UPDATE: On April 21st, 2017, Senator Artiles bowed to pressure and resigned from the Florida Senate.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19th, 2017
Susan Smith, 813-390-3616
Democratic Progressive Caucus Calls on Senator Artiles to Resign
Tampa, FL — Susan Smith, President of the Democratic Progressive Caucus of Florida, released the following statement:
Senator Frank Artiles (R-Miami) should resign immediately from the Florida Senate. His recent racist and misogynistic remarks require action by the Republican Party of Florida. His offensive comments compel us to address the elephant in the room: this language and behavior is becoming commonplace among Republican legislators.
“We elect 160 people to represent more than 20 million Floridians. We should be proud of what our state senators and representatives say on our behalf not shocked by hate speech,” said Michael Calderin, Vice President of DPCF. “Sometimes words may just be words, but we have to recognize when they’re more than that. This latest flare-up is a symptom of a systemic issue in Tallahassee’s GOP legislature and the only cure is to drag it into the sunshine.”
This is not Artiles’ first offense, nor is he the only elected Republican to exhibit behavior incompatible with public office. In 2015, Matt Gaetz (R-Fort Walton Beach), now a U.S. Congressman, tweeted a thinly veiled attack on the intelligence of two African American senators in a similarly racist tone.
Yesterday, the Miami Herald reported on a 2014 recording of Artiles using an anti-Muslim slur at an election site and in 2015 he was accused of punching a college student in a Tallahassee bar. Now there are also reports of Artiles using anti-gay slurs the same night as this recent incident. Nothing about this behavior is acceptable.
In what can only be described as unbridled gall, Artiles announced his re-election to the press immediately after his apology. Campaign contributors now realize what their money represents.
Senate President Joe Negron must formally condemn Artiles’ bigoted remarks and acknowledge this disturbing trend. We implore Senate leaders to orchestrate Artiles’ removal. Anything short of that will leave the impression that the Republican legislature condones and promotes this sort of behavior.