'Old Buddies' Crist, McCollum Smile Up a Storm
Around the State
With rumors swirling through Florida political circles that Gov. Charlie Crist intends to abandon the Republican Party, Crist shared a stage Wednesday with Attorney General Bill McCollum, frontrunner for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, at an event commemorating crime victims.
It could be the last time the two share common ground or a sense of warm camaraderie.
Despite increased speculation that Crist plans to continue his campaign for the U.S. Senate as an Independent or with no party affiliation (NPA), the governor and the attorney general, like a pair of old buddies, were all smiles at the commemoration of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. They showered each other with compliments.
“The attorney general has given that office great honor and dignity,” said Crist.
McCollum was equally complimentary of the governor, calling the opportunity to introduce Crist a “great privilege.” While presenting Lt. Michael Baute of the Attorney General’s Child Predator CyberCrime Unit with a Distinguished Victim Services Award, McCollum went out his way to note that the unit had been enacted by Crist during his term as attorney general.
“We share one thing in common,” said McCollum, “a concern for the victims and a concern for their families.”
“We need to have a society that maintains order,” said Crist. He referred to the preamble of the U.S. Constitution, saying that the words “to ensure domestic tranquility” pertained to the need for law enforcement.
Crist and McCollum presented Distinguished Victim Services Awards on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General.
The awards were presented to Judie Banks, a victims’ advocate who has served the Coconut Creek Police Department for thirty years; Lisa Fuller and Angela Larson, victims’ advocates with the Collie County Sheriff’s Office; Baute; Detective Bobby Burch with the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office; Investigator Brian Shorette with the Escambia County Sherriff’s Office, Special Victims Unit; and Detective Nellie Woodruf of the Cocoa Police Department.
“I am honored to recognize these exceptional men and women today on behalf of the people they have served,” said McCollum. “Protecting and providing assistance and support to our state’s victims and their loved ones is an important calling.”
"That was moving,” said McCollum as the event concluded. “There are incredible stories today.”
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