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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rubio invokes 'idea raisers' from speaker days as he tries to win over conservatives on immigration

Still trying to pursuade conservatives that immigration reform is a worthy goal, Sen. Marco Rubio took to the pages of the Wall Street Journal to talk about finding ways to improve the bill he helped write. He invokes the "idea raisers" that he pushed across Florida to generate an agenda for when he was House speaker from 2006-08.

Of course, the details matter. Since my colleagues and I introduced immigration legislation, intense public scrutiny has helped identify shortcomings and unintended consequences that need to be addressed. Many concerned citizens have gone a step further and offered specific ideas to improve it. This kind of constructive criticism is a positive force that should always be welcomed in the political process.

I learned this firsthand when I served as speaker of the Florida House of Representatives. We sought input from Floridians on their most pressing concerns. Their ideas were solicited through events held all over the state called "Idea Raisers" and then compiled in a book, which served as the foundation of our legislative agenda. We took those ideas and turned them into bills, many of which eventually became laws.

That's a good example of how the true wisdom of the nation rests not just with those who serve in our capitals, but with those who live in our communities.

Today's "Idea Raisers" on immigration are happening 24/7—on the Senate floor, in broadcast media, in social media, in the blogosphere and in other ways. It is easier than ever for people to participate in the democratic process.

I've been listening to the voices on these platforms and taking notes about ways to improve the immigration-reform legislation. When I invited public input on my official website, some very good suggestions poured in there, too, that are likely to prove helpful.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 2, 2013 8:46pm]


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