Showing posts with label lawson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lawson. Show all posts

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Lawson to apply for FAMU Presidency

Former state Sen. Al Lawson told the Tampa Bay Times yesterday that he will apply to become the next president of Florida A&M University.

According to the Times, Lawson “said that he reached the decision to apply for the FAMU presidency just this week after being encouraged by others to apply. The school needs an apt fundraiser, who can help recruit students and has the connections among the elected officials who control the purse strings at the Capitol, he said.”

“I don’t know anyone who can do that any better than I can,” Lawson told the Times.

Lawson, 65, is a successful insurance executive and business man.  He represented Tallahassee and Leon County in the Florida Legislature for 28 years from 1982-2011.  

During his time in the Legislature he was an avid supporter of FAMU, guiding through legislation to establish the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and reestablish the FAMU College of Law in 2000.  He can be credited with the renovation and construction of many facilities across the campus including the School of Journalism and Graphic Communication Building, New Developmental Research School, Multi-Purpose Teaching Gymnasium (that bears his name), University Commons Renovation, Gore Education Complex Remodeling, Jones Hall Remodeling, Tucker Hall Remodeling, College of Law (Orlando) and Pharmacy Phase II.

The FAMU Board of Trustees will discuss the pool of applications on Jan. 3. It has scheduled interviews for Jan. 6.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

FAMU celebrates newly remodeled Gore Education Center

FAMU officially cut the ribbon on the newly remodeled Gore Education Center on Wednesday, April 10. The renovations to the Gore Education Center began in July 2011 and cost an estimated $10 million. The building was originally constructed in 1968 and was named after FAMU’s fifth president George W. Gore Jr.

The renovations included the following:

• Two Student Centered Active Learning Environment for Undergraduate Programs (SCALE-UP) classrooms
that are highly collaborative and computer rich for large enrollment courses;
• A teaching lab and observation room for graduate psychology courses;
• Wireless infrastructure throughout the building;

Monday, March 25, 2013

FAMU set to cut ribbon on newly renovated Gore Education Complex

Gore Education Center, December 2012
FAMU has scheduled the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Gore Education Center for Wednesday, April 10 at 11:30 a.m.

Back in 2007, Sen. Alfred “Al” Lawson steered $8,301,606 into FAMU’s budget to help remodel the Gore Education Complex. That was followed by another $5,600,000 in 2008. Both appropriations came from Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) dollars.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Rattlers remain divided over decision to reopen band director search

Back when he was a college student, Shelby Chipman dedicated himself to carrying the torch of legendary Marching 100 Director William P. Foster. He highstepped in the band as a Rattler student and then went on to earn master’s and doctoral degrees, as Foster did.

For ten years, he led the Miami Central Rocket Marching Band and modeled its drills on Foster’s examples. He then returned to FAMU as a music professor and worked his way up to become the second-in-command behind Marching 100 Director Julian White, the man who had succeeded Foster.

So when FAMU’s interim administration turned Chipman down for the band directorship this year and opted to reopen the search, many Rattlers were outraged.

FAMU alumnus and former state senator Alfred “Al” Lawson directed very strong criticism against Interim President Larry Robinson. He suggested that the interim administration might be bending to outside pressures that are suspicious of Chipman simply because he was on the Marching 100's staff when the hazing death of band member Robert Champion took place in 2011.

“You should not let the politics of the band situation prevent a person of his caliber from getting the job,” Lawson told reporter Tampa Bay Times reporter Tia Mitchell.

But former FAMU President Frederick S. Humphries disagrees with Lawson. He thinks that Robinson made the right decision when he chose to reopen the search.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Crist should take note of Lawson’s clout with Democratic base, GOP lawmakers

Former Gov. Charlie Crist, a new member of the Democratic Party, had a strong showing in the latest Public Policy Polling (PPP) report on Florida. PPP’s January 16th poll found that 70 percent of Democrats in the state view him favorably. He would also beat incumbent Gov. Rick Scott 53 to 39 percent in an election matchup.  

But Crist might face opposition in the 2014 Democratic gubernatorial primary. Some members of the state party are attempting to recruit former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz to challenge Crist for the nomination.

If Crist wins a divisive primary contest, he will need a running mate who can energize the Democratic base. He will also need someone who can work across party lines in order to push legislation through the Republican-controlled legislature.

