Florida lawmakers are responding to Governor Ron DeSantis' suspension of State Attorney Monique Worrell from the Ninth Judicial Circuit.
DeSantis announced the suspension Wednesday morning. He claimed that Worrell has failed to hold criminals accountable in her time serving Orange and Osceola Counties. Worrell was elected in 2020.
State Representative Anna Eskamani, who represents Osceola County, called the Governor's actions "absolutely disgusting."
"State Attorney Monique Worrell is a duly elected official and the only Black woman serving as State Attorney in Florida right now," Eskamani said in a statement. "Her removal is a complete slap in the face to Orange and Osceola County residents and another example of Governor DeSantis eroding our local control and democracy. This politically motivated action by the Governor in a predominantly democratic part of the state should alarm everyone. DeSantis is extreme, unfit to serve, and must be held accountable.”
Also condemning Worrell's suspension are Congressman Maxwell Frost of Central Florida and Senator Bobby Powell of West Palm Beach.
“State Attorney Worrell is a duly elected public servant who has done her job," said Congressman Frost. "The people of Orange County see this fraud suspension for what it is and continue to offer her our support as she fights this overreach of power. We will not stand for this blatant abuse of power and fascism in our state.”
Senator Powell said, “For the second time in as many years, the governor has seized power from the people, ousting their elected choice for State Attorney and imperiously imposing his own. This is not how democracy works in Florida. This is not how democracy works in the United States of America.”
The Florida Democratic Party (FDP) also issued a statement, saying DeSantis' actions threaten democracy and "undermine the will of the people."
FDP Chair Nikki Fried pointed to State Attorney Worrell's disagreement with new state education standards as motivation for the suspension.
“Just days ago, Monique spoke out against Florida’s new education standards; standards that would teach our children that there was some kind of benefit to slavery," Fried said. "Ron’s extremist administration has consistently targeted the rights and freedoms of Black and brown Floridians, and the suspension of State Attorney Worrell — the only Black woman state attorney in Florida — is clearly racially and politically motivated."
Worrell is the second Democratic State Attorney suspended by DeSantis since last year. State Attorney Andrew Warren was suspendedin August 2022 after pledging not to enforce a 15-week abortion ban.