Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos faces tough questions in Tampa

TAMPA — Senate President Mike Haridopolos says he has been keeping a busy schedule lately, spending as many as six days a week speaking to people across Florida about the Legislature's accomplishments.

And that's what he started to talk about Friday as the lunch guest of the Tiger Bay Club of Tampa.

But then came the questions. Though the group bills itself on its website as "Hillsborough County's premier bipartisan political club," Haridopolos, a Republican from Merritt Island running for the U.S. Senate, said the queries left him feeling like most of the 72 in attendance were "a little left of center, or far left of center."

But that's okay. "I'm glad they asked questions," he said.

Perhaps the most pointed question came from club member William Frye, who asked Haridopolos about his controversial deal with Brevard Community College, in which he was paid $152,000 to write a book, and about his failure to accurately disclose his finances on state ethics forms.

Will you pay the money back? Frye asked.

Haridopolos responded that he met all of his obligations under a four-year contract with the college, where he taught for many years. He didn't say he would return the money, but said all proceeds from the sale of the book, Florida History & Legislative Processes, go back to the college.

As for the finance disclosure issue, for which he was admonished by his own Senate, he told the Tiger Bay group, "I made a mistake filling out the forms." But he said as soon as the mistakes were brought to his attention he dealt with them promptly.

Other questions were wide ranging. Would he support lifting the travel ban on Cuba? He would not. What did he think about cuts to education? They were among the most difficult, but they were necessary to help address a nearly $4 billion budget shortfall without raising taxes, he said.

Afterward, Haridopolos said the tough questions might be a sign that some in attendance are worried about Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson holding onto his seat in 2012. Haridopolos is among the Republicans hoping to replace Nelson.

Tiger Bay will get their crack at another Republican U.S. Senate candidate, George LeMieux, on July 15.

Richard Martin can be reached at or (813) 226-3322.

Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos faces tough questions in Tampa 06/17/11 [Last modified: Friday, June 17, 2011 11:06pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Review: Mumford and Sons shower Amalie Arena with love in euphoric Tampa debut


    There are releases, and then there are releases. And minutes into their concert Wednesday at Amalie Arena, Mumford and Sons gave Tampa the latter.

    Mumford and Sons performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Sept. 20, 2017.
  2. FEMA to open disaster recovery center in Riverview


    The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it will open a disaster recovery center Thursday in Riverview for Hillsborough County residents impacted by Hurricane Irma.

  3. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander


    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  4. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.


    Chicago Cubs second baseman Ben Zobrist (18) grounds into a double play to end the top of the third inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  5. GOP's new repeal bill would likely leave millions more uninsured, analyses suggest


    WASHINGTON — The latest Republican bid to roll back the Affordable Care Act would likely leave millions of currently insured Americans without health coverage in the coming decades, and strip benefits and protections from millions more, a growing number of independent studies suggest.

    Vice President Mike Pence listens as President Donald Trump talks to reporters about the Graham-Cassidy health care bill during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in New York. [Evan Vucci | Associated Press]