FAMU alumnus Alfred “Al” Lawson could rally swing voters in the majority white Florida Senate district he represented from 2000 to 2010. A Crist-Lawson ticket would also excite African American voters. Crist won 20 percent of black votes when he ran for the governorship back in 2006.

Lawson can get things done at the Florida Capitol. A recent news article published by the Florida Current shows that Lawson still has tremendous clout with his former colleagues in the Republican-dominated Florida Senate.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Crist should consider Lawson, Meek as potential running mates

Ever since 2011, many Florida Democrats have worked to recruit Charlie Crist to join the party and challenge Rick Scott for the governorship in 2014.

Crist took another step toward the upcoming gubernatorial race on Dec. 13 by officially registering as a Democrat.

Now that it seems likely Crist will seek the Democratic nomination for his former job, he has a big decision to make. He’ll need to select a running mate who will excite Florida Democrats, appeal to swing voters, and help him govern.

Alfred “Al” Lawson and Kendrick Meek, two FAMU alumni, could easily fit that bill.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Lawson concedes hard-fought race to Southerland

The underdog Congressional campaign of FAMU alumnus Alfred “Al” Lawson fell short in its quest to unseat incumbent Rep. Steve Southerland.  Lawson received 47 percent of the vote to Southerland’s 53 percent.

“I recognize the fact the people have spoken and while it didn’t go the way we wanted it to go, it is my sincere hope that Congressman Southerland will serve North Florida in the 113th Session of United States Congress with honor and dignity,” Lawson said in a quote published by the Tallahassee Democrat.

Lawson faced an uphill battle against the deep pockets of the wealthy Tea Party interests and big businesses that flooded money into the reelection fund of his opponent. He raised $499,000 while Southerland raked in about three times more with $1.5M.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Clinton endorses Lawson's Congressional campaign

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton brought FAMU alumnus Alfred “Al” Lawson a big gift on Friday, Nov. 2nd: his endorsement.

Clinton announced his formal support for Lawson’s Congressional bid after Lawson introduced him at a Florida State University rally. The former president was in Tallahassee to stump for the reelection campaign of U.S. President Barack Obama.

At the rally, Clinton told the audience that Democrats like Obama and Lawson advocate “an economic policy that says we build the country from the bottom up and the middle out, not by trickle down.”

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Lewis, Lawson lead FAMU students in early voting march

As part of the final stretch of his Congressional campaign, FAMU alumnus Alfred “Al” Lawson invited civil rights legend John Lewis to come to Tallahassee and stump for him. Lewis, who represents Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, began his day with Lawson by visiting FAMU’s campus to promote early voting.

“Even before many of us could register to vote, we marched,” Lewis said in a quote published by the Tallahassee Democrat. “There’s nothing more powerful than a march in a peaceful, nonviolent fashion.”

Following a 9:30 a.m. rally in the university’s Quadrangle, Lewis and Lawson locked arms and led 300 marchers up to the Leon County Courthouse to cast early ballots. They were joined in the front row by FAMU Interim President Larry Robinson, State Rep. Alan Williams, City Commissioner Andrew Gillum, and FAMU Student Body President Marissa West.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lawson picks up Tallahassee Democrat's endorsement

The editorial board of the Tallahassee Democrat has endorsed FAMU alumnus Alfred "Al" Lawson to represent Florida's Second Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"Mr. Lawson served 18 years in the Florida House and 10 years in the Senate, before being term-limited out in 2010," the editorial board wrote. "In that time, he was an advocate for government workers and for the state universities, which form the heart of this community’s economy and culture."

"His views are pure Democratic, but if anyone can reach across the aisle, it is Al Lawson," the editorial board continued. "He has worked with Republicans out of necessity (as in the Legislature) and has withheld support from Democrats out of personal choice (as in 2010, when he backed independent Charlie Crist for the U.S. Senate)."

The Democrat also endorsed Lawson's successful bid for the Democratic Party's nomination.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lawson wins Democratic nomination for U.S. House

FAMU alumnus Alfred “Al” Lawson will carry the Democratic Party’s banner into the Nov. 6, 2012 general election for the Florida’s District Two seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Lawson received 46,955 votes to win the Democratic nomination by a commanding 55 percent. He was followed by Leonard Bembry 22,447 (26 percent), Alvin Peters 11,951 (14 percent), and Mark Schlakman 4,667 (5 percent).

“We worked hard, stayed clean and gave the people of North Florida a vision and plan for the future in this campaign and they have responded,” Lawson said.

