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'Floridians for Democracy' formed in response to what members say are growing autocratic trends in Florida and the U.S.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference today at New College of Florida in Sarasota.
Braun, Michael
Screen capture from Facebook stream.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference today at New College of Florida in Sarasota.

Autocracy is a word that carries a lot of weight, and is not one we’re used to hearing in the United States when describing our political system or those in elected positions.

Autocracy’s defining feature is the concentration of power in the hands of a few, allowing them to exercise significant control over the political, economic, and social aspects of a country.

There is a newly formed group called Floridians for Democracy — still in its infancy — that’s being created by southwest Floridians in response to what they say are growing autocratic trends here in Florida, and more broadly across the United States. We spoke with its co-founder and three of its founding members.


Jim Nathan, co-founder of Floridians for Democracy — which is an outgrowth of their initial steering committee called The 1939 Project. He founded it with his wife Karen. Jim served as CEO for Lee Health for 34 years, and since retiring has been an adjunct professor and Executive-in-Residence for the Marieb College Health and Human Services at Florida Gulf Coast University. You can contact Jim at VoicesforRJ@gmail.com for more information about the newly-formed group.

Dr. Robert Hilliard is a humanitarian, activist, educator, author, playwright and World War II veteran. He was former Chief of Public Broadcasting at the FCC and was present for the signing of the Public Broadcasting Act in 1967. He was also a professor and dean at Emerson College in Boston for more than three decades and remains professor emeritus. He is author of dozens of books and plays. Bob's life story was featured in the WGCU-TV documentary, “A Force for Freedom: The Robert Hilliard Story.” Click here to listen to Dr. Hilliard's episode of Three Song Stories.

Katelyn Tellgren is a senior at FGCU studying Sociology and Gender Studies, and she founded FGCU's chapter of Generation Action with Planned Parenthood.

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