Martinez: I’m leaving of my own free will, in good health, and heading to private sectorby Palm Beach Post Staff | August 7th, 2009
This blog has been updated since it was originally posted at 3:10 p.m.
By DAPHNE DURET
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
ORLANDO — U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez just told reporters at Orlando International Airport that he is indeed stepping down — of his own free will, and not under duress from anybody.
“This is a free country,” he said. “The people of Florida elected me. This is only about my desire to move on with the rest of my life.”
He described his departure as “a return to Florida and a return to my family.” He said he will not seek any other public office. And he said he would not reopen the possibility of become president of Florida State University; he had taken himself out of the running in mid-July.
He said he’s in good health, “thank God.” And he added that the next phase of his life “will be in the private sector.”
“There’s going to be a 60-day gap where I won’t be doing much of anything,” Martinez added, talking about spending time on Lake Eola with his wife, Kitty. And he said he would remain an outspoken member of the Cuban exile community, and would speak out against the island’s communist regime. “That has always been my passion. I will continue that lifelong passion.”
Martinez said he informed Gov. Charlie Crist of his decision by telephone, but the senator offered no hints of who his successor should be. He referred all such questions to Crist.
By the way, the resignation of a U.S. senator from a major state wasn’t apparently very fascinating to some of the big TV networks. CNN showed footage of Martinez speaking, but anchor Rick Sanchez kept talking the entire time. CNN Headline News actually allowed some of Martinez’s words to make it on the air before cutting away to other news.
Fox aired more of the news conference, including Martinez’s response to several questions. But they, too, broke away.
Tags: Mel Martinez