Peterman gives up committee post
By STEVE BOUSQUET, Times Staff Writer
TALLAHASSEE -- To most Florida legislators, a place on the budget-writing Appropriations Committee is a plum assignment.
And a seat on the subcommittee on education spending is valued most of all.
But Rep. Frank Peterman, a St. Petersburg Democrat, is giving up his seat.
Peterman, 40, cited the demands of his family and his new calling as pastor of the Rock of Jesus Missionary Baptist Church in St. Petersburg.
Serving on the appropriations committee is one of the most influential and time-consuming jobs in the Capitol. Budget meetings frequently grind along on Friday afternoons, long after many lawmakers have gone home. Meetings often last late into the night in the session's final weeks.
Peterman had listed education appropriations as one of his top committee preferences, and House Speaker Johnnie Byrd, R-Plant City, had granted him his wish.
"But right after that, a major commitment happened right here, in the city of St. Pete," Peterman said of his recent pastorship. "Between that and family obligations I just wouldn't have the time that I knew I would need for that position."
The Peterman family's youngest child, their fourth, is 4 months old.
"It took a lot of prayer and a lot of conversations with family members and friends," Peterman said. "This is the year. This is the year to fight the good fight on issues dealing with education, but there are some levels of commitment that are even higher than that.
"God and family have to come first," he said.
Byrd has not named a replacement. Another Pinellas lawmaker, Rep. Charlie Justice, D-St. Petersburg, is one of four Democrats on the appropriations committee.
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