Rosalind Osgood about to resign from Broward School Board to run for Florida Senate. DeSantis gets to pick replacement.

South Florida Sun Sentinel | By Anthony Man | November 4, 2021

Rosalind Osgood, chairwoman of the Broward School Board, faces an imminent deadline to submit her resignation in order to move forward with her candidacy for Florida Senate.

She said Thursday she plans to submit her resignation letter by the end of the day Friday. It would take effect in four months.

The resignation, required under the Florida resign-to-run law, is irrevocable.

One consequence: Gov. Ron DeSantis, whose policies are the antithesis of Osgood’s, would get to appoint her replacement to the District 5 School Board seat. Board members pick their chairwoman.

Republican DeSantis has been critical of the School Board, both over former Superintendent Robert Runcie and more recently over its imposition of a school mask mandate — defying the governor’s wishes.

Democrat Osgood was the public face of the School Board’s mask policy, arguing it was a necessary tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The board voted last month to relax the policy for high school students but continue it for lower grades.

“We’ve been in this massive fight on masks. And people keep saying I’m fighting against the governor. For me, it’s about keeping people alive and doing what’s best for the community. I’m not going after anyone,” she said in a telephone interview.

Osgood was also a prominent champion of Runcie, despite his much-maligned handling of school construction issues and the response to the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre. Runcie left his position over the summer.

Osgood’s candidacy is part of the domino effect in the Black community in Broward resulting from the April 6 death of Congressman Alcee Hastings. One consequence of the congressman’s death was a state Senate vacancy.

Florida’s strict resign-to-run law requires current elected officials to submit irrevocable resignations from their current jobs to run for another post.

After Hastings died, state Sen. Perry Thurston and state Rep. Bobby DuBose, of Broward, and state Rep. Omari Hardy of Palm Beach County, submitted resignations to qualify as candidates for Congress. All three lost in Tuesday’s congressional primary.

A week after Thurston said in April he was running for Congress, Osgood filed paperwork indicating her plans to run for state Senate.

After months of delay, DeSantis last week set special primary and general election dates for the legislative seats. Qualifying begins on Nov. 16. The resign-to-run law requires the candidates submit their resignations at least 10 days before qualifying begins.

The special general election for state Senate is March 8, so her resignation is effective on that date. The vacancy allows the governor to appoint the replacement to a term that would end in November.

DeSantis could appoint someone who closely reflects his views and might have more difficulty winning a full term. Or he could appoint someone who still presumably would be loyal to him but would have a better chance of winning re-election.

School Board members run without party labels, but both political parties get involved in the elections in Broward. Democrats usually, but don’t always win. Nationally, Republicans and conservative activists have been organizing to get involved in many more school board races than usual in 2021 and 2022.

Osgood was first elected to the School Board in 2012 representing much of the same territory that’s in the state Senate District 33

The School Board district includes northwest Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderhill, southwest Oakland Park, northeast Plantation, east Sunrise and southeast Tamarac.

The Senate district includes northwest Fort Lauderdale, Lauderhill, Lauderdale Lakes, North Lauderdale and parts of Sunrise, Tamarac, Margate, Pompano Beach and Oakland Park.

Osgood said she wants to work on school issues at the state level, gun violence, assisting older people and promoting entrepreneurships.

She also said she wants to go beyond partisan fighting and “build relationships. Right now, we operate in silos based on political parties…. We may have some differences in views, but how to we work collaboratively together to build those relationships and make our communities better?”

Osgood is an associate pastor at New Mount Olive Baptist Church, one of the biggest, most important Black churches in Fort Lauderdale. Osgood is also CEO of the Mount Olive Development Corp., which operates a range of programs in the community including housing for people returning to the community after serving prison sentences, assistance for low-income families and a senior center.

One other candidate has filed paperwork indicating she intends to run for the Democratic nomination for the Florida Senate seat in the Jan. 11 primary. Terry Ann Williams Edden has unsuccessfully run for the Florida Senate in 2008 and 2020 and for the Broward County Commission in 2014.

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