Kyle Rittenhouse Verdict; Build Back Better; Dr. Lester Martinez-Lopez Nominated; Bills Passed During Legislative Session; Marco Rubio

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12 mins read

Statement from Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz on the Kyle Rittenhouse Verdict

[Friday] after roughly 26 hours of deliberation, a Kenosha, Wisconsin jury found Kyle Rittenhouse, who shot two men and wounded a third, not guilty of homicide and other charges. In reaction to the jury’s verdict, Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz issued the following statement: 

“The idea that a 17-year old vigilante armed with a semiautomatic rifle could cross state lines, insert himself unprompted into an emotional and volatile situation, end the lives of two protesters and wound a third and walk away a free man elicits serious questions about our criminal justice system, not to mention our gun laws. 

“It is past time to take bold steps towards criminal justice and common sense gun law reforms in our country. We must do everything in our power to stand in the way of the type of reckless vigilantism that took the lives of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber. Only then will we be able to live in a country where we do not have to live in fear of unstable, out-of-control, self-appointed ‘law and order’ warriors like George Zimmerman and Kyle Rittenhouse. 

“Let us take the disappointment we feel today and transform it into resolute action that leads to enhanced safety in our streets.”


Florida Democratic Party Chair Praises The Advancement Of The Build Back Better Act

Following the House Of Representatives voting to pass the Build Back Better Act, Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz released the following statement: 

“Democrats are focused on lowering costs for Floridians, and advancing the Build Back Better Act puts us one step closer to cutting the cost of health care, child care, pre-school, and more for millions of people. 

“I’m proud that every Florida Democrat voted in favor of advancing our agenda that puts working people first, and tackles the most pressing problems Floridians face. Combined with the Infrastructure Investment And Jobs Act, the Build Back Better agenda will lower costs, cut taxes, and invest in our future by creating more good-paying jobs. 

“Sadly, every Florida Republican in Congress stands opposed to these plans that will help Floridians make ends meet. The contrast could not be clearer. When they had control of Congress, Florida Republicans tried to gut our health care laws to raise the cost of care, and spent billions of dollars giving tax cuts to corporations and their wealthy donors. Now they stand opposed to commonsense measures to help grow our economy and opposed to helping working people who just want an opportunity to work hard and succeed. I look forward to seeing Democrats in Congress continue to fight for working families and pass the Build Back Better Act.”


FDP Statement on President Biden nominating Dr. Lester Martinez-Lopez as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs in the Department of Defense

President Joe Biden announced yesterday additional appointments to his administration including Puerto Rican physician Dr. Lester Martinez-Lopez as Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs in the Department of Defense. Dr. Martinez-Lopez recently served as the Chief Medical Officer at the Brandon Regional Hospital in Central Florida. Dr. Martinez-Lopez retired from the U.S. Army with the permanent rank of Major General and is the first Latino to head the Army Medical Research and Materiel Command at Fort Detrick, Maryland. He is the highest level Puerto Rican appointment from Florida ever.

In reaction to this appointment, Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz issued the following statement:

“Dr. Martinez-Lopez is a testament of hard work and determination and a role model for many of us. He is an example of leadership, as his various appointments attest, often breaking new ground for the community. His service to Florida and the country are an example of what a public servant should be and the definition of a keeper of the Hippocratic Oath. Dr. Martinez-Lopez credentials and dedication speak for themselves. He is an inspiration to millions of Americans. I encourage the U.S. Senate to do what is right for the country and confirm him as expeditiously as possible.”


Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz Blasts Package of Bills Passed During Legislative Special Session and Signed Into Law by DeSantis Today

Today, Governor DeSantis signed into law a package of bills passed by the Florida Legislature during a three-day special session that concluded yesterday. These new laws will, among other things, weaken the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccination requirements for larger businesses, give the governor more power in his ongoing fight with local governments and school boards over masking and vaccines and lay the groundwork for withdrawing Florida from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration and creating a state-run agency overseeing workplace safety.In reaction to this development, Florida Democratic Party Chair Manny Diaz issued the following statement:

“DeSantis’ stunt special session, which was nothing more than a transparent bit of political theater with a view towards bolstering his bid for a second term, delivered on the type of bad policy it promised from the moment it was announced.

“Infringing on businesses’ and local governments’ freedom to enact appropriate health protocols to combat COVID-19 will simply prolong the pandemic and put more lives at risk in our state. 
“One piece of legislation DeSantis signed into law today will actually have some businesses exposing themselves to lawsuits or federal penalties depending on whether they decide to comply with state law or follow the federal OSHA rule on vaccination requirements.

“The move to study the development of a state counterpart to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration is equally misguided. A state-run agency is simply not needed, would be costly, and would accomplish little considering state agencies overseeing workplace safety must enforce, at minimum, the same standards set nationally by OSHA. It is an initiative with only one goal in mind, to give Governor DeSantis yet another talking point with which to thrill extremist anti-vaccination and anti-masking elements in the GOP base.

“Florida deserves a Governor that will prioritize the health and prosperity of the state’s residents, not call for politically motivated special sessions of the Legislature and sign bills into law that will put lives at risk just to drive his most radical supporters to the polls next Fall.”


ICYMI: Tampa Leaders Hold Press Conference To Slam Marco Rubio For Not Showing Up For Work

After a report in the Orlando Sentinel revealed that Marco Rubio has missed at least 14 committee hearings in recent weeks, leaders from Tampa held a press conference yesterday to highlight Rubio’s record of failing to show up for work and demand he start doing the job Floridians elected him to do. 
See below for highlights from the press conference, and watch a full recording here

“I used to be an elected official and there is nothing more important than showing up for votes and hearings and doing what you told people you would do when you ran for office…People want you to do what you were sent there to do. They don’t send you there to raise money. They don’t send you there to run for President. They sent you there to be the United States Senator for the state of Florida…There is nothing on your schedule that trumps doing the work of the people. All the other things are secondary. But unfortunately it appears for Senator Rubio that what’s coming in secondary is the thing that he got hired to do,” said Sean Shaw, former state representative and Democratic nominee for attorney general.  

“As an electrician…if we don’t show up for work, we get fired…Our apprentices have to abide by state standards. If our apprentices miss three apprenticeship classes, they get terminated from the program. Everybody has standards that they have to abide by, so I don’t understand why Senator Rubio doesn’t have standards himself. He should be held to the highest of standards…Senator Rubio, it’s time to get back to work like the rest of us hardworking Floridians,” said IBEW leader and president of the West Central Florida Labor Council Shawn McDonnell

“Let’s be clear, this is a complete failure to do the most basic part of his job: showing up for work. And Floridians who must show up for work to feed their families, sometimes under dangerous conditions, won’t stand for it…Rubio is doing what he’s always done: using his position to serve his political ambitions and trying to score points at the expense of everyday Floridians,” said Pinellas County Democratic Party Chair Lucinda Johnston

The report showed that Rubio had missed committee hearings covering vital issues to Floridians – from discussions of how to protect senior citizens, to the work of the Small Business Committee, to hearings on key national security issues that included the nomination of the ambassador to China. The recent news is part of Rubio’s long history of failing to show up for work. Rubio had previously skipped critical national security briefings to attend fundraisers for his failed presidential campaign. In 2016 he earned the worst missed vote record of any sitting Senator at the time. 


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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.

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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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