At the McCollum for Governor, African-American coalition roll-out the other day a journalist asked me why as an “African-America” I was supporting Attorney General Bill McCollum for Governor when he failed to sign legislation creating a holiday during his tenure as a Congressman for Martin Luther King Day.
I gave the journalist a blank stare, like are you %$#%^ kidding me, all the while thinking to myself your barking up the wrong tree! I then brought myself together and explained this response could take a while. So, I kindly and politely asked the reporter if they had ten minutes or if he wanted a five second sound bite. Thankfully, he allowed me ten minutes.
First and foremost, I am an American. See, when I get on a plane to cross the Atlantic Ocean to visit my family in Europe the world changes. Unlike America, Europeans see American or European not African-American, Irish, Italian, or Hispanic America, etc.
Second, with reference to the vote, McCollum is a frugal and Conservative man and that is how he was raised like many American families and while in hindsight the vote was not against Civil Rights as some ignorant people claim, but it was against spending more of the public’s money on another federal holiday which happened to be MLK Day. We are all human and hopefully learn from our mistakes.
I explained that I do not say this with trepidation or mince my words I say this with conviction, passion, and the truth! See there is an innate fiscal, political, and policy difference between liberal, moderates and conservatives when it comes down to life, and it is reflective in economics. My wife for example is German! Matter of fact, she is Schwaben.
Schwaben’s are from present day Baden-Württemberg and they are conservative/frugal, clever, entrepreneurial and hard-working people, and similar to how our family was raised to be! More importantly, Baden-Wurttemberg is one of the most successful states in modern day Germany. Maybe if we were more frugal with the public’s money we would not be in the financial mess we are in today and maybe with a conservative Governor like McCollum we too can have one of the most successful states in American.
Please, let me continue to explain what I know of the man Bill McCollum. Besides his credentials he is a family man who is devoted, and compassionate. Attorney General McCollum is a highly intelligent legal mind who knows the Constitution and the law, which makes him the best legislator, leader and potential next Governor of Florida. He has and will fight for the convictions of the people he represents. This is a man with a wealth of knowledge in military, intelligence, foreign, banking, tourism, energy, and agriculture affairs to name a few. McCollum has been devoted to public service since he was first elected in 1981. He has also served proudly in our American military as a Naval JAG Officer, and today Florida’s current Attorney General. He is a devoted husband and father all the while putting his constitutes and the peoples business first.
He was on the front lines with President Reagan and Vice President Bush when the first conversation arose regarding terrorism, and he sponsored legislation that was signed by the President of the United States a feat back in that day was in and of itself.
As a public servant representing the 5th and 8h District in Florida he answered each and every piece of mail that was sent to his office. He also utilized the franking privilege as a representative to inform his constituents of what he was doing in Washington for his constituents. But, what truly was impressive about Attorney General McCollum during his tenure in Washington from 1981-2000 was that he flew home to his district every weekend, he never made DC his home, never boozed it up, and was not in the Good Ole Boys Club as some would have you think.
He went to Congress to work, and that is what he did, worked tireless on the peoples business, and made his staff do the same, and I am sure he would do the same as Governor of Florida in 2010.
Honestly, having grown up in Tinseltown of the east – the Nations Capitol we know fake politicians when we see them! Our family like many other Floridians can say the same and that is we have always been impressed with McCollum and have been for 26 years. As we were ending the conversation the journalist asked me how I knew so much about McCollum’s, and I stated proudly with a slight tear in my eye that, that young Congressman McCollum provided me an opportunity to work in his Washington, DC Congressional Office as a Systems Analyst. The Systems Analyst is the person responsible for answered the Congressman’s mail, which meant that I had the pleasure of working with the Congressman, his Chief of Staff, Director of Congressional and Legislative Affairs on how best to answer inquires from the district. The Congressman answered each and every piece of mail himself. I am sure he does the same today!
I then posed the question to the journalist if Attorney General McCollum was such a bad man as many claim he is by not sponsoring MLK legislation would he had offered a young, tall, curly haired kid like me an opportunity to work in his DC office at 19? I don’t thing so! The journalist looked at me dumfounded, and stunned.
Finally, I stated with today’s political and economic climate in the state of Florida, McCollum is the best candidate for Governor. As Governor, McCollum can through his impressive network and knowledge working with diverse groups can increase tourism, provide the guidance to revamp the education system and assist students maximize their talents like he assist me during our 25 year friendship. As Governor McCollum can maximize the economies of scale and increase exporting of goods out of Florida as well as attract new and different business to Florida such as car manufactures, parcel services, and the like, and potentially increase trade with the Caribbean rim, all the while working to bring the Republican National Convention to Florida so to spark that economic engine on top three industry of Tourism, Agriculture, and Energy.
McCollum has the perfect Grand Ole Party Chairman in Senator John Thrasher, and a more conservative legislature so to bring Florida out of the doldrums as Governor of Florida in 2010. And, looking forward to the next Presidential Election I am sure those contest will bring more economic revenue to the state of Florida with a Republican Governor considering our 27 Electoral College votes, and the importance of this state as the 5th largest than with a novice Democratic Governor.
Derek Boyd Hankerson
Freedom Road I, LLC
Hankerson is a graduate of Webster University School of Business and Technology with a masters degree in management and leadership. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland and completed graduate studies in organizational communications at Bowie State University.