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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rally supporting Rick Scott's Starbucks heckler draws two supporters

Fred Williams (left) and Frank Day, the two lone protesters at a rally inspired by "latte liberal" Cara Jennings.

Michael Auslen, Times/Herald

Fred Williams (left) and Frank Day, the two lone protesters at a rally inspired by "latte liberal" Cara Jennings.



The plan was for people fed up with Gov. Rick Scott and inspired by the coffee-fueled viral spectacle at Starbucks last week to rally at the Capitol and let the governor know how they feel.

But only two people showed up.

Frank Day, who owns a home repair business and lives in Point Washington, up in the Florida Panhandle, tried to gather supporters on Facebook for a "March to Support Cara Jennings,"  the woman featured in a viral video from a Gainesville Starbucks where she called Scott an "a------." Fred Williams of Jefferson County, a 31-year state worker who retired from the Florida Department of Health about 10 years ago came, as did six reporters.

Though small in number, they stood on the steps of the Historic Old Capitol in Tallahassee on Thursday, holding signs supporting Jennings and demanding the state raise the minimum wage.

In the Starbucks exchange, Jennings called out Scott over health benefits, and he said that "We've got a million jobs."

His political committee, Let's Get to Work, doubled down in an ad later that week touting the governor's jobs record.

But people like Day and Williams say a job alone is not enough if it doesn't pay well. State workers should get a raise, Williams said.

And Day, a Democrat, got involved in politics six or eight years ago over a wage issue, when he found out his son -- a sheriff's deputy in Walton County -- was earning so little money that he qualified for welfare.

"That's uncalled for," he said. "That can't happen."

So he got a local conservative watchdog group to put pressure on the Republican sheriff and other county officials to give workers a pay raise. And it worked.

"You can effect change, but you've got to do it in your communities," Day said. "And it only took me speaking out and calling people on their ethics ... Would you want to do this to your children?"

[Last modified: Thursday, April 14, 2016 12:38pm]


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