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New traditions at first Cabinet meeting

Gov. Charlie Crist and the new Florida Cabinet held its first meeting Thursday and Crist used it to drop long-standing traditions. The governor in the past would normally field five minutes worth of questions from the media prior to each Cabinet meeting. This gaggle would occur at the bottom steps of the stairs leading from the first floor of the Capitol. Crist, however, has nixed this tradition and instead  has decided to do a 15-minute availability in his large conference room.

During his first pre-Cabinet briefing, Crist was asked about his thoughts on whether the insurance consumer advocate post should remain under the control of Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, and whether discussions to move it were a result of fears that Sink may run against Crist. Crist's response: "I don't know if I plan to run for re-election."

At the Cabinet meeting, Crist, Sink, Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson and Attorney General Bill McCollum voted in favor of Crist's choices to lead the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Veterans Affairs. They also voted to reaffirm Coleman Stipanovich as the head of the State Board of Administration.

Crist and Cabinet also took time to meet with a group of roughly 100 Brevard County residents angry about their insurance rates. All four elected officials thanked the group and said they were more important than anyone else in the Capitol right now.

"We've got plenty around of lobbyists around. There the guys with the suits. We pay more attention to the people in the tee-shirts,'' said Sink.