Republican congressional candidate David Jolly says Democrat Alex Sink is unfit to serve in Congress because of her "bigotry." The evidence? During a candidate forum organized by Pinellas chambers of commerce, she was asked about immigration reform and said many local employers rely on immigrants to fill hotel cleaning and landscaping jobs.
"I think Alex Sink's comments reflect a bigotry that should disqualify her from representing the people of this community and should disqualify her from serving in the United States Congress," Jolly said. "She offended immigrants throughout this community, she offended nonimmigrant workers. She offended business owners. She offended every American that believes in the equality of people regardless of race, creed or color. I think it was a disgusting comment."
So we wondered if Republican Sen. Marco Rubio also is unfit for office given his comments on Face the Nation in April 2013: "I am not in favor of a housekeeper or a landscaper crossing the border illegally," Rubio said.
Jolly declined to weigh in on that: "I don't know the full context of what he said. I know the full context of what Alex Sink said."
For the record, here's what Sink said:
"Immigration reform is important in our country. It's one of the main agenda items of the beaches' chamber of commerce, for obvious reasons, because we have a lot of employers over on the beaches that rely upon workers, and especially in this high-growth environment, where are you going to get people to work to clean our hotel rooms or do our landscaping? And we don't need to put those employers in a position of hiring undocumented and illegal workers.
"I believe that the Senate came together in a bipartisan way to forge a solution. It was a very tough negotiation, and Sen. Marco Rubio was a participant in that, and one of the leaders, and members of his own party has even come against him. For every example that you hear, I think about the high school valedictorian — I believe he lives in this district now. High school valedictorian.
"He was brought here when he was a young man, 9 or 10 years old. He didn't choose to come here. His parents brought him. He was undocumented. And what does he do? How does he get an education? He did everything right. He became an incredible student. He even eventually ended up going to law school and becoming a lawyer. But right now he can't practice law because of his undocumented status. That's not right. We need to bring these people out of the shadows so that they're paying into Social Security, paying into Medicare, paying federal income taxes, so that they're not security issues. But they have to earn their way. So we need immigration reform and I would definitely join with Democrats and Republicans in the House and pass immigration reform as soon as possible."
District 13 TV debate
Watch a replay of the final debate in the Congressional District 13 special election at 12:30 p.m. today on WEDU. It was the third time Jolly, Sink and Libertarian Lucas Overby faced off ahead of the March 11 election.
The 30-minute debate is moderated by Florida This Week host Rob Lorei.
A Tigger by the tail
There is at least one striking common thread among Charlie Crist's closest circle of political advisers: They know what it means to sacrifice sweat and dignity to ensure guests enjoy the Happiest Place on Earth.
This occurred to us as Omar Khan arrived in the Tampa Bay area last week to manage Crist's gubernatorial campaign. Khan, a former USF student body president, has held any number of prominent titles with the Obama White House and presidential campaign, but one position stands out: dressing up as Tigger at Disney World.
Likewise, Crist's boss and political benefactor, personal injury lawyer John Morgan, knows what it's like to pay bills by donning a Disney Pluto and/or Three Little Pigs costume.
Then there is Bob Poe, former Florida Democratic Party chairman and chairman of Crist's main campaign committee, Charlie Crist for Florida. Poe was among the earliest cast members at Disney, playing Geppetto, Br'er Fox, Pluto and, mostly, Tigger.
On Bay News 9
Florida Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford appear today on Political Connections on Bay News 9 to discuss the legislative session that starts Tuesday. Political Connections airs at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Marc Caputo contributed to this week's Buzz.