Higher Education, Lower Political Influence

Higher Education, Lower Political Influence

Politicians are to Serve; Not be Served.

Bad legislature allows opportunities for politicians to serve themselves and their interests over the people’s.

We should be looking to reduce political influence and excess regulations in our education system wherever possible. 

In the past 2 years, Randy Fine has introduced bills or made statements which have directly damaged 6 of 12 schools in the State University System. 

Fine Sponsored the Florida House’s 2020 ‘Naming Rights Bill

CS/HB 7073 was bad business for all of Florida’s colleges and universities as it effectively transferred the property rights of the venues from the colleges and universities to the powers of the State Legislature.  I would characterize this power-play as theft: taking from the schools and student athletes and giving to the powerful.  

This horrendous bill highlights the key question:  Who is in the best position to make decisions that will affect collegian’s education and college experiences in a positive way; the university they attend or the politicians who are protecting their special interest donors?  

From an economic perspective, this bill was bad business for all of Florida’s citizenry except for the politicians.  It’s in the State of Florida’s citizenry’s interest for our colleges and universities to thrive since a great State University System and Florida College System is good for our economy and for our residents.

Each state university is governed by a Board of Trustees which are the university’s legal owners and final authority. Six members are appointed by the Governor, 5 are appointed by the Board of Governors, and the chair of the university’s Faculty Senate and president of the Student Government Association complete the Board.   

Why would Randy Fine and his political power brokers friends feel the need to bypass all those assigned the duty of oversight by our Florida Constitution?  There can only be one reason:  Political power play!

Threat to Shutdown UCF

One of the most outrageous statements that the incumbent legislator from House District ever made was his suggestion that the lack of oversight at the University of Central Florida was so egregious that it deserved to closed.

In February 2019, Fine, the Chairman of the House Education Appropriations Subcommittee stated at one of his committee’s meetings, “If this was a private business I owned, I’d shut it down.”  In fact, he said he was “working on a five- or ten-year shutdown of the university” because of its dearth of “corporate governance.”

These comments were made after, in the Summer of 2018, the state auditor general’s office flagged unspent operating funds budgeted for Trevor Colbourn Hall.  The usage of operating funds for capital expenses; in this case replacing a dilapidated academic building for students, was technically against the rules, but common practice. UCF paid back the fund with the appropriate monies, did a full investigation and put processes and oversight in place to avoid such mistakes in the future. 

The suggestion that UCF should be closed for such mistakes was extraordinarily draconian and clearly inappropriate.  

More appropriate, wise, prudent legislative action would have been to suggest and ensure that administrators are educated as to the State spending rules and that the university’s oversight and self-auditing be improved so that such problems are not repeated, actions that UCF has naturally implemented. 

I am running because of who Randy Fine is, but more importantly for who he is not.  We need a level-headed, thoughtful, judicious Legislator with integrity, respect for others and who will collaborate.

UCF President Dale Whittaker

A university’s success is dependent more than any other matrix on its leadership.  UCF’s President Dale Whittaker rose through the UCF ranks and was beloved by all, in both his position as President and previously when he served as Provost.  

However, amidst the misspending probe over Trevor Colbourn Hall, Randy Fine bullied President Whittaker and UCF administration, resulting in Whittaker’s and two other administrators’ firings.  Fine’s behavior indicated to me that his most important goal is making a name for himself and that he doesn’t seem to ever care who he destroys in the process.  

I agree with the entire UCF community who all firmly believe that President Whittaker served the UCF community well and in the best interest of the university.  His selection was highly vetted, the decision was made with the utmost scrutiny and in the best interest of the success of the University and its students.

This is one of many examples of Fine’s bullying tactics all of which serve only to feed his ego and fame but have negative effects on the entire state of Florida.

New College and Florida Polytechnic

The incumbent filed CS/HB 7087 on February 10, 2020.  This bill proposed shuttering the administrations of both New College and Florida Polytechnic and transferring their administrative functions to UF and FSU.  

Some of the major problems with this bill, however, were that he (1) never spoke with UF, FSU, New College or Florida Polytechnic before filling, (2) the bill was not openly discussed in his committee, (3) the bill had no plan, (4) the transfer would happen in 4 months with no thought, substance or discussion, (5) no one liked it.  Even worse, I later observed him lie to all the legislators at House Education Committee in a televised meeting.  He also ignored my correspondences and misled the public with skewed data and rhetoric.

If you would like to see the Tallahassee Democrat article where FSU President John Thrasher said “I didn’t know about it until it was filed,” see the following link.


This Motivated Me to Run

Seeing the incumbent’s disrespect for and lack of collaboration with UF, FSU, New College, Florida Polytechnic, UCF and FAU during this past legislative session prompted me to run.

The incumbent’s incomprehensible and misguided attempt to merge New College and Florida Polytechnic with other Universities was the last straw. 

In my strongly held opinion, in no shape, form or fashion has the incumbent advocated for his constituents in the realm of higher education during the past 2 years. Instead, I believe that he has represented himself and the interest groups that give him money. He has also been a bully, a narcissist, and frequently and illegally blocked those he represents from communicating with him.

I decided plainly and simply that it is time for his recklessness to come to an end.  As such, I am running because of who Randy Fine is, but more importantly for who he is not.   

I believe that the citizenry of South Brevard deserves a Representative with integrity, respect for others and sees the need for collaboration.  I will be that Representative.

Below are links to several articles from various news outlets in the state that highlight these very issues.





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