Taking his first shot

As a young Leesburg football star, Bill McBride dedicated all his time and effort to his sport. He earned a football scholarship to the University of Florida but had to turn it down because of a knee injury.

McBride, 57, dropped out of law school to serve as a Marine in the Vietnam War. He later returned to his education and jumped on board with Holland & Knight to become the law firm’s managing partner. But before joining the firm in the early 1990s, he married Alex Sink, 54, the now-retired chief of Bank of America in Florida.

In 2001, McBride resigned from Holland & Knight to become a gubernatorial candidate in hopes of improving Florida’s education system. It’s his first run for an office.

McBride supports Amendment 9, which would reduce public school class sizes from pre-kindergarten to high school. Although the change requires the state to foot the bill, McBride sees smaller classes as a chance for students to receive the attention they need from teachers.

To pay the cost for reducing class sizes and building more classrooms, McBride says a 50-cent tax per pack of cigarettes will cover the bill.

Just as education has been a primary issue for McBride, he has said one of his main concerns with the system is teachers’ salaries. McBride wants to submit a detailed education plan that would enable the state to increase teachers’ salaries. McBride said his proposal would be submitted during the first budgetary cycle in 2003-04.

And with a better education system, McBride believes that unemployment rates will decrease. An investment in the education system, McBride has said, is the best route to improving the economy.

As for preventing crime in Florida, McBride wants the state to work closely with law enforcement and prosecutors. By working closely with officers, McBride said he would ensure citizens, specifically children, are protected.

McBride feels the Department of Children and Families needs an overhaul in order to keep track of children and to ensure they are placed in appropriate homes. McBride has stated his concern for the environment with traffic congestion in the South Florida area and said he is opposed to offshore drilling.

Contact News Editor Grace Agostin at oraclegrace@yahoo.com