Politics
9:00 am
Mon April 1, 2013

Chewing Gum, Sweat-Free Suits, And More: 5 Observations From The Capitol

The Florida Senate meets in an organizational session. This same group was recently caught doing the Harlem Shake in Senate Chambers.
The Florida Senate meets in an organizational session. This same group was recently caught doing the Harlem Shake in Senate Chambers.
Credit flsenate.gov

We're nearly halfway through the legislative session, and your roving Capitol bureau reporters are ready for a nap.

We'll need one, since the busiest days are still weeks away.

It was quiet at the Capitol in the days before Easter. So this seemed like a good time to share some observations made while covering the Florida Legislature.

Everybody chews gum. Lawmakers and lobbyists in particular can, in fact, walk and chew gum at the same time.

You quickly learn how important fresh breath can be when people are in your face all day advocating for a cause or giving an interview.

Every Tallahassee retailer should have a well-stocked supply of minty fresh gum.

Not all politicians have mastered the art of the sound bite. Why do some lawmakers get their names in the news more than others? I'd like to tell you it's because they are doing something that will positively change your life, but really it's because they say stuff that's interesting.

Those who regurgitate talking points are no fun, unlike those who speak their minds. Reporters prefer interview subjects who will say things that keep the audience tuned in.

Audio plugs in the committee meeting rooms are all different. This is a confounding bane for radio reporters new to the beat.

You never know which plug or adapter will be necessary for your recorder. This is an issue if you are worried about producing a radio story with people other than yourself saying interesting things.

Fashion at the Capitol gives new meaning to the term "Suits." Suits are everywhere. Even in an outside, humid, high noon, sun-beating-down-on-us news conference, the men are wearing stifling pinstripe suits.

I'm amazed at how many of them DON'T SWEAT. How can this be?  Is it Botox? Are air conditioners sewn into those pinstripe sleeves?

Lawmakers are people, too. Yes, they are politicians, but they have families, friends, pets.

Many of them are small-business owners.

They have pictures of kids and grandkids lining their desks.

And they cry, as we saw this week during the Senate memorial service for the late Sen. Larcenia Bullard. Sen. Jack Latvala ended his teary farewell with, "We love you, Larcenia, and we'll miss you a lot."