Letters to the Editor

‘I regret’ abrupt end to legislative session

The district in Florida that I was elected to represent may be a part of western Broward County, but once elected, we legislators make decisions that affect people from every part of the state. I take this role very seriously.

Last week, the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, where I serve, abruptly ended the 2015 legislative session early. Because of this, so much that could have been accomplished was not, and I regret that I could not have done more to make sure that we completed our tasks for this year.

Often elected officials talk about their seats in office. I firmly believe that this seat belongs to the people and not to me, and I am honored to have been elected to represent my area, and the people of so many walks of life.

The speaker made a decision to end this year’s legislative session because the gap in the budget between the Senate and the House of Representatives was so far apart on the expansion of the Medicaid issue that neither side was willing to compromise. Although I am a Democrat in a heavily weighted Republican Legislature, I have the utmost respect for my colleagues on both sides of political spectrum.

The great majority of bills we hear each year are passed with bipartisan consideration. The small number that we do not agree on is where both sides fight hard — and is what makes news. Unfortunately, this year’s Legislature came to an unprecedented standstill because of the inability to bridge these differences.

While I regret that this happened, and offer my apology to the public and believe we could do better, I am optimistic that the Senate and House can come to an agreement.

I hope that the agreement will have a positive effect on Florida’s healthcare system, along with so many other affairs that affect our state as well.

Richard Stark,

Florida House of Representatives, District 104, Weston