Frank Artiles

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Frank Artiles
State Representative Frank Artiles.jpg
Member of the Florida Senate
from the 40th district
In office
November 8, 2016 – April 21, 2017
Preceded by Redistricted
Succeeded by Annette Taddeo
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 118th district
119th (2010-2012)
In office
November 2, 2010 – November 8, 2016
Preceded by Juan C. Zapata
Succeeded by Robert Asencio
Personal details
Born (1973-04-22) April 22, 1973 (age 44)
Los Angeles, California
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Aimee Sontag
Children Isabella, Giavanna
Alma mater Florida State University (B.S.)
St. Thomas University School of Law (J.D.)
University of Miami School of Law (LL.M.)
Profession Public adjuster and appraiser

Frank Artiles (born April 22, 1973) is a Republican politician from Florida. He served three terms in the Florida House of Representatives, representing parts of Miami-Dade County from 2010 to 2016, before being elected to the Florida Senate in 2016. He resigned from the Senate on 21 April 2017 after using racial slurs and other profanities against fellow senators.[1]

Early and personal life[edit]

The son of Cuban immigrants, Artiles was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1973, and moved to the state of Florida in 1975. He attended Florida State University, graduating with a degree in criminal justice and criminology in 1995. Following graduation, Artiles joined the United States Marine Corps in 1998 and served with the 4th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company in West Palm Beach. He attended the St. Thomas University School of Law, from which he received his Juris Doctor in 2000, and the University of Miami School of Law, receiving his Master of Laws in real property development in 2001.[2]

While serving in the armed forces, Artiles was deployed to Port of Spain in April 2002 as part of Operation Weedeater, part of a drug operation with the Drug Enforcement Administration, and to Iraq as a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom in March 2003. During his service, Artiles received the Presidential Unit Citation, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Meritorious Unit Commendation, the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, and the Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal.

Artiles is married to Aimee Artiles, with whom he has two daughters, Bella and Giavanna. Since 2008, Artiles and his wife have run a charity organization called Angel Share that raises money for needy families in the Miami area.[2]

Florida House of Representatives[edit]

In 2002, following the reconfiguration of the state's legislative districts, Artiles opted to run for the Florida House of Representatives in the 119th District, which stretched from Doral to Florida City in eastern Miami-Dade County. He faced Juan C. Zapata, Tim Hyman, and Armando Pomar in the Republican primary, and narrowly lost to Zapata, receiving 32% of the vote to Zapata's 36%, Hyman's 29%, and Pomar's 4%. Artiles ran against Zapata, who was then the incumbent, again in 2004, but lost by a wide margin, winning only 36% of the vote to Zapata's 64%. When Zapata was unable to seek re-election in 2010 due to term limits, Artiles once again ran in the 119th District, and this time, won the primary election unopposed. He advanced to the general election, where he faced Katie Edwards, the Democratic nominee, Tea Party candidate Alex Fernandez, and independent candidate Graziella Denny. Ultimately, Artiles emerged victorious, scoring 52% of the vote to Edwards's 44%.

When the state's legislative districts were redrawn in 2012, Artiles was moved into the 118th District, which retained most of the territory that he had previously represented in the 119th District. He won the Republican primary unopposed, and faced only write-in opposition in the general election, resulting in a landslide victory to his second term in the legislature.

During the 2014 legislative session, Artiles sponsored legislation that made electronic cigarettes illegal for minors to use. Though the bill initially contained a provision that Artiles hoped would result in a statewide ban on e-cigarettes, an amendment sponsored by fellow Republican State Representative Bill Hager stripped the provision from the bill that "would have prevented local governments from creating their own rules on e-cigarettes and tobacco products." Following a unanimous vote in support of the bill, Artiles remarked, "At the end of the day, the state of Florida has acted before the federal government in protecting our children from contaminating their lungs with vaporizing devices and e-cigarettes."[3] Additionally, Artiles worked with State Senator Jeff Brandes to author legislation that would have repealed the red-light camera law in the state, arguing that the cameras were not needed to improve safety. He declared, "We currently have the tools in our toolbox to stop the red-light infractions from occurring, we do not need the red light cameras today in Florida."[4]

