FLORIDA INSIDER POLL: Pessimism about state leadership
In Florida, even many of the most plugged-in players involved in the political process are deeply pessimistic about the current state of Sunshine State leadership.
The Tampa Bay Times this week surveyed more than 120 prominent lobbyists, former elected officials, political consultants, fundraisers and activists. Some sad highlights of the latest Tampa Bay Times Florida Insider Poll:
• More than three-fourths do not expect our state leaders this year to address substantively the most important issues facing Florida.
• Almost 7 in 10 do not believe state government effectively deals with Florida's problems.
• Six in 10 think the Florida Legislature is less responsive to citizens than it was 10 years ago.
"Look at every bill put forward in this upcoming session and you'll see nothing but lobbyist-driven legislation," lamented one Republican. "Very few members of the Legislature have any ideological or constituency-driven legislation. When special interests and lobbyists are enriching themselves, Tallahassee becomes a hub of corporate welfare and the problems of the people quickly take a back seat, or worse, are completely forgotten altogether."
Term limits have resulted in the election of a significant number of legislators who know nothing, do nothing and learn nothing," said another Tallahassee veteran, a Democrat. "Too many have no real goals and focus on getting publicity rather than actually serving the people. They are termed out before they can learn the real issues and become effective in dealing with real problems. When candidates who have never served a day in their lives announce they are running for speaker of the House before even being elected to a first term, you know the system is broken."