Chris Sprowls’ podcast returns for 2nd season, eyes ESG effects


House Speaker Chris Sprowls and author Vivek Ramaswamy take on “woke capitalism” in the Season 2 premiere of Sprowls’ “Read, White & Blue” podcast.

In the first episode of the second season of his podcast, Sprowls sits down with Ramaswamy, author of “WOKE, INC.: Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam.” In the episode, which premieres Tuesday, the pair discuss environmental, social and governance criteria, known as ESG, and the impact of “woke capitalism” on democracy.

Sprowls, a Palm Harbor Republican who is nearing the end of his second and final year as House Speaker, created the podcast to spotlight the authors and books that influenced his legislative agenda.

“The public policy we have passed out of the Florida House over the past two years has pushed Florida into a position of leadership on shifting the power back to citizens, parents and everyday Americans. On Season 2 of ‘Read, White & Blue,’ I explore with bestselling authors some of the best books about these issues — from woke capitalism to children’s literacy to law and order,” Sprowls said in a statement.

The announcement comes less than two weeks after Gov. Ron DeSantis proposed legislation to prevent the state from using ESG in its pension fund. The measure would also prohibit Wall Street banks, credit card companies and money transmitters like PayPal from discriminating against customers for their religious, political or social beliefs.

Republicans in recent years have targeted ESG and BlackRock, a controversial investment firm that has spearheaded the ESG model. Sprowls won’t be in the Legislature when lawmakers take on “woke capitalism” next year, but his successor, House Speaker-designate Paul Renner, backs DeSantis’ proposal.

In the newest season of “Read, White & Blue,” Sprowls will feature renowned author James Patterson, former Donald Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway and Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac. Isaac, a former Florida State basketball player who is a Christian conservative, was inspired to write “Why I Stand” after he drew attention as the one player to remain standing for the National Anthem during a game at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The inaugural season, which followed the implementation of the Speaker’s “New Worlds Reading Initiative,” included conversations about education, faith, polarization, leadership and how they influence policy.

“Read, White & Blue” will maintain its weekly format and is available on popular podcast platforms.

Tuesday also marks National Book Lovers Day.

“National Book Lovers Day is the perfect time to listen to the podcast and check out the next book you should be reading,” Sprowls said.

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