About five months after his election and four days after his racist and misogynist remarks, Cuban-American Frank Artiles resigned from the Florida State Senate. On Monday night during a conversation with Audrey Gibson and Perry Thurston – two African-American senators – the Republican elected official employed the words “ni**as” to describe the senators in the GOP caucus, and called Gibson “bitch” and “girl.” According to the Miami Herald, Perry – who grew up in Hialeah in Miami-Dade County – said that he used the n-word because he grew up in a racially diverse area, where “we share each other’s customs.”
The 43-year-old, who represented District 40 in Miami-Dade, apologized on Tuesday and then apologized again on the Senate floor on Wednesday. Though the Florida Legislative Black Caucus called for his expulsion, other Cuban-American lawmakers preferred for the incident to be swept under the rug. As the Herald notes, one “argues that the Senate isn’t qualified to judge him” – even though this tirade may have breached the Senate’s rules – and another thought it was time to move on to other pressing issues.
Today, he stepped down in a letter to Senate President Joe Negron. “My actions and my presence in government is now a distraction to my colleagues, the legislative process, and the citizens of our great State,” he wrote, according to NBC Miami. “I am responsible and I am accountable and effective immediately, I am resigning from the Florida State Senate… It is clear to me my recent actions and words that I spoke fell far short of what I expect for myself, and for this I am very sorry. I apologize to my family and friends and I apologize to all of my fellow Senators an lawmakers. To the people of my district and all of Miami-Dade, I am sorry to have let you down and ask for your forgiveness.”