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Informed Personalities from Across the State, Across the Spectrum
Andrew J. Skerritt's picture
"As a columnist my role has always been to tell the stories of everyday people struggling against extraordinary odds to secure their place in our impressive democracy. I’ll be writing about poverty, politics, health, immigration, family, fatherhood and turning fifty."
Wednesday, April 03, 2013 — Andrew J. Skerritt

The respected director of the Tallahassee-Leon Shelter was recently forced out after 25 years on the job. His ouster came weeks after some of the worst press any social service agency could generate.

You can call it a victory for citizen journalism.

It began with a bombshell Feb. 13 blog post on...

Monday, November 05, 2012 — Andrew J. Skerritt

On Friday, the U.S Labor Department released the final job numbers before the presidential election: 172,000 jobs added to the economy. The unemployment rate inched up to 7.9 percent.

Republican operatives poised to pounce on the numbers had to change their spin. They were already working on talking points saying the numbers were cooked to promote the re-election of a president whom they despise...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012 — Andrew J. Skerritt

This week my daughter begins middle school. At 11, she has enjoyed more formal schooling than my grandmother. But as she begins another step on the way to an educated life, she is merely taking advantage of my grandmother’s legacy -- a fundamental belief in the value of education.

My grandmother never went further than the third grade before she dropped out to help raise her younger siblings, yet...

Thursday, August 02, 2012 — Andrew J. Skerritt

Tax refund schemes in Florida have become like a ghetto stimulus plan, putting millions of unearned tax dollars in the pockets of undeserving scammers.

The worst part is, many of these scammers already are behind bars.

In case you missed it, federal prosecutors in Pensacola recently...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 — Andrew J. Skerritt

Anyone familiar with the ritual of public scandal knew there was only one way this was going to end. The only question was when.

Seven months and three weeks after paramedics put drum major Robert Champion’s body into an ambulance, Florida A&M President James Ammons did what every sensible, detached observer expected. He resigned. Finally.

...

Wednesday, July 04, 2012 — Andrew J. Skerritt

In honor of Independence Day, let’s pause to consider a true patriot, a father who died before he ever held his newborn son, a warrior killed in the pursuit of a war started for reasons we have long forgotten.

Private First Class Steven Stevens II of Tallahassee died in combat in Afghanistan over a week ago. He was buried with full military honors on Monday. Instead of waving proudly on Wednesday, flags...

Thursday, June 14, 2012 — Andrew J. Skerritt

It’s obvious that Gov. Rick Scott is bent on discouraging minority voters from heading to the polls. The presidential election might be close this fall. Scott doesn’t want to leave anything to chance.

The governor has ordered Secretary of State Ken Detzner to purge voter rolls of people who are not citizens. In pursuit of this purge, the secretary of state has been naming names and has gotten hundreds of...

Friday, May 25, 2012 — Andrew J. Skerritt

Last weekend I spent time with friends, an older, unmarried couple who had the fresh, excitement of young love. Each was married for more than 30 years before being unceremoniously dumped for someone else.

They found each other over coffee after church. They’re like high school sweethearts.  Playful. Endearing. Theirs is a second season of love.

...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012 — Andrew J. Skerritt

I remember exactly what I was doing when I saw the news last week: President Obama endorses gay marriage in an interview with ABC. 

My heart dropped. I was still processing the news from North Carolina, where the innate conservatism of Southerners made it obvious that a gay-marriage ban would become part of that state’s constitution. One diligent scribe reminded us that an earlier amendment to the Tar...

Monday, May 07, 2012 — Andrew J. Skerritt

For five months, the Rattle nation held its breath and waited for the other shoe to drop. Last Wednesday, it did -- with a clatter, not a thud.

The Orange County State Attorney announced that 13 people were being charged in connection with the hazing death of Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion. It’s called the biggest hazing case in the country’s history. It might just be....