Alex Sink shows a human side at Awake the State rally in Tampa

Sink spoke for only about 8 minutes, where she said she's been spending her time lately speaking on television and radio programs, as well as hosting business roundtables, asking small business men and women what it's going to take for them to begin hiring again.


"You know what I'm hearing? What they want always gets back to is one thing: we need a strong public education system in our state, "she said, getting her loudest cheer from the disappointingly paltry crowd.


"It's up to us," she continued, telling the audience that they need to talk to people who have the power to fund and support education. "Our voices will he heard. I may be down, but I'm not out."


Sink then said she was asked to recognize some of the sponsors for the event, giving a shout out to the man controlling the sound at the event named Felix Gonzalez. After announcing his name to the audience, she asked him to join her on stage, where she asked what type of services he provides (he's a DJ who plays at various events). Sink allowed him to say a few words and announce his email address.


She then asked if anybody would hire him - then said suddenly that she would like to hire him for an upcoming gig.


"Anybody think they're going to call?..In fact, Felix, you're hired. My daughter - were giving her an engagement party...I want to talk to you about being our DJ."


Say what you will about that exchange, it's not something we likely would have seen Sink do a year ago. Yes, there's no pressure when you're just talking to a group of local Democrats, many of whom you probably know by name, vs. trying to become a governor of the fourth largest state of the union on the campaign trail. But still.


The next election for governor is not for three full more years. Sink has said it's too early to decide on whether or not she'll run against Scott in 2014, and even though there doesn't seem to be many other likely contenders who could win statewide (South Florida state Senator Nan Rich has announced that she will probably run), Sink has a lot of make up work to do with Democrats, many dissatisfied with her campaign performance in 2010, in which she frequently showed a lack of genuine political skills.


In the end it wasn't huge, but Sink's seemingly spontaneous act was a positive start for her and her potential political future.


But what about the Awake the State movement? The group, convened earlier this year in opposition to Rick Scott's policies held similar rallies across the state, and the attendance wasn't stellar anywhere (In Orlando, reports are that between 100-150 people showed up - the same in Tallahassee).


One of the organizers for last night's rally, FCAN's Tim Heberlein, said overtures had been made to the other activist group that has been meeting (and sleeping over) daily in Tampa, at nearby Curtis Hixon Park. But he said members of Occupy Tampa indicated they weren't interested in being part of the event.

  • Alex Sink hires Felix Gonzalez on the spot in Tampa

A year ago Tuesday night, it was past midnight before Rick Scott was declared the winner against Alex Sink in the Florida gubernatorial election.

A year later Scott is trying to push his way out of mid 30's in public approval ratings, and Sink is at the beginning of what she hopes is a political comeback by establishing a nonprofit called the Florida Next Foundation, which is intended to gather research around the state to boost the state's economy, focusing on small businesses and entrepreneurs.

And whether it was spontaneous or designed, Sink showed off some people skills that were sorely missing in her campaign a year ago during her brief speech before approximately 90 people gathered at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square in downtown Tampa at an Awake The State rally, one of 18 such events held across Florida.

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