Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Survey Says ...

In an attempt to Better Know Florida, this blog is going to include a series of diaries profiling state and local elected officials or candidates. Last week, a survey was posted asking readers for their recommendations on who to profile. So, who is the elected official or candidate for office at the state or local level that readers thought the public ought to know more about?

There were 17 responses. The survey asked who to profile and why.

State Senator Dave Aronberg garnered a nomination with the comment: "Dave will undoubtedly be a candidate for higher office (US Senate, Governor, AG) in 2010, we should start getting some exposure for him now. This is particularly true for the netroots in terms of exposure." I agree, in fact, I wrote a piece about him on Daily Kos and cross-posted on FLA Politics months ago. I even got a thank-you from the Senator as it was his first mention on the Daily Kos site.

Congresswoman Kathy Castor also garnered a nomination stating that "She's one of our best progressive elected officials in Florida." She represents Florida's 11th Congressional District which is made up of parts of Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas counties. At this time, the site is focusing on state and local offices or candidates to profile, not federal.

State Representative Keith Fitzgerald was also nominated. He currently represents District 69 which is made up of parts of Sarasota and Manatee counties. His supporter wrote: "Rising star in the state house; freshman democrat, deputy policy chair; won hard fought campaign for a traditionally republican seat in Sarasota." Beating a Republican in a conservative district is certainly a mark in his favor.

Another nomination came in for Representative Dan Gelber. He is the House Minority Leader and representative for District 106 comprising of part of Miami-Dade County. His supporter wrote: "He is the Democratic Leader of the Florida House and one of his party's rising stars. He did not get enough credit for the party's success in 2006, when his leadership helped the state party gain seven seats in the state house and helped the FDP set new fundraising records. He is also a former Chief Counsel to Senator Sam Nunn where he worked on some of the earliest counter terrorism legislation and when he was hired was the youngest federal prosecutor in America."

At the local level, we got a nomination to profile Jack Killingsworth who is running for Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections. In case you're wondering, I wasn't the one who submitted the nomination, it came from an IP address registered with a Tampa Bay area ISP. His supporter wrote: "I think that we should profile this candidate, the Supervisor of Elections (SOE) office, and all other Democratic candidates who run for the office as important 'Gate Keepers of Democracy'. The SOE has enough discretionary power to ensure that there are not long lines in working class neighborhood precincts during the time that most of them vote, between 4:00PM and 7:00PM and 7:00AM and 9:00AM." I started researching the SOE's for the 15 counties that had the touchscreen voting machines, but I need to collect much more information before I'm ready to publish anything. I can tell you that the majority of them are Republican and three of them were appointed by Jeb! If you're a DFA member, Jack has a DFA Campaign Page where you can voice your support.

A nomination that I'm unsure about due to a lack of information is for Lawrence Powell. His supporter wrote: "This is a young, energetic, and well-qualified candidate that should be included in your profile." I did a google search and was unable to locate a campaign website. I traced the IP address of the supporter to a public library in Okaloosa, but didn't see any candidates by that name listed on that county's SOE site. The one thing I did find was a Lawrence Powell who serves as the President of the Escambia County Chapter of the Democratic Black Caucus of Florida. So, I checked Escambia's SOE and while I didn't find out anything about Mr. Powell, I did find the SOE site to have an amazing lack of up-to-date and accurate information about the 2008 candidates. If you have more information about Lawrence Powell, please contact me.

Mark LaFontaine, candidate for Florida State House District 92 in Broward County, garnered two nominations. His supporters wrote: "Mark is running for State Representative, District 92 and is seeking to become the first openly gay member of the Florida legislature" and "Mark LaFontaine’s story reads like that of the All-American Boy: raised in Broward County, he was an altar boy at St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Deerfield Beach. Mark joined the Boy Scouts and rose through the ranks to become an Eagle Scout. Upon graduation from Deerfield Beach High School he received a Congressional appointment to the Merchant Marine Academy and later served in the US Coast Guard. He graduated from college with honors, received an advanced degree, and today runs his own small accounting practice. Mark LaFontaine has lived the American Dream."

All of the remaining 8 nominations went to:

Sean Shaw, candidate for Florida House District 8, which is currently held by term-limited Curtis B. Richardon and is made up of most of Gadsen and parts of Leon County. I must admit that I was a little surprised that such a large percentage of the nominations went to one person. However, when you consider that this is a going to be a highly contested seat with 5 people currently vying for the office, perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that the campaigns are already mobilizing.

Here are the comments from those nominating Mr. Shaw:

"He is a breath of fresh air, he is running for office for all the right reasons. This is something that is rare in politicians today."

"He is an up and coming political thinker with great ideas and great charisma."

"He has great ambition and seems to really care about those of us who live in the non-popular counties (Gadsden). He has been to churches and helped organize a health fair for the uninsured."

"He appears to have a lot of fresh ideas that are relevant to the community and he seems very sincere about his desire to help the community and I am curious to know more about this individual running for office."

"It's always a good idea to get younger, fresher faces in politics. Encouraging greater youth participation is a good thing."

"He is an up-and-coming superstar on the political scene."

"This person is a young and inspiring political leader of the future. His goals are to help the state employees, better the education system in the state, and help our the non-insured get the health care they need."

"He's running for HD8. He has a long history of service in the communnity and would make a great representative."

"Because he's better than he may seem."

It would be a pleasure to profile Sean Shaw.


lost Angel said...

Unfortunately, I found this after the survey had closed. Is there a system for nominating legislators on an ongoing basis?

Jennifer said...

There will be other opportunities for you to submit your suggestions and you're always welcome to send an email.