July 1, 2006 Regular News Cannon was drawn to politics early in life Cannon was drawn to politics early in life Jan Pudlow Senior Editor When Dean Cannon was just a kid growing up in Lakeland, the YMCA’s youth legislator program gave him his first taste of politics. Who knew then that when he grew up he’d be invited to the full banquet of power and influence, in line to serve as Florida’s speaker of the House in 2010?It’s as though he’s been preparing for that honor since he was a teenager.Once in college at the University of Florida, Cannon was a student lobbyist, making his opinions known on higher education issues like tuition rates. Next, he became a student senator. While in law school, he became the UF student government president.“It was exciting to begin to appreciate how government affects our daily lives,” Cannon said. “At the same time I was getting my legal training, I was beginning to understand the different roles of the three branches of government. I studied Florida constitutional law and learned more about the structure of government, and it continued to fuel my interest in government.”Now, he’s a 37-year-old lawyer-legislator from Winter Park, looking forward to becoming speaker of the House in four years — if the GOP maintains its majority — after Rep. Marco Rubio, R-Miami, serves 2006-07, and Rep. Ray Sansom, R-Fort Walton Beach, takes the helm of the House in 2008-09.This trio of up-and-coming Republican leaders is engaging in what they call “bold public policy” of listening to innovative ideas from the people of Florida and holding government accountable for results.The night before he talked to the News, Cannon was in Ocala at an “idea raiser,” where he listened to people’s ideas for a better Florida.“It’s exhilarating as a constitutional law student,” Cannon said. “It’s a dynamic and vigorous exercise in democracy.”He invites lawyers to go to the Web site — www.100ideas.org — and share innovative ideas for Florida’s future.“My colleagues in the Bar, if you have ideas and innovative thoughts to improve the criminal justice system or adoptions or family law or civil litigation, we want to hear from you,” Cannon said. “You can post your own idea on the Web and receive reviews and comments. It stimulates a town hall meeting in an electronic discourse.”So far, they have received more than 700 ideas, “ranging from the profound to the somewhat odd: everything from ways to increase local controls of public education dollars to ways to deliver primary health care at the local level. There are wild ideas out there, too. People who want to increase nude beaches.“Part of the goal of the movement,” Cannon said, “is to get people to offer input in areas they have special expertise.”He’s glad he built his legal expertise before becoming a legislator. Since 1995, he’s been a lawyer at GrayRobinson in Orlando, where he practices land use, property rights, and local government law, and he is a member of the Bar’s Environmental and Law Use Law Section. He has lectured on such topics as resolving land use disputes, environmental permitting, and the “environmental and socio-political aspects of landfill siting and regulation.”Practicing as a lawyer for 11 years before he became an elected official in 2004, Cannon said, helped him appreciate the same things his constituents are concerned about: the cost of health insurance, earning a living, and supporting a family.Being a lawyer helps him in his job at the legislature, where he serves on the Civil Justice Committee, Health Care Appropriations Committee, Insurance Committee, Select Committee to Protect Private Property Rights, Transportation Committee, and the Water & Natural Resources Committee.“It’s extra invigorating when you realize the interplay between the statutes enacted by the legislature that are interpreted by the judiciary, and then carried out by the executive branch. It makes you appreciate the finer points. It’s like flying an airplane instead of just reading a book about how a plane works,” said Cannon, who, by the way, is a licensed private pilot.“I believe it makes me more thoughtful, because I have done everything from land use cases, to appearing in court, to adoption cases. I see the relationship between statutory law enacted by representatives and then how it works on the ground in the real lives of Floridians.”Another benefit of his training as a lawyer, Cannon said, is he has learned “how to disagree respectfully, treating people with dignity and respect, even as adversaries.”That attribute came in handy during the debate on HB 145, as co-sponsor of the controversial bill that deleted exceptions to a requirement for liability percentage of fault instead of joint and several liability in damages in civil actions.“I believe that the most fair and equitable way for us to allocate fault as apportioned by the finder of facts. That allocation by juries of people’s peers ought to stand. If someone is 2 percent negligent, they ought to be responsible for 2 percent,” Cannon said. “People had strong feelings on both sides, and that is part of a healthy democracy.. . . I certainly respect people who disagreed with that decision.. . . I have been proud of those in The Florida Bar who lobby different perspectives, to advise and advocate. As long as the advocacy is done in an admirable and zealous fashion, I respect that, regardless of the position.”Cannon, a Baptist, sponsored legislation creating the Florida Faith-based and Community-based Advisory Council within the Executive Office of the Governor (HB 599). His training in constitutional law, he said, made sure to protect the separation of church and state in drafting the legislation.“Essentially, it is to function as a source of information protected by the First Amendment,” Cannon said. “But it is prohibited from establishing religion. No one could identify anything that violated the anti-establishment clause of the state and federal constitutions.”As he looks to critical issues of the future, Cannon lists the “economic impact of the class size amendment, continuing increases in the costs of Medicaid, and the state’s infrastructure of roads, airports, and seaports.”He is married to Ellen Friedley, and they have two children, Dean III and Katherine.“The law is a profession that can do so much good, professionally and privately,” Cannon said. “Whether volunteering time through the Guardian ad Litem Program or running for political office, we can have a great and positive impact on the state. I encourage lawyers to do that.”
