Awake The State Orlando rally targets Senate President Gardiner

IMG_0392 For the fifth consecutive year, “Awake The State” rallied working Floridians and those who care about good government across Florida on the opening day of the legislative session.  Activists and concerned citizens in Central Florida rallied in front of Senate President Andy Gardiner’s district office. In wake of the most recent scandals involving Republican officeholders, Former State Rep. Linda Stewart addressed the audience to discuss the continuing culture of cronyism and corruption that has enveloped parts of official Tallahassee. Stewart is a potential candidate for the Senate seat Gardiner will vacate in 2016.

Recent controversies involving state and local officials who have benefited from a culture of entitlement and cronyism in Florida and who have also at times been the beneficiaries of a passive media particularly in Tallahassee have dominated the thinking of many citizens across this great state. Florida at one time promoted Government in the Sunshine, thanks in large measure as a reaction to the numerous scandals that dominated state government in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.

Florida quickly went from one of the most corrupt states in the union to one of the most open and transparent thanks to the leadership of Governor Reubin Askew and the progressive legislature of the mid 1970’s. However, in recent years as Republican control of the state has solidified and many elected Democrats have consciously chosen a course of accommodation over the desire to hold the top officials at county and state levels accountable, Florida has backslid tremendously toward the low standard set in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Today we need to rediscover the Askew zeal for change and open government.

The legislature has also ignored the agenda of regular Floridians since the complete GOP takeover of state government in 1999. Among the other agenda items discussed at Awake The State rallies around Florida were expanded health care, water protection, clean energy and a living wage. Here at TFS we strongly support all of these items and efforts and will of course be active and engaged in Tallahassee this session to promote all of these causes. As we outlined this morning we do encourage all activists to track the legislature but also focus on local government, ballot measures and the ability to push progressive change locally especially in areas where the stranglehold of corporate backed special interests and lobbyists might be less than in Tallahassee

Pictures from the Orlando rally below courtesy of our friend Amy Ritter.





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  1. get over it · ·

    Kartik preaching about GOP cronyism and corruption again. Not that you are wrong but by now you should realize the public doesn’t care!!!


    1. If the public really knew they would care. I don’t want to get into the passivity of some who cover state and local government but if some of these things were really covered they would care.


  2. Blue Dog Dem · ·

    This agenda has zero chance of being advanced. Not only in the legislature but locally or by referendum. Kartik’s recent referendum calls sound nice but aren’t realistic or practical in any way.


  3. I’m thinking pushing this corruption theme is very counter-productive. It’s a shame Awake The State has adopted the rhetoric of Kartik who is seemingly obsessed with cronyism, public records and other innocuous “scandals.”

    Of course as many Dems have issues as Rs with this.


    1. Right I’ve pointed out time and again the Dem scandals and as good government progressives we should all aim for open and transparent conduct from our public officials.


  4. It's 2015 not 2006 · ·

    I was at the rally in Broward County and love the agenda items and the enthusiasm of those of us still involved in the movement but I have to admit the enthusiasm in general seems to have faded. It’s tough to do this every single legislative session and generate a big following.


  5. Awake the State is a great concept but it has lost it’s momentum totally.

    I do agree with Kartik that focus should be taken away from the state level and the inept FDP and energy can be focused on locals and ballot drives.


  6. Jonathan · ·

    My sense is that the corruption theme only has legs for a short period of time. Then again maybe if the Democrats hadn’t run Charlie Crist last cycle it would have been different. I’d be interested to hear from Kartik as to Sheldon’s handling of corruption as a theme against Bondi? I saw a little on it but not much.


  7. Awake the State was very successful in getting activists together in 10 cities to educate and agitate. Some people sacrificed vacation time in order to make these weekday rallies. The issues were not only progressive issues, they were populist issues that every decent hard working citizen wants and deserves. Yes, they have very slim chances that the Republican legislature will take them up because they are neither decent nor hardworking and are subservient to their corporate and special interest masters. We as caring, compassionate Democrats must continue to call them out and educate and agitate in order to rid ourselves of these blood suckers.


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