TALLAHASSEE | Sen. Frank Artiles apologized to his colleagues, but especially Sen. Audrey Gibson and Senate President Joe Negron, for offensive comments he made that have caused him to lose a chairmanship and led to calls for his resignation.

“I apologize; I am so sorry for the words and the tone that I used with you regretfully Monday night,” Artiles said to Gibson, a Jacksonville Democrat. “There is no excuse nor will I offer one. My comments to you were the most regretful of all because they injured you personally.”

Artiles, R-Miami, appeared to be reading from prepared remarks during his three-and-a-half minute statement at the beginning of this morning’s Senate session. He also said he was sorry for criticizing the leadership of Negron and those who backed Negron’s rise to power.

The freshman senator who also served six years in the House ended his speech by apologizing for his use of the n-word to describe Negron’s supporters, he blamed his background in a “diverse community” for making that word part of his lexicon.

“I realize that my position does not allow me for the looseness of words or slang, regardless of how benign my intentions were,” Artiles said.

Negron announced shortly before Wednesday’s session that Artiles will no longer serve as chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities.

The legislative black caucus has scheduled an emergency meeting to disuss the matter. U.S. Rep. Al Lawson is among the elected officials calling on Artiles to resign.

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