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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Exuding self-confidence, Alan Grayson sets sights on U.S. Senate

TALLAHASSEE — Few people, if anyone, would describe Democrat Alan Grayson as humble — even himself or those who know him best.

Bold, bombastic, sharply intelligent, genuine even. Yes.

But not humble.

He offered a prime example recently, talking about how he believes he's one of a rare few of the 535 members of Congress who takes the job seriously and actually gets things done and how he now wants to bring that work ethic to the U.S. Senate next year.

"As far as I'm concerned, I'm a professional and I'm surrounded by amateurs" is how the three-term Orlando congressman put it in a recent visit with the Tampa Bay Times editorial board.

"I'm surrounded by people who do nothing, and they have a lot to be humble about. ... I feel like I've done a lot of good for a lot of people and I just don't see a lot of that around me," Grayson said. "The fact is most people in Congress are posers. If you want me to confess to some humility, I'd say: 'Humility as compared to them?' It would seem to me that they're the ones that have something to answer for, not me."

Statements like that are routine for the lawyer, former businessman and self-made multi-millionaire who emanates self-confidence and calls himself the "congressman with guts."

Grayson's bravado is matched by his colorful appearance. Walking in to any room, his 6-foot-4 stature sticks out — so does his nontraditional attire: Standard business suits accented most often by an eye-catching American flag tie and the cowboy boots that he's rarely seen without.

A father of five, Grayson first jumped into politics a decade ago and is best known for his raw, unfiltered bluntness, sometimes to his own detriment.

Calling a female Federal Reserve lobbyist a "K-Street whore" seven years ago and once describing the Republicans' healthcare reform plan as one that wants sick Americans to "die quickly" remain infamous moments on the congressman's highlight reel.

Grayson quietly revels in the attention. He casually acknowledges he's "had a hell of a life," while frequently listing his professional and legislative accomplishments with painstaking detail — particularly his work in Congress on seniors issues and to increase healthcare research funding.

He wants to make sure voters know all that he's done in his 58 years, especially since he faces a competitive Democratic primary in the Senate contest later this summer.

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[Last modified: Friday, July 8, 2016 3:15pm]


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