Audubon Florida News

Quality Time with Senator Paula Dockery – A Look Beyond the Capitol

posted on June 18, 2012 in Quality Time,State Government

Sometimes term limits backfire and result in good Legislators having to exit out. Such is the case with Senator Paula Dockery (R), a true friend of the environment who has been representing (and fighting for) parts of Polk, Sumter, Hernando, Lake and Osceola counties for the past 16 years. With this week’s Quality Time profile, we say goodbye to Senator Dockery and reflect upon her many accomplishments. Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook page!

Looking back at the 2012 Regular Session, what would you say is your proudest accomplishment?

Stopping bad legislative policy from passing.  I played mostly defense.  Prison privatization and the so called “parent trigger” bills were terrible policy and through a lot of research and educating, we were able to form coalitions to prevent their passage.

We really hate to see you leave the Legislature! What would you say was your proudest accomplishment over the course of your distinguished 16-year career?

Voting my conscience, even when it meant being politically punished by “leadership”. As for legislative efforts specifically, sponsoring Florida Forever and forming a broad coalition to craft Senate Bill 444 – Water Sustainability.  Being recognized by Governing Magazine, a national publication, for building those coalitions on SB 444 was a very special event.

But, most importantly, being told by my constituents that they really don’t want me to leave office is the very best accomplishment of all.

Have you got some plans for the future that you would be willing to share with us?

After 16 years in the Legislature, I am looking forward to a hiatus to enjoy traveling with my wonderful (retired) husband. I do plan to do some TV political analysis.

What is the best advice you have ever received and who gave it to you?

Try to listen to all sides of an issue, ask questions, do your homework and vote your conscience which came from a variety of family members and friends.

You are regarded as one of the founders of today’s Florida Forever program! Any chance you have a favorite parcel of land or park or management area as a result of that program?

It was my honor to work with then House Environmental Protection committee staff director, Wayne Kiger, to write the Florida Forever Bill. Our goal was to make the land purchases more science based and less politically driven. I love all the lands that help ensure a quality water supply and that offer “the real Florida” for recreational opportunities.  Colt Creek is near and dear to my heart.

You seem to have a large following on Face Book (5001) and Twitter (3362). Do you do your own social networking?

I do!

Read any good books lately?

Oh yes!  Anything by Carl Hiassan, Nicholas Sparks and John Grisham. I will be starting “The Swamp” when my husband finishes with it.  My favorite book is “A Land Remembered”

Tell us something most people do not know (or never suspected) about you.

I bartended my way through college. I knew nothing about the environment prior to being appointed chairman of the Environmental Protection committee in 1998.

What would be a perfect day for you? No limits! Anything is possible!

Outside on a boat, on a beach, on a hike or on a bike!

And last but not least, if you could have passed any bill in the Legislature during your tenure with no interference or opposition; what would it be?

Ethics Reform


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