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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Decrying "witch hunt" of Fla Hispanics, Dems call for GOP Sen's ouster resignation from redistricting committee



State Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, says state Sen. Alan Hays should resign from the senate redistricting committee for his comments about Hispanic voters in Florida: “It is essential that this process remain unbiased, fair and unprejudiced.  It is evident now that Senator Hays cannot meet these qualifications, and Latinos in Florida should be concerned about their fair representation when the lines are in the hands of legislators like Senator Alan Hays.” 

“Nationally, Hispanics are the largest growing voting and consumer group and I am appalled at the insensitive comments made by my colleague. This hateful and mean-spirited attitude is part of broader trend that we are seeing amongst Republican leadership, including presidential candidates that are anti-Hispanic.  He is calling on a witch hunt before a Hispanic district can be realistically considered. Moreover, he asks for it in the Orlando area, which houses a predominately Puerto Rican population, who are natural born citizens.

And in  sharply-worded letter to Senate President Mike Haridopolos and House Speaker Dean Cannon, Rep. Luis Garcia, D-Miamim  called for a public apology from Hays.

Here's the letter: Download Redistricting Ltr. to Senate President Haridopolos and Speaker Cannon 

Hays, R-Umatilla, questioned whether a new Hispanic district in Central Florida was justified and suggested that the state's voter identification laws, which require three forms of ID, don't do enough to screen illegals from voting. The  population numbers used to draw the districts are dependent on the Census Bureau, which has historically undercounted illegals because few, if any of them, fill out the forms.  Here is what he said:

"Before we design a district anywhere in the state of Florida for Hispanic voters, we need to ascertain that they are citizens of the United States," Hays said. "We all know there are many Hispanic-speaking people in Florida that are not legal. And I just don't think it's right that we try to draw a district that encompoasses people that really have no business voting anyhow."

[Last modified: Thursday, October 20, 2011 5:11pm]


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