Courtesy photo Paula House is running for the District 26 seat in the Florida Senate.
published: Sunday, October 21, 2012
House: no 'quick fix' for state financial problems
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
LAKE PLACID -- Paula House is a Democrat running for the state senate District 26 seat.
Like many people in Highlands County, she moved here when a parent needed her help in 2007.
"I came to take care of Dad," she said. "I tried to take him to Maine, but it was his fondest wish to live in Florida."
House said she grew up in a small Illinois farming community where people were neighborly and cared about one another. "Highlands County has a familiar feel," she said.
After college, House became a public school teacher, then went to law school and served as a county and public prosecutor. She developed her own private practice and is a certified mediator. She is a member of the Florida Bar and still practices law.
House said she has always been involved in politics.
"My sense of Florida (before I arrived) was that it was not a serious place to live. Its government," she added, "does not have a good reputation outside the state."
Then she became involved locally, especially on environmental and conservation issues. She got to know Democrats and Republicans, farmers and ranchers who shared her concerns. "I was surprised to find we hit it off," she said. "We want to preserve endangered species and the last frontiers of wilderness."
While becoming active with the Highlands County Democratic Women's Club -- she is a past president -- she hadn't seriously thought about running for office.
Then she discovered no one had challenged State Senator Bill Galvano, who is running for re-election.
The lack of an alternative, "was more than I could bear," House said. "I asked the (Democratic) leadership who was going to step up. No one was. Well, I really care," she said she told herself, "and what's wrong with running for office? You just can't sit on the sidelines holding your head in your hands."
Her first concern, House said is housekeeping in the legislature. "They passed a batch of bad laws, like mandated ultrasound for women, voter suppression laws and drug testing poor people. It costs $30 just to apply for the test." She added the legislature is wasting money and court time in defending appeals to law suits brought about because of those decisions.
"It's just mean-spirited," she said. "What we need is a predictable, responsible guarantee of the future, like land use that makes sense. Right now it's the opposite of what be happening. They've failed miserably in managing development Florida."
She is concerned about the charter school movement and opposes school vouchers. "They're bleeding public schools, taking tax dollars and putting it into a few private pockets. They have also interfered with teacher contracts. Legislators are not educators. Why are they even involved?" she said.
The state's finances are a major concern. "There is no quick fix," she said. "We have to start doing things right and not take the short term view. The legislature has never attended to the economy, they've just let it happen. Obviously, that shouldn't be the template for the future."
Think! (by: High School Grad - 10/23/2012)
If your from up North and you want to enter the Southern Political Scene, please limit the rhetoric about voter suppression, and others might dispense with sexist labels like "Good Ole Boys" so as to not appear "the same". Not all of us have been dumbed down from our public schools yet. So if you want to be taken seriously, come correct.
Wow, a voice of reason (by: Sharon - 10/23/2012)
I wish I lived in Fl, so I could vote for this lady. She is absolutely right in her comments.
Critic! (by: Blindman - 10/21/2012)
How critical can one be? Another Northerner coming down here criticizing our state and now we need her to fix our broken system. And she speaks for others outside of our state concerning their perceptions. And oh... Legislators are not educators but it's okay for a former educator to be a legislator. I'm shaking my head! Please!
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