The phrase 'political theater' will take on a more literal meaning outside of Jeff Brandes', R-St. Petersburg, office today.
Protesters and Awake Pinellas are hosting an 'Unwelcome Home' party for Brandes as he comes home from the latest Florida legislative session. This is the second year protesters have thrown him a 'party'.
Last year the group carried and read aloud from a giant report card filled with 'F's and 'D's on issues Brandes voted on in that session.
This year, the protest is taking a more theatrical turn. Organizers are planning a small sketch where Rich Uncle Pennybags, the Monopoly character, gives a toast to Brandes.
"He will be thanking him for helping the rich," said protest organizer Tim Martin.
"Brandes is a cog in a wheel that’s squeaky," Martin added. "We want to change the wheel, but we can only do it one cog at a time."
Martin said Awake Pinellas and the protesters have taken issue with what they call Brandes' submission to the far right wing of the Republican Party in Florida.
"We will go after him about defunding public schools in favor of for-profit charter schools, worker's rights, attacking women’s right to choose," Martin said. "He is on wrong side of just about every issue."
The event is organized by Awake Pinellas. The groups released a statement about today's event:
"Join a broad coalition of concerned voters from Dist-52 in St. Petersburg as we celebrate the end of another awful Florida legislative session by throwing Rep. Jeff Brandes an (un)welcome home party! The event will be complete with party favors and a present from the disgruntled majority of his district, as well as a visit from one of our wealthiest House member’s staunchest supporters – “Rich” Uncle Pennybags.
The 2012 session proved to be another large-scale assault on Florida’s middle class. The Republican super-majority, supported by foot soldiers like Brandes, continued their efforts to gut public education, slashed budget items that benefit workers, and broadened the war on women’s rights. Here in St. Petersburg we need to send a message that these values do not reflect those of our community, and that we demand better representation from our elected representatives in Tallahassee."
Last year's event had around 200 attendees, which Martin expects to match today.
Brandes' office is located at 3637 4th St. N.