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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sen. Mike Fasano video: Loved by constituents, but not so much by GOP leaders



We'd be hard-pressed to name any Tampa Bay politician more popular with his constituents and less popular with leaders of his own party than state Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey. If you wonder why, just check out Fasano today on Political Connections on Bay News 9  (clips here or the full interview on Ch. 342 -Bay News 9 on Demand).

"We're going to come to Tallahassee and say no new taxes, no new fees, no increase in taxes, no increase in fees," Fasano said in the interview airing at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. today. "And yet, through the back door, my colleagues want to raise tuition. And yet, through the back door, my colleagues want to increase homeowners insurance premiums. Through the back door, my colleagues want to increase electric rates and telephone rates. To me, that's hypocrisy at its worst."

With term limits forcing him to give up his Senate seat and redistricting still in the works, Fasano's future remains unclear. We've heard of one private poll showing him beating U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, but Fasano said the chances are "slim" that he would run against Bilirakis.

He's still waiting to see how the assorted district lines shake out to determine if his next target will be Congress, another legislative office or local office. Legislative colleagues may complain about Fasano's affinity for publicity and lack of collegial tact, but he makes no apologies.

"A team player is someone that is a team player with their constituents back home and the people of the state of Florida," said the Pasco County Republican, who lost his chairmanship of a criminal justice budget committee because Senate President Mike Haridopolos did not appreciate Fasano's vocal opposition to prison privatization.

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 10:47am]


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