PLANT CITY — If you ask Rep. Dan Raulerson, R-Plant City, what his role is, he won't say legislator. He views himself as an independent contractor of sorts. His main job? To create wiggle room.
"I don't see myself as being a part of the government, okay? I'm there to make sure the government is doing what it's supposed to be doing, and to make laws that make sense," Raulerson said as he leaned back in his desk chair at his Plant City district office, hands locked behind his head, leg braced against the desk. "I'm not there to be part of the culture. I'm not there to advocate for the government. I'm there as a watchdog. So, I'm a normal Joe, just like anybody else."
Except, he's not, really. Before his election, Raulerson, 55, served as mayor of Plant City and as a city commissioner. He spent time in Tallahassee years ago working as a campaign manager. Now, before his first legislative session has even started, he has been named one of four deputy majority whips. He admits it's an honor, but tries to brush it off in his standard, self-deprecating manner.
"I'm big and ugly and they need big, ugly guys to go around and whip people," he quipped. "I dunno why they chose me, I'm just really honored they did."
Raulerson's a conservative guy and certified public accountant. He wants more flexibility and less redundancy. His bills focus on eliminating unnecessary requirements, downsizing government, and making it easy for citizens to know and follow the rules.
"I want to help them control their own destiny," he said.
In addition to his allotted six bills, he's filing six repealer bills, legislation that deletes provisions of the Florida Statutes, the laws of Florida. Such bills are right in line with his desire to eliminate unnecessary oversight. Too many rules can immobilize progress in society, he said.
"These are what I live for," he said. "That's my mission in life up there, to repeal. It's not to add legislation, unless it's necessary . . . If I can streamline the process in Tallahassee, that would be greater than having an impact on education or tax and finance."
And then there's the bill that helps establish a system for selecting the state's poet laureate.
"I thought it'd be kind of a nice twist, something a little different," he said.
How different? He plans on introducing it in the form of a poem.
Caitlin Johnston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 225-3111.