In this week’s episode, we look back at how the first 10 guests on the show answered the question: What Florida person, place or thing deserves more attention? It’s one of the four questions we ask every guest, and it felt appropriate for us to give this question a little more attention in a compilation episode.
Previous guests featured in this episode include:
- FSU President John Thrasher, who was interviewed in episode 2.
- Audubon Florida Executive Director Eric Draper who appeared on the show in episode 3.
- Adam Smith, Political Editor for the Tampa Bay Times, who appeared in episode 4.
- Longtime Jeb Bush Senior Advisor Sally Bradshaw who appeared on the show in episode 5.
- Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum who appeared on the show in episode 6.
- Florida Politics Publisher Peter Schorsch who appeared on the show in episode 7.
- Florida Chamber of Commerce Chair Syd Kitson who appeared on the show in episode 8.
- Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi who appeared on the show in episode 9.
- ACLU of Florida Executive Director Howard Simon who appeared on the show in episode 10.
- New York Times bestselling author and Tampa Bay Times reporter Craig Pittman who appeared on the show in episode 11.
Chris Cate: Welcome to the Fluent in Floridian podcast featuring the Sunshine State’s brightest leaders, talking about the issues most important to the people of Florida and its millions of weekly visitors. I’m your host, Chris Cate, and in this episode brought to you by SalterMitchellPR, we’re recapping the answers our very first 10 guests on the show gave when asked the question “What person, place or thing in Florida deserves more attention?” It’s one of the four questions that we ask every guest, but it seemed natural for us to give this question a little more attention [00:00:30].
So here are the answers to the question “What person, place or thing in Florida deserves more attention?”
The first answer is from our very first guest on the show, Florida State President John Thrasher who was interviewed in episode two.
John Thrasher: I think that the one thing that I would always look at that we need to uplift and reward is our veterans in the State of Florida. We’ve tried to [00:01:00] emphasize that here at Florida State by creating programs that are responsive to the young people who come back from the military service. Creating an environment for them to do the things that they want to do. They become great leaders. Uplifting our veterans and their families is an important thing I think for all of us. We should never lose sight of the fact that so many of the great freedoms that we have in this country are a result of the work of our veterans. We want to honor them and lift them up [00:01:30] every chance we get.
Chris Cate: The next answer is from Audubon Florida Executive Director Eric Draper who appeared on the show in episode three.
Eric Draper: I think that Florida springs deserve more attention. They are something that is rare and unique as the Grand Canyon. You would never allow to have happened to the Grand Canyon what we’re allowing to have happened to Florida springs. People need to recognize these vast, wonderful waterways [00:02:00] are something that are really worth protecting and really something to enjoy.
Chris Cate: The next answer is from Adam Smith, political editor for the Tampa Bay Times who appeared in episode four.
Adam Smith: I will repeat the old traffic congestion. Maybe it’s just me, who’s been spending too many days in traffic, but I think that is a thing that in almost every part of the state deserves more attention. We’re not keeping up, and if [00:02:30] you’ve ever been to Atlanta … The hell of that is like driving around there. I think there are many parts of the state that are we’re heading in that direction. I think that’s an issue that I hope growth and infrastructure that we should pay more attention to.
Chris Cate: The next answer is from longtime Jeb Bush Senior Advisor Sally Bradshaw who appeared on the show in episode five.
Sally Bradshaw: I think I would have to say the Florida State FSU creative [00:03:00] writing program, which is a top five masters in creative writing program nationally. A lot of people don’t know that, and to be honest I did not know it until I opened the bookstore and got involved with that program. There are so many starts, so much talent at FSU right now in the creative writing department. A Pulitzer winner by Butler, a national book award winner, Bob Schacochis. Diane Roberts, who’s a commentator for public radio. Robby Howard who was recruited down from [00:03:30] Atlanta. There’s just so many talented writers in Tallahassee and through FSU, and some young writers and others. It’s the place to be in the creative writing world and I think a lot of people are completely unaware that we have such a strong program here, a strong group of writers, but the good news is they are frequently in and out of the Midtown Reader. So, if you haven’t met them and you want to meet them or listen to them or pick up a copy [00:04:00] of one of their books, we can cover that for you.
Chris Cate: The next answer is from Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum who appeared on the show in episode six.
Andrew Gillum: I tell you, the Everglades are obviously getting a lot of attention. I remember as a student in elementary school taking a field trip to the Everglades, which is such an important asset in our state, but we’ve got [00:04:30] so many important resilient places environmentally and ecologically that we could really be quite the environmental tourist destination in this country, a lot of important beautiful assets that we’ve got to maintain and protect.
I’ve been heartbroken to see some of the degradation that’s happened in the last two decades to so many of those important treasures, but I tell you, the Space Coast, both its attractions, obviously the [00:05:00] Everglades are huge attractions to our state, but I think we’re really going to have to focus in the coming future, one, how we make sure we clean up the real sad impacts on the Everglades, but I also think that we have an opportunity to re-invite and parts of the Space Coast to turn that into a real thriving entrepreneur hub for our state.
We’ve got some great opportunities, but certainly some challenges [00:05:30] that we’re making for this future.
Chris Cate: Up next is an answer from Florida Politics Publisher Peter Schorsch who appeared on the show in episode seven.
