Ambler denounces charges against Ray Sansom
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05/22/09 Arielle Stevenson
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Florida’s legislative session may have concluded two weeks ago. However major budget cuts and the indictment of former speaker of the house Ray Sansom left much to be discussed. Which is why the Tiger Bay Club of Tampa, hosted a panel discussion this afternoon, focusing specifically on the latest session.

Hillsborough Republican house representative Kevin Ambler was on that panel, and spoke to a question regarding Ray Sansom.

Sansom was indicted in April by a Tallahassee grand jury on charges of official misconduct. He procured millions for projects for Northwest Florida State College. The same day Sansom became speaker of the house, he was hired to fill an unadvertised position at the college.

Rep. Ambler says he believes Sansom will be vindicated of the charges upon closer examination.

Democractic Sen. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach took part in the panel. He is also running for democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, but addressed rumors that he may instead choose to run for Attorney General.

Gelber also addressed Ambler’s commentary on former speaker Ray Sansom. He believes that more transparency in the Legislature is needed.

The budget still looms over the Legislature, which extended a week longer than usual. Ambler says that overall he is happy with how the budget turned out despite major cuts.

Republican Rep. Ed Homan of Hillsborough County also took part in the panel. He said that of the 2,500 bills that come to the Legislature every session, only 143 passed, the lowest number passed in Florida history. He agreed with Ambler that the session went well.

Gelber disagreed. Education budgets, especially for universities, decreased significantly. Colleges across the board are experiencing cutbacks, thus resulting in fewer classes offered and higher tuition. Gelber says that the root of the problem across the state, lies in a lack of investment into public education.

For more information on Florida’s latest legislative session, visit MyFloridaHouse.gov.

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