breaking news

Man killed by Brightline train in Boynton

Florida Democrats choose Palm Beach County’s Terrie Rizzo in chair vote


Palm Beach County Democratic Chairwoman Terrie Rizzo was chosen Saturday to be chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party in a vote by party activists in Orlando.

Rizzo, who lives west of Boynton Beach, takes over a party rocked by the abrupt resignation of former Chairman Stephen Bittel last month after Politico reported on complaints he created a hostile work environment for women with demeaning comments, leering and a breast-shaped stress ball in his desk.

Rizzo, a Hillary Clinton delegate at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, got 830 votes to 291 for former Bernie Sanders delegate Stacey Patel, the Democratic chairwoman of Brevard County.

Rizzo had the backing of Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and many party establishment figures while Patel garnered endorsements from labor leaders and the heads of groups such as the Democratic Progressive Caucus and the People’s Progressive Caucus of Miami-Dade.

It’s not the first time Rizzo has stepped in to lead a party reeling from a chairman’s downfall. Rizzo took over the Palm Beach County Democratic Party in 2012 after former Chairman Mark Alan Siegel was pressed to resign for making disparaging remarks about evangelical Christians who support Israel.

After Bittel’s resignation as state chairman, the only candidates who emerged to replace him were women — a fact that was emphasized at a candidate forum in Miami on Nov. 30.

“This is a watershed moment in our culture, in society…Finally women are coming forward and we are being believed and it’s about time,” Rizzo said at the Miami forum. She pledged to implement policies and procedures to combat harassment and require party employees and members of county Democratic executive committees to undergo sexual harassment training.

Rizzo, who turns 71 next week, is a fitness instructor who teaches weight training, pilates and other fitness classes for corporate clients. She and her husband, an information technology executive, moved to Palm Beach County in 2001. Rizzo said she first became involved in politics as a volunteer for Democrat John Kerry’s 2004 presidential bid. She got involved in the county Democratic Party as a precinct organizer, then vice chairwoman before Siegel’s resignation.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

Bill would require intellectual freedom survey at Florida universities
Bill would require intellectual freedom survey at Florida universities

Adding a mandate for an annual survey of “intellectual freedom” on state university campuses, a House panel Wednesday approved a wide-ranging higher education package that would expand Bright Futures merit scholarships. The bill (HB 423), approved on a 12-1 vote by the Post-Secondary Education Subcommittee, is similar to legislation (SB...
Palm Beach County ‘on fire’ in economy, housing, Baker says
Palm Beach County ‘on fire’ in economy, housing, Baker says

The economy — and the housing market — are “on fire” in Palm Beach County, Administrator Verdenia Baker said in her annual ‘State of the County’ address at the Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting Wednesday morning. “No one wants to go to a location where nothing’s happening,”...
Trump administration to ask Supreme Court to intervene on DACA
Trump administration to ask Supreme Court to intervene on DACA

The Justice Department on Tuesday said it would take the "rare step" of asking the Supreme Court to overturn a judge's ruling and allow the Trump administration to dismantle a program that provides work permits to undocumented immigrants raised in the United States.  The Trump administration said it has appealed the judge's injunction...
New U.S. embassy, which Trump mocked on Twitter, opens in London
New U.S. embassy, which Trump mocked on Twitter, opens in London

The gleaming new U.S. embassy in London opened on Tuesday with little fanfare and no official ribbon cutting. President Donald Trump sparked a furor here last week when he tweeted that he wasn't coming to open the $1 billion building — the most expensive embassy every built — because it was a bad real estate deal and in an "off location...
FBI detains man it says betrayed U.S. spies in China
FBI detains man it says betrayed U.S. spies in China

A former CIA officer suspected by investigators of helping China dismantle United States spying operations and identify informants has been arrested, the Justice Department said Tuesday. The collapse of the spy network was one of the U.S. government’s worst intelligence failures in recent years.  The arrest of the former officer, Jerry Chun...
More Stories