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Tampa Bay lawmakers express frustration with state politics during the 2022 legislative session

Two photos of a man and a woman in the Tallahassee chambers of the Florida Senate and House of Representatives
Florida Senate Twitter / Florida House of Representatives website
Senator Jeff Brandes (left) and Representative Michele Rayner

Host Steve Newborn talks with Senator Jeff Brandes, who serves most of southern Pinellas County, and Representative Michele Rayner, who serves parts of Pinellas, Hillsborough and Manatee counties.

On this week's Florida Matters, we hear from two Tampa Bay area lawmakers taking part in this year's legislative session.

Jeff Brandes is a Republican state senator serving most of southern Pinellas County. Michele Rayner is a Democratic state representative serving parts of south St. Petersburg, Hillsborough and Manatee counties.

Both believe criminal justice reform and housing are among the most pressing issues Floridians face. But they say their colleagues in the Legislature — as well as Gov. Ron DeSantis — are more focused on "culture war" issues such as voting by mail and abortion.

Host Steve Newborn and Brandes also discuss Brandes' history of disagreements with fellow Republicans. For example, Brandes explains why he was the only Republican senator to vote against a controversial voting by mail law during last year's session.

You can listen to Newborn's conversations with Brandes and Rayner by clicking on the “Listen” button above. Or you can listen on the WUSF app under “Programs & Podcasts.”

Hi there! I’m Dinorah Prevost and I’m the producer of Florida Matters, WUSF's weekly public affairs show. That basically means that I plan, record and edit the interviews we feature on the show.
Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.