FLORIDA POLITICS - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has appointed a Moms for Liberty co-founder to the state’s ethics commission.
On Wednesday, the struggling 2024 presidential hopeful announced that he had appointed Tina Descovich to the Florida Commission on Ethics, which oversees the conduct of state employees and investigates complaints of “breach of the public trust,” according to the Orlando Sentinel.
DeSantis made the announcement in a press release, but did not specify why he wanted Descovich on the commission. Her appointment much be approved by the Florida Senate, where Republicans currently hold a supermajority.
“It will be a privilege to serve the state I love as a member of this commission,” Descovich wrote in a post to X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, on Wednesday.
As the Sentinel reports, Descovich was elected to the Brevard County School Board in 2016, but served only one term before being unseated in 2020. The following year, she co-founded Moms for Liberty with two other former Florida school board members.
The organization has been at the forefront of the so-called “Parental Rights” movement, initially opposing school mask mandates imposed at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. More recently, Moms for Liberty has turned its attention to what is can be taught in classrooms, pushing to ban any mention of LGBTQ+ people or issues in schools and to restrict how issues related to race and racism in the U.S. can be discussed.
Earlier this year, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) designated Moms for Liberty an “extremist group” in the most recent edition of its Year in Hate and Extremism report.
“Moms for Liberty activities make it clear that the group’s primary goals are to fuel right-wing hysteria and to make the world a less comfortable place for certain students – primarily those are Black, LGBTQ, or who come from LGBTQ families,” according the SPLC’s report.
As former White House press secretary Jen Psaki explained in a July episode of her MSNBC show, Moms for Liberty members have led campaigns targeting community advocates, school board members, and opposing groups across the country. “They’ve repeatedly sent intimidating messages, openly threatened officials, and even baselessly leveled charges of child abuse and sympathizing with pedophilia,” Psaki noted.
In Florida, the group has aligned itself with DeSantis’s “anti-woke” agenda, and the governor has been helping Moms for Liberty members get elected to local school boards in the state.
Jennifer Jenkins, the Democrat who defeated Descovich in the 2020 Brevard County school board race, told Politico that she worries about political retaliation with Descovich on the state ethics commission. In February, DeSantis unveiled a list of more than a dozen “woke” school board members he plans to target in 2024. Descovich and Moms for Liberty co-founder Tiffany Justice attended the meeting where the list was announced.
Jenkins told Politico that Descovich’s appointment to the commission was “disheartening yet predictable.”
(John Russell is a writer for LGBTQ Nation where this was published first.)