BOB GRAHAM SPEAKS OUT
Former governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham is on an Alaskan cruise before heading to Harvard's Kennedy School of Government for a year and later establishing two institutes --- at the University of Florida and the University of Miami --- to train tomorrow's diplomats. But for about an hour Wednesday, Graham discussed the state of politics in Florida with the Tallahassee Democrat's Bill Cotterell.
Saying he is hopeful for the Democratic Party's future in the Sunshine State, he listed four ingredients needed to make it happen:
--- New Chairwoman Karen Thurman needs to build "bench strength" among mayors and county commissioners. Traditionally, the state's congressional representatives and state legislators have come from the local political level. If you have good local officials, you can build influence and confidence from there. It builds from the bottom up...not from the top down.
--- The party needs to reach out to Hispanics, the state's largest minority group. In the past, Democrats have focused on Puerto Rican and Central American communities, but the Cuban-American community --- which has been heavily Republican --- is approachable on issues such as education.
--- Don't overreach. We can see how that has worked with the GOP, putting them so far to the right that they have in many cases alienated moderate voters.
In Florida, Jeb and Company are doing the same through their insistance on voucher programmes and attempting to privitaze state services.
--- Use of the petition method to change laws, such as the proposal that Betty Castor is attempting to push through to establish a nonpartisan committee to redraw congressional and legislative boundries.
It's good to hear from Graham, and am looking forward to hearing more from the dean of Florida politics.