Submitted by Dean Johnson
The League of Women Voters Orange County’s monthly Hot Topics luncheon Wednesday drew a record crowd – 271 guests gathered at the Winter Park Events Center for a program called “Maxwell & Maxwell.”
It was supposed to be a conversation between Florida 10th Congressional District Rep. Maxwell Frost, D-Orlando, and Scott Maxwell, Orlando Sentinel columnist and all-around Florida watchdog, but Frost was stuck in the Hot Mess halls of Congress (you might’ve heard about the House speaker chaos) and appeared only in a short pre-recorded video, during which he promised to speak in-person down the road.
Maxwell Frost, 26 and the youngest member of Congress, said he met Scott Maxwell at a March for Our Lives event held after the 2022 killing of 19 children & two adults at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas. Frost, Maxwell said, was more optimistic about quelling gun violence than he was. One of Frost’s priorities when he got to the House was, indeed, gun violence – and he filed a bill to establish a federal office for preventing gun violence.
Colleagues told him it probably wouldn’t go anywhere and suggested he meet with White House officials about founding the office via executive order. And that’s what happened: Frost appeared with President Biden & Vice President Harris at a September press conference announcing the establishment of the Federal Office of Gun Violence Prevention. Not bad for a first-year Congressman.
Frost also said that with the rise of fascism in the state, he is dedicated to making Florida safe for people (trans youth, Blacks) that right-wingers seem to want to erase. “We need to stop this here and save the nation,” he said. “I expected Washington to crush Maxwell Frost, but he’s offering a fresh, younger perspective,” Maxwell said.
During the remainder of the program, Scott Maxwell talked about issues affecting
1) the current problems of division and intolerance
2) the property insurance mess
3) fearmongering that distracts from real problems
4) uptick in neo-nazi rallies (because they feel empowered by politicians in charge).
And about issues facing Orange County:
1) Tourist tax money constantly going to expansion of the Orange County Convention Center (which runs at a deficit and is
infrequently fully occupied) instead of, say, transportation especially for the inadequate bus system (Maxwell said Walt Disney World has more buses on property than Orange County)
2) Housing and
3) vouchers which he described as a “sxxxshow”, where tax dollars support vouchers for private schools that do not have the same criteria as state regulated public schools.
Maxwell closed the session by complimenting the League on its activism, dedication and optimism. And Hot Topics chair Susan Windmiller cited two “calls to action”: reestablishing the gun-safety committee and finding ways to share factual information with the public.