Republican state Sen. Paula Dockery of Lakeland will be at the Republican National Convention in Tampa later this month -- wearing a media pass, not a delegate's badge.
WFTS Channel 28, Tampa Bay's ABC Action News station, hired Dockery for primary Election Night analysis, and will utilize her through the Nov. 6 general election, she said.
In an e-mail statement explaining her TV duties, she said she will "offer viewers real analysis of the political events, instead of repeating talking points ... She may be the state's only elected official respected by all sides, from Tea Partiers to Democrats. In her role as a news commentator, she'll continue to speak as a Republican who values true conservative ideals and independence over party power."
She said she looks forward to working with WFTS anchor Brendan McLaughlin and that her duties as commentator also will include the Oct. 22 presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney at Lynn University in Boca Raton. The third and final debate between the two candidates will be moderated by Bob Schieffer of CBS' "Face the Nation."
Dockery is termed out of office this fall after 16 years in the Legislature. She's not a stranger to mass communications, either: She has a B.A. in political science and an M.A. in mass communications from the University of Florida, and she writes a weekly column for the online news web site Florida Voices.
-- Steve Bousquet