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Pastors Defend Embattled Mayor

Tom Flanigan

More than a dozen of Tallahassee’s African-American pastors are defending the city’s mayor and other local officials in their efforts to restore electricity after Hurricane Hermine.

Criticism of Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum has reached a fever pitch on social media and even in the office of Governor Rick Scott in recent days. But Bethel AME Pastor Julius McAllister called that criticism “undeserved.”

“We support our Mayor Andrew Gillum 100%! he said. "He has done a Herculean job in a short period of time and you have to ask the question, how prepared can you really be for a major storm like we experienced the other day?”

Some of the slams against the mayor have carried a political, or even a racial tinge, said Bethel Missionary Baptist Church Pastor R.B. Holmes.

“This cannot be about race, or zip code, or politics. This has to be about good citizenship,” Holmes insisted.

Meanwhile, the pastors say their churches are embarking on “Operation Help”, sending parishioners into surrounding neighborhoods to care for the elderly, the sick, children and others still hurting from the impact of Hermine.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

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