A group of Florida Democratic women is calling GOP gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis “radical” and “extreme” for his 2013 Congressional vote against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.
The legislation funds rape crisis centers and hotlines and community violence prevention programs. It also helps victims evicted from their homes because of domestic violence or stalking, and offers legal aid for survivors of domestic violence.
The legislation was originally signed into law in 1994 and has been reauthorized by Congress every five years. DeSantis voted in opposition to the bill just after being elected to serve in his Jacksonville area Congressional seat.
He stepped down this week to campaign for Florida governor.
“Early in his first term in office, Ron DeSantis established himself as one of the most anti-women and extreme members of Congress by voting against what has long been a bipartisan effort,” said Palm Beach County U.S. Rep Lois Frankel, in a media conference call this week.
Nancy Sodeberg is the the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations under President Bill Clinton, and a Democrat running to succeed DeSantis in Florida’s 6th Congressional District in November.
She called the DeSantis’ vote “unconscionable,” and said it was consistent with his entire voting record in Congress when it came to women’s issues.
For example, Sodeberg mentioned DeSantis’ opposition to the Paycheck Fairness Act (which would provide remedies to victims of discrimination in the payment of wages on the basis of sex) and additional spending for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
Miami-Dade state Senator Annette Taddeo said it was “radical and extreme” to oppose the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women’s Act.
DeSantis was not the only (now) high-profile Florida Republican to oppose the bill in 2013 – Marco Rubio was one of just 22 U.S. senators who also voted against its reauthorization.
Rubio told reporters at the time that he disagreed with how the bill shifted from domestic violence programs to sexual assault programs and took power out of state hands, among other provisions.
The DeSantis campaign office did not respond for comment.
The Violence Against Women Act will expire on Sept. 30 unless it is reauthorized by Congress.