Peter Schorsch: Ooh, that’s a good question. Probably the Space Center, probably Cape Canaveral, and that whole industry right now, which seems to have made a great rebound since the end of the space shuttle program. [00:06:00] Whether it be what Elon Musk is doing, or that they were just launching off of launch pad 39, which was the famous launch pad. I think there’s a lot of exciting stuff going on there, a lot of interesting jobs, etc. So, the space coast seems to be back and we probably could write and tell that story to a national level a little better.
Chris Cate: The next answer is from Florida Chamber of Commerce Chair Syd Kitson who appeared on the show in episode eight[00:06:30].
Syd Kitson: You know, I think just … I think Florida in general needs more positive attention. It’s incredible when I travel around the country, how people still perceive Florida to be a place to come to retire, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. And I think that that word still needs to be spread around this country and around the world that Florida’s not just a place to retire, but there’s a world of opportunity for people who are young and all ages, [00:07:00] and just not only from a job perspective or to raise your family perspective, but an education perspective. The universities in Florida, the university system in Florida is like number one in the entire country this year, by US News World Report. So I think that that word needs to get out a little bit better that it’s not just for retirees down here in Florida.
Chris Cate: The next answer is from Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi who appeared on the show in episode [00:07:30] nine.
Pam Bondi: Well … Being a lifelong Floridian, of course. The Florida Everglades, and all of our beautiful parks, and waterways … That’s really something that I learned more about, being Attorney General. Carlton Ward. He’s a photographer. He’s incredible. He started the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition. It’s a film. It’s a documentary. You can go online and watch. It starts [00:08:00] at the tip of Miami, and they trek basically, all throughout the Everglades, and the Everglades are very important to me of course, and Florida forever. All throughout the Everglades, up through our entire state. I think the Everglades, and all of our beautiful parks and Florida, are so important.
If you’re gonna ask about a person … Law enforcement – Category. I can’t say one, because we had our law enforcement awards recently, [00:08:30] and there are so many great first responders, law enforcement officers, and our great men and women, who fight for our country. I tell anybody. If they pull you over for a speeding ticket, you go over and thank them. They’re out there every day, doing this to save our lives.
Chris Cate: The next answer is from ACLU Florida Executive Director Howard Simon who appeared on the show in episode 10.
Howard Simon: Let me say the thing, I … this voting issue. This voting issue, [00:09:00] this is a scandalous situation. We’ve got almost 25% of the adult black community in Florida, even though as I said earlier, most people who’ve lost their right to vote are white and not black, but almost 10 percent of Florida’s citizens are barred from voting. Now that I think about your question, I think it really is a good question [00:09:30] because I think so many people in Florida, come from somewhere else. Either they are immigrants from Central, South America, or here in Miami where I live, from Cuba. Or, they are retirees from the Midwest, or the northeast. So many people from the Midwest on the west coast of Florida, or the east coast on the east side of Florida.
I think people don’t [00:10:00] know the extent to which we are still tied to the Jim Crow rules that govern Florida that were nailed down in 1868. After Florida, a member of the confederacy had to … what they did when they were forced to rejoin the union and set up a system, a very complex system [00:10:30], of which the principal remaining one is taking away the right to vote for the rest of your life. I think most people are shocked when they learn about that.
They think that the system is, maybe they think it’s a system that’s governed by federal law. No it’s not governed by federal law, it’s left to the states. Maybe they think Florida is somewhat like their state, where, people go to prison and then they get their rights back when they “pay their debt to society.” [00:11:00] But no, it’s not like that in Florida, you lose your civil rights for the rest of your life.
This deserves more attention because it is a scandalous situation, it’s been maintained by politicians for their own benefit. It’s part of the way in which politicians manipulate who can vote so as to guarantee who can stay in office. I think it is the unfinished business of the civil rights movement.[00:11:30] It’s here in Florida.
Chris Cate: The last answer in this episode is from New York Times bestselling author and Tampa Bay Times reporter Craig Pittman who appeared on the show in episode 11.
Craig Pittman: I mentioned in the book that there’s this guy that we should all venerate, because he basically changed things for every Floridian and for people all over the country because he got copied. And that is a former state senator named Emory “Red” Cross, Red was his nickname.[00:12:00] Emory Cross was the guy who sponsored the Government in the Sunshine Law, and worked for 10 years to get it passed, constantly getting slapped back, couldn’t even get a committee hearing at first. And he finally pushed it through because he was so outraged that his colleagues in the legislature were getting tipped off as to where the route of Interstate 75 was going to go and then buying up property, and then making a big profit off of it. He said, “You know, the public needs to know about this stuff. The public needs to know how its tax dollars are being spent and how the government works.” [00:12:30] And so he finally was able to succeed in getting the sunshine law passed, and it became enormously influential across the rest of the country.
And every year the legislature kind of chips away at the sunshine law, but it’s still a hallmark of our government that we can go to … they have to tell us when they’re meeting, we get to go to the meetings, we get to stand up and comment on what the government’s doing, and we get to see what they’re up to. And if it weren’t for Red Cross a lot of this stuff that’s going on would be done in secret and we’d never know about it. So, why there’s not [00:13:00] a statue of him at the capital, I don’t know.
Chris Cate: Thanks for listening to the Fluent in Floridian podcast. If you aren’t subscribed to the podcast yet, I hope you’ll look us up and subscribe to the show on your favorite podcast app like Apple Podcast, Stitcher, or Google Play Music. If you leave a review that would be great too.
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