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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rivera fires back at Llorente



It's a House divided between Reps. David Rivera and Marcelo Llorente. The two Miami Republicans are co-pilots in building the House budget and both are battling for a Miami-Dade Senate seat in 2010 along with a third House member, Rep. Anitere Flores. This is a recipe for political disaster.

Rivera is poring over Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp's travel expenses, and Kottkamp supports Llorente. On Thursday, Llorente questioned Rivera's commitment to protecting tax dollars, noting that Rivera twice sponsored an $840,000 state grant for Exponica, a festival in Miami's Nicaraguan community (Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed it both times). Rivera did not respond to Llorente's criticism until Friday. 

"Rep. Llorente's desire to make excuses for wasteful spending by attacking the Nicaraguan-American community is misguided and unfortunate," Rivera said in an e-mail. "The issue here is wasteful spending of taxpayer resources, not the Nicaraguan-American community and its cultural and economic development activities. After all, Nicaraguan-Americans are decent, hard-working taxpayers. While Rep. Llorente focuses on attacking the Nicaraguan-American community, I will focus on protecting the taxpayer from wasteful spending."

All of this raises a very obvious question for House Speaker Larry Cretul, whose job requires keeping peace among House members: Are you sure this two-headed appropriations co-chairman arrangement (created by former Speaker Ray Sansom) is going to work?

- Steve Bousquet

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 7:30pm]


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