by Eric Dondero
She's been riding a wave of recent publicity over the institution of a new statewide transportation tax, which she staunchly opposes. Paula Dockery, State Senator from Lakeland, is the leading opponent of Governor Charlie Crist's effort to impose a $2.00 surcharge on rental cars. The tax would help pay for a newly proposed linkage of three local commuter railways, known as Tri-Rail. The Obama administration has signaled that the institution of such a tax would open the doors to a massive influx of funding for the project.
But Senator Dockery is standing on the tracks with a hand held high: Do not Pass.
From the Bradenton Herald:
Crist said Tuesday that he’s “optimistic’’ legislators can reach a tentative agreement by next week to hold a special lawmaking session on the issue as early as next month.Now, Dockery is launching her campaign for Governor. She's seen as the Marco Rubio in the race, taking on the Goliath Party establishment-backed Bill McCollum. The former Congressional leader from the '90s, lost a key Senate race to Bill Nelson a few years back, and is viewed as safe, but rather stale. He currently serves as State Attorney General.
“If we can show our commitment to rail here in Florida,” Crist said, “then we have a much greater opportunity for the bullet train funds from the federal government.”
Crist, Senate President Jeff Atwater and others say that such a tax could offer proof to the federal government that Florida is serious about transit, which might help the state qualify for up to $2.5 billion for a high-speed rail line.
SunRail’s main opponent, Republican Sen. Paula Dockery of Lakeland, said the project is too expensive and could unfairly burden taxpayers with liability lawsuits if the private company CSX was at fault in an accident on the tracks.
Already, since announcing last week, she's picked up a key endorsement. Tom Slade headed the State GOP in the 1990s and the early Jeb Bush years. From Best Miami News:
"McCollum is a nice guy, but I think he would be better in the U.S. Senate, where I think his skills are better suited,'' Slade says in a press release. "But I think Paula would do a better job of being governor. She's got the kind of tenacity you need, and she's got the knowledge."Lakeland Business Leader Aaron Bates wrote on his blog:
He added: "Paula would be better position to win the general election than her opponent. She has a delightful personality and a pleasantness that is rare in most politicians."
She has a never say die attitude that she uses to take on the most daunting task, bucking party leadership and winning, with conservative principles that truly speak to who I am. She is such a humble stateswoman that she had to be drafted to run, to represent those that felt they had no representation. She has taken it a step further by announcing that she will qualify for the election by petition. She truly is a Voice For The People.Writes Heathewhitaker of CentralFloridaPolitics.com:
Paula is not only Smart and Beautiful, she is a fighter... This is a modern day David and Goliath story.Meanwhile, Douglas Goetzloe, (photo) of Axe the Tax, and the Florida Republican Liberty Caucus, reports the following:
I can say I see why the new popular phrase is “I’m a Paula-Tician”
Tallahassee Radio Poll Puts Senator Dockery on top for Governor!
According to the Republican Liberty Caucus website, Goetzloe and another Libertarian Republican have served as early supporters of her campaign effort. From RLCFL:100.7 FM WFLA Tallahassee
As of now, who is your leading choice for Florida Governor?
Sen. Paula Dockery 65.91 %
Attorney General Bill McCollum 30.11 %
CFO Alex Sink (Democrat candidate) 3.98 %
Ax the Tax Chairman Doug Guetzloe and Republican Liberty Caucus organizer Nick Egoroff. Both men co-Chair the Draft Paula Dockery for Governor grassroots movement that has taken the state by storm.Sen. Dockery, along with her husband C.C. Doc, are cattle ranchers in W. Central FL. She recently received an A+ rating from NRA, according to the Miami Herald. Though, not officially affiliated, Dockery is identified as the clear Tea Party choice. From the Orlando Sentinnel:
The Tea-Party rebellion against Republican Party bosses has attracted its latest Florida maverick — state Sen. Paula Dockery.Note - I am a former longtime resident of Florida (parents still live there.) Florida State graduate. And former staffer for State Sen. Marlene Woodson-Howard Republican for Governor, 1992 (running against incumbent Bob Martinez).