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Florida lawmaker Joel Rudman takes on stage as Dr. Rock, leading the Freedom Fighters

An election to the Florida House of Representatives for a Panhandle physician has led to the emergence of a singular alter ego – Dr. Rock, a physician of rock ‘n’ roll. On a recent Wednesday, Dr. Joel Rudman, M.D., wearing a white smock over shiny black faux leather pants and four-inch platform boots, casually tossed prescription forms to the audience at a Tallahassee nightclub while his band played Motley Crue’s “Dr. Feelgood”. Later, in full Dr. Rock mode, Rudman, together with his guitar in hand and one eye blackened with mascara, surveyed the audience and spotted a bunch of legislators, staff, and lobbyists. “I do know lots of you have got experience in making the law, but what about breaking the law?” he sneered. “Well, let’s break the (expletive) law,” yelled Dr. Rock as the facility trio behind him launched into Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law”. The Halloween party/concert at Fire Betty’s was attended by about 100 legislators, staff, and lobbyists who were on the town for committee meetings ahead of the upcoming 2024 legislative session. The venue was decorated with inflatable ghouls, cobwebs, and flashing lights synced to the music, creating an immersive experience. Between songs, singer Jeff Ivanhoff rallied the gang to party, while Rudman donned various hats and accessories to introduce different songs. The band, generally known as the Freedom Fighters, pays homage to Rudman’s conservative political agenda. Over the summer, they performed at various gigs, which helped Rudman raise over $43,000 in campaign contributions for his reelection bid. By fusing his political profession together with his love for heavy metal rock, Rudman has found a singular option to connect with constituents without discussing policy positions or legislative matters. He believes that music transcends barriers and brings people together, as there is no such thing as a divide between Democrats and Republicans in a mosh pit. Rudman’s success as a physician and politician has not hindered his passion for rock and roll. In his Capitol office, he proudly displays posters of rock icons, autographed guitars, and a miniature Marshall amplifier refrigerator. In his first session, Rudman championed a healthcare bill that allowed doctors and nurses to refuse specific patient services based on conscience-based objections. He also co-sponsored two other healthcare bills that were signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis. Although Rudman aligns with DeSantis’ conservative ideology, he has broken with the Republican establishment by publicly supporting the expansion of Medicaid. Despite their political differences, Rudman has formed an unexpected friendship with Democratic representative Jervonte Edmonds through their probability encounter within the House parking garage. The 2 politicians have found common ground and have even discussed collaborating on bipartisan laws to expand eligibility for Vibrant Futures scholarships. Through his legislative proposals for the upcoming session, Rudman goals to advertise freedom and protect individual rights. His “Right to Rock Act” seeks to stop the cancellation of performances based on entertainers’ social media comments or political affiliations. He has also introduced bills to ban non-compete provisions in labor contracts for doctors and to permit consumers the selection of non-cash-only transactions. Moreover, he goals to scale back the waiting period for firearm purchases, no matter whether a background check has been accomplished, emphasizing personal freedom. While Rudman may not fit the standard mold of a politician, he believes that being true to himself is more necessary. As he stripped all the way down to a fishnet top at the tip of his performance, he declared, “You already know what? I’m not a politician.” Dr. Rock and the Freedom Fighters concluded their set with a raucous rendition of W.A.S.P.’s “Animal ((Expletive) Like a Beast)”. It was a historic moment as Rudman became the primary politician to sing that song in public.

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