Melbourne, FL- Bob White, Republican Candidate for governor of Florida, put out a statement today with harsh words for legislative leadership at the close of the special legislative session.
After a regular legislative session that ended with several back room deals on budget issues and a controversial education bill, the legislature was called back for a 3 day special session dealing with the budget, education and in the end, the implementation of medical cannabis. It was yet another back room deal between legislative leadership and the Governor that resulted in the call for the special session.
On the first day of the special session, Mr. White wrote an open letter to the Florida legislature as a whole imploring them to stay true to their conservative principles. At the conclusion of the session White intoned that the legislature, dominated by its leadership, had failed the people once again.
During the special session the legislature approved the controversial education plan that was the priority of the speaker. In trade, an additional expenditure for higher education, which was sought by the senate president was approved. An additional $50,000,000 was added back in for Visit Florida. Finally, in what may be the largest political turn around on any issue, a new fund of $85,000,000 would be given to the governor to support training and infrastructure projects. This fund lacks any real transparency or accountability and the expenditure of these funds is at the complete discretion of just one person…the governor.
Mr. White had harsh words for this “compromise” deal:
“It is a sad state of affairs that we can no longer take the word of our legislative leadership. The people of Florida were promised more transparency. We were promised that we would see principled governance even when it was not politically expedient. In the end we were deceived.”
White continued “What we have seen with this special session, as we have so many times before, is that legislative leaders, bolstered by their control over millions of dollars in special interest contributions, rule the day in Tallahassee and there is little anyone will do to stand up against them.”
“The people of Florida are fed up with a legislative process dominated by back room deals, special interest lobbyists, dark money, and a lack of transparency not only in the process but also in how our tax dollars are so often spent with no real accountability.”
“We need change in Tallahassee and that change starts at the top. We need to send a message that we will not tolerate being lied to and our state seemingly up for sale to the highest special interest bidder. That is what my campaign was predicated on and what we will always stand for. The people of Florida, conservative principles and ethics in office, will always come first for me as governor. I am not a career politician like my opponent but I do have a keen understanding of the process and that is exactly what we need in Florida. An outsider with experience that will have the people’s interests at heart and not those of the special interests.”
An Open Letter to the Legislators of Florida,
For years I’ve traveled back and forth to Tallahassee attempting to have an impact on the legislative process. I’ve watched the way things have worked in Tallahassee and have become disgusted by it. The people of Florida have been shut out of the process. We have had our voices muffled and silenced. As one back room deal paves the way for the next back room deal, the people of Florida have continually footed the bill for pet projects, higher regulations (that we then have to live under), corporate welfare schemes and crony capitalism projects.
I had hope for this this legislative session. Commitments were made. The process was going to be more open and transparent. Accountability to the people was to be the rule of the day. No more broken promises. It sounded grand. I looked on with cautious excitement that maybe this year would be different. That the people would matter. That principles would carry the day over political expediency.
I was wrong. We were all wrong.
This session may have been started with the lofty idea of more transparency, more ethics and more representation for the people of our state but it has ended in controversy, secrecy and the forgoing of the principles that it began on. This ruse of a special session is the epitome of everything that is wrong with our state government.
The people are fed up with the excuse that “this is just how it works” and we demand it to stop. We want better and we deserve better. It is the reason I started my campaign for Governor just a few short weeks ago.
As each one of you returns to Tallahassee today, I urge you to remember the promises you made to your constituents. We expect you to honor those promises. Our expectation is that you will lead our state into an era of more oversight, more transparency and certainly more conservatism when it comes to handing out our hard earned money. We will be watching.
Republican Candidate for Florida Governor