Miami Democrat Sen. Annette Taddeo, the Florida Senate’s newest member, said #MeToo Wednesday that she had been “subjected to inappropriate behavior” in her past and then joined the growing chorus of lawmakers saying it’s time for Sen. Jack Latvala to resign.
Latvala, R-Clearwater, under a Senate investigation for sexual harassment by a Senate legislative aide, has denied the allegations. Most senators have refrained from publicly indicating whether he is guilty but Taddeo joined Sens. Jose Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami, Travis Hutson, R-Palm Coast, and called for him to step down. House Speaker Richard Corcoran, a Latvala foe, has also called for him to resign.
“While speaking out is never easy, I know in my heart I cannot stay silent any longer. Without going into details, I have been subjected to inappropriate behavior as a young woman by a religious leader,″ Taddeo said in a statement. “While I did not speak out publicly then, I know today, I have an opportunity to add my voice to a movement that I hope reshapes our society. We cannot tolerate anything less than respect from any individual- period.
“I was proud to be elected to serve in the Florida Senate this sall because of the opportunities to advance meaningful policies that make families lives better. Sadly, the recent controversy surrounding Sen. Jack Latvala has all but derailed our focus on policy discussions and continues to consume the Legislature.
“The hostile environment and the continued harassment of employees is simply wrong and must end. To do that, I firmly believe Sen. Jack Latvala must resign as the mounting news accounts and ongoing details surrounding his circumstances without a doubt have created a distraction from representing his constituents.
“I believe Sen. Jack Latvala has an opportunity to put service and people first- and that start’s by resigning his seat so we can get back to the business of Floridians.”
Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation, filed a Senate Rules complaint against Latvala on Tuesday, accusing him of attempting to intimidate witnesses and undermine the credibility of his accuser, Rachel Perrin Rogers. Book stopped short of calling for his resignation.
Sen. Bill Galvano said he expects the investigation to be complete some time next week.