Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Reno Brings Campaign to Ponte Vedra Beach

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Reno Brings Campaign to Ponte Vedra Beach

Article excerpt

Byline: Maggie FitzRoy, Shorelines staff writer

Janet Reno strolled up the driveway of Lonny and Chris Awerdick's Marsh Landing home Monday afternoon, sporting a crisp yellow suit and a handbag at her side. She looked like a friend coming to call -- and in a way she was.

A houseful of supporters from the Ponte Vedra Democratic Club clapped and cheered when the former U.S. attorney general and Florida governor hopeful entered the front door. The South Florida resident came to St. Johns County for a campaign tour and to get to know some of her Ponte Vedra Beach constituents.

"I talk to as many people as I can," said Reno. "I don't want to be governor of just part of Florida, I want to be governor of all of Florida."

She circled the Awerdicks' foyer and living room, clutching her tan and beige handbag in her left hand and shaking hands with her right. Then she addressed the crowd and expressed her views on education, elder care, the environment and the judiciary.

Voicing concern that Florida ranks near the bottom of the 50 states in every measure of educational performance, Reno talked about the need for early education, more support for teachers and smaller class sizes.

She spoke about the need for preventive health care programs, support for substance abusers and establishing nursing care priorities for senior citizens.

Reno, a tall woman, gestured a lot when she spoke, showing little of the effects of Parkinson's disease. Her audience clapped during pauses in her speech.

Reno, 63, was blunt about some issues, like her health.

"I went to doctors before I made the decision to get in this race," Reno said, adding that they said that her Parkinson's was no problem.

She spoke without hesitation about her most highly publicized and controversial case, the Elian Gonzalez case.

"The little boy belonged with his daddy," she said. …

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