Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jan. 26: Chiles Family Should Walk Into Court Over Trust Fund

By Sylvia Gurinsky

"Walkin' Lawton" was the nickname of Lawton Chiles, who literally walked his way across the state of Florida in his first, winning campaign for the United States Senate in 1970, and then did it again 20 years later when he ran for governor - and also won.

Chiles, who died weeks short of leaving the governor's office in 1998, was a champion of the state's oldest, youngest and weakest residents. In his memory, the Lawton Chiles Endowment Fund was established to help the elderly and children gain access to health care.

Sadly, the legacy of "Walkin' Lawton" has given way to the reality of "Chameleon Charlie" - as in the current governor, Charlie Crist, who is threatening to raid the Chiles fund for the second year in a row to prop up the state budget. This while he proposes a tax cut for the wealthy - probably to satisfy those campaign donors who may be looking at Crist's shrinking poll numbers against Marco Rubio and thinking twice.

Chiles' family has threatened to sue the state over raids on the fund. They should walk into court and do just that.

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