

And Lenny Curry, after his thuggish tactics at the last RPOF quarterly meeting and all his suppression of the grassroots at this most recent meeting, actually had the audacity to say, "The resolution by the committee members is not the voice of the Republican Party of Florida."   The only reason it is not the voice of the RPOF is because he would not let come up for a vote.  With friends and leaders like that, who needs enemies?

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