Florida politicians quick to respond to Haiti disaster
The Florida political response to the devastation in Haiti has been swift, with calls from Tallahassee to Washington for disaster relief and for "temporary protected status" for Haitian nationals living in the United States. There have been multiple TV appearances and appeals for financial contributions via text message.
Three members of Congress from South Florida -- Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen -- sent a letter to President Obama requesting immediate humanitarian aid and temporary protected status against deportation. U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson and George LeMieux signed on to a letter calling on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to make funding for disaster relief the first order of business.
Gov. Charlie Crist reworked his schedule so he could be in Miami this morning to meet with disaster officials. Haitian-born State Rep. Yolly Roberson, D-Miami, went along. LeMieux also went to Miami and appeared on CNN.
U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, who represents the part of Miami known as Little Haiti, appeared on various news shows. "Security is very important," he said on MSNBC. "You will have undesirables that will prey upon those with unsecured structures and businesses." Meek sent out e-mails directing people to his U.S. Senate campaign Web site where people could donate money.
U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, began to worry about saturation and partisanship. “One thing that is not needed is a whole lot of politicians tripping over each other to show their newfound compassion for Haiti," he said. "The best thing for everyone is to allow those involved in relief efforts to do their job. At this most difficult time, the recovery effort must be free of politics and finger-pointing."