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Your Independent Alternative!

Our Q&A With Senate Candidate John Thrasher

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OBSERVER: Tell us a little about your background. Why did you first get into politics?

THRASHER: From 1998 to 2000, I served as the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, championing historic legislation, such as “Three Strikes, You're Out,” “10-20-Life,” “A+ Education Plan” and the largest tax cut in Florida history. I was first elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1992 and was subsequently re-elected. During my public service in the House, I represented District 19, which includes parts of Duval, Clay and St. Johns Counties. While representing District 19, I served as the chairman of the Clay County Delegation from 1993 to 1994 and was a Republican Caucus Policy Committee member from 1992 to 1993. Additionally, I served as a soldier in the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1970 before being honorably discharged and awarded multiple decorations. I graduated from Florida State University with a Juris Doctorate in 1972. Since leaving public office due to term limits, I've been an active community member serving on various boards, while also continuing to be a successful businessman, husband and father. I'm married to Jean Thrasher and have three children and eight grandchildren.

I first got involved in politics at the county level and with the support of my family, I decided that public service was a way to serve my community and help better the lives and futures for my children and all families that live and work in Northeast Florida.

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OBSERVER: We were all saddened by the recent passing of Senator King, he's left some big shoes to fill. What makes you the best man for the job?

THRASHER: Having served our community in the Florida House of Representatives and championing legislation, such as Three Strikes, You’re Out, 10-20-Life and A+ Plan, and delivering $1 billion in tax cuts, I feel that I have the experience, the dedication and the commitment to be an advocate for Northeast Florida.

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OBSERVER: During your time as Speaker of the House, what are the three accomplishments you are most proud of?

THRASHER: While serving as the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, I was proud of what we were able to accomplish for the entire state, including $1 billion in tax cuts and the passage of the historic Three Strikes, You’re Out, 10-20-Life and A+ Plan.

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OBSERVER: If voters decide to send you back to Tallahassee, what will your top priorities be in the State Senate?

THRASHER: If I am elected to serve the voters of Northeast Florida, my top priorities would be reducing government spending, ensuring lower taxes, and improving education standards and continuing adequate funding for our region.

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OBSERVER: The legislature recently attempted to cut pay for state workers making more than $45,000 per year. However, Governor Crist vetoed that out of the budget. Would you have supported making the cuts?

THRASHER: In a time when all expenditures are being examined, I do believe that we should examine state employees’ pay. I do believe these employees are valuable, and I would first recommend looking at the highest salaries, as a means to trim the state budget at the state government level.

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OBSERVER: Several groups, backed mostly by trial lawyers, have launched some pretty aggressive attacks on your candidacy. Among other things, they've accused you of using a state plane to fly to Texas in order to pick out a desk for your office. What is the background story about these redecoration expenses? Did you abuse the state plane while in office?

THRASHER: While serving as Speaker in the Florida House of Representatives, the House Chamber, which had not been renovated since the construction of the Capitol in the 1970s, needed renovations and did not meet ADA standards. Additionally, public access to committee meetings was strained. The renovations completed were an extensive project that not only brought the House Chambers up-to-date, but also added numerous committee meeting rooms in order to provide better public access to the legislative process. The project was competitively bid and the low bid happened to be from a firm in Texas. My trip to their facility in Texas (in my two years as Speaker, it was the only time I requested use of the state plane) was to make sure they were going to be able to complete the project to the standards that were being proposed. It had nothing to do with picking out a desk for myself. It is also important to note that nearly 20% of the cost of the renovation was directly attributable to meeting ADA standards.

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OBSERVER: What was your reaction when you heard that School Board member Stan Jordan was planning to enter the race? How does his candidacy change the dynamics of the contest?

THRASHER: I am focused on my candidacy and serving my community. I am not focused on any other particular candidate.

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OBSERVER: Jeb Bush has endorsed you and starred in several of your television commercials. Can we also expect him to visit the First Coast to campaign on your behalf?

THRASHER: I am very humbled by Governor Bush’s involvement in my campaign. He is a great friend and has done so much to help already. I have not asked him to visit, but would welcome him if he wanted to come.

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OBSERVER: On a personal note, what's your favorite place to grab a bite to eat?

THRASHER: My favorite place to enjoy a meal is at my home with my wife, three children and eight grandchildren.

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OBSERVER: Thanks very much for taking the time to talk with us, is there anything else you would like our readers to know about your campaign? How can they get in touch with you?

THRASHER: My campaign will be about building the community up and not tearing down any other candidate. I believe that our district deserves a spirited campaign that focuses on the issues and concerns of our region. I look forward to shaking every hand and earning every vote, and thank all of our hardworking volunteers, supporters and my fellow Republicans for their support of my candidacy.

For more information on the John Thrasher for Senate Campaign, please visit www.electthrasher.com or contact the campaign headquarters at (904) 398-1480.

