On session's final day, kind thoughts of lobbyist Ken Plante
On the hectic final day of the legislative session, dozens of people paused in the Capitol rotunda in Tallahassee to sign a poster-sized get well card for Kenny Plante, a highly respected Capitol lobbyist and former Republican state senator from Winter Park.
Plante, 72, who served in the Florida Senate from 1967 to 1978, is suffering from ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, a progressive neurological disorder for which there is no cure. To many who earn a living in Florida's capital, the good-natured Plante has been a role model, teacher and mentor. Widely admired for his integrity, Plante was instrumental in the formation of a professional lobbying association; he had resigned from the Legislature because, as a matter of personal privacy, he disagreed with a law requiring lawmakers to disclose their finances. He later worked as a legislative affairs director for Gov. Jeb Bush.
Plante and his wife Sandy have seven children, 14 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
The inscription posted next to the large get well card asks for $250 donations to a trust fund to help with Plante's medical expenses. It reads: "Kenny is at home, but is using a ventilator to help him breathe, and so his home health care is not covered by insurance. He also suffers as a result of the Medicare 'doughnut hole' in which his prescription medicine costs are astronomical. So Kenny Plante's many friends around Florida have banded together to help cover the health care costs and invite you to join us."