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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sansom: 'I've moved on'

22

January

House Speaker Ray Sansom confronted a room full of reporters this morning, calmly declaring his innocence in an ethical and possible legal storm over his taking a six-figure job at a state college. And Sansom said he is ready to lead the Florida House.

"I've moved on. We've got a tough two years ahead," Sansom said during TImg_2736he Associated Press planning day in Tallahassee.

Sansom is facing a number of possible investigations, including an ethics complaint filed with the House by a Tampa Bay woman. It falls to Rules Chairman Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, to decide whether to move forward with an inquiry. Sansom, who appointed Galvano to the post, said friendship will not play a role.

"When you're an elected official and when you're in leadership, it's important you put any personal relationship aside and do what's right so the public can have trust. I trust them. They'll do the right thing," he said.

Sansomap A television reporter asked, "If everything with the college was on the level, why did you step down?"

"That's a good question," Sansom replied."I didn't do anything wrong when I took the job. Every speaker I know has had a job. What I was trying to do was to be very open: 'This is what I do, I work for a college, my background is in education.'

"But when the controversy started, I committed to my members that the Florida House and the Speaker's Office was more important than any job I might have. So I stepped aside for them."

Another reporter asked whether he challenged anything that has been reported or whether his objection comes down to how the facts have been interpreted by the media. "Let's just let the facts come out as they will with the various agencies. We'll talk about that after the rulings are made."

If any panel determines probable cause, will you reconsider staying on as speaker? "I'm not going to speculate on anything like that."

Sansom, who resigns the job at Northwest Florida State College on Jan. 31, said he does not have another one lined up. "I'm just going to be the best speaker I can for the next two years."

(more here)

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[Last modified: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 4:14pm]

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