ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — A group of women are gaining a following on Facebook after painting the Graffiti Bridge pink to show their combined opposition to U.S. Representative Matthew Gaetz.

The Facebook group, Women against Matt Gaetz has gathered a following of 10,000 in just a few days.

Samantha Herring, one of the group’s organizers, said the group formed after a couple of incidents involving Gaetz. Currently, the Florida representative is under investigation for having sex with a minor and his comments about abortion, allegedly characterizing abortion protesters as “350 pounds” and looking “like a thumb,” are two of the instances that went too far for Herring.

“A couple of weeks ago, Matt Gaetz said a comment that was really demeaning and demoralizing to women who were speaking up about their rights,” said Herring. “For many of us, it was a step too far. We couldn’t believe that a sitting United States Congressman would make statements like that towards his constituents, regardless of what his personal feelings are. When we heard this, we couldn’t take it anymore. Between that and the allegations of the sex trafficking minors, it was just too much.”  

With the group having so many followers, Herring said some are out-of-state women, but the majority are from the Northwest Florida area.

“We created a group of us that are working in the district, living in the district and just have had enough of it,” said Herring. “We’ve got people from all over the district, from Walton County to Escambia and women from all over the country have chimed in. The base people who are participating are people in our district, though, which is a good thing.”

Herring said they have people from both sides of the aisle, but the common factor that brings them together is trying to get Gaetz out of office.

“Obviously, each of us have our own political engagements,” said Herring. “Some folks have no political party and some just registered to vote. We’ve got people from both sides of the aisle, but the one common factor is that we are women who are against Matt Gaetz and people who support women who speak up against Matt Gaetz. Since there is a primary election right now and there are other candidates, we aren’t for any other candidate. We are just against Matt Gaetz.”

The main goal of the group, according to Herring, is to bring change from the bottom up.

“We deserve better,” said Herring.

“It is very important for people to understand that when we see something that is wrong, we need to work together to bring change from the bottom up. When you insult women and call them fat or ugly, I can’t tell you the number of people who are not even involved in politics who have reached out to me saying they don’t know Gaetz, but they make them upset. It’s just not right. He was given an opportunity to apologize to women and he doubled down on it. It’s just disrespectful.”

Samantha Herring

An investigation into Gaetz’ alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old was opened in the final months of the Trump administration under Attorney General William P. Barr. Herring said because of this, she is worried for children across Northwest Florida.

“I don’t care if it’s an elementary teacher being investigated for sex trafficking or a sitting U.S Congressman, it is inappropriate for that person to be engaging with young people,” said Herring.

Tuesday at noon, Women against Matt Gaetz held a press conference at the Okaloosa School Board as a call to action.

“We are asking Congress to do what the Okaloosa School Board has refused to do, which is to stop people who are under investigation for sex trafficking from engaging with students,” said Herring. “This is not a protest; it is a will advisory.”

For more information on Women against Matt Gaetz, visit their Facebook page.

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