MANATEE -- Tea Party Manatee member Linda Neely drove to Tallahassee to push for the recent immigration bill to pass.
And even though it didn’t get approved, she hasn’t stopped showing her support for the issue. She questioned State Senate President Mike Haridopolos about the issue during a town hall style forum Tuesday at Mixon Fruit Farms.
“Do the people in Tallahassee, or the people in D.C., do they owe more to me and these people sitting here? We’re all citizens of the United States of America,” said Neely. “Or do they owe something to the 600 illegals who went up there and cried about how they’re being mishandled by the people that want to E-verify and want them to follow the rule of the law.” Neely questioned what side of the law lawmakers are on.
Haridopolos, who is vying for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Democrat Bill Nelson, took several questions about the immigration issue and talked about how he pushed for it to pass.
“I wanted to make sure we had a constructive debate and dialogue on that bill,” he said. “I worked very hard to get the votes but at the end of the day I am not a one-man dictator and I don’t think anybody wants one person to be a dictator in the Florida Senate.”
He also reminded those in the crowd that immigration is a “long term fight, this is a struggle.” He touched on some wins that conservatives had this legislative session.
“Spending, taxes, pro-life issues, second amendment issues are not just a one year fight,” he said.
Some in the audience, such as William Benedict, said they liked what they heard from Haridopolos.
“I’d vote for him,” said Benedict. Neely, however, said she is still not 100 percent convinced.
While the Tea Party members were meeting, a group of mainly Democrats from Sarasota and Manatee counties gathered outside to protest Gov. Rick Scott and Haridopolos’ support of his policies.
Maureen Dahms held up a sign that read “No tea for me,” to show that she doesn’t support Scott or the Tea Party,
“There is another side and we are just as passionate,” she said. “We are for good health care and they are against it. We want to tax the rich, tax corporations.”