A breakdown in communications has some members of the Dolphin Democrats questioning the level of commitment from Fort Lauderdale’s elected officials.
Members of Florida’s oldest LGBT political club waited to hear from Florida Representative Bobby B. DuBose last Wednesday night, Oct. 14, but he never showed. The club advertised and promoted DuBose’s appearance on Facebook and e-mail blasts, but evidently his office did not receive those messages.
In a news release, Gabriel Sheffield, legislative aide to DuBose, issued the following statement: “I believe there was a miscommunication on when Rep. DuBose was going to appear at the Dolphin Democrat as we’ve rescheduled this event before. It wasn’t him blatantly disregarding the organization and I would like to extend my apologies on behalf of our office. However Rep. DuBose still would love to give his legislative update at a later date.”
Meanwhile, Dolphin Democrats President Noah Kitty was none too pleased with DuBose’s disappearing act.
“We deserve the courtesy of a notice that he couldn’t make it,” Kitty said. “He could, at the very least, sent a representative or aide and he didn’t. We have an e-mail that he agreed to be here.”
Dolphin Democrat member Dick Poirier called DuBose’s no show, “sad,” adding, “I read his resume. I was interested in hearing what he had to say. I hope nothing serious prevented him from being here.”
DuBose, 44, is in his first term in Tallahassee. He replaced Perry E. Thurston, Jr., who was term limited and represents District 94, which includes most of Fort Lauderdale and central Broward County. Prior to serving at the state level, DuBose was a Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner and Vice Mayor.
Dolphin Democrats Vice President James Basmajian said he is willing to forgive DuBose for the miscommunication, but is hoping the incident is not a signal of disrespect to the LGBT community.
“There are politicians who take us for granted,” Basmajian admitted. “They show up once asking for our vote and shake a few hands and we never see them again. I think the Dolphin Democrats have sat back and taken this for far too long. Maybe this will be a wake-up call for the group.”
An estimated 40 people attended the Oct. 14 meeting held inside the Pride Center at Equality Park in Wilton Manors. At the meeting, members listened to speeches from candidates and revised bylaws to include “allies” within the organization. Basmajian said he is hoping DuBose will come through and help the group put together its annual holiday party.
“I expect Bobby DuBose to make up for this mistake and support our Christmas party,” Basmajian said.