Gustafson channels his inner Walkin’ Lawtonby Jane Musgrave | October 8th, 2012
Tom Gustafson, the former Florida House Speaker who made a surprise late entry into the District 89 race, spent the weekend walking the length of the coastal district – from Boca Raton to the tip of Singer Island.
The Democrat kayaked from the north end of Palm Beach to south Singer Island shortly before 3 p.m. today and planned to walk the remaining 5 miles to its terminus by nightfall.
“It’s a long hot road when you’re walking,” the 62-year-old longtime Wellington resident said of the lessons he learned during the roughly 50-mile walk. “I met a lot of nice people walking on A1A.”
Known as a policy wonk who likes to talk, he said he didn’t get into lengthy discussions with those who met. Instead, he said, he told them of his campaign against incumbent Rep. Bill Hager, R-Delray Beach.
Gustafson, who recently rented a house in Lake Worth which is in the district, bristles when Hager calls himself an incumbent. The district has been completely redrawn and no long resembles District 87, which Hager has represented for two years, he said.
Gustafson also said he wasn’t following in the footsteps of the late U.S. senator and Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles, who earned the moniker “Walkin’ Lawton” for his penchant for campaigning on foot. That was so old school, said Gustafson, who served in the state House from 1976-1990.
Now, he said, through the wonders of modern technology, people can track exactly where he is at every moment. Beginning Friday, the “Tom” dot on his web site will show him walking south, from West Palm Beach to Boca Raton.