Bud Chiles is about a third of the way done in his "One Million Steps For Florida's Kids" state wide walking campaign.
The campaign is to build grassroots demand for more state spending on programs for children, and he's attempting to get a million people to sign on to his web site to make that happen.
Speaking to CL on the telephone (where he had originally hoped to be in Ybor City today), Chiles says the 1-4 corridor portion of his walk is soon to commence.
"This is about a million steps to engage a million Floridians on how we prioritize family values, education, and health care in this state. We've gone bad to horrible," Chiles said. He defined his journey as a way to build awareness and encourage people to get involved in their community.
Any resemblance between Chiles walk today and his late father Lawton's journey in 1970 (where he walked over 1,000 miles to introduce himself to Florida voters in his successful bid to become a U.S. Senator) is absolutely not coincidental.
Perpetually described as a political hopeful, specifically for Governor (which his father became in 1990 until his death in 1998), Chiles did not back away when asked if he has political aspirations.
"I'm willing to do whatever I can," he says. "I could be a candidate. People in Florida are so desperate to believe in something...they've seen so much lying and rhetoric. We've gotta legislature that responds to money. They're focused on casino gambling, offshore drilling."
When asked if he's been impressed by the candidacies of Alex Sink for Governor and Kendrick Meek for U.S. Senate, Chiles said he really wasn't, saying specifically he hadn't heard them talk about reforming the job market or about reforming health care (Meek has been a strong supporter of health care reform, while Sink has taken a wait and see attitude about the public option).
Chiles began his journey on September 1st, and says people are excited about it. "When you walk 600 miles (his goal), people are inspired by it. They know that you're motives are right and that we want to make a difference."