Happy Birthday to Us!

By: Nancy Smith | Posted: February 28, 2014 3:55 AM
I Beg to Differ

Today is Sunshine State News' fourth birthday. A blink in history, granted. But in Tallahassee, in this cliquish, who-you-know town of rumors and bluster, conflict and contradictions -- and occasionally something truly extraordinary ... well, four years really is something.

Think how much has happened in that time.

-- On March 1, 2010, Gov. Charlie Crist was still a Republican, still defending his friend Jim Greer, still up in most polls against underdog Marco Rubio.

-- The only house where Rick Scott was a household word was Rick Scott's house.

-- Florida had a state plane, a Department of Community Affairs and a crushing, double-digit unemployment rate.

-- The ranks of the unknown included Patrick Murphy, Ted Yoho, Steve Southerland, Gwen Graham, Lizbeth Benacquisto and Katie Edwards.

-- Meanwhile, Senate President Mike Haridopolos, presiding over the largest GOP majority since Reconstruction, was the up-and-comer, the Republican Party's fair-haired boy.

-- And the Democrats? They had one egg in their basket, Alex Sink, but virtually the whole capital press corps in the coop.

One of my earliest news-story memories was the night in February I moved into my Tallahassee apartment, ready to start this job. Charlie Crist was interviewing with Newsmax. It was the night he uttered the now-famous line: "I’m an anti-tax, pro-life, pro-gun Republican, and I think it’s very clear that during my entire career I’ve never voted for a new tax." I knew from that moment I was going to have fun.

At the Florida Press Center, Sunshine State News was like the foreign family that moves into one of the best homes in the neighborhood and puts everybody's nose out of joint. Conservatives living on a liberal block, that was us. But that was also why we moved in. We wanted to be a voice for the other culture.

The truth is, it's been fun all the way. From the late-April day in 2010 when our videographer Lane Wright caught Mike Bennett on the Senate floor opening email of scantily clad women (and the video went viral around the world), to last year when a group of women stood in a circle around my car and said they wouldn't leave until I apologized for the awful things I said about Debbie Wasserman Schultz -- those things and so many moving, extraordinary, wacky, trying times in between, we've had the time of our lives.

Every day is a lesson in something. Usually in the people who work in state government. 

I do truly believe the men and women elected to serve the people of Florida in the state Capitol come here humbled by the honor, charged with enthusiasm, and pledged to make this state better. They want to do good, they really do. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out as they planned.

At Sunshine State News, we're pretty much the same. We're here only to serve you, our readers, the best we can. On behalf of our editors and writers -- Allison Nielsen, Chris Moran, Kevin Derby and myself -- thank you for the faith you show in us day after day by clicking on our stories. Our fourth birthday is just an opportunity to tell you you're the best.

Reach Nancy Smith at or at 228-282-2423

Comments (5)

Donna Cay Tharpe
9:08AM JUN 18TH 2014
Sunshine State News is a goldmine! Happy Birthday and thanks for the superb coverage of Florida politics.

Please add my email address to your list so I can get regular updates
8:12AM MAR 3RD 2014
Since moving from NJ to Florida, this publication has been like breakfast. I miss it on Sunday but like Chic-fil-A, God needs to be part of your success. Congratulations on this milestone, look forward to my 6 AM Sunshine News. God bless you and all the staff of Sunshine News.
Karen Whittaker
4:46PM MAR 2ND 2014
Thank you, Sunshine State News. Congratulations on 4 great years. Keep doing what you do.
1:06PM MAR 2ND 2014
Sponsored by FGOP
9:35AM MAR 1ST 2014
Congratulations! You've completed ONE (1) Term with many more to go as the Sunshine State News is NOT on Term Limits. And to think, in only 4 years you will have been able to cover the rise and fall of the latest governor this state has tired of! Witnessed outbursts by the normally well controlled and well mannered politicians, some crooked deals that were overlooked, others which weren't. All in all the Sunshine State News has, in just four scant years, seen it all. Again, and again. Different players, always the same game!
In addition, you have brought to us always interesting articles, full of factual information and interesting sidenotes the people of this state are not normally informed of.
The staff at Sunshine should be proud of themselves for being able to pull this feat off and for staying with the original plan and never faltering.
For all of that, and more……….I thank you very much!

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