Rick Scott and Black Legislative Caucus Clash After Missed Meeting

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: January 16, 2014 3:55 AM
Rick Scott and Alan Williams

Rick Scott and Alan Williams

Gov. Rick Scott clashed with the Florida Legislative Black Caucus on Wednesday, even as some of their members have increasingly started working with the Republican governor in recent days.

The caucus was scheduled to meet with Scott on Wednesday but Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee, the caucus chairman, informed the governor he was cancelling the meeting.

“I write on behalf of the members of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus to inform you that, despite great respect for the public office you hold, we have agreed to cancel our scheduled meeting with you today," Williams wrote on Wednesday. “Based on your lack of action on matters of importance to this caucus that we have brought to your attention at prior meetings, we believe another meeting at this time would be fruitless.

“Today, as we recognize the anniversary of the birth of The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., we are particularly mindful that the dreams of Floridians remain unfulfilled,” Williams continued. “Therefore, we take this occasion to respectfully remind you that there are significant needs facing Floridians that demand attention and action. All Floridians, including the thousands of residents of the communities we serve, deserve to have access to affordable health care that can be provided under an expansion of coverage using available federal dollars. We believe you can and should do more to ensure that your administration – as well as the various staffing and judicial appointments you make -- reflects the racial and ethnic diversity of Florida.The restoration of rights for individuals who have paid their debts to society is an important caucus priority. So, too, is the proper enforcement of voting rights and the end to the unnecessary purging of legitimate voters from voting rolls for apparent partisan gain.

“While we respect your role in protecting the state budget, we remind you that your veto actions last year cut funding for programs and services that are critical to communities we serve," Williams added. “There should be proportional representation of state spending on economic development investments, including advertising programs under the purview of your office. And the members of this caucus remain committed to adequate funding for all institutions of higher education, including Florida’s historically black colleges and universities.

“We have previously presented these and other matters to you and your staff in person,” Williams wrote in conclusion. “We intend to continue championing these issues with our colleagues in the Florida Legislature, and we encourage your engagement and leadership on these matters.”

Jackie Schutz, Scott‘s press secretary, quickly fired back saying the governor was “disappointed” about the caucus’ decision.

“Governor Scott believes the best way to serve Floridians is for the Legislature and the governor’s office to work together to find solutions,” Schutz said, before adding the governor would be in his office for an hour in case any of the caucus members wanted to meet with him.

While there is an election coming up in November, there have been signs in recent days that some of the members of the caucus are willing to work with Scott.

Rep. Mia Jones, D-Jacksonville, praised Scott’s record and his call for more transportation investments on Monday.

“Last year we saw incredible growth in Florida ports and manufacturing businesses thanks to Governor Scott’s investments in transportation,” Jones said on Monday. “I look forward to seeing continued growth in the Sunshine State and the city of Jacksonville as he works with Mayor Alvin Brown to support transportation funding.”

When Scott named Carlos Lopez-Cantera as the next lieutenant governor on Tuesday, state Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens, another member of the caucus, praised the choice.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

Comments (10)

11:11AM JAN 19TH 2014
When will Scott be going to prison?
Oscie Fryer
9:55PM JAN 16TH 2014
I applaud the members of the Black Caucus for their stance. Governor Scott has made decisions that have negatively impacted people of color and economically challenged communities. I am happy to see that he is being held accountable for his actions.
Harold Monoginslogin
11:55AM JAN 16TH 2014
Stupid move by Williams and the caucus! They just don't get it and that is why the Republicans will control the Legislature and all cabinet Offices for years to come. The D's in the legislature are very, very ineffective with no dynamic leadership!
2:39PM JAN 16TH 2014
Yes, continued ongoing efforts at voter suppression of minorities should always be rewarded . . . . why is the GOP squealing so loudly about this . . . could it be, like with women and rape, it just highlights the Florida GOP's inherent shortcomings and points out who really just doesn't get it . . . . like our mono gin drinker pseudonym here . . . .

Pathetic . . .
2:46PM JAN 16TH 2014
What voter suppression? women and rape?? Stretching, eh?
3:26PM JAN 17TH 2014
Just another clueless far righter who doesn't even realize what her party's had to go through over the last couple of years both within and outside this state (and who obviously doesn't pay attention to Florida and other out of state court decisions slamming GOP voter suppression) . . . . I mean give me a break - today has even another major court ruling in another state (PA) that their GOP partisan voter ID law is also "invalid and unconstitutional on its face”. . . just how abundantly clueless do you have to be, to be once again . . .

Pathetic . . . .
8:04AM JAN 16TH 2014
You cannot reach out to the Black Community that has become increasingly polarized. What you need to do is set sound economic policies creating prosperity for everyone then let them look over the fence an decide that they want that too. To quote Field of Dreams, "Build it and they will come."
9:48AM JAN 16TH 2014
Of course, you must be right -->"You cannot reach out to the Black Community that has become increasingly polarized" . . . . especially when you call the first black elected President a "Muslim Terrorist" as you have . . . . no wonder that community rejects those such as you and Rick Scott (who would even keep them from voting) . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
2:45PM JAN 16TH 2014
What is pathetic is that Williams is taking a page out of Obama's book. Scott didn't pander to him so now he is acting like a spoiled child stomping their feet when they don't get their way.
Another reason why the Dems are in the Minority party.
11:46AM JAN 17TH 2014
Yes, yes, you must be right . . . . just another black leader who is a spoiled child stomping his feet because he has the effrontery to say "NO" to his betters, just showing his shiftless self, the chutzpah of this "child" -->this boy --> this n-----, acting like a witchdoctor that he must have learned from his leader Obama, or (however else you rightwingers believe in your delusional minds is a reasonable way to deal with minorities) in defending your fellow partisan who's labeled the first black President a "Muslim Terrorist" . . . . sad, clueless, and . . .

Pathetic . . . .

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