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Perry Thurston

Perry Thurston: Frank Artiles’ resignation was ‘right action’

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Sen. Perry Thurston “welcome(d) the news of Senator Frank Artiles’ resignation today from the Florida Senate,” he said in a Friday statement.

“On behalf of the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators, …we regret that this action was necessary, but we believe it was the right action to take,” said Thurston, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat.

“It was surely a difficult decision for the Senator to make, but we believe he followed his conscience and made the right choice,” he added. “The actions of this Senate, and those of the multitude of Floridians who stood up in objection to the events of this week are to be lauded. They underscored the critical lesson that words can be painful, they can be hurtful, and they can have consequences.”

Artiles, a Cuban-American Republican from Miami-Dade County, made national news after he accosted Thurston and Sen. Audrey Gibson, a Jacksonville Democrat, calling her a “b****h” and a “girl” in a dispute over legislation at a private club in Tallahassee Monday night.

Artiles also used a slang variation of the ‘N-word,’ referring to white Republicans who supported Joe Negron as Senate President. Thurston and Gibson are black. Artiles apologized on the Senate floor Wednesday.

Thurston subsequently filed a Senate rules complaint against Artiles seeking his expulsion. He said earlier Friday he was withdrawing the complaint.

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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