State Rep. Ben Albritton ’90 Tells Students Politics Should Be About People
LAKELAND, Fla. (November 8, 2011) — Florida State Rep. Ben Albritton ’90 told Florida Southern students today that politics should be about people and less about the partisan process of legislating and campaigning.
“The most important part of politics is people. It’s important to make sure if I disagree with someone, I do it with respect,” he said.
Albritton spoke to the Southern Politics class taught by Dr. Bruce Anderson, Professor of Political Science. Albritton, of Wauchula, graduated from FSC with a degree in business and is the managing partner of Albritton Companies, a citrus grove caretaking and risk management business. He was elected in 2010 to represent Florida House District 64, which includes Eastern Polk County, Hardee County and a portion of Highlands County.
Albritton was asked by students about topics including immigration reform and new voter registration legislation, as well as the role of new grassroots movements, such as the tea party and Occupy Wall Street, on the political process. In response to a question about immigration, he criticized the reluctance of the federal government to allow the states to craft guest worker programs and said a get-tough approach would harm Florida’s economy.
“We’re not starting from zero. Immigrants are doing jobs a lot of people won’t do. Is it responsible for us today, regardless of what some people might believe, to slam the door shut on immigration? I’d say no,” Albritton said. He spoke frankly about the importance of knowing whom to trust among lobbyists and even his fellow legislators.
“There are several members (of the Legislature) I’d never be in a foxhole with, because I can’t trust what they say. There are some lobbyists who do not come in my office anymore, because they’ve only told me one side of the issue. Having correct information so you can make the right decision is terribly, terribly important,” he said.
Albritton is one of three FSC alumni who serve in the Florida Legislature, including Rep. Eric Eisnaugle Jr. ’00 and Sen. Stephen Wise ’63.