Republican state Rep. Mike Miller of Winter Park will not be attending the big Pulse remembrance ceremony in his Orlando district Tuesday night and instead will be holding a campaign fundraiser in Miami.
Orange County Democratic Chair Wes Hodge called Miller’s move “reprehensible” Tuesday morning.
The fundraiser is for Miller’s campaign to be elected to Congress in Florida’s 7th Congressional District, which, like Miller’s current Florida House District 47, includes the site of the Pulse nightclub and the horrific mass shooting two years ago Tuesday, which left 49 dead, 53 wounded and the whole Orlando community heart-broken.
Miller’s campaign said he would be attending another memorial event, the Ringing of the Bells ceremony scheduled for the First United Methodist Church of Orlando, at noon in downtown Orlando. A campaign spokeswoman said he was not invited to participate in an official capacity in Tuesday evening’s remembrance ceremony, so his schedule permitted him to leave town for the Miami fundraiser.
Miller’s legislative office is about four blocks down the street from Pulse.
The big Pulse remembrance ceremony is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at Pulse. The event was organized by the onePulse Foundation, and not all politicians were invited.
Miller hopes to be able to take on Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy this fall. He does have a tough Republican primary first, with Scott Sturgill and Vennia Francois.
Murphy will be attending the memorial service, invited as the member of Congress representing the district.
Miller also has a fundraiser set for Wednesday night in Lake Mary.
Miller had been on the ground, consoling and offering assistance, and mourning himself, on the morning of the Pulse massacre. And he co-sponsored a resolution, with Democratic state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, declaring Tuesday to be Pulse Memorial Day. He also co-sponsored, with Smith, a bill to provide assistance to Pulse first responders.
Tuesday, Hodge discredited Miller’s co-sponsorship of the Pulse Memorial Day resolution as “grandstanding.”
“Actions speak louder than words, and the fact that Representative Miller has decided to leave his district to grab cash instead of mourning with his constituents tells us all we need to know about his priorities,” Hodge said in a statement released by the Orange County Democratic Party. “Orlando United is more than just a hashtag or slogan, it resulted from the display of unity with which our community responded when it was confronted by hate. The fact that Representative Miller is putting his own aspirations ahead of those of a grieving community is troubling for us all.”