In a gaggle after an event in Jacksonville Wednesday, Rep. Paul Renner addressed comments made by House colleague Jay Fant — who Renner endorsed for Attorney General — on Twitter.
Fant depicted a Tallahassee culture in which sexual harassment is pervasive, enabled by a culture of entitlement among politicians in The Process.
“What we have in the Florida leg are a lot of tired politicians who’ve been elected for decades and think they own everyone in Florida including the women they harass. These politicians disgust me. I’m horrified for the young women who have to work with them each day,” Fant asserted.
In addressing Fant’s comments, Renner discussed issues in Tallahassee with personal comportment, including but not limited to sexually inappropriate conduct; the Palm Coast Republican painted those issues as linked to the entitlement issues created by power itself.
With Renner tracking toward being House Speaker, Florida Politics asked if he agreed with Fant’s blanket condemnation of the Legislature.
“Two points: one is that human beings being are who they are, in any organization you’re going to have five to ten percent who can’t help themselves in their personal conduct. We need to identify that and ask them to return home because they’ve lost the trust of the people who elected them,” Renner said.
Renner’s second point: term limits.
“You see some of these problems. You look at John Conyers in Congress: he’s 88 years old and has had some serious allegations against him,” Renner added. “Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, there’s a period of time after which people become co-opted, happier to be there than to do what the people sent them there to do.
“They’d rather spend time drinking scotch at the club or doing things that they don’t have any business doing than to do the people’s business,” Renner added. “Do I think that’s widespread among elected members? I do not. But it is an issue, it is a problem, and it’s something we have to take seriously. And as these things arise, it’s something we have to address.”
Renner also addressed the case of Roy Moore, the Alabama Senate candidate whose candidacy has been dogged by allegations of his serial ephebophilia.
“I’ve seen what you’ve seen in the news … if those allegations are true, they’re very, very serious,” Renner said.
Renner would not say Moore should get out of the race, however, saying that there should have been a “more thorough vetting during the primary stage so people could make decisions,” instead of having to decide on “allegations issued on the eve of an election.”