Republican Gubernatorial candidate Bob White is challenging Jack Latvala’s judgement and qualifications for the office of Governor. White is taking exception to comments made by his opponent before and after hurricane Irma made her devastating landfall. In comments critical of Rick Scott and widely reported by Florida media outlets before Irma made landfall, Latvala was quoted as follows …

“I have lived in Florida for 50 years. We have hurricane season every year. We try to use good judgment,” Latvala said. ”I’m not sure that we haven’t overdone it a little bit … Do you have to close down the state four days before the storm gets here?

He said he had heard from constituents asking him, “Why are we doing this so early?”

White contends that Latvala is singing an entirely different tune in the aftermath of hurricane Irma’s full frontal assault against the peninsula of Florida. In a news release issued by his gubernatorial campaign Latvala said,

“Hurricane Irma showed us just how vulnerable we are with 6.5 million Floridians losing power after the storm. In my home county of Pinellas, which was by no means the hardest hit area in the state, I heard from residents this week that were still without power. It’s time the utilities stop spending money on political candidates and instead protect the residents of this state.”

According to White, “just a day or two before what was sure to be a devastating blow from a category 4 hurricane, Jack Latvala was hosting a fund raiser for his gubernatorial campaign while simultaneously criticizing Governor Rick Scott’s crises management decisions in the face of that storm. Now, as our fellow Floridians are suffering he tries to score political points by making utility companies that have contributed to his political campaigns into bad guys, for making contributions to political campaigns. The hypocrisy is astounding.”

White continued, “People that know him well question Jack Latvala’s temperament every bit as much as his left leaning political philosophy. These quotes cannot be explained away as just callous or impetuous comments from a politician famous for his ill- conceived and often caustic retorts when asked to weigh in on a current circumstance or whatever the political issue of the day may be. Rather than endearing him to those that love him for his irreverence and his I don’t really give a damn attitude on most topics, this should be a wake-up call for anyone considering him as a serious candidate for Governor of the state of Florida”.

White continued, “This is beyond serious. This is life and death. At a time when Governor Rick Scott was doing everything humanly possible, and I might add doing it extremely well, to warn our fellow Floridians and prepare them for the potential devastation and loss of life from this approaching hurricane, the last thing he needed was for Jack Latvala, a state senator running for Governor, to undermine his efforts by suggesting that his comments were “overdone” and lacking “good judgement”.

Governor Scott received universal support, even from his critics, for his crisis response management and his coordination efforts with local governments, the Federal government and neighboring states in the face of this potential disaster. Said White, “This has been Rick Scott’s finest hour as Governor. I have no doubt that lives were saved as a result of his herculean efforts. Jack Latvala’s comments are inexcusable. He owes the Governor,and the people of Florida,  an apology”.