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Scott Invites Parkland Father To State Of The Union

Feb 4, 2019

With President Trump scheduled to deliver his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Florida lawmakers are lining up guests.

Senator Rick Scott is taking Andrew Pollack, the father of a teenager who died in the Parkland school shooting last year.

Pollack's daughter, Meadow, was one of 17 people killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last Valentine's Day.

Just before leaving the governor's office, Scott appointed Pollack to the Florida's education board. But when Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis took office, he rescinded dozens of Scott's last minute appointments, including Pollack's.

Pollack appeared in ads for Scott during his Senate campaign. Pollack has also praised Trump during a White House visit.

Sen. Marco Rubio has invited a Venezuelan exile who has been named a diplomatic official by the country's new self-proclaimed interim president.

Rubio announced Monday that Chargé d'affaires of the Embassy of Venezuela to the United States Carlos Vecchio will be his official guest.

Vecchio is an attorney and co-founder of the Venezuelan opposition party, Voluntad Popular. He fled President Nicolas Maduro's government in 2014.

Maduro clings to power, while Venezuelan Congress leader Juan Guaido has proclaimed himself interim president.

Rubio has played a leading role in urging Trump to clamp down on Maduro. Rubio is the son of Cuban immigrants, and many Cuban-Americans see parallels between the socialist government in Venezuela and Cuba's communist government.

Meanwhile, Democratic Tampa Representative Kathy Castor chose Leon Russell, Chairman of the NAACP board of directors as her guest. Russell has been a leader in civil rights in the Tampa Bay area for decades.

Castor says his organization has also fought for environmental justice, so the choice is fitting as she starts her role as Chair of the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.

“Leon and the NAACP are right to be concerned that working people could bear the burden of climate change more than people who have a few extra dollars in their pocket or big business,” Castor said.

WUSF will carry Trump's state of the union address live on 89.7 and wusfnews.org starting at 9 p.m. 

WUSF 's Julio Ochoa contributed to this story.