Tonight, Speaker Weatherford did far more than just deny the people of Miami Dade the right to vote on an issue critical to the future of our local economy. The Speaker singlehandedly put the future of Super Bowls and other big events at risk for Miami Dade and for all of Florida. He put politics before the people and the 4,000 jobs this project would have created for Miami Dade, and that is just wrong.
I am deeply disappointed by the Speaker's decision. He gave me and many others his word that this legislation would go to the floor of the House for a vote, where I know, and he knows, we had the votes to win by a margin as large as we did in the Senate. It’s hard to understand why he would stop an election already in process and disenfranchise the 40,000 people who have already voted. I can only assume he felt it was in his political interest to do so. Time will tell if that is the case, but I am certain this decision will follow Speaker Weatherford for many years to come.
I want to thank Mayor Gimenez for his leadership. He was a tough negotiator whose persistence led to an agreement that offered taxpayers the strongest protections of any agreement of this kind in the country. I also want to thank our bill sponsors and supporters in Tallahassee, especially Senator Oscar Braynon, Representative Erik Fresen and Representative Eddy Gonzalez; our County Commission sponsors, Commissioners Jordan, Diaz and Barreiro, as well as all of our supporters on the County Commission; HT Smith and Jorge Arrizurietta, the Co-Chairs of the Miami First Campaign; The University of Miami; The Orange Bowl Committee; The Greater Miami Hotel Association; the many volunteers who lent their support to our campaign, and the members of the Dolphins organization and our campaign team who worked so hard in the last several weeks. I believe without a doubt that the voters would have supported this project if given a chance to vote.
In the weeks ahead, I will do all I can to convince my fellow owners to bring the Super Bowl back to Miami Dade. The Bid Committee has done a tremendous job to give us a great shot, and my only hope is that it is enough to overcome the terrible message Speaker Weatherford has sent to the NFL tonight. In addition, I will continue to do all I can to build a winning team for the people of Miami Dade.
In the future, I will look to play an important role in fixing the dysfunction in Tallahassee and will continue to work to create good jobs in Miami Dade and throughout South Florida.