Click on the title to see FADP’s related press releases:
“Jeb Bush “Pining and Signing” for Votes”
“Victim’s Family Members Ask Governor and other politicians: “Please stop using our pain for political gain.”
While the Miami Herald sent a reporter, no report was ever published. This despite the fact that the Herald did publish a report by the same reporter under the headline, “Gov. Bush Capitalizes on execution debate.” That report centered on the fact that “In repeated appearances this week, the Republican Governor has injected the issue squarely into the race…” Hmmm…..
The following article from the Associated Press appeared under various headlines in the Tampa Tribune, the Tallahassee Democrat, the St. Augustine Record, the Naples Daily News, and many other papers….
Jul 16, 2002
Bush Hears From Citizens on Death Penalty, DCF By Ron Word
Associated Press Writer
LAKE CITY, Fla. (AP) – Gov. Jeb Bush defended his position on capital punishment and denied accusations of an anti-death penalty group Tuesday that he was using “victims’ pain for political gain.”
Bush and Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan held individual five-minute meetings with about 75 area residents at Lake City Community College in this north Florida city. The topics ranged from problems with the Department of Children & Families to education issues and an author who presented a copy of his book on Coral Castle to Bush.
Bush has held several open office sessions around Florida, including meetings in Bunnell, Yulee and Perry.
“A lot of people have problems in their life and they count on the government to help,” Bush said. “I love listening and I love helping people. There is a group of people we are going to be able to help.”
Abe Bonowitz, director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, and SueZann Bosler, whose father was fatally stabbed, visited with the governor for about 18 minutes.
Bosler, whose pastor father was murdered in 1986 in South Florida, opposes the death penalty and worked to help get her father’s killer a life sentence.
She said it was painful when the governor invoked the rights of victims when signing death warrants.
“Please don’t use victims’ pain for political gain,” she said.
The governor said he did not do that, although he strongly supports the death penalty.
“It is the law of the land. I have a duty to uphold the law,” Bush said.
Bonowitz suggested Florida impose a moratorium on executions, mentioning the 24 people removed from death row by court opinions.
“On the death warrants I’ve signed, I have absolutely no doubt that the people were guilty,” Bush said. “I am a devout Catholic,” the governor said. “I am at peace with my position.”
Many of those wanting to see the governor had issues involving DCF.
Janice Moesch, 41, of Fort Lauderdale, arrived at 5 a.m. Tuesday to grab the first spot in line to solve a problem with DCF.
The DCF has her two children in foster care and she has been fighting for 21 months to regain custody. She said the courts have determined she is a fit mother, but has been unable to get them back.
“These are my babies and that is my life,” she said, holding a picture of her 6-year-old daughter, Brittany, and 4-year-old son, Anthony.
Moesch said the governor and DCF officials promised to work on her case.
“I’m counting on him,” she said.
Bush said his administration has made progress on improving the agency but would continue to work to improve the system.
Joy Doll, 23, who was accompanied by her 3-year-old daughter, Christina Hudson, talked to the governor about the need for early childhood education.
“She went to a program where they just let them run wild. There need to be some instruction and some educational function,” she said.
During a break, the governor went outside with the child and swung her around on top of his head, saying, “Helicopter! Helicopter!”
One of the governor’s visitors wanted to give him a copy of a book he had written about Coral Castle near Homestead.
“Governor, I have no political agenda. I just want to present you with a novel,” he said.
Joe Bullard, a former employee at Lake City Community College, spent 16 years writing and researching his book, “Waiting for Agnes,” which chronicles the life of Ed Leedshalnin, the builder of Coral Castle.
Bush said he would place the book in the governor’s mansion library.
This story can be found at: http://ap.tbo.com/ap/florida/MGA2TQ49Q3D.html