Florida lawmakers have strong opinions about Rev. Jackson's words
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
CREATED Aug. 1, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A war of words has some Florida lawmakers angry after an influential leader calls for a boycott of the state.
Reverend Jesse Jackson condemned Florida for a law many say is a slap in the face to civil rights progress.
"Florida is today a very toxic place," Rev. Jackson said during this week's trip to the state capital. "Florida is the headquarters of a bigger movement and the whole world is watching."
Jackson traveled to Tallahassee Tuesday to support Dream Defenders, a group holding a sit-in at the capitol for weeks in support of Trayvon Martin.
"This is an emergency," said Jackson.
The group is calling for the repeal of the state's Stand Your Ground law. Jackson is now standing his ground and refusing to apologize for comparing Florida to the battleground of the civil rights movement, Selma, Alabama.
"This is the Selma of our time. This is a transformative moment for this time," he said.
To add to it, he also compared Governor Rick Scott to then Governor of Alabama George Wallace, who was against civil rights.
Is it creating conversation? Or stirring the pot?
"He's certainly not acting as a mediator," said State Representative Heather Fitzenhagen of District 78. "My perspective is as Floridians we can resolve our own issues."
FOX 4 caught up with Fitzenhagen at a town hall meeting at FGCU as she talked to constituents about the upcoming legislative session.
"The Stand Your Ground issue is going to be something that I know we are going to take a hard look at," she said.
Fitzenhagen is siding with Governor Scott when it comes to Jackson's remarks.
"I don't think it's helpful for people to attack our governor in a very personal way," she said.
Governor Scott is demanding an apology. He released this statement: "It's disappointing that Jesse Jackson refused to apologize yesterday for his insulting and inflammatory comments about Floridians. Instead, he doubled down on his divisive and reckless remarks. Without an official, public apology from Jesse Jackson to the people of Florida, any conversation would only reward him for making - and then doubling down - on his irresponsible insults."
"Now's the time for thoughtfulness and not high emotions," Rep. Fitzenhagen said.
Jackson has said he won't apologize.
The Southwest Florida chapter of the NAACP says this country has benefitted greatly because of Rev. Jackson and says the facts speak for themselves.