Saturday, April 16, 2016

U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw will be missed

Sorry to see U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw is retiring at the end of the 114th Congress. A member of an endangered species -- a reasonable, bipartisan, rational Republican -- a class act. He will be missed.

Good editorial on the retirement of Representative Ander Crenshaw, an effective bipartisan Republican Congressman from Jacksonville.

However, lacking political and governmental knowledge, our unsophisticated St. Augustine Record once again grossly errs by driving under the inference, and incorrectly supposing that Rep. Crenshaw became our Congressman after the court-ordered redistricting (which is untrue, as the redistricting takes effect for the 115th Congress for members of the House of Representatives elected on November 8, 2016). No, "our guy" is still that louche uncouth youth RONALD DION DeSANTIS (R-6th/Koch Industries), who does not giver a fig about our people, our environment , our history or our District, and is struggling to win the Republican nomination to represent the Koch Brothers in Congress.

Otherwise a good tribute to a decent man, reasonable for a Republican, whom we were looking forward to having as our Congressman from St. Augustine in the 115th Congress, effective January 3, 2017:

Editorial: Crenshaw retirement leaves an uneasy political vacuum in Northeast Florida
Posted: April 15, 2016 - 12:07am | Updated: April 15, 2016 - 4:50am

Rep. Ander Crenshaw’s announcement of impending retirement took constituents and political colleagues by surprise this week. Now that the surprise is wearing off, the loss should be sinking in.

Crenshaw is a dying breed. He was a straight-shooters, a plain-talker and a peacemaker throughout his exceptionally long career in Florida politics. He might be called a political dinosaur today, whose integrity, ironically, may have pushed his career to the point of extinction. Though he did not say it out loud, those who know him suspect that his departure may be at least partially in response to the shallow, bitter free-fall that Congress has taken over the past eight years.

It’s a game he may no longer have the stomach to watch, let alone play. It’s not where he came from.

Many politicians talk of their political careers, but Crenshaw actually made a “career” of public service. It began just a couple of years after graduation from law school at UF in 1970. In 1972 he ran a successful campaign for the Florida House where he served three terms.

Later he returned to politics, elected to the Florida Senate from 1986 to 1994. He was, at the time, the first Republican Senate President in over 100 years. It’s telling that he led the Senate in 1992 when its members were split 20-20 by party. He had to work both sides of the aisle to move legislation ahead. In an interesting deal, he agreed to serve as Senate President for only one year, rather than the normal two-year term, because of the even split of Senators.

Between his stints in the state House and Senate, Crenshaw unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. Senate in 1980. Upon leaving the state Senate, he ran a campaign for governor in 1994. He was defeated by Jeb Bush.

In 2000, Crenshaw was again drawn back to politics, and won former Rep. Tillie Fowler’s congressional seat. He’s currently in his eighth term.

St. Johns County is the poster child of having only freshman leadership in the state legislature. Our delegation, Reps. Cyndi Stevenson and Paul Renner and Sen. Travis Hutson, all took office for the first time last year. This causes an unavoidable void in power, in a system where pecking order is based on seniority.

While Crenshaw has not been “our” guy in St. Johns County in the past, he is now, after the recent redistricting.
We’ve already lost a second local delegate, Rep. Ron DeSantis, who is leaving the House to seek the seat Sen. Marco Rubio vacated for his unsuccessful run at the presidency. And longtime Rep. Corrine Brown has yet to qualify for a district that was completely redrawn last year. She has sued to overturn the redistricting, and that remains undecided.

But most insiders agree that she is very vulnerable in the new district that stretches from Jacksonville to Tallahassee. She is also under investigation by the Justice Department for her part in a nonprofit scam. The House Ethics Committee also opened its own probe into her activities last month.

So we could end up with all freshman delegates in Congress — a strange déjà vu of our Florida House profile.

Thus far, no St. Johns County names have come up in the flurry of rumors circulating since Crenshaw’s announcement. An open Congressional seat is a rare political plum many want to pick.

The mix in the new district is Duval County with 58 percent of the voters, St. Johns with about 30 percent and Nassau has the other 12 percent. If more than a couple of Duval heavyweights enter the fray for Crenshaw’s seat, a St. Johns County candidate could easily compete. We’ll see.

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