Florida’s history is intertwined with Ponce de Leon’s discovery of St. Augustine, Tampa’s Ybor City cigar factories, and the diverse cultures of the Caribbean and Central and South America that have sought refuge and thrived in South Florida, making it the gateway to the Americas.
As Hispanic Heritage Month begins, let’s celebrate Florida’s unique Hispanic community. Florida’s embrace of Hispanic culture sets an example for the nation: by actively engaging beyond just Election Day, we can expand opportunities and prosperity for future generations.
In the 30 years since my family immigrated from Venezuela to Miami, I’ve seen the Hispanic community’s growth. Growing up in South Florida allowed me to witness the cultural, political, and economic contributions of Hispanic Americans to this state and country. I’m grateful that my home state has empowered my community to succeed and be heard.
Florida’s capital city has offered past, present, and future generations of Hispanic leaders a platform to shape our state. From its earliest days as America’s 27th state, Hispanics have served in Florida’s Legislature. But it wasn’t until two years after the Mariel Boatlift that Republicans finally flipped the Democrat stranglehold on the Florida House. It was then, during the 1982-1984 class, that