Florida senator steps down amid racial slur scandal

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) – The Florida state senator accused of using a racial slur and spouting other vulgarities has resigned.

The move comes following a complaint that Republican Sen. Frank Artiles used the “n-word” and other obscenities in a conversation with two black colleagues at a private club near the Capitol.

In a letter to Senate President Joe Negron, Artiles explained he was resigning for the sake of his family and colleagues.

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“My actions and my presence in government is now a distraction to my colleagues, the legislative process, and the citizens of our great State,” Artiles wrote. “I am responsible and I am accountable and effective immediately, I am resigning from the Florida State Senate.”

“It’s clear there are consequences to every action, and in this area, I will need time for personal reflection and growth.”

Artiles was forced to apologize on the Senate floor on Wednesday for a racist and sexist rant against Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville.

He reportedly called the black lawmaker two disrespectful, sexist names and was also accused of calling some of his Republican colleagues the n-word.

Florida Senate President Joe Negron (R-Stuart) released the following statement regarding Artiles resignation:

“Senator Artiles made the right decision. As Senator Artiles has noted, he holds himself responsible and accountable for his actions and comments. Despite the events of the last week, Senator Artiles has a long and proud record of public service. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for serving our country in the United State Marine Corps, where he fought for our freedom in the Global War on Terror. Additionally, his years of service in the Florida House and Senate demonstrate a commitment to helping others that will not end with his departure from the Senate. My Senate colleagues and I wish Senator Artiles and his family well.”

Florida Democratic Party Chair Stephen Bittel issued the following statement:

“The Florida Democratic Party began calling for Artiles’ resignation as soon as news hit of his racist and sexist remarks towards his Senate colleagues. Meanwhile, Republicans in the Senate and the Republican Party of Florida have been content with letting Artiles off with just a slap on the wrist – his roommate, Republican Representative Jose Oliva even saying that Artiles has ‘acted honorably’. We are pleased that the residents of District 40 will no longer bear the burden of being represented by someone with a history of violence and bigotry and that they will have the opportunity to vote for a Senator that represents their values.”

The complaint against Artiles has been dismissed.

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