McCollum sworn in as new Florida AG

John O'Brien Jan. 3, 2007, 11:34am


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Bill McCollum, who challenged his opponent's background as a trial lawyer during his campaign, was sworn in Tuesday as Florida's new Attorney General.

"I am humbled to serve the people of Florida as their Attorney General and will make the safety and security of our state and its citizens my top priority," McCollum said. "I look forward to the days and tasks ahead as we work together for the good of this state."

McCollum, 62, replaces Charlie Crist, who was elected Governor after four years as the Attorney General.

McCollum, a Republican, defeated Skip Campbell in November after a race where McCollum reminded voters of Campbell's past as a trial lawyer.

McCollum attended two debates hosted by Florida's Chamber of Commerce, which is happy with the election's results.

"It's nice to have an Attorney General with a business background who is aware that issues on the state level affect business climate," Chamber spokesperson Jennifer Krell Davis said.

McCollum might be best remembered for his role during the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton. He served as a House of Representatives prosecutor. The Florida Chamber saw him as the better option in the fight for tort reform.

"The process is too long," McCollum told the Palm Beach Post. "The complexity is too great. I'm not saying we ought to do away with the tort system. Either through the process of the jury system or arbitration or mediation, we need to continue to press for solutions that are less expensive that still give people the recoveries that they deserve."

South Florida was ranked No. 2 in the American Tort Reform Association's annual report of judicial hellholes.

"He was just really dead on in the business issues," Davis said of McCollum's performance during the Florida Chamber's debates. "You have to look at the whole picture for a business interested in practicing in Florida. How likely they are to be sued has ramifications because it is now a part of daily business.

"It's really nice to see someone in that position of leadership who understands how the legal climate can affect businesses."

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