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Politics

Dem U.S. Senate Candidates Kendrick Meek and Jeff Greene Shore Up Their Credentials

July 6, 2010 - 6:00pm


The two leading candidates in the race for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination spent Wednesday shoring up their credentials, with billionaire financier Jeff Greene unveiling his economic agenda while U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek highlighted his political experience by bringing out the endorsements of 39 local officials from across Florida.

With Florida remaining mired in a sluggish economy and still facing some of the highest unemployment figures in the nation, Greene highlighted his private-sector experience, hoping his ideas for putting people back to work will connect with voters in the Sunshine State.

The Greene campaign released a mailer to voters with information on their candidates background and his economic agenda.

"I am the only candidate for Senate who's actually created jobs,wrote Greene. I'm not a career politician. I'm a job creator who's met payrolls, cut expenditures, balanced multimillion-dollar budgets, and spread hope and opportunity to places that have never seen it before. In short, I've gotten results.

Greene also played up his working class background in the mailer.

"I was raised by loving parents, wrote Greene. As a boy I watched my dad lose his business when the textile mills in our town closed down. My family then moved to Florida in the '70s, where I washed dishes to help my family get by. I paid my own way through Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Business School. I built from scratch a successful real estate company and got results with the values my parents taught me: honesty, integrity and hard work."

Greene unveiled what he labeled the Jobs for Florida plan to revitalize the Sunshine States sluggish economy. The candidate focused on four areas: investing in small businesses, renewing commitments in green technology and clean energy, promoting the states agriculture industry and backing tax reform.

While most of Greenes proposals in the Jobs for Florida package stick with those areas, the campaign could not resist putting additional political items in their program. Under Greenes plan for backing small businesses in the Sunshine State, the campaign included opposing offshore oil drilling. Included in Greenes plan for pushing the states agriculture was an attack on pork-barrel projects, including the bridge to nowhere by name.

Despite the political points stuck in the jobs package, Greene focused on some of Floridas chief economic weaknesses. Noting the states housing market had collapsed, Greene said that unemployed construction workers could insulate and weatherize houses in Florida.

While Green focused on the economy, Meek, who is touring Florida this week, announced that his campaign was being endorsed by 39 local officials from across the state.

Just as Greene reminded voters of his humble roots in his mailing, Meek played up his background in law enforcement and local affairs.

I have a deep respect for local leaders who work tirelessly for the families that live in our communities, said Meek. It's an honor to have their endorsements. As a former state trooper and community leader, I'm no stranger to tackling issues on the local level. My fight has always been for middle-class Florida families -- not Wall Street banks, Big Oil or credit card giants. It's this fight for everyday Florida families that I will take with me to the United States Senate."

Meeks new endorsements include Mayor Michael Blake of Cocoa, Sheriff Jerry Demings of Orange County, Mayor Helen Franks of Gretna, Mayor Eric Jones of West Park, Sheriff Ken Mascara of St. Lucie County, Mayor Peggy Noland of Deerfield Beach, Mayor Truett George of Fort White and Mayor Roger Wishner of Sunrise.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com, or at 850-727-0859.

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