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Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

Silent Running

The term “silent running” is sometimes used to describe the standard operating procedure used by staff on a submarine when they wish to become as undetectable as possible. It involves the observation of “noise discipline,” minimizing noises which could alert other ship traffic to the presence of the submarine.   In this particular case though, we are referring to the Speaker of the House, Ray Sansom, not a submarine and its staff. 

According to the St. Pete Times:

For 2 months, Ray Sansom has been the silent Speaker.  He attends few events, holds no news conferences, gives few interviews and advances no vision of Florida’s future. 

That’s pretty unique for a legislator in one of the two supreme leadership positions in the Florida Legislature.  But it sounds like Sansom’s silence may be wearing thin on his fellow legislators, although they have not been voices in the wilderness, either.

Sansom’s low profile has cost him points with some members of his Republican caucus, who use words like “baffled” and “disappointed” to describe their feelings about Sansom’s actions.

They won’t speak for attribution because a whispered word from the speaker can mean life or death over a member’s legislation, pet project or coveted parking space.

Sansom’s prolonged silence comes at a difficult time for Republicans. After more than a decade in power in the Capitol, they face the most challenging economic time in the state’s modern history.

Some of his colleagues are eager for the inquiries to end in his favor before the regular session begins March 3, when the pressure on Sansom to emerge from hiding will intensify.

“We’re just waiting to see how it all plays out,” said Rep. Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater. “This can’t linger for two years. It simply cannot.”

As long as none of Sansom’s fellow legislators are willing to speak out publicly, I could definitely see this albatross  lingering around Sansom’s neck for the two years of his leadership tenure.   It’s a sad day when your legislators hold their parking spot or pet project in higher esteem than their moral values.

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