The former state representative and senator will challenge incumbent Steve Southerland, a member of the Tea Party.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Lawson campaign is FAMU’s best chance to strike back against Tea Party

FAMU is under attack from a Tea Party darling governor who doesn't appear to be concerned about how his actions threaten the university’s future. Gov. Rick Scott has jeopardized FAMU’s accreditation, attempted to micromanage the Board of Trustees, and used his veto pen to try and stop FAMU from opening its Crestview Education Center.

Alfred “Al” Lawson is FAMU’s best chance to strike back against the Tea Party agenda that hurting the school. He has publicly fought against Scott’s efforts to hurt FAMU. Now, he wants a chance to help U.S. President Barack Obama battle against the Tea Party’s attempts to take the entire country backwards.

Lawson is running to unseat Tea Partier Steve Southerland in the Second Congressional District of Florida.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Coveted endorsements adding momentum to Lawson campaign

FAMU alumnus Alfred “Al” Lawson’s campaign for Florida’s Second Congressional District seat continues to soar. This summer, Lawson picked up the endorsements of the Tallahassee Democrat and Florida Police Benevolent Association.

One of Lawson’s most passionate statements of support comes courtesy of FAMU President Emeritus Frederick S. Humphries. Humphries described Lawson’s qualifications and experience with the following words:

During his 28 years in the legislature, Al took on a lot of good battles and stood out for so many important causes. Every day he fought for working families, state workers, and children. 

There was another issue though that was always at the top of his agenda- Florida A&M University.  The truth is, when he first ran for the Florida House, he did so in large part because of the way FAMU’s campus looked.  Buildings were bordered up, space was limited, and infrastructure was crumbling.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Lawson: Ammons appears to be leaning against fielding Marching 100 in the fall

The Associated Press reports that former State Sen. Alfred "Al" Lawson, a strong ally of FAMU President James H. Ammons, believes the university head is "leaning toward keeping the band suspended."

"There is a considerable amount of pressure being placed on the university and the trustees about the band being able to perform in the fall," Lawson said. "But I think in the light of everything, though the university is going to have to go in a new direction."

Lawson has enjoyed a close working relationship with the FAMU president ever since he was appointed in 2007.

Ammons walked the halls of the Florida Legislature with Lawson in order to successfully lobby for millions of construction dollars for the school. The former state senator, now a Congressional candidate, joined a protest student against Gov. Rick Scott's attempt to pressure Ammons to temporarily step down back in December. Lawson stood by Ammons’ side when he met with Scott the next day for a face-to-face discussion of the suspension request.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

FAMU failed to fully utilize Lawson’s clout

For the first time in 29 years, FAMU is not being represented by Alfred “Al” Lawson in the state legislature.

Lawson reached the height of his power between 2001 and 2010 as a member of the Florida Senate. He used that position to steer hundreds of millions of construction dollars into FAMU’s coffers. But unfortunately, his efforts to help FAMU were often frustrated by the actions of bad trustees who made bad decisions for the university.

The Florida housing market was booming during most of Lawson’s tenure in the Senate. That pumped big money into Florida’s Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) Fund, which comes from utility taxes. Lawson fought hard to make sure FAMU got its fair share of PECO dollars.

The FAMU PECO projects Lawson guided through the legislature between 2001 and 2010 include: the College of Law Building in Orlando, School of Journalism and Graphic Communication Building, New Developmental Research School, Multi-Purpose Center and Teaching Gymnasium, University Commons Renovation, Gore Education Complex Remodeling, Jones Hall Remodeling, Tucker Hall Remodeling, Pharmacy Phase II, and FAMU-FSU College of Engineering Building Phase III.

Lawson was prevented from getting even more PECO money for FAMU because the university’s Board of Trustees brought in presidents in 2002 and 2005 who did not spend all the PECO funds FAMU was given.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

FAMU welcomes Scott-Carroll administration

FAMU rolled out a warm welcome for new Gov. Rick Scott and Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll this week with two big events in the Alfred “Al” Lawson Multipurpose Center & Teaching Gymnasium.

On Sunday evening, FAMU and Al Lawson & Associates held a black tie gala in Carroll’s honor. President James H. Ammons, Provost Cynthia Hughes-Harris, and Vice President for University Relations Carla Willis all greeted Carroll on behalf of the university. 20 members of the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators were in attendance.

