REALLY, JEFF? — Volusia County Chair Jeff Brower, left, promises his endorsement to congressional wannabe Anthony Sabatini at a meeting in Ormond Beach. Sabatini is running against former DeBary City Council Member Erika Benfield in the Republican primary for Florida’s District 7 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. PHOTO COURTESY ANTHONY SABATINI

Volusia County Chair Jeff Brower has some good priorities, but he may be held back by some of the folks he calls friends.

Recently, Brower endorsed Lake County firebrand state Rep. Anthony Sabatini in Sabatini’s 2022 bid for Congress.

Brower has apparently voluntarily joined the rogues’ gallery of Sabatini endorsers that includes U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz and QAnon stalwart Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

Republican Brower won his bid for county chair by appealing to people tired of partisan politics. He won not by campaigning on national issues or professing his undying support for President Trump, but by appealing across the aisle to Volusia residents’ desire to make the county a better place to live, including by protecting our environment.

What do people like Sabatini do best? They use their pulpit to punch down. Spend too much time around partisan bullies like Sabatini and your across-the-aisle appeal may begin to fade.

The bills Sabatini is sponsoring in the current legislative session include telling doctors how they can and can’t treat LGBT youth (HB 211), telling Congress that they need to finish building the wall along the U.S. border with Mexico (HM 231), telling local governments and businesses how they can and can’t mitigate the spread of COVID-19 (HB 75), and telling local law enforcement they can’t seize firearms when a gun owner shows red flags they may harm others.

Like a lot of Republicans who preach the gospel of small government, Sabatini just can’t seem to resist making government larger and more intrusive into other people’s business.

The West Volusia Hospital Authority, for example, has used more than $16,000 in taxpayer dollars to comply with an audit from the Florida Auditor General’s office that was ordered by Sabatini, who does not even live in Volusia County. The audit, which has gone on for over a year — and is only now beginning to approach its conclusion — was ordered by Sabatini when former Hospital Authority Board Member Brian Soukup asked him to investigate.

Asked why he was so interested in going after the WVHA, Sabatini preached his desire to root out “socialized medicine” and what he sees as frivolous government spending.

Anthony Sabatini’s tweet was posted to Twitter on May 31, 2020, days after nationwide protests began following the murder of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of white police officers in Minneapolis. The tweet warns protesters they may be greeted by assault rifles if they exercise their First Amendment rights in Lake County, which Sabatini has represented in the Florida Legislature. The tweet drew condemnation from Florida Democrats, but Sabatini was not censured, and the tweet is still online.

But ask Rising Against All Odds CEO Brenda Flowers, and she’ll tell you the audit has been unduly focused on asking her agency — which provides HIV testing to homeless and other down-and-out individuals — to divulge information about individual patients that is protected by HIPAA.

That’s all to say nothing of the amount of time Sabatini has spent kvetching about the 2020 election (which he believes was stolen), Black Lives Matter protesters (whom he believes are evil communists) and big tech companies.

In fact, one post of Sabatini’s on big-tech website Twitter.com nearly landed him in hot water with the Florida House — an image he posted of an assault rifle warning “protesters” that they’d see just that if they entered Lake County businesses. This tweet is still up, and his Twitter account is quite active.

There’s a lot to love about Florida, but you’ve got to be careful which partisan cranks you make bedfellows of. Want to really make Volusia County a better place to live? Keep us far away from Anthony Sabatini’s BS.

1 COMMENT

  1. Well done and I agree with most of the points made, however, I voted for Brower because he was not one of the ingrained local politicians who had been bought and paid for by the developers and members of the CEO Alliance on the east side of the County. Perfect he is not and he certainly has some ideologies I strongly disagree with, however, he is one of the few area politicians we have that is fighting against the un-tethered growth. The upcoming elections will certainly be interesting and I hope that positive changes are made on the County Council, we are certainly in need of much better representation and governance. We have a County Government that is led mostly by the bureaucrats and not the people through their elected representatives. We have done and can do much worse than Brower and we have to give him credit for being out and among the people holding town hall meetings throughout the County. I tend to separate national politics and as a self thinker I do not need a person, party, or the media telling me who to vote for or against. I find the way people associate themselves with a political party, much in the same way they do a sports team, to be foolish and destructive.

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