Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

LeMieux says college is too cheap

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee may support former GOP state Sen. Nancy Argenziano if she runs as an independent against U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland.

SCOTT KEELER | Times (2007)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee may support former GOP state Sen. Nancy Argenziano if she runs as an independent against U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland.

Here's something you don't necessarily expect to see from a candidate trying to win votes from Florida's families: a call for higher tuition at state universities.

But Republican U.S. Senate candidate George LeMieux, running for an office that has little to do with Florida's higher education system, said in a Political Connections interview airing today on Bay News 9 that he strongly supports raising tuition, something his old boss Charlie Crist only reluctantly backed.

"The tuition at our universities is way too low. We are the cheapest university tuition system in the country. I send my 4-year-old to Christian school (and) I pay more for him to go to Christian school for a year than kids (spend) for the University of Florida for a year. You're going to only get what you pay for," LeMieux said in the interview airing at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. "We've got a lot of great people in our university system. They need to be properly funded. … We're the fourth-biggest population, soon to be third. We don't have a public university in the top 50. If we're going to create great jobs in this state, we need better education."

LeMieux also said he opposes efforts to expand gambling in Florida to include destination casinos such as the giant casino development proposed by a Malaysian gaming conglomerate at the current Miami Herald site.

The former interim U.S. senator appointed by Crist to fill Mel Martinez's unexpired term also discussed the lucrative consulting contract he had in 2008 and 2009 with the state GOP under former party chairman Jim Greer. LeMieux earned at least $150,000 from the party.

"I helped the Republican Party on outreach issues to Hispanics, to African-Americans. I still advised the governor's office on things that were more political," said LeMieux, who had earlier served as Crist's chief of staff and top campaign strategist. "Jim Greer came to me in 2009 and said there wasn't any more money left to keep me on board. Maybe we know now why that was, because the money was going someplace else," he said, referring to the pending criminal charges against Greer for allegedly stealing from the party.

Democrats look to Florida to win House

Buzz caught up with the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, while he was in the Tampa Bay area last week raising money and trying to recruit candidates. Between the Democratic incumbents retiring and the overall political climate, he has a tough climb to win back 25 seats and take the U.S. House, but Israel sees Florida as a crucial part of that effort.

That's because there are several Republican-held seats in Florida that President Barack Obama won in 2008 or that Obama and John Kerry won as well in 2004. On top of that, the state's congressional districts are so skewed to favor Republicans that it will be hard for Democrats not to wind up with at least one additional seat when districts are redrawn.

"Florida is going to be pivotal in the congressional elections of 2012," said Israel, whose main Republican targets include U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota; C.W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores (Good luck there); Steve Southerland, R-Panama City; Dan Webster, R-Winter Garden; Allen West, R-Plantation; and David Rivera, R-Miami.

Former Republican state Sen. Nancy Argenziano had planned to run against Southerland as a Democrat, but a new state law thwarted her because she did not switch parties in time. Israel did not close the door on the DCCC supporting Argenziano if she runs as an independent candidate.

"If there could be some consensus by the local folks, Democrats, activists and others that she should be the candidate, we'd be pleased to support her," Israel said, "so long as she reflects the values and priorities of Democrats and says that she would not vote as a Republican to support the (Paul) Ryan budget, which would end Medicare. That is our litmus test."

Sarah Palin is going to Disney World

Sarah Palin will headline the Florida GOP annual Victory Dinner on Nov. 3 at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort in Orlando.

"This gala dinner comes just a year before one of the most important elections in Florida and the nation's history," said party chairman Lenny Curry. "Having a Republican leader of Gov. Palin's stature and importance is yet again proof of the crucial role Florida will play as the year unfolds."

Follow Adam Smith on Twitter at AdamSmithTimes.

Winner of the week

Marco Rubio. His vice presidential appeal took a hit with revelations that his parents left Cuba before Fidel Castro took office, contrary to the official biography by his Senate office. But Rubio and his team did a virtuoso job looking like an aggrieved victim after the Washington Post suggested his family was not part of the exile community.

Loser of the week

Nevada. One of four states authorized by the national parties to hold early caucuses, Nevada was forced to move its primary to mid January after Florida broke the rules and set its presidential primary for Jan. 31. In a reminder of its second-class status as a presidential nominating contest, Republican candidates promptly threatened to boycott Nevada after New Hampshire's secretary of state objected to Nevada's date. On Saturday, the Nevada GOP moved its election to Feb. 4.

LeMieux says college is too cheap 10/24/11 [Last modified: Monday, October 24, 2011 2:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trigaux: How Moffitt Cancer's M2Gen startup won $75 million from Hearst

    Business

    TAMPA — A Moffitt Cancer Center spin-off that's building a massive genetic data base of individual patient cancer information just caught the attention of a deep-pocketed health care investor.

    Richard P. Malloch is the president of Hearst Business Media, which is announcing a $75 million investment in M2Gen, the for-profit cancer informatics unit spun off by Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center. Malloch's job is to find innovative investments for the Hearst family fortune. A substantial amount has been invested in health care, financial and the transportation and logistics industries.
  2. A boat lays on its side off the shore of Sainte-Anne on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, early Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, after the passing of Hurricane Maria. [Dominique Chomereau-Lamotte | Associated Press]
  3. 7.1 magnitude quake kills at least 149, collapses buildings in Mexico

    World

    MEXICO CITY — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least 149 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped.

    A woman is lifted on a stretcher from of a building that collapsed during an earthquake in Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. [Rebecca Blackwell | Associated Press]
  4. FHP seeks semitrailer truck driver that left fiery wreck on I-75

    Accidents

    TAMPA — The Florida Highway Patrol is looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an Interstate 75 crash that left another car burning on Tuesday afternoon.

    Troopers were looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an accident scene on Interstate 75 in Tampa on Tuesday afternoon that caused a car to catch fire. [Courtesy of Florida Highway Patrol]
  5. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.