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Governor Scott losing ground in the Black community

Miami Times Editorial Department | 4/10/2014, 9 a.m.
It’s election year in the race for governor. Incumbent Rick Scott is hot on the campaign trail as recent polls ...

It’s election year in the race for governor. Incumbent Rick Scott is hot on the campaign trail as recent polls show he’s trailing his likely opponent, Democrat candidate Charlie Crist, who will be a tough politician to beat in November if Scott doesn’t do something about it.

He has. The trouble is, Scott may have made things worse for his political ambitions. Desperate for votes, the governor has made critical mistakes that have insulted the Black community.

For one, Scott side-stepped an issue concerning hundreds of thousands of Haitians who have been stripped of their citizenship in the Dominican Republican and ordered out of the country with nowhere to go. The governor instead joined South Florida’s large Venezuelan community of registered voters in protest of President Nicolas Madura’s crackdown on demonstrators protesting food shortages, inflation, and high crime in their native country. They are fed up.

But so are Black and Caribbean leaders who have been protesting the Dominican Republic’s decision to oust 300,000 Haitians from the country. It’s a ruling by the country’s highest court that cannot be repealed, creating a problem with very little answers.

So which will it be Mr. Scott, Haiti or Venezuela? Instead of championing both causes, Mr. Scott has chosen the latter. He has shamelessly paraded around this diverse community waving his finger at the White House, calling President Obama a “weak president” for not imposing economic sanctions against the Venezuelan government.

What an insult to the Black community and to a leader who has met a goal of enrolling over seven million Americans in affordable health care plans. And let’s not forget this is the same commander of chief who took out Osama Bin Laden, who has outsmarted previous administrations in the Oval Office.

Scott should look at himself before others. His selective causes in the name of votes is an affront to the Haitian community and South Florida. The governor of the state of Florida has been absent in the Black and Haitian community but once again wants to occupy the highest political office in Florida. Scott should be desperate to heal and unite, not pursue causes to win votes and divide this diverse community.

Since taking office three years ago, Scott’s administration has been rocked by controversy and questions of transparency. Despite pleas from Black leaders and various organizations, the governor has failed to address key issue affecting Florida, including Medicaid expansion, the state’s controversial Stand Your Ground law and high unemployment among blacks. If Scott spends more time addressing the real issues here at home rather than those in Venezuela, perhaps he would gain some ground in the polls.