In 2015, Artiles filed a bill, along with fellow representatives Dennis K. Baxley, Campbell, Gaetz, Hill, Moraitis, Rodrigues, and R. Stone, proposing that public bathrooms be limited to people by biological sex. This caused backlash from the transgender community. The bill died in committee.[5] During this time Artiles was also alleged to have instigated an altercation with a student while at a bar in Tallahassee.[6][7]

Florida Senate[edit]

In 2016, after court-ordered redistricting created a redrawn Senate district in his area, Artiles opted to run for the seat against incumbent Democratic Senator Dwight Bullard. Despite Bullard's incumbency, Artiles was aided by the new district's demographics, which was 75% Hispanic. Artiles' campaign also ran a series of ads criticizing Bullard for touring Israel with a guide from the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, and for his support of Black Lives Matter, which Artiles' campaign called a "terrorist organization".[8] Artiles ultimately won the general election, 51 to 41%.[9]

In the preliminary committee meetings before the 2017 Senate session began, Artiles proposed SJR 134, a bill which would effectively require Miami-Dade County to elect a county-wide sheriff. In 1996 Miami-Dade voters changed the structure of the local government to allow the Mayor to appoint a police director for the county. SJR 134 would remove this power from the Mayor. If this bill passes Senate and House votes, it will be voted on by all Florida voters in the 2018 mid-term elections. The bill has already courted controversy with other Miami-Dade senators and local activists, who accuse Artiles of selling out his constituents[10]

On April 17, 2017, Artiles, in a conversation with two African American senators, called one of them a "bitch" and a "girl," referred to six Republican senators as "niggers," called the Republican Senate President Joe Negron a "pussy," and used the phrase "fucking asshole."[11] He later claimed that he used the word "niggas" instead of niggers," suggesting that his usage was appropriate. He made a public apology on the Senate floor, and a formal complaint was filed with the Senate Rules Committee by Senator Perry Thurston, requesting an investigation and Artiles' expulsion.[12] On April 21, before the investigation was completed, Artiles resigned, calling his continued presence in government a distraction and apologizing again.[1] The same day, the Miami Herald reported that Artiles had hired a former Hooters "calendar girl" and a Playboy model with no political experience as consultants.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Mazzei, Patricia; Klas, Mary Ellen (April 21, 2017). "Miami lawmaker resigns over racial slur scandal". Miami Herald. Retrieved April 21, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Frank Artiles - State Representative District 40". 
  3. ^ McGrory, Kathleen; Mitchell, Tia (April 24, 2014). "E-cigs closer off limits now for Florida minors". Bradenton Herald. Retrieved May 14, 2014. 
  4. ^ McGrory, Kathleen; Mitchell, Tia (February 11, 2014). "Two Florida lawmakers, including Miami Republican Frank Artiles, push ban on red-light cameras". Miami Herald. Retrieved May 14, 2014. 
  5. ^ Ennis, Dawn (April 28, 2015). "Florida's Trans Bathroom Bill Dies". The Advocate. Retrieved May 9, 2016. 
  6. ^ Mazzei, Patricia (March 3, 2015). "Fla state rep accused of cold cocking college student". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  7. ^ Munzenrieder, Kyle (March 3, 2015). "Miami Rep. Frank Artiles Accused of Punching College Kid at Bar". Miami New Times. Retrieved March 5, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Is Black Lives Matter A 'Terrorist' Group? Florida Democrat Accused Of Putting Community In Danger". 3 November 2016. 
  9. ^ Klas, Mary Ellen; Charles, Jacqueline; Staletovich, Jenny (November 8, 2016). "Diaz de la Portilla and Bullard defeated in state Senate upsets". Miami Herald. Retrieved November 14, 2016. 
  10. ^ Klas, Mary Ellen (February 21, 2017). "Bill requiring elected sheriff could pit Miami-Dade against the rest of Florida". Miami Herald. Retrieved March 7, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Miami state senator curses at black lawmaker — and refers to fellow Republicans as 'niggas'". 
  12. ^ "Frank Artiles apologizes after getting reported for using N-word, other profanities". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 2017-04-19. 
  13. ^ Klas, Mary Ellen (21 April 2017). "Hooters 'calendar girl' and Playboy 'Miss Social' were Artiles' paid consultants". Miami Herald. Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau. Retrieved 23 April 2017. 

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