Through the USF Legislative Internship Program, directed by Robin Jones and sponsored by the Alumni Association, I was given the opportunity to intern for state Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, during the 2012 legislative session in Tallahassee and witness firsthand the evolution of our Florida laws.
In the wake of the storm, I witnessed what seems to be a declaration of war on USF from Sen. J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, who waited until the deadline to offer his proposal that USF would suffer a budget cut of nearly 60 percent.
Alexander’s attempt to slide the proposal under the rug without any opposition failed. Within hours, USF President Judy Genshaft was in Tallahassee with news anchors following her every step.
The next day, as soon as I walked into the Capitol lobby, I ran into Genshaft, greeted her and offered my support in efforts to save USF. She urged me to keep fighting because the battle wasn’t over.
By the end of the Senate Budget Committee meeting, Alexander removed part of his proposal, saving USF $25 million. Though some money has been restored, there is still a possibility that USF could face additional cuts.
Its mind-boggling what goes on in the Capitol during session. Some of the bills and debates are ridiculous. We often blame big government for what’s going on when in fact it’s the politicians in our backyard that affect our lives everyday. As students, we can become the most deadly force to the state government. We can stop any legislation that affects us if we can make our presence known in Tallahassee.
Kassandra Timothe is a senior majoring in political science.