In comments more about family than policy, two House members said farewell to their colleagues Monday.
Jose Felix Diaz, a Miami-Dade Republican, could become the next U.S. Attorney, or top federal prosecutor, for South Florida. Barring that, he has said he’ll run for the now-open state Senate seat vacated by Frank Artiles.
And Eric Eisnaugle, an Orange County Republican, on Monday was appointed an appellate judge by Gov. Rick Scott, replacing C. Alan Lawson, whom Scott elevated to the state Supreme Court.
Diaz addressed his remarks to his sons, Dominick and Christian, his “tornadoes,” telling them not to “be afraid to cry … It means that you are alive.”
The 37-year-old Cuban-American told his colleagues he “was never supposed to be here, because my grandparents came to this country with nothing … but they persevered.
“As a kid I spoke funny, I didn’t believe in myself, and I let others define my expectations of myself,” he said. “But I persevered.
“I pray that you realize that helping others is everything,” Diaz added. “There are rich people, and there are poor people. Help the poor ones. Help the disadvantaged; help the sick. Don’t do it because someone is watching—do it because it will make a difference in their lives, not yours.”
Eisnaugle, 40, said he might “bumble through” his farewell: He wasn’t expecting the announcement “so I literally prepared nothing.” Eisnaugle was first in the House 2008-12, then returned in 2014.
He too brought up his family, choking up when he mentioned the “sacrifice” his family made while he served in Tallahassee.
“It’s really hard,” he said. “My family has been my rock.”
When he told them he had applied to be a judge, “my oldest (child) picked up on something real quick. He said, ‘Dad, if you become a judge, does that mean you come home?’ And when I said yes, I knew they’d be pulling for me.”