Former Sen. Al Lawson told WCTV-6 that Carroll is “like a little sister” to him.

“Seven years ago, many members were suspect about this young lady,” Lawson said. “She was the first Republican member of the black caucus, and that created many unusual situations for many of my colleagues.”

Scott also made a surprise visit to gala and praised his running-mate as a tireless leader who will play a big role in his administration.

On Tuesday morning, FAMU kicked off the inauguration day activities with a prayer breakfast. Ammons thanked the Scott and Carroll “for keeping God as part of this inaugural process.”

The Marching 100 later high-stepped for the new governor and lieutenant governor during the inaugural parade.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lawson falls to Boyd by narrow margin

According to the Associated Press, FAMU alumnus Alfred “Al” Lawson has lost his bid to unseat Congressman Allen Boyd by a narrow margin. With 98 percent of Panhandle precincts reporting, Boyd had 51.4 percent to Lawson’s 48.6.

"I also want to sincerely congratulate Al Lawson for running a strong campaign," Boyd said in a victory message. "He has a long record of service to the people of North Florida, and he will continue to be an important community leader. Senator Lawson and I took up many fights together in the state legislature, and I look forward to working together as we move forward."

Lawson, the Florida Senate Minority leader, was outspent nearly 20-1 as he challenged a well-funded 14- year incumbent. Despite being barraged with a ton of negative ads against him, Lawson kept his campaign positive.

In the race for the Democratic nomination for the state senate seat Lawson is exiting, the Florida Freedom Newsire reports that former Leon County Schools Superientendent Bill Montford has defeated former state Rep. Curtis Richardson.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

FAMU lands $6M for “outreach” project

Once again, Sen. Alfred “Al” Lawson has shown why he’s one of the most effective legislators in recent Florida history.

Following negotiations led by Lawson, the Florida Legislature’s budget conference committee agreed to allocate $6M for a FAMU “outreach” project.

Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander was mum about the specific purpose for the line item. When questioned by a Jacksonville Times-Union reporter, he simply answered: “some outreach missions that we thought were close to FAMU's sort of niche in the world.”

According to the Fort Myers News Press: “At an early morning conference meeting, before the deal was announced, a smiling FAMU President James Ammons worked the room and huddled with conferees.”

Newspapers speculate that the $6M deal came after Lawson and other members of the Florida State Conference of Black Legislators agreed to go along with a GOP redistricting plan. Lawson said the Republicans have agreed to changes that will protect minority districts.

The $6M FAMU outreach project matches the same amount of money allocated to create a new pharmacy program at the University of South Florida Polytechnic in Lakeland (one of Alexander’s top priorities).

Lawson told the Tallahassee Democrat that "some of the money likely would help FAMU assume command of a dental clinic in Jacksonville that the University of Florida no longer wants to administer. Some of it would also likely go to the FAMU pharmacy school."

This year, FAMU requested $1.5M to help it plan a new College of Dental Medicine. Pharmacy Professor Donald E. Palm is leading the on-campus planning committee.

Rattler Country has a big reason to SMILE!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Lawson, Williams have dental school bill on track

Sen. Alfred “Al” Lawson and Rep. Alan Williams have formally introduced companion bills to authorize a dental school at Florida’s only historically black public university.

Senate Bill 2564, filed by Lawson, and its companion House Bill 1439, filed by Williams both state: “A program for a doctoral of dental medicine degree is hereby authorized at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.”

FAMU’s push for a dental school comes at the same time that the legislature is weighing Florida Atlantic’s request for a college of medicine and the University of South Florida’s request for a pharmacy school.

The Florida Board of Governors is officially backing FAU and USF’s proposals but has yet to even schedule a vote on FAMU’s. The BOG’s inaction comes in midst of a severe statewide dentist shortage.

The legislature still holds all the cards when it comes to establishing new health professional programs in the Sunshine State.

Even though the BOG can approve new programs, it has no authority over the state boards which grant health professional licenses. Those boards are all part of the Florida Department of Health, which operates under the laws passed by the legislature. The state’s health boards will only grant licenses to students from legislatively-certified programs.

Although the BOG has not recommended a dental school, FAMU can still ask the legislature for certification to train dental students who will be eligible to receive licenses from the Florida Board of Dentistry.

During the days of the Board of Regents, FAMU had to go above the board’s head and get legislative approval for Institute of Public Health and the restoration of the College of Law. The BOR objected to both proposed programs.