FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Damien Filer / 850-212-1858 / firstname.lastname@example.org
TALLAHASSEE – Jason Brodeur has spent a career staking his claim as a rightwing firebrand and yet his new campaign ad has him racing for the moderate middle in a move that has earned him our 2020 Political Extreme Makeover Award.
“The only thing they could have done to make this makeover more extreme would have been to have Brodeur in a drum circle singing Kumbaya,” said Josh Weierbach, Executive Director of Florida Watch. “Jason Brodeur was a Trump Republican before Trump but his new ad would have us believe his political career has been all about how much he loves puppies and Democrats and working together. What a joke.”
Let’s take a look at Brodeur’s real record of promoting hate and division in the communities he represents:
For starters, Brodeur has ties to white supremacists. He paid tens of thousands of dollars in campaign funds to Jacob Engels.1 Brodeur has made Engels a key advisor even though he is tied to2 white supremacist groups3 and promotes far right conspiracy theories.4
Brodeur has spent his career attacking Central Florida’s gay and transgender community. He opposes marriage equality and opposes civil rights laws that would make it illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ Floridians.5 In 2015 he sponsored legislation that, had it passed, would have made it legal to ban gay families from adopting children.6 Brodeur thinks the right to discriminate against gay couples is more important than helping kids in foster care find loving forever homes.
His extreme makeover ad claims he protected our waterways. The truth is that while Seminole County citizens voted to preserve parks and natural areas, Brodeur led an effort that would allow private developers – including some of his major campaign contributors – to destroy and pave over the wetlands, rivers, and springs where our families go for fun and that protect our drinking water supplies.7
As kids head back to underfunded and unsafe schools it’s worth noting Brodeur voted to cut billions of dollars from the state’s education budget.8 In fact, Brodeur’s budget cuts led to Seminole County schools having to fire hundreds educators and close schools.9 Brodeur’s cuts hurt our children’s education and also forced a nearly $500 million property tax increase on Florida families,10 just to prevent more layoffs and school closings.
Most outrageous is the claim that “nearly every Brodeur bill won bipartisan support.”
In his last two years in the Florida Legislature, Brodeur stood up for gun manufacturers and polluters and against women’s access to reproductive health care, labor unions, the environment and our local public schools.
“Brodeur has a right to affiliate with white supremacists and discriminate against the gay and transgender community. He also has a right to fight for polluters and against public schools and access to health care,” said Tess Martin, Deputy Director of Florida Watch. “It just seems a little late to try to sell himself as a puppy loving consensus builder. And that’s why he is the winner of our 2020 Political Extreme Makeover Award.”
1Florida Department of State Campaign Finance Database (accessed 9/2/20)
Campaign finance records listed under the Florida Department of State’s Campaign Finance Database, show Brodeur’s “Friends Of Jason Brodeur” committee paid $30,0000 to “CFP Media Strategies” in 2018. The first payment was for $20,000 on October 17, 2018, and the second was for $10,000 on November 13, 2018. CFP Media Strategies is owned by Jacob Engels.
2Jacob Engels’ post on his blog Central Florida Post, 10/24/17
“I’ve attended Proud Boys meetups and gotten to know members all across the Southeast.”
3Southern Poverty Law Center
”Their disavowals of bigotry are belied by their actions: rank-and-file Proud Boys and leaders regularly spout white nationalist memes and maintain affiliations with known extremists.”
4Mother Jones, 8/15/18
“Another recent post by Engels refers to billionaire liberal donor George Soros as a ‘Nazi collaborator,’ a version of a long-running conservative smear that has been propagated by Jones, Donald Trump Jr., and others.”
Rep. Jason Brodeur testifies in support of his Indiana-style adoption bill (HB 7111) where he argues that LGBTQ+ should not be a protected class.
6Associated Press, 4/2/15
“The Florida House passed a bill Thursday to let private adoption agencies turn away gay couples based on religious and moral grounds.”
7Orlando Sentinel, 3/7/18
“Central Florida politicians are joining environmentalists and residents in opposing a fast-changing bill working its way through the Legislature that would do away with rural protections on land within three miles of a state university, including University of Central Florida.”
“Brodeur voted for 2011-2012 state budget cuts with SB2000 which led to billions less for education. From Politifact: “”In short, I can make a very strong case that the cut between 2010-11 and 2011-12 was more than $2 billion, but I can also find my way to agreeing that the cut was about $1.4 billion,” Melton said. “Whatever the case, it seems that the bottom line is that the state could have increased state and local funding levels to cover, at a minimum, the loss of the (stimulus) funds, but chose not to do so.”
9Orlando Sentinel, 4/10/2011
“But Vogel warned that Longwood Elementary may be the first of several Seminole schools that may have to be closed because of budget constraints … Officials intend to spend the last of the federal cash, dip into reserves, raid the textbook fund and eliminate 219 positions.”
10Florida Tax Watch, 5/2015
“Nearly two-thirds of the approximately $750 million increase in total FEFP funding in the House and Senate budgets is local funds. This means property taxpayers will pay $494 million more in school property taxes.”