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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Trump renews political activism for former American Bar Association president


[Special to the Times]




The last time Martha Barnett took part in a political demonstration was more than 30 years ago, when Florida was debating whether to approve the Equal Rights Amendment.

But the Tallahassee lawyer is making the 12.5-hour-drive to the nation’s capital for the Women’s March on Washington Saturday.

Calling herself shocked and deeply offended by Trump’s views, especially toward minorities and women, Barnett joined thousands of Floridians flocking to the nation’s capital this weekend to make their voices heard.

“Trump needs to know we care, we’re not going anywhere, and we’re going to hold him accountable,” Barnett said.

During the campaign, Barnett felt disgust at Trump’s treatment of women and said she has become increasingly alarmed by his incessant use of Twitter during the transition to demean others, such as Georgia Rep. John Lewis, a pioneering civil rights leader.

“I had hoped for more,” Barnett said. “I hoped he would rise to the office. He has to know that there are men and women who care deeply about some of these issues he has treated with disgust, disdain and downright disrespect.”   

“I want more out of the president of the United States than that attitude,” Barnett said. “We care about the office. We care about him being successful.”

Barnett, a Democrat and a former American Bar Association president, was the first woman partner at the Holland & Knight law firm.

She was an invited guest to both of Bill Clinton’s inaugurations and said she did not think of her activism in Washington as confrontational or negative. She said her decision to go to D.C. was inspired in part by a legal mentor, Chesterfield Smith, another former ABA president.

“He always said, ‘No man is above the law,’ and that’s why I’m going,” Barnett said.

[Last modified: Friday, January 20, 2017 9:21am]


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