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Effective vs. Ineffective Legislating – Voters Wanting Results Should Look At Scott Plakon

scott plakon, karen castor dentel, mike clelland, seminole county, seminole county news, news seminole county, seminole county post, casey anthony, caylees law, jacob engels

While serving in Tallahassee, Scott Plakon sponsored or co-sponsored several substantive pieces of legislation, making him an effective bi-partisan legislator - while Mike Clelland has been widely ineffective in instituting reforms, proving to be a better trial lawyer than legislator.


By Jacob Engels


When most people think of politicians, they think of partisan bomb throwers who are more concerned about re-election and clever fundraising ploys - wildly uninterested in actual reform and legislative responsibilities. Democrat Mike Clelland, the incumbent Democrat in district 29 is one of these oft thought about politicians.


Since being elected to the Florida legislature on the coattails of President Barack Obama, Clelland has been far more concerned with raising money from special interest groups than working to get legislation passed. That's not to say he hasn't introduced any bills, just to say that he has not passed a single bill - NOT ONE.


However, Representative Clelland is quite adept at raising money from multiple special interests groups, particularly labor unions & trial lawyers - Clelland's colleagues. In fact, he has raised over $100,000 from labor unions and trial lawyers which represents approximately 2/3 of his total fundraising.


His opponent, former GOP Representative Scott Plakon had a different record in the Florida legislature. Plakon, a red-ribbed conservative nerd earned positive marks from the liberal Orlando Sentinel for his time in the legislature.

"For the past four years, there has been no greater champion of conservative causes in the Florida Legislature than State Representative Scott Plakon. One of the legislature's most prolific lawmakers. If public school students in Florida did as much homework as he does, low test scores wouldn't be such a worry," said the Sentinel in 2012.


The "Prolific Plakon" passed many bills and co-sponsored many others, with three standing out not only because of the subject matter - but the positive community reaction he received for passing the bills. First, lets start with the "Caylees Law" bill which Plakon co-sponsored, that was crafted in the aftermath of the Casey Anthony trial over the death of her toddler daughter Caylee.

Plakon, who joined forces with the bills sponsor after being asked by numerous constituents to address the issue, thought it people like Anthony should be punished for leading authorities on a wild goose chase. “For her to be able to go out and party for 31 days and mislead law enforcement, that seems wrong,” said Plakon. “This bill says it should be illegal for a caretaker to do such a thing.”

"God forbid we ever run into a mother like Casey Anthony again," said Plakon, the Florida legislator. "If we do, that mother will be a felon."


The bill, which was signed into law by Florida Governor Rick Scott created a new penalty for lying to authorities during a missing person investigation when a child is badly injured or killed, making it a felony if the parent did not report the death of a child or whereabouts of the corpse – and in doing so impeded an police investigation.  


Next up, a common issue experienced by many - stalking. Plakon was the House sponsor of Senator David Simmons harsher anti-stalking legislation. The measure eliminates the provision that forced a woman to prove a threat of bodily injury or death. Now all a woman has to do is show she is in reasonable fear for her own safety or the safety of her family and close friends.  But not every stalker threatens a woman's life. Plakon & Simmons were widely praised for the passing this bill, which garnered bi-partisan support - like Plakon's "Caylee's Law."


Lastly, Plakon wisely tackled the issue of renewable energy, helping to craft an 18-part bill that provided tax credits to companies that demonstrate an investment in renewable energy - while creating jobs in the state of Florida. The bill passed with tremendous bi-partisan support - with the final tally ending with the support of 156 of the states 160 lawmakers. Tea Party groups railed against the bill, providing an easy out for Plakon who is normally a darling of the conservative movement - but purposeful energy reform was more important to him than partisan politics.

“It puts our state on the path towards a little bit more diversity towards our energy resources and also sends a strong message that we’re open to these types of ideas. However, the way we did it was without raising rates and I think working together going into next year, this will be something that will be very meaningful towards fulfilling our energy needs in the future," explained Plakon after passing the bill.


Protecting endangered spouses, imposing strict penalties for parents who lie to the police about the whereabouts or health of their child, and working to encourage Florida based companies to utilize renewable energy & bring jobs to Central Florida.


So how does Mike Clelland's legislative achievements compare to Plakon's? Put simply - IT DOESN'T. He has largely worked on the periphery in the legislature, thumping his chest about ethics reform, health care, and issues important to his fellow trial lawyers. Don't get me wrong, these issues are worthwhile matters and I admire Clelland for tackling these matters - but he is simply not effective at passing legislation, the most important duty of an effective legislator. Effective at fundraising from trial lawyers and union special interests he is, effective legislator he is not.


Richard Nixon once said that losers don't legislate, a frank observation of the political process. It seems though, that in the case of Representative Clelland, even a well connected and funded “elected” can be just as ineffective at legislating. Voters wanting a legislator that can actually pass a bill, should vote for Scott Plakon. It's time for Mike Clelland to go back to advocating for first responders through his trial law firm, a profession and field where he is widely EFFECTIVE.


Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at [email protected]




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