The incoming class of Florida House Republicans deserves recognition for, as the Miami Herald‘s Kathleen McGrory notes, not fitting the national GOP stereotype.
But to label the freshmen GOP as “diverse,” as McGrory did on Sunday, is beyond a stretch.
“New Republican lawmakers reflect Florida’s diversity,” reads the headline of McGrory’s piece in Sunday’s Herald. This assessment is based on the fact that four of the 19 new members are Hispanic. That’s in line with the latest Census figures about Florida’s population.
But that’s where the reflection of Florida’s diversity ends.
Only two of the 19 incoming lawmakers are women (51 percent of Florida’s population is female).
Only one of the 19 incoming lawmakers is black (17 percent of Florida’s population is black).
In other words, the incoming class of Republican legislators, pictured to the right, is as white as Wonder Bread.
Not that there’s anything wrong with the complexion of the class; voters picked these candidates, not the Florida GOP.
But let’s just go easy on signing, “We Are The World.”
As I wrote in a previous post, as the father of a young daughter, I wish there were a few more female role models active in Florida politics. The few who are, like the wonderful Lizbeth Benacquisto and the super-sharp Dana Young, can’t be expected to shoulder the expectations of more than half of the population.
I hope the glass ceiling is shattered before Ella Joyce is old enough herself to run. But at this rate, when 17 out of 19 new Republican state lawmakers are men, it might just take that long.