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Governor names lawmaker legal aide

A U.S. representative will take over the duties of Bush's legal adviser Carol Licko, who is returning to private law practice.

When he leaves Congress next January, U.S. Rep. Charles Canady will become the top legal adviser to Gov. Jeb Bush.

Bush announced Canady's appointment Monday, saying he thinks Canady will be an aggressive, "hands on" advocate in the defense of the governor's education plan and other initiatives being challenged in courts.

A conservative with a legislative agenda that matches that of the governor and the Republican majority in control of the Florida Legislature, Canady vehemently opposes abortion and was praised in Washington for pushing federal lobbying reform in 1996.

Canady also has experience with affirmative action _ a subject dear to the governor's heart, as he came up with a plan last fall to dramatically change the way Florida deals with minorities.

In 1995, Canady and then-Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole jointly filed a bill to end affirmative action in federal hiring, contracts and purchasing.

At the time, Canady said he thought affirmative action has reinforced prejudice and racial thinking. The bill did not pass.

Canady, 45, is a native of Lakeland who served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1984 to 1990. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992. He served as one of the House managers in the impeachment trial of President Clinton.

He declined to seek re-election this year, imposing on himself the same eight-year term limit that state officials face.

Canady graduated from Yale Law School in 1979 and practiced law in Polk County for 13 years before running for Congress. He specialized in appellate law.

"Charles is one of Florida's most outstanding lawyers and an exceptional successor to my trusted friend and legal adviser, Carol Licko," Bush said.

Licko is leaving at the end of this month to return to her law practice and family in Miami.

Canady's salary has not been set yet, but Licko makes about $109,000 annually, the governor's office said. In Congress, Canady earned about $133,000 a year.

Although widely known as a champion of conservative causes, Canady also is known as thoughtful and well-mannered in ways that often disarm opponents.

Canady grew up in a family of conservative Democrats and initially ran for office as a Democrat. He switched parties in 1989 while in the Florida Legislature.

His father, also Charles Canady, was a longtime chief of staff for Lawton Chiles while he was in the U.S. Senate.