NewsLocal News


District 5 residents weigh in on black leadership in North Florida

Posted at 12:10 AM, Feb 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-13 14:09:11-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — At the beginning of the month, Governor Ron DeSantis wrote to the Florida Supreme Court to issue an opinion on the legality of breaking up Congressional District 5, which is represented by black congressman Al Lawson.

The Court said on Friday that they will not be issuing an opinion due to a lack of testimony and evidence, according to a local lawyer.

The thought that some Black and African Americans could lose black representation in the district is challenging for Margaret Franklin.

"People of color, they trust other people that look like them to give them ideas," said Franklin.

Representative Al Lawsons District 5 starts in Gadsden County and according to a 2018 Florida Health Department Report, around 56% of the county is made up of African Americans. It then runs through parts of Leon County, all the way to Duval County in a rectangular strip.

That strip has around 345,000 African Americans who account for about 46 percent of the district.

Barbara Thomas-Reddick says a black congressman representing that 46 percent can relate to the current issues of people of color.

"It gives our children of tomorrow that are minority hope, not only hope but strength, it lets them know that if a person like Al Lawson made it, then I can make it too," said Thomas-Reddick.

For now, the district remains intact, however, Gov. DeSantis did say in a Friday press conference that, "We will not be signing any congressional map that has an unconstitutional gerrymander in it."

Franklin ends by saying, she hopes this fight ends with both sides working together.

"Until we learn to work together, we're going to fail," said Franklin. "Democrats and Republicans need to join hands and be together on this thing for what is right for American Citizens."