Mandatory Reading for Freshmen Legislators

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Because of term limits, most legislators today know John Phellps as the Staff Director of the Senate Rules Committee.  They may not know this statesman among us was the Clerk of the Florida House from 1986 to 2006!  Before him, was a clerk named Dr. Allen Morris.  He literally wrote the book on Florida Government.

That’s exactly why they compiled the most interesting book you will ever get from the Clerks Office called Reconsiderations. 

The future Speaker Haber (pictured) was set-up by Chairman Gersten for this unfriendly photo-op that drew unwanted attention to a multi-million dollar appropriation he secured for his district. When Haber became Speaker that November, the porking prankster Gersten was chairman of nothing and his prestigious committees were only a memory!


This is the original insider gossip!

Phellps and Morris explain that in “the Office of the Clerk there is row after row of Journals of the House, stretching back to 1845 and representing the labors of legislators vaguely known, if at all, only to their descendants. I am at times overwhelmed with sorrow as legislators who were cocks of the walk as chairmen of prestigious committees a few Legislatures ago enter the Chamber during a session and walk about unrecognized or unrecognizing.”

Alan Morris and John Phellps are true statesmen who claim to only be the work’s “compilers and recorders.” 

It was truly a group effort, It’s the legislators who remember the stories and impart their wisdom. This book belongs to them. It belongs as well to the people of Florida who will discover in its pages a legislature possessed of all the virtues and frailties of humankind. Reconsiderations

The cartoons were drawn by Representative Betty Easley. Photographers Donn Dughi and Mark Foley contributed the pictures from years past of events that legislators recalled. Miami Herald  Reporter John B McDermott even contributed with memories from the Senate.

Bold faced names like Buddy MacKay learned the hard way from Dempsey Barron about how small and rural counties don’t want to be bothered by Tallahassee:

“Buddy MacKay remembers a time he attended a political function in Taylor County and noticed that Dempsey Barron, who represented the county in the Senate, was absent.  After asking one of the locals why Barron did so well in Taylor County, MacKay was told, “You know why we like Dempsey Barron? He’s never been here in 14 years. We like that.”

Or how even Miami didn’t want to be bothered by Tallahassee back then.  On page 83 of the PDF (printed 75) is a story about how Miami’s Senator R. B. “Bunn” Gautier beat the Pork chop Gang in 1955 to get home rule for Dade County.

Here’s a doosey from Governor Millard F. Caldwell about how dogracing came to Florida.  When he was a freshman house member, he heard many members were taking bribes.  He sundered up to a colleagues desk and said, That’s all right. You just go by and point that finger at the paymaster and tell him it’s six or no dice.”

Find out the end to these anecdotes and more at Reconsiderations