Florida State Senator Daphne Campbell is at the center of controversy after she was accused of urging an FPL official to restore power to her immediate family before her constituents after Hurricane Irma hit the area.
Campbell represents senate District 38, which includes chunks of Miami-Dade County, portions of Miami as well Miami Beach and Miami Shores.
The utility company denied the allegation, saying Campbell’s family did not receive preferential treatment. Campbell admits to texting an FPL official and asking him to restore power at homes belonging to her relatives.
"Regardless, family or no family, they're living in District 38. I was helping every constituent who lives in District 38," Campbell told NBC6.
The text messages first appeared on the website RiseNews.net. They were time-stamped Monday, one day after the storm.
"Can someone help with the power? I do have a sick person in my house and she's using oxygen," reads one message. In a second text, Campbell requested a power crew tend to her sister's home.
"For most of the first day seemingly, the only people she was concerned about was her family," said RiseNews publisher Rich Robinson.
He said text messages from Campbell's phone show that she contacted FPL on behalf of other people as well. Despite that, some living in Campbell's district told NBC they find her request for preferential treatment way out of line.
"Putting your family first, what about all of the other people," said district resident Jacquelin Worrell. "What about the elderly people in the home that died? Remember that? They needed FPL more than anyone.”
It is not unusual for an elected official to be in contact with FPL. Politicians sometimes act as a liaison between their constituents and the power company. An FPL spokesman said there is a process in place for restoring residential power, adding elected officials do not receive a priority.
Regarding the controversy surrounding Campbell, the FPL spokesman insisted the state senator’s relatives did not receive preferential treatment.