School voucher advocates stand to benefit from Taylor/Rouson faction run

Last session House Democrats demonstrated remarkable cohesion on school “choice” issues. Under the leadership of Minority Leader Perry Thurston and incoming leader Mark Pafford, the caucus coalesced behind a position opposing the unprecedented expansion of taxpayer money being siphoned to private schools. This came just a few short years after 24 House Democrats broke ranks on a voucher vote thanks to large donations from pro-school “choice” advocates in the corporate world.

Rep. Dwayne Taylor who is now being run for House Democratic Leader by a dissident faction of House caucus members led by Reps.Darryl Rouson and Kevin Rader has received per TFS’ estimates over $20,000 in campaign cash for his previous House elections from pro-voucher interests. This includes Step up for Students and All Children Matter bankrolled by corporate out of state interests and Tampa venture capitalist John Kirtley.

As we discussed yesterday, the push for Taylor to replace Pafford is based largely on personal self interest among members and transactional lobbyists and political consultants. The desire among many is to create a rubber-stamp for the Rick Scott agenda, for the Chamber of Commerce, the insurance industry as well proponents for corporate schools. Having defeated Democrats at the ballot box, Tallahassee lobbyists and political insiders who seek a party that mimics Republican talking points on economic issues (while continuing to be very liberal on social matters to appeal to the Democratic “base” voters in safe districts) have encouraged this dissent in the previously united Democratic caucus. They would like to see the Scott agenda passed with as little debate as possible.  We can now safely add advocates for school “choice” legislation to the list of those hoping for a Taylor victory.

The progress House Democrats made in terms of technology, attracting new, savvier staff and taking a long-term view of political developments threatens those whose desire to maintain a minority party who provide little but nuisance opposition to the Republican hegemony in this state.

For years, House Democrats have depended on donors that give more money to Republicans. The attempts recently to turn the party into a values based one that emphasized ideology and economic/social justice and mined reliable Democratic donors OUTSIDE the Tallahassee and Florida Democratic establishment is a threat to those who take a short-term view of matters and are comfortable with the status quo. Democratic defeatism which is rampant among those in the Tallahassee establishment and corporate core that back the Rouson faction serves the agenda of the Rick Scott Republicans and the corporate lobbyists that control the legislature.

School “choice” advocates no doubt will be lining up behind Dwayne Taylor’s attempts to seize the leadership away from Mark Pafford. The losers in all of this if Taylor is successful is not just progressives but Florida’s citizens. Democracy depends on an exchange of ideas and competition among ideologies to provide the best solutions for our people. But ironically those who preach about the free market want as little competition as possible in the arena of legislating. They seek to impose a virtual one-party system on our state with regards to the most important economic issues of the day.

Dwayne Taylor might be a decent legislator and a nice guy. But many of the forces backing his candidacy seek one-party control and total conformity in Tallahassee. Others backing him as discussed yesterday are simply sore losers. The Democratic Party suffered a national defeat Tuesday and it would highly irresponsible to compound that defeat by going backwards ideologically and politically. Dwayne Taylor becoming Minority Leader, I fear would be just such a backward move.


  1. Concerned Democrat · ·


    While I have always thought highly of all your articles and opinions in the past, this time you have fallen off your rocker.

    The entire FDP Leadership Team should be shown the door.. Allison Tant, Scott Arceneau, Christian Ulvert and everyone associated with House and Senate Victory for the absolutely miserable and pitiful job and performance for loosing 6 seats.

    I know you were dancing Rousoun’s grave, but your boy Pafford and his House Victory ‘Band of Idiots” have handed the House Republicans a “SUPER MAJORITY” and you have the gall to worry about school vouchers?? REALLY?

    What damn “TECHNOLOGY” are you talking about in the fundraising department? You are making excuses for the firing of longtime FDP House Democratic fundraiser Jeff Ryan and the hiring of young twenty somethings Allison Tant, Arceneau, Ulvert and Pafford puppets who have little experience and qualifications and no lobbyist money contacts and the reality is ALL Democrats up and down the ticket were brutally outspent two and three to one in every single race this year.

    And the saddest thing of all is that what little money was raised went to the same loosing consultants who are friends of the stooges I have mentioned above who all need to hit the road and have brought us noting but pain and misery.

    Unless your “technology fundraising kids” have figured out a way to print or transfer money illegally, they are totally useless to me and every other Democrat in the State cause the Democrats got slaughtered in the money department.

    That is the problem with Pafford and Progressives…all talk…NO MONEY!

    And you have the guall to defend this mess.

    You should be ashamed because now you are part of the problem!


  2. Cooler Head · ·

    I think both of you are reaching the jumping off point a little too soon. First, Kartik, Dwayne Taylor is not anyone’s puppet and I am starting to get offended on his behalf at everyone drinking the kool aid of misguided spin being spread that he is. Anyone who knows Dwayne knows he does what he believes to be the right and honorable thing for the sake of doing the right and honorable thing, no matter what. He is loyal, brilliant and smart. He chooses his battles very wisely so if he has chosen his this battle he has done so because he thinks he needs to do so. I have never heard him say a negative or bad thing about anyone. It is not newsworthy to prognosticate that people who have consistently OPPOSED VOUCHERS are now going to flip-flop and support vouchers. In fact, it is ridiculous. Not that it matters since Ed Narain ran on a vouchers platform. So we know we have a pro-vouchers Democrat in the House who won in his primary. We can thank Alan Williams for him. And I think Alan Williams is with Pafford, right???? Kartik, Dwayne Taylor is a Union Member. He is a Firefighter. He is the most outspoken and knowledgeable member of the legislature on retirement issues specifically and union issues generally. I think we are safe on the issue of vouchers in Dwayne Taylor’s hands.

    Now to Concerned, Concerned you need to be concerned about core issues of Democrats and vouchers are a core issue. That is because Tallahassee lobbyists – as I have told you 1,000,000 times will never be your real friends. Never ever. They will always, always be real friends with Republicans. In fact, Republicans tell them – and they mean this – that they have to give Republicans 5 times as much money as they give you. They actually tell them that. And they do give them that much. Usually they give them even more. A whole lot more. VOLUNTARILY! There are two – and only two – exceptions to this rule: Labor Unions & Trial Lawyers. That’s it. No others. No other exceptions to that rule!!!!!!!! They are your real friends. They give you money because they actually like you. And they give you a whole lot more than they give Republicans. And guess what: THEY CARE ABOUT VOUCHERS AND TORT REFORM AND RETIREMENT. It’s called their “core issues.” And so it means they need it to be your core issues too. So you never, never, never say “who cares about vouchers” on a blog where you have written “concerned Democrat.” Never. Please. It makes me very upset and ruins my night. Do I make myself clear, Representative?


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