Above, Ellyn Bogdanoff, Florida State Senator (R-25) speaks to James A. "Jim" Scott, former Broward County Commissioner -and Chairman of the TrippScott law firm of Fort Lauderdale- on her expectations for the 2011 legislative session in Tallahassee.
Ellyn Bogdanoff was elected to the forty-member Florida State Senate last year from Senate District 25, which starts to the south in Fort Lauderdale -which she represented for six years in the Florida House- and goes north into Palm Beach County. It was formerly represented by current State Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a former banking executive.
Ellyn Bogdanoff for Senate 2010 commercial http://vimeo.com/15167627
Other videos of her talking about issues at:
Bogdanff was mentioned frequently here on the blog last year for her very hard work to bring meaningful and responsive ethics legislation to government to Broward County, both at the county and municipal level, via an independent Inspector General, something that a lot of people talked about it, but that few actually did anything meaningful about.
Citations of Ellyn Bogdanoff here at HBB:
Bogdanoff was also mentioned in many posts here about ethics where I couldn't quite fit her rntire name into the "tags" category, but she's there!
But Bogdanoff, along with Democratic State Rep. Ari Porth, did most of the heavy-lifting in Broward County and Tallahassee to try to make it a reality, against the efforts of many Broward County Democrats serving in Tallahassee.
Many, apparently, see their pals in local City Halls as both political and financial allies, and to return the favor, weren't about to make it easier for Broward County citizens to get the overdue justice they deserve and drop a dime on the legislator's pals if they weren't actually following the letter and spirit of this state's laws.
They don't call it the 'culture of corruption' for nothing.
To watch some of the dis-interested and oblivious Broward Dems debate this issue in person last year, as I did, you'd think that Ethics was NOT a legitimate concern of either African-Americans or liberals or retirees or... anyone they knew or got campaign checks from. Nope, just Broward do-gooders like me and Charlotte Greenbarg and Sara Case and Patti Lynn...
From my perspective in the room last year, some state legislators, like Perry Thurston, Chris Smith and Dan Gelber, only seemed to make matters worse by their wasting time at the Broward Legislative Delegation meeting to score cheap political points and bark at Broward State's Attorney Michael Satz, rather than showing a genuine concern to help stop the rampant corruption and abuse of Sunshine Laws at Broward's thirty-something city halls, where my own city of Hallandale Beach has been among the worst offenders during the ten-year reign of Mayor Joy Cooper.
But then you already know that last point, don't you?
The incredibly feeble attendance of the South Florida press at the meeting, a sign of the times in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, only seemed to empower this sort of dysfunctional behavior, as the Dem legislators talked and talked until... what do you know, there was less time for the public to speak than was thought.
Among those who didn't get to speak -me.
Ellyn Bogdanoff is very smart, friendly and personally charming and as I said earlier, a very hard-worker. That she also greatly resembles a particularly dear friend of mine from IU, who was about the best judge of people I knew, and a great personal sounding-board for me, meant that I was already inclined to like her to begin with, even before I knew what she was doing to make tougher ethics legislation here not just a priority, but a reality.
She is also not someone to let other people screw with her just because she is so engaging, as the Miami Herald article from last year, below, makes clear. That's a quality I like and look for since I really hate both bullies and those who use parochial cronyism to thwart the great societal good.
(Needless to say, yet another reason why I constantly oppose the depredations of the Joy Cooper Rubber Stamp Crew at HB City Hall.)
That's especially the case when Bogdanoff was fighting for MUCH STRONGER ethics against someone who just wants a pork project to sail thru.
Now some of these qualities and her reluctance to let others dictate the success of bills she feels are important rub some people the wrong way, and while I don't agree with her on everything, of course, Bogdanoff is a person of enormous personal character.
I mean she fought for ethics here, the most politically-corrupt county in the entire state, where there was almost a brazenness among some pols before they were caught and convicted, so unlike some places in the country, this was not exactly every legislator's idea of a fun assignment.
But she did it anyway -and made a tangible positive difference.
And not that you asked, but I'd replace bland and ineffective U.S. Senator Bill Nelson with Ellyn Bogdanoff in a heartbeat.
Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff a formidable opponent
By Christina Silva and Robert Samuels Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau
May 2, 2010
Rep. Ellyn Bogdanoff, nicknamed the "Angel of Death'' in the Florida House, has been a bill-slayer for six years, but she wasn't about to let legislation important to her die without a fight.
