Atwater, in hiding, says he's 'disappointed' in Charlie Crist
Count Senate President Jeff Atwater as the only top Republican who won't publicly comment on Gov. Charlie Crist's veto, instead sending out a press release from the comfort of his closed-door office. He dodged reporters on two occasions Tuesday. The statement:
“I am disappointed that today Governor Crist chose to reverse direction and veto SB 6, a bold education reform to reward Florida’s quality teachers and ensure Florida’s children are receiving the quality education they deserve. Quality teachers are the unsung heroes of the classroom and should be richly compensated for the learning gains they instill in Florida’s children.
SB 6 was the culmination of months of study, public participation, and debate. At each step of the legislative process, testimony was received and amendments were offered and adopted. The Florida Senate worked closely with Governor Crist’s education commissioner Eric Smith and maintained an open door to all interested parties.
New ideas of reform require boldness and a willingness to attempt change. This reform was recognized by education experts nationwide as groundbreaking. Florida had the chance to lead the nation with a 21st century education system. Today, that opportunity was denied.
Nevertheless, the Florida Senate’s commitment to serve Floridians and provide an environment where Florida’s families, businesses, and communities can succeed has not wavered.
There is much work left to be done this session. Over the remaining weeks the Florida Senate will focus on passing a fiscally prudent, balanced budget that funds critical programs, invests in education, and protects Florida’s fiscal future.”