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Bill McCollum's vision of a better Florida

Attorney General Bill McCollum, the leading Republican candidate for governor, offered his vision of a better state at the annual AP editors' seminar. In his familiar crisp speaking style, McCollum gave a shortened version of his stump speech, that Florida needs to broaden its tourism and ag-dominated economy and confront three issues facing the state: property insurance, property taxes and water.

He contrasted himself with Democratic rival Alex Sink, the chief financial officer, calling her a "national Democrat" who thinks it is government's responsibility to create jobs. "It's not government that creates jobs. It's the private sector," McCollum said.

Before McCollum's arrival, Sink's campaign circulated an eight-page circular criticizing his votes as a 20-year member of Congress on issues such as opposing a higher minimum wage and supporting an increased national debt. "I'm proud of my record as a Congressman," McCollum said, listing only two exceptions: he "naively" opposed a Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and he backed President Reagan's increase in taxes. "I thought that was a mistake," McCollum said. "I promised myself I'd never put my finger in the wind again."      

McCollum spoke on a day when a new Quinnipiac University poll showed him with a double-digit lead over Sink. McCollum attributed the poll advantage to the work of the attorney general's office on issues such as chasing after child predators and street gangs.

--Steve Bousquet

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