Trail across State Named for Chiles

The Florida Times Union, January 21, 1999 | Go to article overview

Trail across State Named for Chiles


A trail honoring the late Gov. Lawton Chiles would stretch 1,033 miles -- the distance he walked during his 1970 campaign for U.S. Senate, earning him the nickname "Walkin' Lawton."

House and Senate Democratic leaders unveiled legislation yesterday designating the "Lawton Chiles Trail."

"Lawton Chiles left his footprints on the side of these roads as he traveled throughout the state he loved so much," Senate Democratic Leader Buddy Dyer said. "His steps made a permanent imprint in the fabric of local citizens' lives."

Chiles, 68, died of an abnormal heart beat Dec. 12, just 23 days before the end of his term.

The trail will stretch from the town of Century, in the Florida Panhandle, to Key Largo -- the path he walked in his campaign almost 30 years ago. A long shot, Chiles won that election and went on to serve three terms in the U.S. Senate.

Chiles later frequently reflected that the long walk gave him a chance to speak with Floridians from many occupations in far-flung parts of the state.

Dyer expects the trail proposal will gain bipartisan support.

PSC STUDY: The Legislature handed the ball off to the Public Service Commission last year when the subject of increasing basic telephone rates got too hot to handle.

Now the lawmakers may be getting it back.

The PSC staff has completed a report saying basic rates should be increased by up to $5 over the next three to five years, with long-distance access rates reduced correspondingly.

This report will go to the commission, which could endorse it or reject it in making its recommendation to the Legislature.

A bill introduced in the Legislature last year would have increased basic rates from $13.66 to $23.50 over an eight-year period.

While supporters contended it would have been offset by the reduction in long-distance costs, consumer groups complained that it would hurt those who make few long-distance calls.

The uproar led the lawmakers to send it to the PSC for a recommendation. …

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