Today, Senator Dwight Bullard and Representative Perry Thurston sent a letter to the Council of 100 for its backing out on an invitation to gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist.
Senator Bullard, who currently serves as chair of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, and Representative Thurston, leader of the Florida House Democratic Caucus, argue that the rescinding of the invitation was a partisan move, as a result of their support of Governor Rick Scott.
“We see this as a questionable act on the part of the Council of 100,” Sen. Bullard stated. “Nonpartisan should mean that everyone is welcome, and this clearly isn’t the case.”
On its website, The Council of 100 describes itself as an organization that, “a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of business leaders, which exists to promote the economic growth of Florida and improve the economic well-being and quality of life of its citizenry.”
Here’s the letter:
Florida’s Council of 100 purports to be a “nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of business leaders, which exists to promote the economic growth of Florida.” Your mission statement even claims you are seeking to “effect positive change” that is “beneficial to all Floridians.”
So it was simply incredible to us that your organization would abruptly cancel an invitation to speak by a Democratic candidate running for governor simply because he is a Democrat. It is amazing that your assemblage of powerful business leaders would so easily bend to the bullying of Governor Scott — who apparently just wanted to quiet any view of Florida inconsistent with his own.
Disregarding that you purport to be a “nonpartisan” organization, who does your organization truly represent?
Your officers and board are comprised of 31 people, of whom only five are women and only three appear to be Democrats. Of the 31 Floridians who lead your organization, not one of them is an African-American.
To repeat, in the year 2014, not one of your 31 officers or directors is an African-American. Your actions and your choices make it abundantly clear whom you seek to represent.