Temple Israel in Miami cancelled a visit by DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz after a prominent Republican left the congregation.
Temple Israel in Miami, Fla., canceled an upcoming speech by Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Thursday. Temple officials canceled the affair after a prominent Republican donor left the congregation in protest. According to Erika Bolstad of McClatchy Newspapers, the donor was 81-year-old philanthropist Stanley Tate, who has ties to the Romney campaign.
Tate is no stranger to controversy. In 2009, according to The Tampa Bay Times, he began a battle against the Florida legislature, when it proposed to introduce legislation that would allow Florida Universities to raise tuition by up to 15% every year. Tate, who created a prepaid tuition program for Floridians in 1987, said that tuition hikes could destroy his program. Therefore, according to The Times, he took out advertisements and flew around the state in order to protest against the proposal.
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Now, Tate is taking aim at temple officials, who, he says, ought to have asked Shultz to speak in the temple’s auditorium, rather than its sanctuary. He also maintains that a Republican should have been given a chance to speak as well.
Tate’s withdrawal from the Temple is likely to provoke a strong reaction. Tate and his wife Joni were such an integral part of Temple Israel, that the Temple’s preschool, The Joni & Stanley Tate Early Childhood Center, is named after them.
According to Bolstad, Temple President Ben Kuehne was so worried about a negative reaction to Tate’s withdrawal, that he cited safety concerns as the reason behind the cancellation of Wasserman Shultz’s speech.