The Batesville Lady Bulldogs tied with the Jennings County Lady Panthers on Monday night at Hillcrest 197 to 197 the tie breaker 5th score also tied at 60. On Tuesday, The Lady Bulldogs traveled to Columbus and were defeated by the Bulldogs by a score of 155 to 202. The Lady Bulldogs next play Saturday at the Connersville Invitational.Courtesy of Bulldogs Coach Tom Meyer.
“I’m so proud of everyone involved. When things got tough I’m sure everyone involved has been through it before and we stuck together.” O’Neill said the decision to bring Roy Keane in as his assistant had more than paid off. “Bringing Roy Keane in is as good a decision as I’ve made in quite some time,” said O’Neill. “He’s been absolutely enormous for us. He’s not taking too many of the accolades, but he’s been fantastic for us, for myself, the backroom staff and the players.” O’Neill also praised the players who had made it to Euro 2016. ” I couldn’t be more proud (of the players), they’ve been absolutely fantastic right from the start (of qualifying),” he added. “The esteem I hold these players in it couldn’t be higher. “T his is a special night. It is very, very special, it can’t be taken away from us. “When I look back I’ll think this is a very, very proud moment.” Walters scored a first-half penalty and put the seal on qualification with a volley after the break and he was quick to praise the team effort. The Stoke striker told Sky Sports 1: “The whole team on the pitch are heroes. We got there in the end, we did it the hard way, but we got there. “You’ve got to take it in because these moments don’t come round often in a career.” Asked about the contribution of manager Martin O’Neill and assistant Roy Keane, Walters said: “They’ve been excellent through the whole campaign.” Derby defender Richard Keogh said: “It’s an unbelievable feeling. We played really well. We got the (first) goal and we defended really well. “For me to play for my country means the world to me. I’ve stepped up to the plate. I’m going to enjoy it.” West Ham goalkeeper Darren Randolph has not been first-choice goalkeeper throughout the qualifying campaign, but said he would savour the moment after helping his country make it to France. “It’s unbelievable. We’re through and that’s all that matters,” he said. Norwich midfielder Robbie Brady provided the free-kick which led to Walters’ second goal, his delivery cleared by a defender only as far as the Stoke striker at the far post. Brady said: “It’s the type of thing you grow up dreaming about. Everyone involved was excellent and we did everything we needed to and now we’re off to France. Two-goal hero Jonathan Walters paid tribute to his fellow players after the Republic of Ireland qualified for Euro 2016 with a 2-0 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina in Dublin to secure a 3-1 aggregate play-off victory. Press Association
Dr. Amos C. Sawyer, Chairman of the Governance Commission and former Chairman of the Interim Government of National Unity (IGNU), turns 70 on Monday, June 15.A 1966 graduate of the University of Liberia, Amos was awarded a fellowship to pursue graduate studies at Northwestern University, where he took the PhD degree in Political Science in 1973. He returned home and was later appointed dean of Liberia College, the UL’s Liberal Arts college, where as a Political Science teacher, he attracted one of the largest classes at the university. The administration, given the huge number of students in that class, was forced to transfer it to the UL auditorium. It was during has days as a UL professor that he joined Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh, Dr. H. Boima Fahnbulleh and Dew Tuan Wleh Mayson in founding the Movement for Justice in Africa (MOJA). MOJA and Baccus Mathews’s Progressive Alliance of Liberia (PAL) became the leading political activists of the 1970s. The two groups conscientized Liberian students and youth, enhanced their political awareness and sharpened their rhetoric for change in Liberia. By the end of the 1970s the time had come for change. President William R. Tolbert, Jr. himself tried to bring about some changes in the way the government did business, but was unable to convince his other stalwarts in the True Whig Party to follow him. During that period Liberia was still ruled as an oligarchy (government by the few). Baccus Matthews’ PAL, meanwhile, organized the April 14. 