It is with mixed emotions that I write this final entry in my To Tallahassee and Back blog. It was launched in February of 2012 and over the past 18 months has given me an outlet to share my experiences working in the Florida Legislature, honoring those special people in my life who have left this world way too soon, shared the good work my friend Mike Fasano has done, and a whole host of other subjects important to me and those around me.
This blog comes to and end because I can no longer write about the “To Tallahassee” part. Starting next week I will be joining my good friend Mike Fasano over at the Pasco County Tax Collectors Office, a position Governor Rick Scott appointed him to a few weeks ago. After 19 years working with Mike here in New Port Richey and in our state’s capital, trying to do good things for the people here at home and across the state, I have been given the opportunity to work with him to make an already well-run tax collection office even better. I would not pass up this new challenge, and the ability to continue working with Mike, for anything. There are wondeful people at the tax collectors office that I am anxious to start working with. Hold on, my friends, I am on my way!
Leaving Tallahassee, and the wonderful people with whom I have worked over the years, is the hardest part of moving on. When I look back at the countless people I have met over the past 19 years I am astounded by the high caliber of people whom I am honored to call friends. There is no practical way to recognize everyone who has made an impact on me during the past two decades. I trust that they know who they are.
I do want to mention a few people who have truly stood out in my life during this time and without whom what little I may have accomplished in the legislature, and more importantly as a husband, father and community member, could not have been accomplished. Of course my wife Nancy and our three precious kids Rebekah, Elizabeth and Joseph have been my reason for getting up in the morning. They have endured years of trips to Tallahassee and back, even when the novelty of those heady early days wore off. My mom, Katherine Brodnyan, has always been there with unconditional love, supporting me in so many ways. My good friend Mike Fasano who made this whole journey possible, as well as the journey I am about to undertake serving him in a new and exciting way.
I would be remiss to not mention my pastors, Andre and Wilna Erasmus, for whom I write my other blog, Just CrossPoint. These incredible people of God carried my family through some very difficult times and I literally owe so much to them and to the Lord we love and serve. I would be remiss to not mention Christine Hunter, my colleague of 19 years who retired a few months ago. Without her by my side our office would not have been half as good as it was. Mara Stierman, who stepped into Christine’s shoes a few months ago, is someone I hope I will work with again someday.
There are a few people who helped me take a rather dry “primer’ on the legislative process and transform it into the personal accounts of events as they unfolded in the Capitol. I want to thank Peter Schorsch of Saint Petersblog, Carol Gentry of Health News Florida, Lucy Morgan of The Tampa Bay Times, Virginia Chamlee of Jacksonville Magazine, Ashley Lopez of WLRN-Miami Herald News and of course Alex Tiegen of The Patch, all early supporters who gave me the encouragement and practical advice to make this blog something worth reading.
As I type this I realize that I am entering the realm of the Oscar-speech that ends up listing everyone the winner has known since kindergarten, and that is not what I intended. But the message is, hopefully, clear. Nothing is done in a vacuum. Whether it is a small weekly blog, or a major piece of legislation, no one person can do it alone. We all do our part, to the best of our respective abilities, and trust that the whole will come together.
There are so many more people out there who deserve recognition. If you read my old posts you will see who I am talking about. Finally, may I thank you, my readers. Without you taking the time to click on my weekly post, and sometimes leaving me a comment or sending me an e-mail, this space would have been nothing more than a few paragraphs of meaningless words. You transformed it into something that was worth reading. For that I thank you.
Although this blog is shutting down, that does not mean I am disappearing. Keep checking back for new Just CrossPoint posts and, maybe, just maybe, something about the tax office may be on the horizon. Only time will tell!