Emmett Reed

There is no place for special favors in our state’s basic charter, the Florida Constitution. Every provision in that document should benefit all of us equally, and officials working to revise the Constitution should be above any action designed to profit one group over another.

In today’s charged political environment, the public has a right to expect the highest ethical standards from its public officials. Unfortunately, one appointed member of the Constitution Revision Commission seems to still be serving the master who pays him to be a lobbyist. This commissioner has ignored his solemn duty to address the needs of all the people of Florida. Worse still, he would have us believe that he is actually doing it to protect some of Florida’s most vulnerable residents. Now he has been hit with a conflict of interest claim, and deservedly so.

Brecht Heuchan is a member of the Constitution Revision Commission, but for many years he has been a paid lobbyist for Wilkes & McHugh, a law firm that makes its living suing nursing homes. Mr. Heuchan has stood before the Legislature and testified for his client in an attempt to advance his client’s desire to make it easier to sue. Note that these lawsuits would do nothing to help nursing home residents – just the lawyers hoping to cash in on large volumes of claims.

The Legislature flatly rejected his idea to sue passive investors in 2017. So now Mr. Heuchan is trying to use (some would say abuse) his appointed public position to slip those same changes into the Constitution. If he can’t win by going through the front door, he’ll try through the back door. The big problem is, that “back door” is the most fundamental document of state government, something that

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