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Gubernatorial candidate says he wants reform

He acknowledges it will be a challenge, but Max Linn hosted a gathering at his Reform Party office to share his ideas.

By ASHLEE CLARK
Published August 7, 2006


Dixie Mines is sick of her political party.

On Sunday, the registered Republican was ready to consider voting for a third-party candidate for governor.

"I feel like if you send the Republican Party a message, maybe they'll do right," said Mines, 65, of St. Petersburg.

Mines was one of about 80 people who gathered at political activist Max Linn's headquarters on Central Avenue to celebrate the Reform Party member's bid for governor and discover the candidate's stance on political hot topics. The event included a face-painting pirate, free food and time with Linn.

Many attendees were Reform Party supporters. Others were like Mines, ready to see a change in the two-party political system.

Angel Retamar, 51, of St. Petersburg came "to meet the man who's running."

"Everybody says the same thing, but I'm trying to find someone who means what they're saying," he said.

Linn, 46 of Treasure Island, outlined some of the areas in his developing platform: education (at least a $50,000 salary for teachers), insurance (making sure the wealthy pay their share) and prison reform (a two-tiered system for violent and nonviolent offenders).

"It's going to be a campaign based on what I believe in," Linn said Sunday.

The former financial adviser has recruited some big names in the Reform Party and contributed $1-million of his own money to his campaign.

Russell Verney, who worked with Ross Perot during his presidential race in 1996, is Linn's director of operations. And Linn's campaign manager is Doug Friedline, who was Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura's campaign manager.

Linn, Verney and Friedline said there are obstacles Linn faces as a third-party candidate in a high profile race, including establishing credibility and name recognition.

Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher and Attorney General Charlie Crist are running for the Republican nomination. U.S. Rep. Jim Davis and state Sen. Rod Smith are vying for the Democratic nomination.

As president of Florida Citizens for Term Limits, Linn advocated for eight-year terms for lawmakers. In 1990, he ran for the Republicans for a state Senate seat but dropped out.

Ashlee Clark can be reached at (727) 445-4158 or aclark@sptimes.com.

[Last modified September 4, 2006, 07:21:35]


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