Tension in the Florida Legislature and the ineffective dominance of the Republican Party are creating difficulties in Tallahassee, political journalist Steve Bousquet said Tuesday.
Bousquet, who works for the Tampa Bay Times and has covered state government for more than two decades, provided insight about the 2012 Florida legislative session for a crowd of about 40 people at the Bob Graham Center for Public Service.
He also talked about his many encounters with Gov. Rick Scott, the sixth Florida governor Bousquet has covered during his career.
He attributed Scott’s low popularity to the fact that he’s not making a personal connection with Floridians.
Bousquet said it’s very important for people to feel they know the governor in a state as big as Florida. Bousquet also suggested that Scott is out of touch with the needs of Floridians, particularly with regard to the education system.
“You can run as an outsider,” Bosquet said, “but you can’t govern the state as an outsider.”
Bousquet also talked about the many projects discussed by the legislature at the session that Scott may veto. The local projects, some feel, should be paid for with local taxes.
“Your Alachua County tax dollars could pay for a regatta in Sarasota,” he said.
Bousquet said every governor battles with the legislature, even if the majority of congressmen are from his same party.
Very few students showed up to Bousquet’s talk, contrary to predictions they would appear and raise the debate about possible tuition increases.
Emma K. Humphries, a civic scholar at the Bob Graham Center, said that is exactly why she believes the legislature could get away with raising tuition and decreasing funding for higher education.
“They aren’t being held accountable to students,” Humphries said. “ They don’t have to answer to students because students aren’t the ones writing to them or showing up to vote.”
She encourages students to be more active in issues so they can have a bigger voice in Tallahassee. Read more