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Patricia Mazzei, Miami Herald

Patricia Mazzei

Patricia Mazzei is the political writer for the Miami Herald. She joined the newspaper in 2007 after graduating from the University of Miami. Her previous beats include congressional and state legislative politics, Miami-Dade County Hall, Miami City Hall and Broward County public schools. Born and raised in Venezuela, she is fluent in Spanish.

Phone: (305) 376‑3350

E-mail: pmazzei@miamiherald.com

Twitter: @PatriciaMazzei

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  1. U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen says she's retiring from Congress

    Blog

    U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the dean of the Florida legislative delegation and the first Cuban American elected to Congress, is retiring at the end of her term next year, saying it’s time to move on after 38 years in elected office.

    “It's been such a delight and a high honor to serve our community for so many years and help constituents every day of the week,” the Miami Republican told the Miami Herald in an exclusive telephone interview Sunday. “We just said, ‘It's time to take a new step.’”...

    Photo: Florida Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen alongside her husband Dexter Lehtinen before her acceptance speech after winning the reelection in November 2016.
  2. Four extraordinary days at the Florida Capitol: How Artiles went from defiance to resignation

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Last Monday afternoon, at the start of the state Legislature's seventh week of session, Sen. Audrey Gibson raced up three floors to present one of her bills to the Florida Senate's Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee.

    Gibson, a Jacksonville Democrat, stood behind the lectern and tried to catch her breath as she told colleagues about a 6-year-old from back home who had been involuntarily committed to a mental-health facility for three days for a "temper tantrum." She filed legislation to require such facilities to speed up their evaluation of the about 30,000 admitted each year under the state's Baker Act....

    Frank Artiles, R-Miami, resigned his seat in the Florida Senate on Friday.  (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)
  3. Replacing Artiles: Who's in and who's out (so far)

    Blog

    Miami politics went into overdrive Friday following state Sen. Frank Artiles' resignation, as elected officials and their political consultants scrambled to figure out who might run in a yet-to-be-scheduled special election to replace the freshman Miami Republican.

    Political insiders in Miami and Tallahassee had begun whispering about Artiles' potential successor even before he stepped down. District 40 in Southwest Miami-Dade County is a competitive, Democratic-leaning and overwhelmingly Hispanic seat....

  4. Frank Artiles resigns, says he needs time for personal reflection, growth

    Blog

    Sen. Frank Artiles resigned from the Florida Legislature today, consumed by a scandal that erupted three days earlier over a diatribe of insults the Miami Republican unleashed against two lawmakers at a Tallahassee bar.

    In a letter to Senate President Joe Negron, Artiles said he was stepping down for the sake of his family and of the institution of the Senate, whose work ground to a near halt this week as Republican leaders grappled with Artiles’ political future....

    Artiles
  5. Frank Artiles, Miami state senator, resigns after racist, profane remarks

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Sen. Frank Artiles resigned from the Legislature on Friday, consumed by a scandal that erupted three days earlier over a diatribe of insults the Miami Republican unleashed against two lawmakers at a Tallahassee bar.

    In a letter to Senate President Joe Negron, Artiles said he was stepping down for the sake of his family and of the institution of the Senate, whose work ground to a near halt this week as Republican leaders grappled with Artiles' political future....

    FILE - This March 9, 2012, file photo shows Republican state senator Frank Artiles, R-Miami, asking a questions about a pip insurance bill during house session in Tallahassee, Fla. Artiles, a Republican state senator, is expected to apologize publicly Wednesday April 19, 2017, for using racial slurs and obscene insults in a private after-hours conversation with African-American colleagues. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File) MH201
  6. Controversy over Miami lawmaker's racial slur engulfs Florida Legislature

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Controversy raged in the Florida Capitol for a second day over Sen. Frank Artiles' racist and sexist tirade, distracting and slowing down the Legislature on Thursday, just two weeks before the end of the annual lawmaking session and building pressure on the Miami Republican to resign — or risk the potential career-ending condemnation of the Senate.

    The Senate abruptly canceled formal meetings Thursday afternoon as leaders scrambled to find a quick resolution to Artiles' political future. As a Senate lawyer began taking sworn statements about Artiles' Monday-night verbal assault on two black colleagues at a bar near the Capitol, the senator hired a defense attorney who argued Artiles' use of the n-word and other insults are constitutionally protected free speech....

    Republican state Sen. Frank Artiles denied none of the language when he apologized Wednesday on the Senate floor.
  7. Legislative complaint seeks to expel Miami lawmaker from Senate over 'racist rant'

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Forced by Florida Senate leaders to show contrition, Miami Republican Sen. Frank Artiles stood on the chamber floor Wednesday morning and told his colleagues he was sorry for insulting them in private using curse words and a racial slur.

    "I extend a heartfelt apology to my colleagues and to all those I have offended," Artiles began, reading from prepared remarks.

    It was not enough....

