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Politics

Ousted House Democrat Speaks Out Against Caucus Purge of Moderates

June 10, 2013 - 6:00pm

The Florida House Democratic Office is "shooting itself in the foot" if it goes through with an attempt, led by Rep. Jim Waldman of Coconut Creek, to introduce rules that would penalize moderate Democratic legislators who vote against caucus positions without the blessing of leadership.

So says former Rep. John Patrick Julien, a one-term North Miami Democrat who was ousted during his party's primaries last year after running afoul of party leadership and teachers' unions for his votes in favor of small business, school choice, and the right to life of the unborn.One Republican strategist at the time referred to his defeat, along with that of fellow Rep. Mack Bernard of West Palm Beach, a"political ethnic cleansing"that rid the Democratic Party of almost all its elected Haitians, who for cultural reasons tend to learn more toward the center than their white and African American counterparts.

Asked what he thought about the new proposed rule, Julien -- who remains a member of the Democratic Party -- shared these thoughts with Sunshine State News:

During the two years that I was in the Legislature [2010-2012] I felt as if the Democratic Party in the State of Florida I can't speak for it nationwide is that leadership wants you to simply be a puppet. They're not necessarily looking for someone who is willing to represent his or her constituents.

We can all be Democrats, but that does not mean that we all follow the same ideology. Each individual has to be given the ability to represent his or her constituents. As I've stated before, and as I've argued with leadership in the past while I was there and I would continue to do it if I was there now, but unfortunately it just didn't work out that way I think that the Democratic Party is really shooting itself in the foot. It's trying to be a party of one [ideology], I don't think that's what the party needs and I don't think that's what this country needs.

I think it also says a lot as to why the people are so disenfranchised and feel disappointed with their elected leaders. They don't feel as if they're being represented by anyone. Everybody is just so busy looking to leap-frog into the next leadership position, either become a chairman or become a vice-chairman, or become someone of importance, that they forget that they were sent there by people to represent people.

House Democrats are expected to vote on the package of proposed rule changes at their annual Jefferson-Jackson Gala this weekend, June 15-16.

Reach Eric Giunta at egiunta@sunshinestatenews.com or at (954) 235-9116.

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