A Q&A with…
Rep. Irv Slosberg
District 91, D-Boca Raton
Education: Bachelor’s degree, business administration, Roosevelt University.
Family: Divorced, three daughters, one is deceased.
Work: Fulltime legislator.
When and where did you first arrive in Florida? In 1980 from Chicago to Boca Raton.
First job and what you learned from it: I worked at Puff-Fluff donuts in Chicago. I made donuts in the morning and I made hamburgers and hot dogs in the afternoon. I was 13. I learned that I don’t like waking up at 4 a.m.
First political job and what you learned from it: My first job was as a state representative. I didn’t really vote too much. I voted just in presidential elections and other elections here and there. I learned in order to get things done you have to be patient and persistent. Just like any other job, this job is all about relationships.
Best political advice you ever received: When you go down a path of revenge, dig a grave for yourself and dig a grave for your enemy. You know who said that? Confucius. Even though he’s not around, that’s the best political advice I ever received.
The seat belt law was the reason you ran for office. Right. My daughter Dori died in a car crash in 1996. When I got elected in 2000, we had 70 freshmen because of term limits. I got Marco Rubio on board, Rene Garcia on board, I had about 70 co-sponsors. And we passed it in the House in 2000 when I just came in. They pulled this procedure and they laid it on the table and I lost. I couldn’t get it out of the House. Then Dan Webster and Jim King blocked it and blocked it. Finally, in 2004, we passed it for minors. I’m probably the only legislator who passed a bill when I wasn’t here. I was lobbying for it, not for any personal gain or personal profit. It was to make Florida safer. And it did. It finally passed in 2009.
Now it looks like your texting and driving ban will pass. It took years to get to this point. Finally the legislature has realized there is an epidemic going on. We as a team have to do something about it.
Some people have criticized you for being a one-trick pony. I have two major missions. I’m not a supermarket of issues. The reason I got elected was because senior citizens sent me here. They understood that my issues were to honor my daughter Dori to make our roads safer. These two issues are my focus – senior citizens and making our roads safer. It’s not that I’m not involved in other areas of legislation. I am. But I try to stay focused on making Florida a better, safer, more affordable place to live.
What do you tell young people about government? I want to show the kids the process. I tell them about the committee process and say somebody is going to present a bill. We’ll send it through two committees, then we’ll debate on it and then we’ll all vote on it. The first time I did this one of the kids wanted to increase the time for lunch hour. We put it through an education committee and another committee with five kids on each committee. Then we voted on it and it didn’t pass. I went to another school and it was the same thing. And another and another. They’re pretty smart. They wanted to learn. I told the teachers at the fifth school what was going to happen and they didn’t believe it. And the word got around that Irv does this and now the teachers are calling me.
What do you see ahead for Florida? Navy blue. The state’s going to be a blue state. I see business is going to get better. I see the pendulum swinging about election reform, advancing women’s rights, LGBT community, immigration, gun control, access to health care, workers’ rights. That’s one of the reasons why the Republicans are more accommodating.
But none of those issues, except election reform, are going anywhere in Tallahassee. Not now. But the first thing that’s moving is the governor. All of a sudden we have a shot at taking back that governor’s office.
With Charlie Crist? He’s one of our main guys. Absolutely. But it doesn’t matter. We have a shot…. The momentum is starting to build. It’s all about persistence and patience. The key here is recruiting the right candidates.
Do you text while you drive? No. Never. I only talk on the phone with my Bluetooth but hardly ever.
Do you own a gun? No.
Favorite smart-phone app: Rain Aware. It tells you when it’s going to start raining and when it’s going to stop raining. This is perfect for taking out my dog Soldier. He’s a Schnauzer.
What kind of car do you drive? 2011 silver CLS 550 Mercedes.
What’s on your iTunes? Here’s what I was listening to this morning: AWOLNATION. I have it all. MGMT. Paloma Faith. Cold War Kids. I have a T-shirt that says “Rock is my religion.” Rock is my religion.