Flags to fly at half-staff for Roberto Casas

flags at half staff
The Hialeah Republican was the first Cuban American elected to the Florida Legislature.

Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered flags in certain locations to fly at half-staff Wednesday to honor former state Sen. Roberto Casas.

Casas, Florida’s first Cuban American lawmaker, died on Dec. 16 at the age of 90.

DeSantis praised the Hialeah Republican’s decades of public service in the Florida Legislature.

“He will be remembered as a true patriot and public servant,” DeSantis said.

The Governor directed flags to fly at half-staff at the Miami-Dade County Courthouse and at City Hall in Hialeah, as well as at the State Capitol. The order applies on Wednesday, Dec. 22, from sunrise to sunset.

The Cuban-born Casas served in the Florida House from 1982 representing Miami-Dade County. His election to the lower chamber landed Casas in the history books as the first Cuban American elected as a state lawmaker, beginning decades of political engagement by South Florida’s Cubano community that continues today.

During his House tenure, Cases chaired the Juvenile Justice, Regulated Industries, Transportation and Fiscal Policy committees.

He won election in 1988 to the Florida Senate and served more than a decade in the upper chamber, during which time it shifted from Democratic to Republican control. During that time, he served from 1996 to 1998 as the President Pro Tempore of the body, and later as chair of the Fiscal Policy and Transportation Committee. He was forced to retire as the term limits era began, according to historical website Our Campaigns.

The Florida Senate announced Casas’ death on Dec. 17 in a memo to sitting senators. A funeral service was scheduled for Tuesday from 6  to 10 p.m. at San Jose Funeral Home in Hialeah.

“Please keep the Casas family in your thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time,” wrote Senate Secretary Debbie Brown.

Former colleagues and sitting South Florida leaders remembered the lawmaker’s history-making runs and years of public service.

Former U.S. Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, a Miami area Republican elected to the Senate the same year as Casas, tweeted in Spanish and English, “Rest In Peace, Roberto Casas, my friend. Public servant of calling. Patriot.”

Sen. Manny Diaz Jr., who serves in the Senate now, said he admired the lawmaker’s years of public service.

“Today we mourn the loss of Senator Roberto Casas, an honorable man and a trailblazer for Cuban-Americans,” Diaz tweeted. “He set the path for others like myself to follow in representing the great people of the City of Hialeah. May He Rest In Peace.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]



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