(ran NS, S, T editions of B)
Render Britton is a thriving businessman, but that doesn't mean he is happy.
Britton says his business, which transports heavy equipment, has been booming in recent years only because so many companies have folded and needed him to cart away pieces of their operation.
The 52-year-old owner of B & B Rigging has never been much for politics, but the problems he has witnessed have spurred him to take up the cause _ in a big way.
This week, Britton paid more than $1,400 to buy an ad in today's St. Petersburg Times urging people to support presidential candidate Ross Perot, who he says is the best hope to solve the country's economic problems.
Britton said "business needs someone in there that knows business and deals with this problem instead of all the bickering."
His ad, an essay titled "One Man's Opinion," talks about the need for "a referee" between the two political parties.
"Ross Perot as an individual is not the messiah of relief, but maybe his neutrality between parties can create action instead of bickering," Britton wrote in his ad.
To Britton, the Republicans have focused too much on problems overseas, and the Democratic plan worries too much about rebuilding the nation's infrastructure instead of its job base.
The ad is not Britton's only contribution to the Perot cause.
"I get up at 6:30 every morning and stand on the side of the road handing out stickers," Britton said. "I quit at a quarter till 8 to give myself time to go to work."
Most observers agreed that Perot scored big in the first presidential debate, but others faulted the performance of the other half of the ticket, retired Vice Adm. James Stockdale, after Tuesday's vice presidential debate. Not Britton.
"It's an example of his picking someone with substance instead of flamboyancy," Britton said.
Ralph Winters, Perot's regional coordinator in West Central Florida, said he was delighted when Britton showed up at his door and told him of plans to place the ad.
Britton says he cannot afford any more ads but will look for other ways to get his message across.
"One by one a person will say, "I'm only one person. I really can't do anything,' " Britton said. "But we're all a group, and we all can do something."