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To Tallahassee and Back: Ring Out the Old and Ring in the New in 2013!

2013 stands before us like an unread book fresh out of the Amazon box or the library bag. It is ready to be picked up, opened and put to use.

We have probably had our fair share of “2012 in Review” columns.  Likewise, all the projections for what could happen in the new year may make your head spin.  So, I thought about how I should use this space as 2013 stands before us like an unread book fresh out of the Amazon box or the library bag. It is ready to be picked up, opened and put to use  I think there are a few things to point out about the year that has passed into history, and perhaps a comment or two about what may be on the road that stretches ahead.

Since our lives are really about people, those we know and love and care for, I felt it was important to recall those friends who have passed from this world into the greater glory of God’s presence. I limit these mentions only to those whom I wrote about in this blog during the past year. If you want to read the original posts you are more than welcome to open the archive folder and read them in far greater detail.

Charlie Skelton, the human embodiment of the Richey Suncoast Theatre, passed away last summer after a sudden illness took him away, all too soon, from all who knew and loved him (posted August 9, 2012).  His courageous wife Marie vowed at his memorial, and has made good on that vow, to carry on the theater in his name.  She has continued to produce quality shows in downtown New Port Richey.   Charlie Skelton will never be forgotten.  Marie will make sure of that, as will all the good people who have made the Theatre a second home.

As summer turned into fall, our good friend in the Capitol City, Fred Martin, passed away (posted October 4, 2012).  “The nicest man in Tallahassee” is how I described Fred to interns and co-workers alike.  This unassuming lobbyist was the picture of gentlemanly behavior which earned him the love and respect of people on both sides of the aisle.  The halls of the Capitol are a little quieter since his passing.

The untimely passing of Steve Madden hit close to home (posted October 25, 2012).  He and I were not only close in age we both have young children at home.  Having known Steve from the start of my own career in state government his passing shook me deeply.  After a long and brave fight Steve left this world to carry his laugh and bear hugs into God’s Kingdom.  As with Fred’s passing, the byways of the state capitol building will carry a little less good humor due to the loss of this fine gentleman.

As we look towards tomorrow is it fair to ask this question: when this year ends will we better off than when it first began?    Being a non-election year we will have a break from the endless campaigning that marked so much of 2012, and that will be a relief for many.   The Florida Legislature, which will soon be in full swing, with interim committee meetings necessitating frequent trips by Representative Mike Fasano to and from the Capitol, all followed by the start of the regular legislative session on March 5.  Instead of reapportionment and related issues that dominated 2012, other big issues will take up considerable time in the months ahead.  Building a state budget, handling the state’s reaction to the federal Affordable Care Act and a host of other topics will occupy the time of our elected officials.

Representative Fasano's priorities include Citizens Property Insurance Reform, advance nuclear cost recovery repeal, and toughening pill mill laws.  Additionally, ethics reform and greater standards for assisted liviing facilities are also on his drawing board, all ready to be considered by his legislative colleagues.

Only time will tell if 2013 proves to be a success, or slightly less than one.  This space will take it one week at a time!

Have a blessed New Year!  If you have any questions about any aspect of state government, the legislative process, or would like to learn more about a specific topic relating to Florida politics, please leave me a comment.  I will gladly address your thoughts and concerns in an upcoming blog post.   

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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