Florida Democratic Party Announces Members of its Safety & Justice Task Force, Aiming to Help Bring Florida’s Justice System “Into the 21st Century” and Other News From Florida

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11 mins read

The Florida Democratic Party is proud to announce the members of its recently created Safety & Justice Task Force. These leaders will be working across the state over the next several months, gathering ideas from local leaders, law enforcement, and victim advocates to help bring Florida’s justice system into the 21st Century.

The members of the Safety & Justice Task Force are:

State Attorney Andrew Warren, Chair (Hillsborough County/Tampa)Public Defender Carlos Martinez (Miami-Dade County/Miami)Sheriff Walt McNeil (Leon County/Tallahassee) Marcia Brown, Executive Director, Teen Leaders of America (Duval County/Jacksonville)Asha Terminello, MS; Chief Executive Officer; ACTS, the Agency for Community Treatment Services (Hillsborough County/Tampa)

The mission of the Safety & Justice Task Force is to develop common-sense solutions around criminal justice and police reform that improve safety for Florida families and respect the rights of every citizen.

“Floridians have bold ideas for modernizing our justice system—reducing violent crime, extending treatment to people with mental illness or substance abuse, and improving accountability for law enforcement,” Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz said. “This Task Force will lead a statewide conversation that brings forward the best of those ideas, all focused on building a criminal justice system that is less wasteful and more effective at keeping our communities safe.”
Three expected areas of focus will be:

Reducing crime by tackling the root causes of criminal behavior and minimizing recidivismPrioritizing prosecuting the greatest threats to communities, with alternatives to put low-level offenders back on the right pathBuilding stronger bonds between law enforcement and the communities they serve

The Safety & Justice Task Force will work with stakeholders across Florida, meeting with local communities, small businesses, law enforcement leaders, victim advocates, and faith leaders to discuss and develop policy regarding our state’s criminal justice system.

The goal is to develop model policies for cities and counties, then work with local leaders to implement them to improve the effectiveness and fairness of law enforcement agencies, prosecutor’s offices, and the criminal justice system as a whole.

“The members of our Task Force have all seen a different face of the justice system. Law enforcement, prosecution, defense, rehabilitation, prevention—all these perspectives will help us ask the right questions and find real, workable solutions to make our communities safer and our system more fair and effective, ” said Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren, the Task Force’s Chair. The Safety & Justice Task Force will begin planning proposals and holding discussions with local communities in the coming months—more details and exact dates and times will be announced. Photos of the Task Force members are available at this link.


Marco Rubio Continues To Ignore Florida’s Venezuelan Community

Leaders slam Rubio for putting his own political agenda ahead of the needs of Venezuelans across the state

Recently Venezuelan advocates and their allies have taken Marco Rubio to task for failing to support critical immigration reforms that would help tens of thousands of Venezuelans across Florida. With the bulk of Venezuelans living with temporary protected status located in Florida, leaders have been pressing Rubio to support a path to permanent status for TPS recipients.

Not only has Rubio refused, he’s advocated for Venezuelan immigrants to eventually return to their home country. Now leaders are slamming Rubio’s failures to support their community in recent radio interviews and op-eds.
“[Marco Rubio] basically turned his back on us at this point and doesn’t support a path to citizenship…Marco Rubio, when he has spoken publicly, and I’m not talking about other people’s opinions, but about his own statements, he has clearly said that he doesn’t support a path to citizenship, not just for TPS beneficiaries, but not even for DACA recipients, either, among which there are many Venezuelans.

“We feel a little politically used. Many Venezuelans, and there are polls that show this, are openly disillusioned and it puts on the table the possibility of them not supporting Senator Rubio because he doesn’t support us anymore,” said Venezuelan activist Ade Ferro on Radio Caracol.

“We are very disappointed by the posture that has been adopted by Senator Marco Rubio. One thing is what he’s told us when he has had the opportunity in the past: many promises, many suggestions of options and solutions, but afterwards, zero action,” said William Diaz, founder of Casa De Venezuela on Actualidad Radio.

