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Florida state senator tries using FPL to put her family first

Daphne Campbell defends text messages to FPL lobbyist

NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A day after the outskirts of Hurricane Irma pounded South Florida, causing hundreds of thousands to lose power, one local politician attempted to use her Florida Power & Light connections to restore electricity to the homes of her family.

A series of text messages to an FPL lobbyist beginning on Monday, Sept. 11 shows Florida Sen. Daphne Campbell, D-North Miami Beach, sent company Vice President John Holley the addresses for her mother and sister, requesting help with power restoration.

"I am helping people, helping constituents with some of their lights," Campbell told Local 10 News. "I have done nothing wrong for all this news, news, news, news."

Rise News was first to report the story and Campbell confirmed to them that the texts were real.

Campbell, who represents District 38, which includes Miami Beach, North Miami, and other parts of northeastern Miami-Dade County, confirmed the texts at an event Saturday night.

The first text to Holley came at 1:55 p.m. on Monday, with Campbell requesting help as she had a sick person in her house on oxygen.

After Holley replied that he would work on the matter, Campbell immediately texted back that it was her sister's house, not her own.

A day later, Campbell texted again saying the power was still not on at her sister's house, and then asked for help at her mother's house.

Holley wrote back "I will def let them know," referring to FPL.

FPL confirms the text exchanges took place, but denied any wrongdoing on Holley's part.

“I am positive that she did not receive special treatment,” FPL spokesperson Mark Bubriski told Rise News. 

Campbell told Local 10 that her mother is a constituent and her medical condition made her a priority.

"My mother is on oxygen," Campbell said.

Power was eventually restored to her mother's address and that of her immediate neighbors on Sunday evening, but much of the neighborhood remains without power.

"I did ask for other constituents," Campbell said.

One week after Irma struck the South Florida area, almost 53,000 homes remain without power in Miami-Dade County, with an additional 13,400 in Broward County.

About the Author:

Glenna Milberg joined Local 10 News in September 1999 to report on South Florida's top stories and community issues. She also serves as co-host on Local 10's public affairs broadcast, "This Week in South Florida."