Crist taps Democrat with Bush ties to advise on higher ed
The chairwoman of the Board of Governors could barely contain her excitement about Gov. Charlie Crist's appointment of Democratic Miami attorney Dean Colson to be his "special advisor" on all matters related to higher education in Florida.
"Dean is an example of a Florida citizen who puts party aside and works for all the citizens in our state," said board chair Carolyn Roberts, a Republican.
Colson, 55, is a Princeton and University of Miami law school grad who clerked for Justice William H. Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the United States. Colson's Miami practice emphasizes personal injury and commercial cases, but he's long had a hand in education policy and state politics.
He is a past member of the Florida Bar Board of Governors, which runs the 11 universities, and chaired the board of trustees of the University of Miami. Former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush appointed Colson, a Democrat, in 2000, to Florida’s Commission on Ethics, and later to the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission. He also served on the Crist-Kottkamp transition team.
Colson wouldn't commit to a position on raising tuition for the public universities, but Roberts is hopeful his presence will benefit the university system in the long run.
"I believe that by the governor making this appointment, he is focusing in on higher education."