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Crist touts children's cabinet law
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published July 12, 2007
WILTON MANORS - Gov. Charlie Crist visited a South Florida center that works with abused and neglected children Wednesday to promote a new law that created the Children and Youth Cabinet.
"That's what it's all about," Crist said as he looked down at a group of children sitting on the floor before making his remarks. "It's about them."
The cabinet will consist of 15 members who will coordinate and examine state agencies that deliver children's services. Crist signed the bill (HB 509) last month, but visited the Kids in Distress center to do a ceremonial bill signing.
The cabinet will look at all children's needs - education, health, stable families - and come up with a long-term strategy on how they should be met, said Rep. Loranne Ausley, D-Tallahassee.
"Children don't have lobbyists. We've just been trying to give children a seat at the table. Well today, we're not just giving them a seat at the table, we're giving them the whole table," Ausley said. "That is remarkable. It is a historic step for Florida."
Crist, a Republican, noted in his remarks that the handful of lawmakers that joined him for the signing were Democrats, but said they were on the same team.
"I wish that some of our friends in Washington could learn from what these great people that I have the privilege of working with are doing. It's making an enormous difference," Crist said. "People don't like us to bicker and not get along, they like us to work for you."
Sen. Nan Rich, who sponsored the Senate version of the bill, praised Crist's efforts to work with Democrats.
"I don't even know how to even express the difference I feel with this man as governor," said Rich, D-Weston.
"What he said is true. It is about the people, it is about the children, it is not about partisan politics. These children are not Democrats or Republicans, these are children who need our assistance."