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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Mr. Brandes goes to Tallahassee



We caught up with new state Rep. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, after his initial sessions orienting himself to the Florida Legislature. Brandes unseated Democrat Bill Heller in the closely watched House District 52 race.

Some thoughts from the new representative.

-- Despite Republican leaders interest in the tenure-eliminating retry of SB 6, Brandes wouldn't commit to supporting it fully, though he didn't rule it out. Brandes said during the campaign he would have voted against the bill last spring, despite being one of the new members that gives Republicans a veto-proof majority.

"I’m prepared to vote against it ... if it takes authority from the local school boards, I really want to focus on local control. As I stated on the editoral board, I really want to focus on incentives and not mandates," Brandes said.

-- Tea party movement members cheered him, but Brandes didn't exactly embrace the support this week. " I really have had very little discussion with the tea party movement. I really focused on running a strong race and not getting involved in partisan politics," he said.

(Tell that to Heller.)



[Last modified: Thursday, November 11, 2010 6:41pm]


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