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Rick Scott Feted By Puerto Ricans During Campaign Stop in Tampa

Steve Newborn
WUSF Public Media
Gov. Scott stumps at La Casona Restaurant in West Tampa

While thousands of Puerto Ricans protested Tuesday over what they say is a lack of resources dedicated to their island after the devastation of Hurricane Maria, a group of islanders in Tampa gushed over Florida's governor as he runs for U.S. Senate.

Gov. Rick Scott pressed the flesh and spoke in Spanish to a group made up mainly of Puerto Ricans who now live in Tampa. He was feted by the territory's congressional representative, Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, who introduced him during a campaign stop at La Casona Restaurant in West Tampa.

She praised the way he welcomed Puerto Ricans who moved to Florida after the storm.

"And he still is a champion for all Puerto Ricans in Florida and for all Puerto Ricans in the island," she said. "And that's the reason we need somebody like him to continue that fight for the state of Florida and for the people of Puerto Rico."

Scott said he doesn't plan to stop if he wins a seat in the U.S. Senate.

"I will bust my butt to represent every one of you. If you tell me a problem, I will bust my butt just like Jennifer does every day to represent everybody in this state, and I'll represent everybody in Puerto Rico, " he said to a crowd of several dozen people.

Tens of thousands of islanders have moved to Florida in the wake of the hurricane, and represent a rich source of votes as Scott takes on incumbent Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.
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