Rebecca Bays says Citrus County immigration resolution puts target on county’s back

Citrus County Commissioners Diana Finegan and Rebecca Bays
'We are at risk for war in this very state.'

Commissioner Diana Finegan called it little more than an opinion from Citrus County.

Commissioner Rebecca Bays saw something far more nefarious.

Citrus County, which has no immigration issue to speak of, now finds itself embroiled in a political debate over Finegan’s planned resolution calling on the Governor to protect Florida’s borders.

Finegan, in her first year as Commissioner from Homosassa, initially proposed a resolution earlier this month that called on Gov. Ron DeSantis to send out the militia to “repel the invasion” of immigrants.

A similarly worded resolution floated earlier this year among Republican clubs in the state.

Once word of the resolution got out, many citizens said Citrus County Commissioners don’t have a role in the immigration fight. Finegan pulled the resolution and promised to bring back another one related to illegal immigration’s impact on Citrus County.

During Tuesday’s board meeting, Finegan asked her colleagues for their opinion as she compiles the resolution.

Commissioner Jeff Kinnard said he supported the concept. Commissioner Holly Davis urged a congenial approach that offended no political party.

Bays, however, had an entirely different take, noting DeSantis signed anti-immigration laws that took effect July 1 and actively flies migrants out of state.

Bays said Finegan’s resolution only brings potential for catastrophic trouble in Citrus County, mentioning specifically as potential targets the former Duke Energy nuclear plant north of Crystal River and a gas pipeline that feeds Duke’s combined cycle energy plant.

“You bring attention to us that puts us at risk — at risk of disabling Florida as a state,” she said. “You’ve got a nuclear power plant that’s decommissioned, and it still has nuclear cells sitting out there. You have two gas lines running through this state. You think a terrorist, if he wants to cripple Florida, is not going to look at our county?”

Finegan replied, “You’re nonsensical.”

Bays continued: “We are at risk for war in this very state. … I don’t think there’s one thing to be gained out of this.”

Finegan said she sees nothing wrong with bringing matters for a board vote even if they’re unrelated specifically to Citrus County.

“We can collectively say, our citizens care about an issue, and this is how we’re showing you,” she said.

Davis, sitting in as Chairman for Ruthie Davis Schlabach, who underwent breast cancer surgery Tuesday, said she hoped the resolution isn’t a distraction from the board’s more immediate issues.

“Honestly,” she said, “we have roads to pave.”

Mike Wright

Mike Wright is a former reporter with the Citrus County Chronicle, where he had covered county government and politics since 1987. Mike's skills as an investigative reporter earned him first-place awards in investigative writing. Mike also helped the Chronicle win the Frances Devore Award for Public Service in 2002.


  • karen esty

    October 25, 2023 at 2:34 pm

    I don’t understand the urgency to pass a anti illegal immigration resolution when the state of Florida is covered under Gov. DeSantis resolution. If or when a issue raises Citrus County can notify the state for assistance.

    • Citizen@F66

      October 25, 2023 at 5:01 pm

      It sounds like Diane Finegan is being proactive, and not reactive. Why wait until there’s a crisis to formulate a stance?

  • frank papcin

    October 27, 2023 at 6:35 pm

    the last thing our country or county needs is a leader so afraid of what might happen, that they do nothing to prevent it from happening– how can you justify enforcing some laws while ignoring others? .– out of fear, something else might happen? — FOOLS THINK LIKE THIS — think if they stick their heads in the sand — bad things will just go by without doing anything, when in fact– someone will kick you in your but if given a chance , just because it’s the way they are– and never would do it face to face

Comments are closed.


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