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Florida GOP lawmakers weary of new administration

TALLAHASSEE – With a new administration comes new optimism or pessimism for state lawmakers, depending on which side of the political aisle they fall on.

Legislators are already setting expectations for how President Biden’s actions might impact Florida.

It was no secret that under the Obama administration, the Republican Florida legislature and governor often found themselves at odds with the federal government.

Now, the Republican controlled state government is gearing up for another four years under a Democratic president.

“I just hope we don’t see a federal government that tries to push the state further to the left than it’s ready to go, like we saw with the administration of President Obama,” said State Sen. Ray Rodrigues.

Rodrigues worries the work to expedite Everglades restoration under the Trump administration could be impacted by Biden.

“We could see the federal government go back to the ways that they did under President Obama and just put Everglades restoration on the back burner,” said Rodrigues.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has also raised some concerns.

“I may not be a phone call away from getting everything done soon,” DeSantis said in a December interview.

Florida Republicans are also critical of Biden’s plan to involve FEMA in vaccine distribution.

“We don’t need additional bureaucrats to get the vaccine out and into the arms of Floridians. What we need are more vaccines,” said Rodrigues.

But Florida Democrats like State Sen. Lori Berman argue that the state should take help wherever it’s offered.

“And I don’t know why the governor would in any way not be in favor of something that’s going to get more vaccines in peoples’ arms,” said Berman.

And while Republican state legislators may have their concerns at the federal level, what happens here in Florida, ultimately, is still in their hands as it has been since Republicans took control of both the Florida House and Senate in 1997.