Despite holdout, Gators are toast of the House
Published: Friday, January 19, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 18, 2007 at 10:44 p.m.
There's at least one lawmaker who doesn't think it's great to be a Florida Gator.
U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., cast the lone "nay" during a House vote Tuesday on a resolution congratulating the University of Florida football team on its BCS National Championship win.
Kingston, a graduate of the University of Georgia, was the voice of lone dissent against the resolution backed by Florida's delegation. Kingston's "nay" took U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Ocala, and other lawmakers by surprise.
Stearns, in an e-mailed statement to The Sun, said Kingston told him he would have supported a resolution for the basketball team, but he simply couldn't for the football team.
Stearns said the congressman told him he was simply upholding a friendly SEC rivalry.
"His office is next to mine and I plan on offering him some of the genuine Buckeyes I received in my wager with Rep. Deborah Pryce, who represents Ohio State University," Stearns said. "After he tries one of these delicious peanut butter and milk chocolate Buckeyes officially licensed by Ohio State, I expect him to become a fervent member of the Gator Nation."
Kingston could not be reached for comment Thursday, but in a blog entry on his Web site, his legislative staff had this to write about the vote:
"Although we do feel that the Florida Gators did a great service by proving once again that the SEC is the elite conference in college football, as Georgia Bulldogs, we could support no such resolution. We encouraged Jack to vote against this resolution as we felt the constituents of the First District would want him to do so.
"Despite getting much grief for his vote from his House colleagues, he was able to deliver the fundamental message we wanted him to convey — GO DAWGS!"
U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, told The Sun that Kingston's vote was "disappointing" because Florida, like Georgia, is an SEC team and the point of the vote was to support UF for its achievement.
"Poor, poor Jack," Brown said with a chuckle. "He's such a poor loser. The University of Georgia didn't teach him about good sportsmanship. We gonna beat him again next year."
Deborah Ball can be reached at (352) 338-3109 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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