Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio announced a new coalition Monday of more than 270 supporting Puerto Ricans in Florida with the vast majority living in Central Florida.

The coalition’s list of members includes Democrats and independents as well as Republicans of Puerto Rican descent, all pledging to tout Rubio’s efforts on Social Security, Medicare, fighting for Zika funding, support for the PROMESA law to refinance the territorial finances and pursue economic stability on the island; and his work pursuing Congressional Gold Medals for Borinqueneers.

Rubio faces Democratic nominee U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy in the Nov. 8 general election.

“I am proud to endorse Marco Rubio, who is a proven leader in our faith-based community,” the Rev. Frank Picon of Orlando’s Coumidad Cristana Eterno Pacto church stated in a news release from Rubio’s campaign. “Marco is a man of faith and principle, who has been a champion for finding solutions not only for the Puerto Rican community, but all Latinos in our great state.”

The formation of a Puerto Rican coalition to do outreach work may be significant, given the political animosity that has existed, particularly in Central Florida, between Puerto Rican residents and those of Cuban descent, such as Rubio.

The coalition’s initial membership includes very few from south or north Florida.

The list of 273 supporters includes 159 from Orange County, 77 from Osceola County and 12 from Seminole County, including longtime Republican officials, candidates and activists such as Jorge Bonilla, Eddie Fernandez, Dennis Freytes, Diane Velazquez, Peter Vivaldi, Daisy Lopez-Cid, Wanda Rentas, and Jose Colon.

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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