Offering hope for Florida


Published: Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 10, 2007 at 2:12 p.m.
When Charlie Crist was sworn is as Florida's 44th governor Jan. 2, he delivered a message of hope for a better, more-inclusive state. He pledged to overlook party politics and work with Floridians of many persuasions.
''Our mission has never been more clear: Solve problems, don't politicize them,'' the Republican said during his inaugural speech.
He added: ''We will work together to do what is right - and reject labels: red, blue; liberal, conservative; Democrat, Republican. There is only one label that really matters - its Floridian.''
The Florida Democratic Party wished ''Gov. Charlie Crist the best. We sincerely hope he is able to keep politics at arm's length from his office.''
Crist, 50, took his first step toward inclusion by signing an executive order to create the Office of Open Government. It will ''ensure that the people have accessibility to their leaders and the workings of their public officials.''
The goodwill will be tested soon.
On Jan. 16, the Legislature is scheduled to open a special session to lower the cost of property insurance, make it more available and reduce reliance upon the state-run insurer of last resort.
Then there is Crist's own list of promises: expand homestead exemption, reduce property taxes, and increase teacher pay and recruiting.
Will the new governor be able to push down governmental income with one hand, lift up its spending with the other, without breaking the bank or burdening local government - all the while maintaining harmony as one Florida?
These contradictory tasks will be difficult, but Crist brings hope. We wish him success.

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