A local government candidate in Miami, who has a Hispanic last name from a previous marriage, is under fire after claiming to be the city’s ‘most high-profile Hispanic Democrat’

Former Miami City Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez
Now former Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez speaks at Ugo Rondinone’s ‘Miami Mountain’ Unveiling at Bass Museum on November 30, 2016 in Miami Beach, Florida. Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
  • Former Miami Beach city commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez came under fire after claiming to be Hispanic.
  • She was married to Emilio Gonzalez, they divorced in 2009, and she kept her married name after separating.
  • Rosen Gonzalez apologized following the backlash, telling The Washington Post: “Clearly, I misspoke.”
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A local government candidate in Miami came under fire after she called herself “the most high-profile Hispanic Democrat in the city of Miami Beach.”

Former Miami Beach City Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, who served from 2015 to 2018 before resigning to run for Congress, made the remark during a Zoom interview with other Democratic leaders in Miami-Dade County in Florida last week.

During the interview, Rosen Gonzalez made a bid to party leaders for their endorsement, claiming to be “the most high-profile Hispanic Democrat in the city of Miami Beach,” saying that, should the party endorse one of her opponents, it “would be upsetting and confusing” for constituents.

On Wednesday, Rosen Gonzalez told CBS4 Miami that she “is perceived as being Hispanic.”

“I’m perceived as being Hispanic by all of the Hispanics in my community,” she told the local news outlet. “I’m their girl. My last name is Hispanic. I know I’m not Hispanic.”

Rosen Gonzalez was married to Emilio Gonzalez, they divorced in 2009, and she kept her married name after separating.

Maria-Elena Lopez, who was also present on the Zoom interview, said she was taken aback when she heard Rosen Gonzalez say she was Hispanic.

“We all went, ‘Wait, what did she just say?'” she told CBS4 Miami, adding that adopting the last name of your Hispanic ex-husband “does not give you the right to say you are Hispanic.”

“I honestly feel that is the purpose,” Lopez continued. “By keeping a Hispanic name, you are trying to confuse voters.”

Following the backlash for claiming to be Hispanic, Rosen Gonzalez apologized and said she “clearly” misspoke.

“It is being reported that I have called myself Hispanic. Clearly, I misspoke,” Rosen Gonzalez told The Washington Post. “I deeply apologize to anyone that was offended.”

The former Miami Beach commissioner also doubled down on her ties to the Hispanic community.

“I am proud of my children who are Hispanic, and I am proud to have kept my Hispanic married name,” she continued. “I am proud to speak Spanish fluently and am proud of the relationship I have built with the Miami Beach Hispanic community.

She added: “Of course, none of that makes me Hispanic.”

Rosen Gonzalez is running for her old seat on the Miami Beach City Commission against four other candidates: Greg Branch, Adrian Gonzalez, Raquel Pacheco, and Blake Young.