Independent gubernatorial candidate Bud Chiles disagrees with McCollum's immigration law
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08/12/10 Seán Kinane
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Bud Chiles.


photo by Seán Kinane/WMNF

Lawton “Bud” Chiles III is the son of former Florida Governor Lawton Chiles. And Bud Chiles wants to follow in his popular father’s footsteps. But he’s running for governor without party affiliation. In this first of a two-part interview, Chiles tells WMNF why he disagrees with a proposed immigration law in Florida and why he’s running for governor as an independent.

Tune in tomorrow for the second half of this interview where we ask Chiles if he would consider dropping out of the race if it looks like it would help Alex Sink become governor.

”I’m running as an independent candidate, for governor. I’ve been a Democrat all my life, but I’m sad to say that I believe the Democratic Party has lost its way along with the Republican Party. [They’ve] become not focused on ideas, and ideals, and strengthening families and communities, but way too much about power and control, and carving up way too much special interest money that is really blocking the voice of average Floridians from being engaged in their government, feeling like they have power over what goes on in their government. I was raised by my father, Lawton Chiles, who, as many people know, he limited his campaign contributions, he walked the state. He cared deeply about holding up the values and the needs of everyday Floridians, and we need to get back to that, as Florida’s government. I’ve just seen a poll that about 50% of the people are very dissatisfied with the Democratic and the Republican Party. I’ve heard that all over Florida that people, they don’t think the existing political order really meets their needs or takes care of their children. As an independent, I’m interested in bringing people together. I don’t want to carry the baggage of either political party. I want to bring people together, and I don’t want the money, or the special interests, or the ties to those interests, so that we can reform health care, we can make schools better, [and] we can get about the business of creating good jobs for Floridians.”

You mentioned money. What do you think about the amount of money that’s being spent? Let’s take the Republican gubernatorial primary, for example, where Rick Scott has sunk something like $26 million of his own money, so far, into this campaign.

”Yeah, I think it’s more like $35 million when you include the 527 money. There’s going to be over $100 million spent by the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, in this race, for governor. It’s an obscene amount of money. Those moneys, they’re not donations, they’re investments. They’re investments by the interest of banking, and insurance, and drilling, and utilities, and keeping the system the same. It’s a system that has led to us being 49th in schools, 48th in public health for our children, having a million people unemployed. A good example of this is the way the utilities are blocking our ability to create green jobs now. We could be moving forward aggressively as the sunshine state with solar, with converting peoples houses, saving them money, creating construction jobs for the badly needed construction industry, and saving the environment. We’re not doing it because of the power of the utilities and their contributions.”

Yesterday, Bill McCollum introduced a proposed, new immigration law. He says it’s going to be even tougher then Arizona’s law. Now, a federal judge has put pause on parts of that immigration law because of questionable legality of that. What do you think about McCollum’s proposed immigration law for Florida?

”I think it’s a bad idea. I think that you can’t solve a national issue by having 50 states pass state laws. Obviously, there are problems with the Arizona law. Parts of it have been struck down by a judge, and for good reason. I would not want to have any law in Florida that would have policemen arrest somebody because of the way they look. All that’s going to do is if we pursue that kind of route, we’re going to end up with a lot of people in our jails that we’re going to pay for before the federal government gets around to deporting them. It’s not the right solution. The solution is that federal government has got to enforce the law. They’re got the Coast Guard. They’re got the border patrol. As governor, I don’t have a Coast Guard or border patrol. I’ve got to demand that the federal government police our borders, protect our borders, and protect the law. Any cost associated with immigration, they have to pay for it. That’s what you’ve got to do as governor. We need a national law, and we need to uphold that law.”

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