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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

State Sen. Alan Hays' case of foot-in-mouth disease



Steve Bousquet column:

State Sen. Alan Hays is a retired dentist, so it's surprising to see him stick his foot in his mouth. But Hays wandered into a political minefield with recent comments about Hispanics and redistricting.

At the end of a 2 ½-hour meeting last week, the Republican spoke about the likelihood of a new Hispanic-majority seat in Congress representing Orange and Osceola counties, south of where he lives in Umatilla.

"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 that it's right that we try to draw a district that encompasses people that really have no business voting anyhow."

His comments brought denunciations from two Hispanic House members, Democrats Luis Garcia of Miami Beach and Janet Cruz of Tampa, who accused Hays of being prejudiced against Hispanics.

Reached Monday, Hays declined to say anything more about the subject, not wanting to add more fuel to the fire. This is not the first time Hays' mouth has landed him in trouble. (full column here)

[Last modified: Monday, October 24, 2011 9:38pm]


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