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Florida’s Legislative Black Caucus To Gov. Rick Scott: Drop Dead

| January 16, 2014

Rep. Alan Williams. (Florida House)

Rep. Alan Williams. (Florida House)

The Florida Legislative Black Caucus on Wednesday abruptly canceled its annual meeting with Gov. Rick Scott, a move the group said was meant to underscore its frustration with the governor.

The incident highlighted Scott’s at-times complicated interactions with African-Americans less than 10 months before he faces voters in the November election, though the leader of the black caucus insisted the cancellation was not politically motivated.

“We’ve got the whole summer and fall to focus on politics,” Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee, said in an interview. “The governor’s had the past three years to focus on priorities.”

Williams said the caucus respected Scott’s role as governor.

“It’s not meant to be disrespectful,” he said. “It’s meant to show our frustration.”

After the caucus agreed Tuesday to cancel, Williams sent a letter to Scott on Wednesday telling him the meeting was off. As late as Wednesday morning, Scott’s schedule still included the noon get-together, though it didn’t give a location for the meeting.

“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,” Williams wrote.

The letter specifically mentioned, among other complaints, Scott’s stance on the restoration of civil rights for former felons, a sweeping effort to remove suspected non-citizens from the voting rolls, Scott’s appointments and the governor’s budget vetoes.

Scott’s press secretary, Jackie Schutz, said in a written statement that Scott was “disappointed” to hear that the meeting had been canceled. He offered to meet one-on-one with black lawmakers during the hour he was scheduled to speak with the caucus, though it wasn’t clear if any legislators took him up on it.


“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.

The black caucus meets annually with the governor, though Scott’s tenure got off to a rocky start when, in his first meeting with the group, he suggested that he could sympathize with black lawmakers because he lived in public housing as a child. Some members of the group later said they were offended by the remark.

Scott also faced protests from Florida A&M University students after he pressured the board of the historically black school to temporarily suspend President James Ammons in the wake of a hazing death. Ammons eventually resigned after months of scrutiny that grew to include other management issues at FAMU.

–Brandon Larrabee, News Service of Florida

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18 Responses for “Florida’s Legislative Black Caucus To Gov. Rick Scott: Drop Dead”

  1. m&m says:

    A black caucus??That’s racist.. Were is the white caucus??

  2. djsii says:

    ” restoration of civil rights for former felons, a sweeping effort to remove suspected non-citizens from the voting rolls”

    If I were Scott, I would not have scheduled to meet with them to begin with and would have told them to come back when they had something substantial to talk about.

    • A.S.F. says:

      @djsil says says–Governor Scott should know something about civil rights for former felons. And many southern states are making quite the name for themselves with their redistricting efforts and active, ahem, discouragement of historically disenfranchised voters at the polls. And I would judge that that history gives them “something substantial to talk about.” If you want some other reason to point to that indicates that they (and many others you might not necessarily agree with) have “something substantial to talk about,”, please refer to the results of the last two presidential election cycles.

  3. Charles Gardner says:

    What is The White Caucus saying?

  4. Thelma says:

    Is there a White caucus ? I want to join..or would that be RACIST ????

  5. Paul Anderson says:

    And right back at you black caucus. You folks act like spoiled, rotten children.

  6. Rob says:

    There is a white caucus.

    It is called the status quo.

  7. ohmy says:

    The minority community has family problems and educational problems which lead to economic problems and they are worried about felons and clean voting rolls?

  8. Sherry Epley says:

    Folks. . . yes, there are many caucuses in Florida. . . Hispanic, Asian, Republican, Democratic. . . so (non-racists LOL!) commentors, exactly what is your problem with the black caucus?

  9. Nancy N. says:

    To those of you wondering why the Black Caucus is so worried about voting rights for felons when to you it seems like a minor issue – I’ll tell you why. 1 in 3 black men can expect to go to prison in their lifetime. Disenfranchisement of felons is a back door way of disallowing the black vote by white Republican politicians. It’s no coincidence that only a few states have lifetime disenfranchisement for convicted felons – and they are all Republican controlled states.

    Felon disenfranchisement, voter ID laws, limiting early voting…it’s all part of the same package aimed at reducing the minority vote.

    • The Geode says:

      It doesn’t matter your point. ANYTHING with the word “Black” in it would get shunned. Have you noticed the amount of likes that any statement that begins with questioning the need for or existence of a “Black Caucus” gets 3-4 times as many likes than those defending it? You wonder WHY minorities need to have a separate Caucus? It’s because of the bigots who are SO readily eager to dismiss ANYTHING non-White has to say.

  10. karma says:

    So let me get this straight. Gov. Scott brings in a black woman to his his LT Governor and she is forced to resign because of her poor judgement. Yet, the black caucus is offended because Scott said he also lived in Public Housing. Is that the best they can do?
    I am sure Suntan Charlie will understand their struggles so much better than Scott. Hell, He may even want to borrow a phrase given to Bill Clinton by time magazine should he get elected.

  11. Troll says:

    Blacks make up 16% of Florida’s population. Subtract children and others not eligible to vote and you can see why the governor is not terribly concerned.

  12. Sherry Epley says:

    16% can absolutely make or break any politician. . . Yes, he should be worried! Plus, what about “doing the RIGHT thing” by listening to, caring about and representing ALL constituents in a balanced and reasonable way?

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