FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 17, 2021
Contact: Damien Filer / 850-212-1858 / Damien@ProgressFlorida.org
Statement from Sean Shaw, member of the Florida Watch Board of Directors:
“Ron DeSantis has repeatedly put corporate special interests and his campaign donors ahead of Floridians in need.
“According to new reporting in the Bradenton Herald, DeSantis reached out to the developer for an upscale housing division in Manatee County to set up an exclusive vaccination site only for residents of the two wealthiest zip codes in the county. This, despite the fact that residents in these areas who have tested positive for coronavirus represent less than 10 percent of the county’s confirmed cases.
“This isn’t governing for the people. This is political cronyism plain and simple.
“When confronted about it this morning, DeSantis petulantly said if Manatee doesn’t want the vaccines he’ll send them somewhere else.
“This isn’t a schoolyard game where you pick up your marbles and stomp away, Gov. DeSantis. Distributing these vaccines is about people’s lives and livelihoods, all the people in Florida.
“Today’s latest vaccine rollout debacle follows DeSantis’ previous insistence on having private companies like Publix control access to the coronavirus vaccine, continuing the trend of affluent, white Floridians being put in the front of the line ahead of the communities hit hardest by this deadly pandemic.”
Quotes from Manatee County commissioners in the Bradenton Herald
“I’m totally shocked that one district commissioner fought for more vaccines for only their district. What about the rest of the county? I’m shocked that we would do this without even the board knowing about it. It doesn’t look good at all that one commissioner did that.” -- At-large Commissioner Carol Whitmore
“For the life of me, I can’t understand why we would vaccinate the most affluent neighborhoods in the county ahead of everyone else, especially the underserved neighborhoods and large number of manufactured home parks in our community. You have to understand the optics are horrible. We have people struggling with the virus. If we were going to pick and choose, I would hope it would go to the under-served populations and neighborhoods. You’re taking the whitest demographic, the richest demographic in Manatee County and putting them before everyone else.”-- Commissioner Misty Servia
“My concern with this is that I’ve been fighting like hell to show people that the lottery is equal and we cannot compromise the system and all of a sudden, someone is telling me we were able to pull a certain demographic out.” -- Commissioner Reggie Bellamy
Former State Representative Sean Shaw made history in 2018 as the Florida Democratic Party’s first African American nominee for Attorney General. Earlier in his career, Sean was an independent watchdog for the public as the state’s Insurance Consumer Advocate — working to protect consumers from price gouging and insurance fraud. Every decision Sean made was centered on what was best for consumers, not wealthy special interests. In 2019, he founded People Over Profits, a non-profit organization dedicated to standing against corporate influence and fighting for the rights of everyday people. Sean is a graduate of Princeton University and the University of Florida’s law school. An attorney at the law firm Vangard Law, Sean lives in Tampa.