Gov. Charlie Crist


Published: Tuesday, January 2, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 1, 2007 at 11:33 p.m.
Today begins a new chapter in Florida leadership with the inauguration of Gov. Charlie Crist. Crist is an affable veteran of state politics and government who ran as the "people's governor" and who promised to carry on the "Jeb Bush legacy."
But in the days since his election, Crist has sent strong signals - through his appointments, by reaching out to Democrats, in his decision to downplay his inauguration festivities and return donations to special interests and so on - that he does not intend to be a Jeb Bush clone, but rather his own man.
That's good news. Whatever his accomplishments, and however high his popularity ratings, Jeb Bush was too partisan, too driven by ideology and too rigid in his unwillingness to listen to the ideas of others.
During his campaign, Crist was often slammed by opponents as a candidate without firm convictions who would change his position as the political winds shifted. Those criticisms were exaggerated and unfair, but the truth is that after eight years of Bush's uncompromising rule, having a chief executive possessed of a certain flexibility and an open mind will be a refreshing change.
Gov. Crist's mettle will be tested soon enough. A special session to deal with the insurance crisis is just around the corner, and the regular session will bring a property tax crisis and other problems to be dealt with. In the coming weeks and months there will be ample opportunity for Floridians to learn more about who this new governor really is and what he really stands for.
In the meantime, today is a day to welcome Gov. Crist to the job. A day to celebrate a fresh new chapter in Florida's unfolding story.

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