By WES ALLISON © St. Petersburg Times, published July 19, 2001
CLEARWATER -- Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno said she expects to decide "in the next month or so" whether to seek the Democratic nomination for governor of Florida. But first she wants to talk with another potential candidate, Pete Peterson. Reno, a 62-year-old Miami native, said she has spoken with other possible Democratic candidates at recent campaign stops. She hopes to meet soon with Peterson, who resigned as U.S. ambassador to Vietnam and returned to Florida Wednesday.
"I've talked with others, and I would like to talk with him," Reno said before speaking at a University of South Florida conference on elder abuse at Sand Key. "I want to hear why they think they can do it better than me." Reno said her decision to run rests on several factors, but she would not elaborate. At the USF conference, Reno received an award for her work to stem domestic violence, including violence against senior citizens. Domestic violence has been a pet issue since she became the state attorney for Miami-Dade County in the 1970s, and conference attendees said they were impressed by her grasp of issues. Reno's political base is South Florida. Peterson's is North Florida. Reno said she has met Peterson in the past, and "I think very highly of him."
The nominee will face a well-financed and popular incumbent in Republican Jeb Bush. But Reno said Democrats have been "motivated" by the 2000 presidential election, in which Republican George W. Bush narrowly defeated Democrat Al Gore after a contentious Florida recount.
"I think that a lot of Floridians are very energized," she said. "They understand that every vote counts."
CLEARWATER BEACH -- Janet Reno, still considering a run for governor, said Wednesday she wants to talk with former Ambassador to Vietnam Pete Peterson. Reno said she wanted to make sure she heard his perspective. "I've talked with others, and I would like to talk with him," she said. "I just want to hear why they think they can do it better than me." It will be another month or so before she announces her decision, she said at a University of South Florida conference on elder abuse and domestic violence.
But she went on to explain her vision for the state. It includes schools where all children can excel, after-school supervision, training for workers to earn a living wage, planned communities where young and old interact to prevent violence and neighborhoods where elders have access to services that help them stay home for as long as possible.