“We are fighting for them to listen to us and step up, which is logical, because the majority of the members Venezuelan community are in Florida and they, both Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, are our representatives in the Senate, and we need their support…What we are seeing is that this is a political game, they are forgetting about the needs of our community…They are playing games with our community. They only look for us when they want us to vote for them but at the moment of truth, when we need them, they don’t step up. They shield themselves with cheap excuses and they don’t really support our community,” said Maria Antonieta Diaz, a Venezuelan business owner from South Florida, on Exitos Radio.

“However, Senator Marco Rubio, more concerned about national political games and the future of his career than about his constituents, ignores the voices of the state calling for him to support the SECURE Act that opens the path to citizenship for more than 60,000 Venezuelan immigrants with TPS. In other words, he is again appealing to the country’s far-right Republicans for votes to reach the next rung in his political career.

“Turn your back on those who need it – that seems to be his slogan…Personally, I’m not surprised, as his career in Congress for the past six years speaks for itself. In the past five years alone, Rubio has voted to grant massive tax cuts to America’s wealthiest corporations, to repeal Obamacare and deprive millions of Floridians of access to health care, and for a budget amendment that would have cut hundreds of millions of dollars from Social Security and Medicare…It is evident that he does not empathize with the populations that need him most,” wrote former Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in the South Florida Sun Sentinel.


** MEDIA ADVISORY FOR THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 11:00 AM **

TOMORROW: Tampa Leaders To Hold Press Conference On Marco Rubio’s Repeated Failures To Show Up For Work


Tomorrow at 11:00 AM
, leaders from the Tampa area will hold a press conference to discuss a new report that revealed Marco Rubio has failed to show up for his job in the Senate, missing over a dozen key committee hearings in recent weeks. Issues Rubio skipped out on included protecting senior citizens, helping small businesses, and vital national security concerns, including the nomination of an ambassador to China.
The recent news is part of Rubio’s long history of failing to show up for his job. During his failed presidential campaign, Rubio skipped critical national security briefings for fundraisers, earning the worst missed vote record of any sitting Senator at the time. Politico even dubbed him the “absentee Senator.” 
WHAT: In-person press conference with Tampa leaders discussing a new report showing Marco Rubio has repeatedly failed to show up for his job in the Senate.
WHO:

  • Sean Shaw – Former state representative and Democratic nominee for attorney general 
  • Shawn McDonnell – IBEW member and president of the West Central Florida Labor Council
  • Lucinda Johnston – Pinellas County Democratic Party Chair 

WHEN: November 18 at 11:00 AM
WHERE: Location provided upon RSVP to gfox@fladems


Florida Democrats Condemn Marco Rubio’s Self-Serving Obstructionism Threatening National Security 

Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Marcus L. Dixon released the following statement on Marco Rubio’s decision to single-handedly delay confirmation of ambassadors to China and Spain: 

“This is yet another example of Marco Rubio putting his own political agenda ahead of what’s best for Florida. Not only is Rubio too cowardly to even show up to Foreign Relations committee hearings, he’s playing political games with our national security, leaving America without ambassadors to advance our priorities abroad.” 

Rubio’s political stunt doesn’t just threaten national security, it’s another example of his blatant hypocrisy. In 2017, Rubio said that he believes “​​the president is entitled to significant deference” on nominations, and that doing anything to make a key foreign policy nomination “unnecessarily delayed or embroiled in controversy” would be “against our national interests.” 


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Florida Democrats believe in effective and efficient government that prioritizes quality education, affordable health care, and an economy in which anyone who works hard can succeed.

Most importantly, we believe that we are stronger together. We believe the fundamental American promise — that you can go as far as your own hard work will take you — should shine brightest in Florida.

That is why we champion the middle class and cherish the principle that all Floridians should have the opportunity to work hard and succeed. That is why we will never stop fighting for better public schools, because education is the surest path to a better life for millions.

From standing for affordable health care and better schools to fighting for civil rights and access to the ballot box, Florida Democrats are leading every day to move our state forward.

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