On Monday, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., teamed up to unveil a resolution honoring the memory of Jereima ‘‘Jeri’’ Bustamante, who served as Scott’s press secretary and who was killed in an accident a year ago on Monday.
Scott took to the Senate floor and said the following:
“Thank you, Mr. President.
I rise today to honor the life of one of Florida’s brightest lights, a light that was extinguished far too soon. One year ago today, we lost Jeri Bustamante in a tragic accident.
She was my press secretary, but she was so much more. She was my Spanish tutor. She was my travel partner. She was so kind to everyone that you couldn’t help but love her.
She brightened every room she walked into and made everyone around her better. Everyone thought that Jeri was their best friend because she was so loving to everyone.
There’s not much that brings the Florida political world together. But Republicans, Democrats, and even our friends in the press loved and respected Jeri.
Jeri lived the American Dream. As a small child, Jeri moved from Panama to the United States with her family, speaking only Spanish. She grew up in Miami where she attended Miami Beach High, Miami-Dade Community College and Florida International University.
She had a passion for communications, starting out at a local Miami TV station and eventually working for the Miami-Dade Property Appraiser under Carlos Lopez-Cantera, who became my lieutenant governor. She joined my reelection campaign for governor in 2014 and was with me for four years.
She was determined. She was courageous. She had big goals.
She wanted to be the press secretary for the president of the United States. And I have no doubt she would have been. That’s the kind of person she was. She never stopped working to meet her goals in life, but she always did it with a smile, with a joke, with a kind word.
In Jeri’s memory, my wife Ann and I established the Jeri Bustamante Memorial Scholarship to support a graduate of Miami Beach Senior High School who, like Jeri, is trying to become the first in their family to go to college.
And today, Senator Rubio and I are introducing a resolution to honor Jeri’s memory. We will never forget her and we will never forget the ways she made all of us better people.
And now, I’d like to honor Jeri in the best way I know how, speaking the Spanish she taught me. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to address the Senate in Spanish. I have provided a translation to the Senate for the record.
Jeri vivió el sueño americano. Ella era dedicada. Ella era valiente. Ella tenía grandes metas. Ella quería ser la Secretaria de Prensa del Presidente de los Estados Unidos. No tengo duda de que lo hubiera logrado. Ese es el tipo de persona que era. Nunca dejó de luchar para cumplir sus metas en la vida, y siempre lo hacía con una sonrisa, con una broma, con una palabra amable.
El senador Rubio y yo presentamos hoy una resolución para honrar la memoria de Jeri. Nunca la olvidaremos.
Thank you, and I yield back.”