House Speaker Sansom urged to choose a job

12/03/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

Florida Democratic Chairwoman Karen Thurman today called for House Speaker Ray Sansom to step down as Speaker, or leave his controversial new job at Northwest Florida State College.

Her call comes after several Florida newspapers have charged the new speaker with a gross conflict of interest for his role in providing funding this year for his new employer.

The St. Petersburg Times reported last week that Sansom has been able to provide more than $25 million to his alma mater, formerly known as Okaloosa-Walton Community College. The Palm Beach Post reported a higher dollar figure, $31 million, for capital projects for the school, which totals about 9 percent of all of the monies budgeted for new construction at 27 of the state’s community colleges.

Sansom was also instrumental in passing legislation switching the school from a community to a state college.

But the Republicans are not acting defensively.

The Speaker responded, saying, "The elections are over, but the partisan political attacks never stop. Floridians want us to concentrate on recharging the state’s economy and balancing the budget. That’s where our focus is."

But that comment brought this derisive response from Florida Democratic Party Spokesman Eric Jotkoff.

WMNF has yet to hear from any members of the Florida Legislature- Democratic or Republican – on what they think of the Sansom’s new job, and/or the ethical appearance of it.

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