Convinced that Rep. Janet Long had persuaded the Senate to hold one of her bills hostage, Bogdanoff stormed into Long's office and delivered a tongue-lashing in front of a knot of lawmakers. Long, a Democrat from Seminole, filed a complaint with the speaker's office that claimed Bogdanoff had made "threats of harm and retaliation.''
Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, said she was just doing her job.
"Here's the thing: I am who I am,'' Bogdanoff said. "And I've been extremely successful because of who I am. I get along with most people and I have a lot of friends. And, once in a while, you come across people that maybe lack self-confidence and are intimidated by you based on their own character and makeup, and I can't help that.''
The recent scuffle illustrates the occasional alpha-dog politics used to advance legislation behind both closed and open doors within the Florida Capitol, where decorum and regimen usually rule.
In the House, Bogdanoff successfully negotiated more than $218 million in tax breaks and economic incentives designed to stimulate the Florida economy. She interrupted floor debate to denounce any potential amendments to her sweeping condo relief bill, agitating some in her delegation. The bill passed.
Meanwhile, to the surprise of many, she announced she had killed a bill that would have banned texting while driving, calling the legislation "intellectually dishonest.'' Senate Republicans unsuccessfully urged the House to rise against Bogdanoff and pass the bill.
"She can move mountains in Tallahassee,'' said Rep. Ari Porth, a Democrat from Coral Springs who counts Bogdanoff as an ally.
The fight with Long grew from Bogdanoff's refusal to schedule Long's bill to change the governance structure of the Pinellas Park Water Management District Authority. Bogdanoff said it was too controversial.
That prompted Long's cosponsor in the Senate, Seminole Republican Dennis Jones, to stall Bogdanoff's bill that sought to establish a Broward County inspector general. It was a top priority for Broward lawmakers who asked Bogdanoff to carry the bill because of her influence.
Bogdanoff said Long made their exchange seem more confrontational than it was and defended her actions: "To have political retribution on a bill that is extremely important to my community, that is also being cosponsored by two Democrats, is patently unfair.''
A former political consultant with long ties to the Republican Party, Bogdanoff quickly rose through the ranks after she was elected to the House by 12 votes in 2004 to finish the term of Rep. Connie Mack IV, who resigned to run for Congress.
She served as the majority whip from 2006 to 2008, where she rallied votes for Republican causes under former House Speaker Marco Rubio.
The moniker "Angel of Death'' was originally a joke, she said.
"Speaker Rubio was up there and said, 'You know it's a good day in the Florida Legislature when you haven't been visited by Ellyn Bogdanoff, better known as the `Angel of Death,' '' Bogdanoff recalled.
Bogdanoff remains a formidable opponent. She chairs the Finance and Tax Council and sits in the front row of the House, where she shares a jar of Jelly Bellys with her seatmate, Rep. Ron Reagan, R-Bradenton, the House's lieutenant speaker.
NSU LAW SCHOOL
The mother of three children, Bogdanoff graduated from Nova Southeastern University's law school when she was 43. Colleagues on both sides of the aisle call her smart, tenacious and sharp-tongued. They disagree, however, on whether those are admirable qualities.
"There are many times when she has reached across the aisle to work with Democrats and overall she has been very fair,'' said Rep. Marty Kiar, D-Davie. ``I have nothing negative to say about her.''
Minority Leader Franklin Sands, D-Weston, said his relationship with Bogdanoff has been tense since she vowed to kill a local earmark he pitched if he didn't withdraw his call for a recorded vote on a stem-cell measure. They were freshmen lawmakers at the time.
"I told her I was the worst person in the world that she should be trying to threaten because I just didn't give a damn,'' Sands said. "I guess that says you always have to stand up to a bully; otherwise, they own you.''
Bogdanoff could soon be ruffling new feathers. She is running for the seat being vacated by Senate President Jeff Atwater, a North Palm Beach Republican running for chief financial officer. She has the support of incoming President Mike Haridopolos, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Sen. John McCain, whom she backed in the 2008 presidential election.
She said some people inflame her temper for "entertainment.''
"They start pushing my buttons and watch me go,'' she said. "Even [House Budget Chief] David Rivera said one time, 'I love to watch people push your buttons, because you bite every time.' And that's what I have to stop. . . . I take the bait. Every time.''
FL State Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff's official Member page:
Below, a discussion on issues Ellyn Bogdanoff had last year -when she was still in the Florida House- with Ed Pozzuoli, President of TrippScott: