In times past, Florida’s Senate was often pushed into the role of moderation — reining in partisan excesses on either side of the aisle, and emphasizing consensus among its 40 members. That role was invisible over the past two years, along with the Legislature’s critical independence as one of three, co-equal branches of government. Instead, leaders in both the House and Senate have repeatedly surrendered their own authority to the whims of Gov. Ron DeSantis, dutifully attacking the state’s largest employer and allowing him to seize control of congressional reapportionment, a role that clearly falls to the Legislature.
So as we look at Senate races, we have to start with the question: Did incumbents even attempt to do their jobs? Beyond that, did they defend Florida’s obvious priorities against the ambitions and culture-war distractions that are driving political discourse in this state? Those two questions tell Central Florida voters a lot of what they need to know about this year’s race.
State Senate District 10: Joy Goff-Marcil
With Joy Goff-Marcil, the answer is easy: Over her two terms in the state House, the Winter Park Democrat worked hard to bring Floridians’ needs to the forefront as legislative leaders indulged in distraction after distraction. Goff-Marcil is a well-known quantity to Central Florida voters, many of whom have learned to value her deep knowledge over years of public service. In the recent legislative session she fought for more aggressive action against toxic algae blooms that are fouling some of Florida’s most valuable waterways. She pushed for a study of improvements to the state’s electricity grid that would help the state recover from a major storm, and sought relief for university students hit with fees that have become a significant driver of rising college debt.
Goff-Marcil has always been an effective lawmaker who could work across the aisle to make some progress, even if she didn’t reach her end goal, and she managed that again in the 2021 and 2020 sessions. But with ideas this sensible, it should not have been so hard.
Those hard-won victories, however, are why Florida voters should promote Goff-Marcil to the state Senate. She has the perseverance to keep reaching out, and the humility to overcome the urge to claim credit.
She is challenging state Sen. Jason Brodeur, the Republican incumbent who has let his constituents down in every way imaginable, in a district that takes in all of Seminole County with a small portion of Orange County. From his eight years in the House, we know Brodeur can focus on his constituents’ biggest needs. But over his two-year Senate term (shortened by redistricting) he surrendered to the political stunts and embarrassing machinations forced on lawmakers by DeSantis.
And that’s not the worst of it. There’s no denying his role as the beneficiary of political shenanigans in the so-called “ghost candidate” scheme, a plan concocted to funnel illegal campaign contributions to a woman who was recruited into his 2020 Senate race to siphon votes from his opponent. Brodeur has not been accused of breaking any laws. But he has yet to decry the actions of his known associates, and has failed to explain to his constituents how much he knew about the plan. Why hasn’t he filed legislation that would force more accountability into Florida’s subterranean swamp of secretive campaign cash?
Goff-Marcil has filed such legislation. At the least, Brodeur could have promoted it in the Senate. He didn’t.
We think this is a clear choice: Brodeur has abdicated his responsibility to the voters he was elected to serve. Goff-Marcil is the better option for voters who deserve responsible, principled representation.