The St. Petersburg Times offers candidates not recommended by its editorial board an opportunity to reply in print. Here are more of those replies. Chris Comstock, Republican candidate for state comptroller
I was very disappointed to learn of your endorsement of Gerald Lewis for state comptroller. As you inferred, the incumbent has left much to be desired as to attitude, character, ability and desire to do the job. I firmly belive that he has done a poor job as exemplified by his broken promises, is presently doing a poor job (39 banks and S&L failures), and will continue to do a poor job. We simply cannot afford four more years of Gerald's ineptness.
On the other hand, I offer the voters of Florida a fresh new face who is not a politician (a definite plus this year). Although, your editorial had my age wrong and belittled my financial experience of 22 years, I'm sure the voters of Florida believe that a person with banking, auditing, accounting, and financial planning experience is a far better choice than someone whose major favorable point is having served in "lesser" elected offices, but lacks a financial background.
The incumbent is seeking his fifth term under circumstances that can best be described as shaky. He does not deserve it, nor do the people of Pinellas or the state owe him another chance to redeem himself. The S&L crisis, and Lewis' part in it, have disgusted all of the citizens of this state and county. We are all angry enough to turn him out.
The choice is clear _ vote for Chris Comstock on Nov. 6 because if Gerald Lewis wins _ we lose.
Tom Hogan, Republican candidate for state Senate, District 4
Editor: Your editorial on behalf of the incumbent senator from District 4 came as no surprise.
Even though we are aware of your penchant for the liberal politician, we were shocked that you ignored the incumbent's deplorable record on ethics. You have been blind to her acceptance of gifts and trips by special interests, never seeing a problem with the legislation she sponsored on their behalf.
Your position has been that the very mention of her ethics equated mud-slinging. You are confusing ethics with morals. We aggressively criticized her ethical judgment when she took 18 vacations from special interests and when she accepted money from an outboard motor company and then tried to amend a bill to allow high-speed testing of boats in a manatee protection area.
You actually praised her legislation that mandates that the cost of cleaning up oil spills be paid by Florida taxpayers, not the guilty oil companies. Why should a retired teacher be taxed to clean up after Texaco?
We also feel that you should have reported the incumbent's stated willingness to vote for a state income tax. And that she has said she would be willing to consider raising the ad valorem tax 10-mill cap. We believe that most Floridians agree with Tom Hogan when he says that until the legislature is willing to stop funding such turkeys as beauty pageants and auto races, no thought should be given to raising taxes.
We believe that you are out of step with the people. We believe that they will vote for Tom Hogan because of his ethical record as a tough prosecutor. We believe that they will vote for Tom Hogan because he is a clear alternative to the incumbent and because his legislative vote will never be for sale.
Don Sullivan, Republican candidate for state Senate, District 18
In your endorsement editorial, you ask for a reason to turn out an incumbent and the answer is the same as it has been since the beginning of our country _ to introduce new ideas and vigor into the government _ to help government stay in touch with the people.
Said another way _ to make sure that government remains in the hands of us (the people) and not them (government bureaucracy). Change is essential as is demonstrated by the current budget dealings.
In 1982, the incumbent said that her opponent had been "bought" by special interest money. Eight years later she raises over 50 percent of her money from the same people and claims that she has not become influenced by those special interests. If lobbyists and PAC money do not have an influence on legislators, why does Florida have more of them than any other state in the nation? Jeanne Malchon has become one of them.
My platform is clear:
Stop the annual tax increases _ the state should learn to live on the 12 to 14 percent increase that occurs each year. No state income tax.
A better, more efficient health care system based on my 28 years of providing health care.
Tough growth management laws to protect the wonderful life that we have in our area.
A hard line on criminals. Guaranteed punishment with no early release.
Ethics reform (no gifts, limited terms and no accepting PAC/lobbyist money until you are done voting at the end of your term).
Lottery funds for educational enhancement; return of the schools to local control with accountability for performance.
