Forces of Political Nature to Wipeout Florida's Executive Branch
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12/16/09 Caroline Cziesla
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

The whirlwind began last August when Florida Senator Mel Martinez resigned from his Senate position before his term expired. As a result, elected officials in Florida’s top offices are seeking other political ambitions. In eleven months, the current leaders who administer and enforce Florida law will all be replaced.

The office of Attorney General is one of the executive openings. Six people are interested. Last night one potential candidate, Dan Gelber, and his supporters had the opportunity to meet and greet at Bernini in Ybor City. They showered Gelber with campaign contributions and he spoke about his intentions.

“Floridians are being victimized by some pretty bad people and some pretty unscrupulous industries and they need somebody who’s thinking about what’s happening to them and how to protect them. We’ve seen them in the epicenter of all the major ponzi schemes and the Attorney General really is someone who should be constantly thinking about how to protect citizens from people trying to steal their money.”

Gelber began his career as a federal prosecutor. He later was appointed to the United States Senate Subcommittee on Investigations. Currently, he serves as a Florida State Senator representing Miami Beach. He said pushing for early voting in the last presidential election was one of his proudest legislative accomplishments.

“Last year, during the election, the Republicans had tried to limit early voting in a way that was very unfair to Floridians and I criticized them for it. And Governor Christ then announced he was not going to reverse that because he did not have the legal authority to. In the middle of early voting I called up the governor and I really sort of let him know that I thought not only was he wrong but he had the legal authority to reverse that decision. An hour later, he announced, based on my conversation with him, that he was going to reverse the decision and open up the polls longer so hundreds of thousands of more Floridians could vote.”

Although Gelber said protecting consumers and fighting economic crime are issues that demand attention, he is also passionate about changing Florida’s education system.

“I have three kids in the public schools. Florida’s constitution says that we are supposed to have a high quality public system of education in Florida and we do not have that right now. The Attorney General ought to be that person who vindicates that provision of the constitution requiring high quality schools by suing the Florida legislature. So my very first day in office, I am going to drop a law suit off with the Sergeant of Arms on the fourth floor of the capitol telling him that I believe the Florida legislature is violating the constitutional rights of its citizens by failing to deliver a high quality system of public education.”

In addition to voting for the next Attorney General, Floridians will elect a new Governor, a new Commissioner of Agriculture, a new Chief Financial Officer, and many other state and federal positions. The primaries will be held August 24th. The general election will be November 2nd.

The forecast for the 2010 election climate - 100% chance of campaign overload.

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