    State Sen. Frank Artiles, R- Miami, had been reported to Republican leaders for using offensive language directed at state Sen. Audrey Gibson and others. [Scott Keeler | Times]
  8. Secret 2014 recording caught Frank Artiles using 'hajis' slur

    Blog

    In 2014, when then-state Rep. Frank Artiles was running for re-election in Miami-Dade County, someone secretly recorded him at a polling place — and caught him using a slur for Middle Easterners or Muslims: “hajis.”

    That was three years ago, long before Monday night, when now-state Sen. Artiles deployed the n-word in a conversation with two African-American senators. The Republican Artiles now faces pressure from Florida Democrats to resign....

    Frank Artiles.
  9. Miami state senator curses at black lawmaker — and uses N-word to refer to white Republicans

    State Roundup

    UPDATE: Less than 24 hours after he issued an apology to Sen. Audrey Gibson for using a racial slur and profanity, Sen. Frank Artiles apologized the floor of the Florida Senate. Watch the video

    TALLAHASSEE — Miami Republican Sen. Frank Artiles dropped the n-word to a pair of African-American colleagues in private conversation Monday night — after calling one of them a "f------ a------," a "b----" and a "girl," the two senators said....

    Sen. Frank Artiles, R- Miami, who chairs the Senate's Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee, issued an apology on Tuesday to Sen. Audrey Gibson after he had been reported to Republican leaders for using offensive language directed at her and others. [Scott Keeler | Tampa Bay Times]
  10. Frank Artiles apologizes after getting reported for using N-word, other profanities

    Blog

    Miami Republican Sen. Frank Artiles dropped the n-word to a pair of African-American colleagues in private conversation Monday night — after calling one of them a “f------ a------,” a “b----” and a “girl,” the two senators said.

    Over drinks after 10 p.m. at the members-only Governors Club just steps from the state Capitol, Artiles told Sens. Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville and Perry Thurston of Fort Lauderdale that Senate President Joe Negron of Stuart had risen to his powerful GOP leadership role because “six n-------” in the Republican caucus had elected him....

    Artiles
  11. Miami lawmaker the most vulnerable Republican in Congress

    Blog

    Miami Rep. Carlos Curbelo better get used to that political target on his back.

    The sophomore congressman might be the single most vulnerable Republican in the country going into the 2018 election, according to a new analysis of partisanship in congressional districts.

    The Cook Political Report, which has been publishing its Partisan Voting Index since 1997, found that Curbelo represents the most Democratic of districts held by Republican members of Congress....

    Miami Republican Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen speak in downtown Miami in February.
  12. Two dead, one wounded after trainer opens fire at Coral Gables fitness center (w/video)

    Crime

    CORAL GABLES — A popular personal trainer who apparently had been fired from his job earlier in the day fatally shot one of his former co-workers and critically wounded another at a fitness club in an upscale mall before killing himself on Saturday.

    The 12:55 p.m. shooting shut down the Shops at Merrick Park and scattered scores of scared shoppers and Equinox fitness center members onto the surrounding streets, many of them clad in exercise clothes and holding nothing but their workout towels....

    Shoppers sit on the pavement after being evacuated from the Shops at Merrick Park after a shooting Saturday  in Coral Gables.  [Associated Press]
  13. Marco Rubio: I've spoken to Trump three times about Cuba

    Blog

    Sen. Marco Rubio has kept mostly tight-lipped about what he's discussed with President Donald Trump on the occasions the two Republicans have met -- including over dinner with their wives at the White House.

    But Rubio disclosed in a Spanish-language interview this week that he's used those conversations with Trump to bring up Cuba.

    "I've spoken to the president of the United States personally on three occasions," Rubio told Mega TV host Oscar Haza after Haza asked about the future of U.S.-Cuba policy. "I think without a doubt there will be changes in U.S.-Cuba policy."...

  14. David Rivera files to run in Florida House -- again

    Blog

    David Rivera wants to run for the Florida House of Representatives again, after having lost a narrow race in a recount last year.

    Rivera, a former state legislator and congressman turned perennial candidate, submitted candidacy paperwork to the Florida Division of Elections on Wednesday. The Republican intends to run for House District 105, currently represented by term-limited Rep. Carlos Trujillo -- who, as it happens, holds the position that once made Rivera so powerful in Tallahassee: budget chief....

    This guy wants to come back
  15. Ros-Lehtinen says she would have broken GOP ranks in Internet privacy vote

    Blog

    Two Miami Republicans, Reps. Carlos Curbelo and Mario Diaz-Balart, voted this week to lift restrictions on internet providers from tracking and sharing personal data without consent, joining a Republican majority that sent the legislation to President Donald Trump's desk.

    Diaz-Balart's office said he supported the bill because it "eliminates confusing regulations" that allow both the Federal Trade Commission and Federal Communications Commission to regulate the internet. The FCC rules that would be repealed by the law apply only to major providers like Verizon but not to giant websites like Google....