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Rep. Charles McBurney


Lake Ray, Charles McBurney provide legislative wrap-up to Jax Republicans

Northeast Florida State Reps. Lake Ray and Charles McBurney have a lot in common.

They are both Republicans entering their final year in the state House.

They once roomed together in college, in what McBurney called a “tiny room, a small converted closet.”

And they have a shared conservative bent on many issues.

The two men appearing together at a legislative wrap-up meeting of the Greater Arlington Republican Club made a lot of sense. Even though the GARC meeting was in Ray’s district and not McBurney’s.

There wasn’t a great deal of daylight between them on point, as the two men agreed to agree on issue after issue.

Perhaps the most interesting issue the two legislators agreed on, or, if you prefer, addressed: the U.S. House of Representatives map redrawing, which will include yet another iteration of Corrine Brown’s serpentine District 5.

Neither McBurney nor Ray supports it.

McBurney is “disappointed” by the decision, which he framed at some length as an example of judicial overreach that pushes the burden to the Legislature to draw the map, to handle testimony and review in a “very short window of time.” Further, the judicial decision establishes “some precedent” for more legislation from the bench.

Ray concurred, saying it won’t be “the last time the Supreme Court would take matters into its own hands.”

Before addressing the redistricting question in a Q&A, each man gave his own remarks.

Ray referred to these as “the most trying times” for the state constitution and the state itself. One of the reasons for that? The “Obama administration … playing games” with the Low Income Pool; the “federal government … playing games with the state.”

Ray made reference to local vetoes that proved unpopular, vetoes for which the word “turkey is not appropriate,” including priority issues such as the Mayport Ferry and a tarmac for the Cecil Spaceport.

“A couple of Senate partners became very vocal,” he said, regarding the governor and Medicaid expansion, which led to those local priorities getting the ax.

Next year, Ray and McBurney said they will find a way to “lock them in.”

This year? Not looking good.

McBurney, like Ray, had plenty to say about Medicaid expansion as well.

He justified Medicaid expansion on several grounds. “It’s bad for the patient,” he said, in terms of care outcomes. “It doesn’t make financial sense,” either, with costs being “greater than estimated” in states that have expanded. As well, Medicaid expansion discourages work, he claimed.

As well, “the federal government may change the rules after the rules are written.”

The Republican Party of Rick Scott is very much an “eat your vegetables” style of governing. But for McBurney, the proof is in the AAA bond rating, an indication that fiscal rectitude is its own reward.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades, with bylines in national and local publications alike on subjects ranging from pop music to national and global politics. Gancarski has been a correspondent for since 2014, and has held a column in Jacksonville, Florida's Folio Weekly for two decades. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." Gancarski is a frequent presence on Jacksonville television and radio, including fill-in slots on WJCT-FM's award-winning talk show "First Coast Connect." He can be reached at

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