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grutersSelf-honesty can create some completely unexpected moments in time. So in the spirit of truth, trust, honesty and relationships   I would like to take this opportunity to commend State Representative Joe Gruters R-Sarasota on his proposed legislation designed to illuminate the “dark money” that flows like chocolate fountains in Tallahassee.

Joe is not alone in his efforts. State Senator, Debbie Mayfield, R-Melbourne, has helped put some muscle behind this bill. She has sponsored the bill in the Florida Senate. Way to go Debbie !

Under the proposals, HB 1057 and SB 1178, political committees could not transfer money to another political committee to shield the source. The only entities that would be allowed to accept unlimited amounts of cash to transfer to other committees would be the political parties and the House and Senate leadership funds, which are controlled by the House speaker and Senate president. Thus legitimizing them. Leadership funds are a major problem and should be eliminated from being expressly allowed in the legislation. Senator Debbie Mayfield

It would be very easy to draw ties to Joe’s RPOF position as Vice Chairman and the leadership funds. Of which I admit I am still a bit skeptical. But given Debbie Mayfield’s personal strength of character and integrity I am going to work from the position that this is a step forward and take her lead.

My political path has allowed me to spend a fair amount of time with both of these “representatives of the people”. It has been almost a decade worth of interaction we have shared, and I am comfortable in saying that their bills effort on the surface seems sincere. Especially with Debbie’s finger prints on it.

What Joe and Debbie are doing is a small step into the light of transparency and they are to be commended and supported in their effort. They are showing leadership and addressing something we all know is a major problem.

They are actually suggesting that our Legislators get up and out of the mud and then act like honorable self-respecting people and not greedy pigs. There is a real problem with big dollar interests influencing the legislative outcome. They are preying on man’s weaknesses.

The titles and positions that the Legislators hold are designed to be one of honor and self-sacrifice. They are designed for defenders of freedom not to be arbiters of money for power, favors, regulations, jobs or laws. The title and office that the Legislators hold is not theirs to keep. The title is theirs to preserve and protect. It came before them and it will be there when they are long gone.

What this legislation paints for me is a very clear picture. It is one that shows the systemic infection within the culture of politics in Florida. It is a culture that has replaced honor with greed. It has replaced trust with façades and civic duty with personal duty.

On all sides of the aisle the culture wreaks of abuse of power and control for self-serving interests and gain.

You see it is not the system that is failing. It is the lack of willingness by those we elect to walk  in the light and carry on their shoulders the burden of office that it is intended to create on them.

In the end it is disgusting and sad that so many would choose to participate in the selling out of values and principles, so much so that a law has to be created to keep the lights turned on and the rats at bay.

There are more of the Joe and Debbie’s in Tallahassee and we need to be encouraging them to step forward and to begin creating a new norm in Florida politics and the culture around it. That way, maybe, just maybe, we can return the interest of governance back to the people.

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