Miami state Sen. Gwen Margolis will no longer seek re-election and instead retire in November after four decades in politics, the Democrat announced Thursday, three days after she publicly disparaged her five opponents as “three Haitians, some teacher and some lawyer.”
“My passion has been to serve the people of Florida and my commitment from day one was to make our community a better place for all,” Margolis said in a statement to the Miami Herald. “I look back at 40 years of public service with great humility and joy as I reflect on all the work we accomplished to empower people’s lives. It has been a remarkable journey and one that has allowed me to see how our county, state and nation evolved on so many issues.”
The Herald reported Tuesday that Margolis derided her rivals at a Monday night meeting of the Sunny Isles Beach Democratic Club. The executive director of the Miami-Dade County Democratic Party, Juan Cuba, called on Margolis to apologize.
She didn’t — which on Wednesday prompted one of her competitors, former state Rep. Phillip Brutus, who is Haitian-American, to urge other Democratic leaders to denounce Margolis’ remarks. He also asked his fellow candidates to consider a “unity” news conference against Margolis.
Thursday morning, Margolis bowed out of the race with a retirement announcement that included praise from Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant and incoming Senate Democratic Leader Oscar Braynon of Miami Gardens. Margolis, 81 and the longest-serving senator currently in the Florida Legislature, because the first female Senate president in 1990.
Photo credit: Steve Cannon, Associated Press