Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez visited Miami-Dade County on Wednesday to attend multiple community events encouraging voters, especially Hispanic voters, to cast their ballot for former Vice President Joe Biden in the November presidential election.
Just under three weeks away from Election Day, Perez was in Miami-Dade encouraging and reminding voters of the importance of the Latino vote through events with Puerto Rican, Dominican and Cuban community leaders. As a swing state with a history of thin margins, Florida is attracting a lot of attention from both parties.
President Donald Trump likely must win Florida to be reelected and Democrats are fighting to hold onto Miami-Dade County, the state’s most populous county, which Trump lost by about 300,000 votes to Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Perez kicked off his afternoon at Jackson South Medical Center in Kendall at an event hosted by local 1991 chapter of the Service Employees International Union. Perez joined Miami-Dade County mayoral candidate Daniella Levine Cava to host a lunch event for nurses and healthcare workers at the hospital.
At a small courtyard sandwiched between hospital buildings, Perez thanked the union and addressed some of the workers about healthcare ballot issues. He asked for them to be active and make sure they vote.
“So please, we’re 20 days from the weekand I know you’re working your tails off, but we all have to work our tails off to preserve our democracy,” Perez said.
After the lunch, he headed north to Wynwood, where he joined Puerto Rican community leaders to call for their vote for Biden.
“When we win Florida, it will be in large part because of the Boricua vote, because we will get out that vote in honor of our family and friends, over 4,000 Puerto Ricans who died during Hurricane Maria and in the months afterwards, because of the ineptitude of the Trump administration,” said Millie Raphael, a Hispanic outreach associate for the Biden campaign.
They gathered under a mural commemorating the 4,645 people who died in Puerto Rico in 2017 during and after Hurricane Maria. Perez, who is Dominican, spoke to the leaders in Spanish and English reminding them of the importance of the Puerto Rican vote
He told a story from when he visited Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. He recalled speaking with a man who was flying an American flag above his home. He was calling out to Perez asking him to take a message back.
“ ‘We are not second-class citizens, Mr. President,’ that was the message he wanted me to deliver. But this president has never heard that message,” Perez said. “Our future is on the ballot. The future of our community, the future of the great island of Puerto Rico is on the ballot.”
Perez went on to criticize President Trump for his response to Hurricane Maria and treatment of the Puerto Rican community. He compared the response to how Trump has handled the COVID-19 pandemic. He added that the 900,000 Puerto Ricans in Florida were crucial for Biden’s winning the election.
“Folks, el voto Latino puede ser la diferencia aqui en Florida y en todos los Estados Unidos [the Latino vote can be the difference here in Florida and in all of the United States],” Perez said. “I’m so excited about the turnout.”
Perez was scheduled for two more events on Wednesday evening with Dominican-Americanand Cuban-Americanleaders.