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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Davis seeks Hispanic support in Orlando



Pledging to "restore democracy to our state so the voices of all Floridians can be heard," Jim Davis met with a small group of Hispanic community leaders at a Puerto Rican restaurant Monday morning Orlando. "People are starting to pay attention yesterday," he said of the upcoming primary. "I need your help."

The Democratic gubernatorial hopeful focused heavily on education, saying his plan to increase teacher salary and protect small class sizes is key to giving children of immigrants a chance to succeed. When the discussion turned to immigration laws being discussed in Washington, the Tampa Congressman said no one should be encouraged to come to this country illegally but children of those who do should not be punished.

A handful of community leaders sat with Davis at Mi Viejo San Juan Restaurante, the smells of chicken empanadillas wafting from a nearby counter, including a retired social worker who now drives a cab. "I don't see an arrogance in him that you do with some politicians," said Elias "Rico" Piccard, 59. "He's very convincing."

Though the Hispanic vote is viewed as increasingly important, especially in this area, Davis framed the discussion as something larger. "I am here because I want to build a relationship,” he said.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 3:04pm]


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