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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Top Republicans come to Burgin's defense



With critics slamming Rachel Burgin's slim resume for state House, several top Republicans issued a statement today praising her as a candidate -- a move that tries to quell the controversy over her selection to replace Rep. Trey Traviesa on the November ballot.

“Rachel has an excellent background in advocating for the principles and values that the constituents of House District 56 hold dear," said incoming House Speaker Ray Sansom. "Three generations of her family live, work and worship in eastern Hillsborough County and Rachel is a part of that legacy. We are excited as we look towards her victory in November.”

"Rachel Burgin has served the residents of State House District 56 well over the past two years," said Representative Dean Cannon of Winter Park, referring to the 26-year-old Burgin's job as Traviesa's aide. "Her experience in the legislative process will ensure the residents of State House District 56 continue to have a strong, principled voice representing them in Tallahassee."

Rep. Will Weatherford of Wesley Chapel also added his support, saying, "Many past and present legislators previously served as legislative aides where they obtained the exposure and training in the process that made them successful."

Weatherford was also a 26-year-old legislative aide (to Allan Bense) who got a boost from odd circumstances. A refresher: In late 2006, then-Gov. Jeb Bush picked incumbent Rep. Ken Littlefield to serve on the Public Service Commission, giving Weatherford an opening. He won, even as Littlefield's name remained on the ballot.

Back then there wasn't a lot of criticism about youth and inexperience. What's different in Burgin's case? Is sexism at work?

Whatever the case, Burgin's selection has stirred the pot. An astute Buzz blogger noticed that Burgin's brother registered a Web site in her name more than a year ago, fueling talk that Traviesa's withdrawal and Burgin's selection was pre-planned. Here is the info from whois:

  burgin, joshua
  PO Box 2554
  Plant City,  FL 33564
  Administrative Contact , Technical Contact :  
  burgin, joshua
  PO Box 2554
  Plant City,  FL 33564
  Phone: 813-774-xxx
  Fax: 123 123 1234
  Record expires on 22-May-2009
  Record created on 22-May-2007
  Database last updated on 19-Jun-2008

The Buzz send Josh Burgin an e-mail to ask about the Web site and he has not yet replied.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:08am]


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