The Manatee County Democratic Party is urging the Manatee County School Board to follow the expert advice of pediatricians, epidemiologists, and public health officials. Protect our children. Require the wearing of masks to mitigate the spread of COVID until it is safe to do otherwise.
See our full statement to the School Board below.
Manatee County Democratic Party Encourages
Return of COVID Protocols in Our Schools
Statement to the Manatee County School Board emergency meeting
August 16, 2021
By Tracy Pratt
Manatee County Democratic Party Chair
The Manatee County Democratic Party supports scientifically validated efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protect our children, teachers, and school staff to the best of our community’s ability.
The United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Florida Department of Health recognize the proven effectiveness of masks and social distancing in mitigating the spread of this dangerous disease. We encourage the Manatee County School Board to follow the guidance of these non-partisan, scientific bodies.
Therefore, we encourage a return to the same protocols as last school year, in order to provide our children and our community the same level of protection. We need these protocols now more than ever as the Delta Variant is ravaging our Florida communities, and overwhelming our hospitals with record levels of admissions.
We also call out Governor Ron DeSantis’ order forbidding mask mandates in our schools as big government overreach. Decisions protecting the students and staff in our county schools should belong to our county. The Democratic Party supports local rule. We are disappointed the Republican Party is unable to see the wisdom of this position, which they have historically claimed to embrace.
As always, the Democrats are avid supporters of strong public schools – because that is what is best for our community. To ensure strong public schools we need to trust in our local elected officials to determine what is best for our communities.
As such, we encourage this board to make the decision that is best for our students, teachers and school staff. We encourage you to seek and utilize the advice of scientific and public health experts – and those experts recommend masks.
The Manatee County Democratic Party sent a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis sharing its recommendations for selecting a candidate to fill the current vacancy on the School Board. The letter does not recommend a specific individual. Instead, it outlines what we believe the citizens of Manatee County want and deserve in our next school board member.
See our full statement below.
Manatee County Democratic Party Chair Tracy Pratt and her daughter Eleanor lead the parade of persons directly challenging Commissioner James Satcher’s proposal that would usurp a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health decisions, limit access to legal abortion services and establish a program that would incentivize women to have more babies.
Pratt read the official Democratic Party statement into the record and strongly urged the county commission to drop the abortion restriction request. Individual citizens as well as representatives from various faith-based and women’s health organizations followed Pratt to the podium.
“You were not elected to legislate my vagina, my uterus, my fallopian tubes or my ovaries,” Pratt scolded the commissioners. “Also, you were not elected to step into the relationship between me and my daughter and our reproductive decisions.”
In addition to challenging the restrictive intent of Satcher’s proposal, Pratt made the point that the county legislative body has no legal or moral basis to restrict or limit a citizen's right to make their own reproductive health decisions. That sort of legislation must be handled on a state-wide basis and has to be conducted in Tallahassee.
Satcher subsequently proposed to take $100,000 from neglected and abused children and give it to faith-based crisis pregnancy centers opposed to abortion. “Unfortunately, the measure passed even though it had not been noticed to the public and was not on the agenda,” Pratt said.
Please contact your county commissioners today and tell them to return the money to neglected and abused children, and to end this oppressive attack on women’s body autonomy at taxpayer expense. You can contact your county commissioners with this link: https://www.mymanatee.org/government/board_of_county_commissioners/contact_your_commissioner
“We will do everything we can to make sure this county commission does not waste any more taxpayer money on this folly,” Pratt concluded.
Read the Democratic Party statement below:
The Manatee County Democratic Party and the Democratic Environmental Caucus are taking a stand on phosphogypsum stacks in our state. Read our letter to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
Click here to read our request for Desoto County to deny Mosaic's request to expand their stacks.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has been presented with viable, researched opportunities to alleviate the situation at Piney Point and other phosphogypsum stacks in the state for many years. Unfortunately, it often takes a crisis to bring action. Read eleven recommendations and action items from the Manatee Democratic Environmental Caucus.
Manatee County Commissioner Kevin Van Ostenbridge’s lame attempt at levity during a recent public meeting reinforced a growing concern throughout the county that he is unsuited to be in a leadership position.
His comment at a June 2021 budget workshop that “Democratic ballots go here, and that would be the garbage can,” was wholly inappropriate, in poor taste and most importantly a violation of the commissioner’s oath to be non-partisan. He turned to Commissioner Reggie Bellamy and said, “Just teasing you, Reggie,” in an attempt to pass off his remark as a joke.
At a time when Florida, like 14 other states, institutes restrictive voting laws, our Manatee County Commissioners should respect the principle that all voters want to cast their ballots freely, safely and equally.
Van Ostenbridge’s insulting comment came after Supervisor of Elections Mike Bennett explained that his staff had researched potential cost increases, brought on by the passage of SB90 by the Florida legislature, a bill that impinges on our right to vote by mail.
At the very least, the Commission leadership should demand a public apology from Commissioner Van Ostenbridge to the voters and strongly demand that he refrain from partisanship in his position of Commissioner.