Tampa Bay is the second largest economic area in the southeastern United States and is assuming political and economic leadership of the state of Florida. We need new dynamic ideas, enthusiasm and vigor to play our role in the exciting future that lies before us.
The answer to the original question is _ it is time for a change.
Dean Beagle, Republican candidate for state House, District 47
Editor: Although you recommended my opponent for re-election to District 47 of the Florida House, I thank you for acknowledging that I pose the most serious threat of his legislative career.
With respect to your reference to me as an opportunistic Brooksville politician, I would only observe that I live east of Brooksville, outside the city limits, I am not a politician in the usual sense of the word, and as for being opportunistic, it seems that an election year is an opportune time to run for office.
I did regret that you mentioned nothing of my background other than that I served in the ministry 20 years. Ignored was the fact that I am an educator, that I worked several years in county government in Ohio, that I spent five years on Capitol Hill in Washington as the director of a congressional legislative staff, that I have extensive experience in researching and writing legislation, in preparing for committee hearings, that I have provided constituent services _ in short, that I have done everything a legislator does except to go on the floor and cast a vote.
But, I can forgive your oversight, because your own scathing editorial denunciations of Chuck Smith's environmental record have served me well in my efforts to win this seat.
Marilyn J. Dewey, Democratic candidate for state House, District 51
Florida is a state in crisis. Our crises are environmental, economic and social. My opponent brings with her the same old approaches to government that preceded her. While her gender is different, she still represents the same good-old-boy politics that have gone before. Funded essentially by development interests, her approaches to the major issues would serve the few special interests that paid for the bulk of her campaign.
I am the bright new face in this race. I have proposed that people be let in on policy formulation, and that the elitist politicians' club be put out of business.
My proposals for transportation, education, health care, and early intervention to reduce crime make sense. They do because I have developed these ideas by talking to the people who are involved with those problems.
I know that dredging of Dunedin Pass is an environmental black hole that will keep sucking up dollars for years to come.
We have to move Florida from uncontrolled growth and development, to formulation of controlled slow-growth policies based on planning and a broad tax structure.
We should reconsider the lottery and pay attention to attaining the full potential of our educational system, kindergarten through graduate school.
Working with the Chiles/MacKay team, I can help attain these goals in the Legislature. I want to work toward a governing community in Tallahassee, not just crowd control!
John Renke, Republican candidate for re-election to the state House, District 49
In your past editorials, you have indicated that John Renke has done a good job for Pasco County. As Pasco's representative, I have fought for: permanent Pasco water board seat; heart catheterization and open heart surgery for Pasco's hospitals; road funding for SR 54, SR 52, U.S. 19 and Pasco's proposed expressway; funding for the frail elderly; Child Abuse Protection Team; Marchman Vocational School and P.H.C.C. expansion; Ranch Road Senior Center; H.D.C. new facility; Gulfcoast Jewish Center; Main Street, New Port Richey, just to name a few.
Both Democrat and Republican legislators voted John Renke two Allen Morris awards for being most effective. I've tried my best to make a difference and represent the people by passing the following laws: victims rights; habitual felony offender law; limitation of congressional pay increases; budget reform to eliminate turkeys and waste in government; "son of Sam" law to take profits from drug dealers; 75 percent tax on illegal drugs; mobile-home owners' protection act; establishment of department of veterans' and elderly affairs; grandparents' rights; DUI interlock to keep drunken drivers off the road; relief for VFW veterans, among others.
This year, I'm proud to be named "legislator of the year" by such groups as the VFW and the School Counselors' Association. I've been endorsed by everyone from the Police Benevolent Association to the transportation union and school administrators.
I have fought to keep taxes down by opposing and leading the fight against the services tax, the unitary tax and last year's billion dollar utility tax and other taxes on people. All taxes _ sales, corporate or any other tax _ always end up with the elderly and wage earner paying for it.
I pledge to continue to try to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Pasco.