tampabay.com

Crist gives State of the State today

By STEVE BOUSQUET
Published March 6, 2007


TALLAHASSEE - Speaking to an empty House chamber, Gov. Charlie Crist practiced his first State of the State address, which he will deliver to the Legislature today.

The 27-minute dry run hit on familiar themes such as the need to reduce property taxes, cut violent crime, expand stem cell research and require paper audit trails in future elections.

His speech is also expected to stress the need for civility and bipartisan cooperation.

Referring to public service as "this gift," Crist said in his practice speech, "I believe this Legislature will not waste this gift, and will not waste this trust."

Near the end of the speech, the Republican governor also quoted a famous Democrat, Robert F. Kennedy, who said: "Some men see things as they are and ask why; I dream things that never were and ask, 'Why not?' "

The State of the State address is the governor's chance to set a tone for the two-month legislative session that follows it.

Crist's speech, scheduled for 11 a.m., will be carried live on the Florida Channel. It also can be viewed at www.myflorida.com or www.flgov.com.

The Democratic response to Crist's speech will be given by freshman Rep. Bill Heller, D-St. Petersburg.