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Nancy Smith

Anitere Flores, on the Edge of a Black Hole

April 8, 2017 - 6:00am

Bright-eyed Anitere Flores -- with that arresting smile, the bounce in her step and so much time, it seemed, to hear out all comers -- entered the Republican Senate in 2010 with as much promise as I'd ever seen in a freshman.

She was a breath of fresh air.

Fast-forward to 2017 and so many are asking themselves, what happened?

The promise is gone, say senators throughout her caucus. It's been soured by ... what? Ambition? Opportunity? A change of allegiance to principles perhaps she held all along but didn't realize or reveal?

They plain don't like what they see anymore.

I Beg to Differ

Flores, 41, is Senate President Joe Negron's No. 2. She is president pro tempore, one of the chief water carriers for her boss -- the senator Negron heralded last November as a "loyal friend and trusted ally."

Maybe it's only jealousy on the part of senators left behind. 

Then again, maybe the heaped-on praise went to her head, who knows?

The point is, when I ask GOP senators where Flores goes from here, when Negron's gavel isn't propping her up -- I usually get a wry smile or a shrug or worse: an answer.

It's as if the senator from Miami, first Republican Hispanic woman to serve in both the Florida House and Senate since 1986, is poised on the edge of a black hole. What happens when Negron isn't there to keep her from the edge?

Already this session her party has gonged her twice.

The first time came early in the 2017 session when Flores, previously a gun-rights proponent, declared war on the majority of gun bills before the Legislature. 

On March 8, Marion Hammer, NRA lobbyist and past president, issued a Florida Alert to all NRA members that Flores had come out against the Second Amendment by publicly stating her intent to kill several pro-gun bills. How? By joining Democrats and not allowing the bills out of her committee. She unleashed the full ire of the pro-gun lobby, winning the nickname "Madame DLP". The DLP is a reference to Miguel De La Portilla who lost re-election after obstructing pro-gun bills in the same committee. 

The latest notice that Flores' horizon has darkened came from the Wall Street Journal a week ago ("Category 5 Flores: A Florida Republican Keeps a Trial Bar Payday Going for Another Year"). International attention from a conservative newspaper generally kind to Republicans.

They weren't to Flores.

"Florida homeowners might want to remember the name Anitere Flores when they open their next insurance bill," the WSJ editorial begins. "The South Florida Republican this week blocked an effort to stop a plaintiffs attorney scheme that’s endangering the state’s taxpayer-backed catastrophic insurer and sending premiums skyrocketing."

The opinion regales the story of Flores' failure to allow the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee, of which she is chairman, to hear Republican Sens. Dorothy Hukill and Kathleen Passidomo's bill that finally would stop "assignment of benefits" abuse by ending attorney fee paydays, among other reforms. 

Bills that don't get a hearing die, plain and simple.

Instead, says the editorial, Flores -- who, like Negron, is an attorney -- "placed two bills on her committee’s agenda sponsored by Democrat Gary Farmer, who used to run Florida’s trial-bar lobby. Mr. Farmer’s bills would keep the attorney fee game going, among other bad ideas. Floridians had better hope a Category 5 hurricane doesn’t hit the state this year ..."

So, let's see. Lining up sides, what groups besides the trial bar and the Democrats favor Farmer's bill? None that I can find.

Flores had her reasons for doing what she did, I guess -- though most Republicans still don't get it. But she never told the Wall Street Journal what they were.

She can't find an answer for the Wall Street Journal?

I understand her not returning my call -- but I ask you: Who doesn't call back the Wall Street Journal?

Senators were questioning Flores' governing style long before I approached them. One lawmaker told me, "Anitere is always late. She keeps people waiting. Maybe she doesn't think it matters. She says she's going to do something but doesn't. I believe she's bitten off more than she can chew."

Said another, "She's either drunk with power or she can't say no to Joe (Negron)."

Flores is chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services; chair of Banking and Insurance; vice chair of Appropriations; and she sits on the Education, Judiciary and Rules committees -- plus the Joint Legislative Budget Commission. 

Busy lady. But in two years, you have to ask yourself, what will be left of the young legislator with so much promise? Stand back, Senator, don't look down.

Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at 228-282-2423. Twitter: @NancyLBSmith

Comments

Is she trying to pull a Crist?

She is just doing what she is being paid to do...and paid well...

Congrats to Senator Anitere Flores for being a real leader.... not a "Hammer Puppet". she votes like the people of her district want and not some yahoo like most Bought No.Florida Senators & a few SSN trolling Neo-cons! Remember her district voted for Obama & Hillary! But trolling Neo-Cons know nothing about the truth!

Well, well, she will meet the same fate as De la Portilla... I bet my Cuban coffee on that.

Hmmmmmm. Well, as much as Sen. Flores gets blamed for what she is doing or not doing as chair, the real power (which is weak) Sen. Negron is giving his blessings to her turncoat style. Just another run of the mill puppet politicians that Florida can do without.

Republicans are equally as troubled by Anitere. Flores is more beholden to special interests and the power she derives from them than the people who elected her.

Maybe she has a mind of her own and a conscience. This gun craze is totally out of control. The majority of Floridians are very upset about the idea of having guns everywhere. She is much more in touch with the people of Florida than you obviously are Nancy.

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, (the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.) in·fringe (Definition) ... act so as to limit or undermine (something); encroach on. "his legal rights were being infringed" synonyms: restrict, limit, curb, check, encroach on. Reflect on that... However if you prefer to live under a dictatorship, there are several countries you can try, none of them... Recognize ANY RIGHTS.

I will add that - perhaps the Republican Party in general is on the edge of a black hole.

A black hole of huge amounts of special interest money - and they are trying to drag all of us into the hole with them.

This is an interesting article and as a limited government Republican who values Education I believe Senator Flores is wrong on just about everything. Still, the idea that Flores is at the end of the line is silly. What does any elected official do at Tue end of their term? They go do something else. If she doesn't run for higher office she may go run for a county office, some would of which pay much better than the legislature, and perhaps run for higher official down the road when the right window opens. Plenty of money to be made outside of elected office in the education exploitation industry. Or she might go be a lawyer. Or do something else. I don't think she will be college ting unemployment checks any time soon.

Nancy, One question: did you contact Senator Flores before writing this smear piece?

I thought I made it clear that I had tried when I said I understand why Flores wouldn't call me back but not the Wall Street Journal.

Show me an Hispanic who's a Republican (and who's also a lawyer, to boot); and I'll show you someone who "ran for office" under false pretenses on a "cross-ticket candidacy"... Female "Imposters" of this nature will do & say ANYTHING to get elected, employed, married, discounts, promoted, better positions in lines, etc., etc... They're like beautiful "flowers", until they "get their way",...and then they become venemous, demanding, "control freaks".....or politicians.....(Take your pick.... BUT be careful )!!!!!

What an absolutely racist comment!

Well "Raymond", let's see,... there's a little "something" called... Hmmmm, OH YEAH!.. "Freedom of Speech" !.. (Get yourself a copy of our Constitution "Raymond"...and you won't even have to stress your limited 'learning experience" too far if you just read the 'first amendment'. (Bet YOU call everyone who disagrees with your limited "experience" a "racist"; So sad, but predictable...

No anonymous, C Breeze is racist. Not because of the fact that I disagree with just about everything comments. He is a racist and feminist as well. Not to long ago he wanted to take the rights away from women voting when Trump made he infamous comments about grabbing them by the... and just like you said it is my 1st amendment right to call him a racist.

She's a typical South Florida RINO.

Yes, and 1.7 million concealed carry permit VOTERS and their families (and the NRA) will surely remember Anitere Flores' disgraceful disrespect to those who put her in the office. Nothing more than a Bloomberg puppet!

Her education bill is bad too. Then she let a few amendments in from Senator Montford's good education bill. Senator Lee called that plagiarism. She is a puppet for The Foundation for Florida's Future.

Senator Flores is going to clean house. And those of us in Florida who care about responsible government applaud.

Lol... she needs to start with her own dirty deeds.

Democrats caring about "responsible government"...I think you missed April Fools day by a few there Robert...

If you read his postings, you know Mr. Warner is a Democrat. His comment sums up the GOP's problem with this senator. Good article. We've all noticed what's happened to Anitere but few want to put it all on the table like this.

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