Don Walton: Florida Sasse drama nears resolution |

Ben Sasse’s high point is coming up on Tuesday, when his nomination to be the new president of the University of Florida will be considered by the university’s board of trustees.

There’s no reason to believe he won’t eventually be named president — with final approval from the Florida Board of Governors, which is responsible for governing the entire public university system, when it meets Nov. 9 in Tampa.

The nomination has sparked political and academic debate at Florida, along with the sound of alarm bells among some students and faculty members focused particularly on Sasse’s stance on LGBTQ rights.

University of Florida student body president Lauren Lemasters, of Jacksonville’s Gainesville campus, told the Independent Florida Alligator student newspaper that she was undecided on how she would vote as a board member and did not expect to reveal it. decision by Tuesday.

In the Jacksonville, Florida Times-Union, metro columnist Nate Monroe wrote that “Sasse’s coronation would be the crowning achievement of the DeSantis-led effort to smear the University of Florida,” suggesting that the process that ultimately led to Sasse’s nomination began when Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new law that makes applications for presidential offices in the state confidential.

But nothing I’ve read online from Florida indicates that Sasse’s nomination won’t be approved, triggering a political restructuring in Nebraska.

The expected outcome, depending on the outcome of the Nov. 8 gubernatorial election, is for Jim Pillen, the punter’s heavily favored Republican candidate, to appoint Gov. Pete Ricketts to the Senate seat vacated by Sasse shortly after Pillen becomes governor in early January. .

Ricketts has not yet formally said he will seek an appointment to the vacant Senate seat, but has not begun any process to make the appointment other than ruling out his appointment.

And Ricketts did seek a Senate seat in 2006 in his first run for political office, losing to Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson.

Ricketts has admitted that he would like to remain in the public sector rather than return to the private sector when his days as governor are over.

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A few observations about Ben Sasse and the University of Florida and the road ahead:

* Personal opinion: If he is eventually elected president, faculty members and students who are now angry will likely find that Sasse is open to hearing and considering their concerns and that he will focus on building and protecting the university rather than bringing a political agenda to the table.

* The University of Florida is a much more prestigious university than I realized; it was ranked as the fifth best public university in the country in the 2022 US News and World Report rankings, behind UC-Berkeley, UCLA, the University of Michigan, and the University of Virginia.

* It is the fifth largest single-campus university in the United States.

* Big changes are coming in Nebraska politics right now: a new governor, a new U.S. senator, several House seats up for grabs, a drastically overhauled legislature with new leadership, and it looks like Ben Sasse won’t be selling Runzas at Husker home games anymore

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Former Rep. Jeff Fortenberry filed a formal appeal of his conviction in a U.S. District Court trial in Los Angeles in March on charges he lied to federal officials about illegal foreign contributions to his 2016 re-election campaign.

The appeal raises two main arguments: improper venue for trial based on the allegedly false statements in Nebraska and Washington, DC; and inadequate jury instructions.

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* Secretary of State Bob Evnen leaves on Monday for an agribusiness trade mission to Nairobi and Zanzibar with USDA Assistant Secretary of State Dr. Jewel Bronaugh and will return on November 4.

* The attack on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband at their San Francisco home is just the latest reminder that demons have been unleashed in American politics.

* Do the losers in next week’s election accept the results? More importantly, does the loser of the 2024 presidential race accept the will of the American people as expressed by their votes, and if not, then what?

* Jon Meacham’s new book on “Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle,” titled “And There Was Light,” comes at just the right time to provide a vivid reminder of what happened the last time the country was torn apart and Americans rebelled. each other.

* The expected huge surplus in government revenue presents rare opportunities in addition to bigger tax breaks. Do we only take advantage of these opportunities if federal money is involved?


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