21 Responses »

  1. No questions about the ethics violations? I would have liked to see him explain those.

  2. How about the most obvious question.....Mr. Thrasher, when do you plan to actually LIVE in the district?!

  3. Speaker Thrasher has served our community well. We need a strong leader for our Northeast Florida and his experience shows that he can do the job. We do not need to jeopardize our region's future by electing someone who will just be warming a seat in Tallahassee!

  4. How come he didn't explain why he tried to take the Craig runway and extend it through Arlington neighborhoods after there was a specific promise not to do it. Jim King defended the residents while Thrasher tried to do as much harm as possible. How about Thrashers lack of support for the St Johns River and his representation of the largest polluters of the river.

  5. I am pretty sure that JaxObserver is on the Shillwagon for Thrasher. I think there was even an admission that he was a financial backer.

    • No kidding - what a softball game this "interview" was.

    • We did almost the exact same Q&A with Art Graham last week and we're trying to do ones with Jordan and Quiggle in the coming weeks.

      It was a basic campaign Q&A, not an interview and not meant to be "gotcha" or to rake the candidate over the coals.

      We are working on setting up a radio debate for the week before the election and allowing the candidates to actually question each other, and probably take some questions submitted via twitter, etc.

      I personally haven't decided who I'm voting for, but when I do it won't be something I share publicly.

      • Austin, I love your site and respect you alot, but I have sensed a Thrasher slant for a few weeks now. I am not the only one either. Just an observation from the peanut gallery.

      • Okay, but after Mr. Thrasher smuggled his top legislative accomplishments as Speaker of the House into not one but two previous responses, The Observer could ask no more thoughtful next question than: "During your time as Speaker of the House, what are the three accomplishments you are most proud of?"

      • Austin,

        I have never seen the slightest bias in any of your reporting. This is no different.

        If you are saying that similar questions have and will be asked of each candidate, than I will take you at your word.
        News is news. Polling numbers, regardless of their outcome should be reported, comparable interviews for each candidate are appropriate. I have never seen you "make" the news, but simply report on it.

        This is one of the only news venues that does provide me with the unvarnished truth. Thank you and keep up the good work.

  6. The point is Speaker Thrasher will bring great things to the community because he is a respected leader in Tallahassee already. He has been tapped to be Senate President in 2014. What district wouldn't want the President of the Senate?

    • Speaker Thrasher is a crook. He represents whoever pays him no matter the result. His moral compass has no magnet it just spins. How well do you think he will protect the St Johns River when his clients are ardent polluters. A green river is perfect for Thrasher its the color of money

    • Wow, a getting ahead of himself much.

      • HERE IS THE BEST! I just saw the banner above and below that Thrasher bought with a website RealJohnThrasher.com I encourage you to go to it and see how much of nothing it has. It is pathetic how weak the info is and certainly old (9 years or more). Let me fill in the details for the last 9 years he has sold himself to the highest bidder. Then he blames lawyers and sadly he is one of them too. Last time I checked lawyers present the evidence in an open courtroom in front of jurors not some back room in a sneeky secretive fashion like a lobbyist. I checked out thrasherfacts.com and it seems much more accurate and relevant.

  7. I wouldn't say that the Observer is biased or slanted in anyway. Art Graham had a pretty softball interview as well. I was just wanting to point out the flaws with Thrasher as a candidate by highlighting his multiple ethics violations and sanctions surrounding his career as a lobbyist.

    • Just point out again - these are Q&A's not interviews. The T-U and TV stations do similar semi-generic things as well. It's mainly to let the candidate lay out their case, not to hammer them about negative stuff. That's all my point was.

  8. How about John Thrasher and his friends at the "Committee for Responsible Representation, Inc" show some of those conservative values and OBEY FEDERAL LAW, like the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991? There are no "political campaign" "free speech" exemptions when the recipient is charged to receive the call, like with my cell phone! I'm sure the FCC is getting tired of me filing reports.

    Tax money, shmax money, he's spending my money *directly* with these telephone campaigns! No legislation needed! So much for respecting property rights!

  9. Good to read an interview here and the responding comments. Beats the TV "dead babies and murders news" and the TU's fading postage stamp size excuse for delivering junk mail.
    (Usual grumpy self.)
    CHEERS!!!

  10. My main problem with Thrasher is that I just do not support someone being a politician and holding some sort of public office for life. If you really stand for conservative principles, you serve and then you return home, wherever that may be. That is what the Founders envisioned. He's had his role in public office. Now it is time for him to fade into the background. If someone fails to do that, then I tend to think he enjoys power a bit too much.

  11. I just caught this: "It is also important to note that nearly 20% of the cost of the renovation was directly attributable to meeting ADA standards"

    So, 80 percent of the costs could have been saved if they had just been content to have the building look like the 70s.

  12. Ted I guess they only have ADA compliant desks in Texas. Thank God they weren't at the Paris Airshow too.