News from Progress Michigan

April 5, 2023

Contact: Sam Inglot, 616-916-0574,

Michiganders, Floridians Speak Out Against DeSantis’ Extremism Prior to MI Visit

The Florida governor is slated to speak at a Midland County Republican event on Thursday

MICHIGAN – On Wednesday, a group of advocates, activists and community leaders from Michigan and Florida held a press call to call out the dangerous results of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ agenda in the Sunshine State and clearly state that his right-wing agenda is not welcome in Michigan. The press conference came ahead of Gov. DeSantis’ expected speaking event on Thursday hosted by the Midland County Republican Party.

From LGBTQ+ rights, immigration, and reproductive freedom to organizing workers, expanding voting rights, and standing up for public education, the glaring differences between Michigan and Florida’s leadership could not be clearer. 

“Since taking office, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has done nothing but sow division and chaos while attacking the LGBTQ+ community, public education, voting rights, and communities of color—silencing any voices who don’t agree with his extremist right-wing ideology,” said Sam Inglot, deputy director of Progress Michigan. “Michigan has proven time and again we value hope over fear and inclusivity over division. Gov. Whitmer is building bridges while Gov. DeSantis is building an authoritarian right-wing dystopia.”

“Michiganders rejected an agenda of hate pushed by officials like DeSantis in November. Instead, we are working to make Michigan a national leader in LGBTQ+ rights,” said Leila Vallarino, senior director of communications for Equality Michigan Action Network. “Together, we are creating a welcoming environment for all families who live here, all employees who work here, and all tourists who visit here, no matter how they identify or who they love. Today, on the eve of his visit, Equality Michigan Action Network wants to make it known that Ron DeSantis’ hateful rhetoric and harmful anti-LGBTQ+ policies are not welcome in our state.”

“DeSantis’ policies do not improve people’s lives, they are meant to create problems that didn’t exist in order to instill fear and division,” said Adonis Flores, organizing director at Michigan United. “His proposal to stop municipalities from issuing municipal IDs will not improve anyone’s quality of life. Many immigrants with all kinds of status rely on these IDs to have some kind of identification. We need to go in the opposite direction here in Michigan.”

“Under Gov. DeSantis, reproductive freedom in our state is under attack. After passing an abortion ban last year that included no exceptions for rape, incest, or human trafficking, he is now poised to sign a near-total abortion ban this year that will be more restrictive than what they have in Texas,” said Barbara Zdravecky, former president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida. “Michigan, you rejected Gov. DeSantis’ failed agenda last fall when you rejected extremism. Now, you must make your voices heard again. Trust me, you cannot afford what Gov. DeSantis is selling.”

“Governor DeSantis is pushing this Betsy DeVos agenda in Florida,” said Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Education Association. “He is pushing and doubling down on vouchers and charters as he tries to divert billions of dollars away from Florida’s public schools. He talks about freedom, but look at what he’s doing. He’s pushing policies that take away the freedom of children to read books that they can connect to… He’s taking away the freedom to learn and the freedom to teach here in the state of Florida. He talks about parental rights while he’s taking away the rights of parents.”

For a copy of the press call recording, please email