1979 demonstration to protest government’s alleged attempt to increase the price of rice, Liberia’s staple food. The government mishandled the protest. Despite pleadings to President Tolbert by the veteran teacher, constitutional analyst and pamphleteer Albert Porte, to “let the young people march—it is their constitutional right”—Tolbert and his Justice Minister Oliver Bright demanded that the march should be called off or, in the words of the hard line Justice Minister, Cllr. Bright, “we will shoot.” And shoot the government did as the demonstrators passed the Information Ministry en route to the Mansion. That led to pandemonium and turned the march into a full scale riot that shut down Monrovia for three days or more with widespread looting and burning throughout the city. Over 100 people were killed and government had to cough up US$100 million to compensate businesspeople who had lost so much during the looting and destruction. April 14 led to another Baccus Mathews protest in March 1980, when the PAL people, in the early night hours, marched to the Executive Mansion demanding the resignation of President Tolbert. Matthews and several of his followers were arrested and imprisoned in the Post Stockade, the government’s maximum security prison at the Barclay Training Center. The following month, on April 12, the coup d’etat occurred, when 17 young enlisted men, of the Armed Forces of Liberia, led by Master Sergeant Samuel K. Doe, stormed the Mansion and killed President Tolbert. Most government officials were arrested and imprisoned and on April 22, 13 of Tolbert’s top most officials were executed by firing squad at the BTC beach. Baccus Matthews and many of his fellow prisoners emerged from prison to occupy top positions in government, he as Foreign Minister. Sawyer, Tipoteh, Fahnbulleh, Dew Mayson and Matthews, who led the intellectual and political basis for the avalanche that was to come, will forever regret that despite all their thinking and action, they had made no plan for any eventuality. That is why the enlisted men, who now called themselves the People’s Redemption Council (PRC), did not seize power only, but seized the intellectuals, too, and made them do the young soldiers’ bidding. Not long after the coup, for example, Doe demanded that all Ministers of government become enlisted in the Armed Forces as uniformed majors. In 1982-83 Doe turned to Amos Sawyer to head the 25-person National Constitution Commission (NCC). The Commission worked around the clock and by 1983-84 they were ready with their draft, which they submitted to Doe. Doe lifted the ban on politics and several persons, including Amos Sawyer, announced that they intended to seek the Presidency. That infuriated Samuel Doe who himself had presidential ambition. Shortly following a trip to Germany, Doe had Sawyer arrested and imprisoned, accused of “a socialist plot.” That is when the students of the University of Liberia went on a strike, commenced a vociferous (loud, noisy) vigil at the UL gate demanding their beloved professor’s release or else they would not return to classes. Not long thereafter Doe went to the Capitol Building and demanded that the UL students “move or be removed.” Minutes later, Defense Minister Gray D. Allison, licking his mouth like a hungry lion, led a stream of blood thirsty soldiers to the UL campus, where they shot at, beat up, stripped naked many students and faculty and even committed rape. Doe later disbanded the entire UL administration, which was headed by a tough and forthright president, Dr. Mary Antoinette Brown Sherman. The coup, which was terribly mismanaged, led to the civil war. It was during the civil war, especially following the massacre at the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church on June 29, 1990—when over 600 people were brutally murdered by soldiers loyal to Samuel Doe—that the Mediation Committee of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) convened a meeting in Banjul, The Gambia. The meeting was called by the Committee’s Chairman, Gambia President Sir Dawda K. Jawara. That meeting, held August 6-7, took the momentous decision to send into Liberia ECOMOG, the ECOWAS peace keeping force, to stop the war. That meeting was followed in mid-September by the convening by President Jawara of an All Party Liberian Conference. It was at that conference that Amos C. Sawyer was elected Chairman of the Interim Government of National Unity.A short while later he and his team of officials moved into Monrovia and took up the authority of governance. He served until 1994 when began a series of other interim arrangements that led to Charles Taylor’s election in 1997 as President of Liberia. But Taylor’s corruption, mismanagement and intransigence led to the protraction of the civil war, in which nearly 300,000 people were killed and the country’s infrastructure almost totally destroyed, setting the country 50 years backward. Amos Claudius Sawyer was born on June 15, 1945 in Greenville, Sinoe County, to the union of Abel and Sarah Sawyer. Amos is married to Mrs. Comfort Sawyer. He celebrates his 70th birthday on Sunday ensuing with a thanksgiving service at his parish, the St. Stephen Episcopal Church at 10th Street, Monrovia. Amos has had a rich life filled with many accomplishments. As Chair of the Governance Commission, he and his colleagues and many other consultants from a cross-section of the country, have set in place a framework for the devolution of power—the handing of power from the presidency—which some say is among the most powerful presidencies in the world—to the people. It will be the culmination of his lifelong dream the day this devolution of power is complete and the Liberian people at the county, city, town and village levels begin to share in a genuine way the nation’s power, which the 1986 Constitution affirms is “inherent in the people.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)