Monday, January 18, 2010

Sen. Democratic Leader Al Lawson To Republican Leadership: "You Can't Serve Two Masters."

Senate Democratic Leader Al Lawson (D-Tallahassee) on Tuesday released the following statement regarding news reports that Senator John Thrasher (R-Jacksonville) may assume the helm at the Republican Party of Florida.

“I am deeply concerned over the news that a fellow Senator may take over as head of a major political party while maintaining his legislative membership.

“In a body that has long been known and respected for its collegiality, its decorum, and most of all, its bi-partisan independence, a decision to simultaneously remain in this Senate while leading the Republican Party of Florida threatens its very foundation. You cannot serve two masters.

“Floridians are among the growing numbers of Americans whose cynicism and distrust of government have deepened as scandal followed scandal, and politicians followed their own self interests rather than the interests of the people. A move such as this would only further heighten that alienation.

“In addition, our own rules not only bar any Senator from raising money for a political party during a legislative session, they also preclude any Senator from allowing personal employment ‘to impair his or her independence of judgment in the exercise of [their] official duties.’

“With the announcement just yesterday that the RPOF had topped $4.5 million in contributions during the final quarter of 2009, does the Senator honestly expect Floridians to believe that either his independence or the independence of this Senate in carrying out the people’s business can be maintained? Especially when the bulk of that money typically comes from special interests with a self-serving agenda?

“The Republican Party of Florida has just given Senator Thrasher 4.5 million reasons why he should reject such a misguided move. As lawmakers, our primary duty must be service to the people. Not the party machine.”

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