Floridians lost a strong voice in the pursuit of creative and nonpartisan solutions to the state's most daunting issues with the closure of the Collins Institute for Public Policy.
The announcement of the demise of one of Florida's most esteemed think tanks came last week in the wake of financial difficulties. Revenues plunged over the past few years until completely collapsing with the loss of its lone remaining contract in the fall of 2012.
Established in 1988 by former Florida Gov. LeRoy Collins, who served in the Governor's Mansion from 1955-61, the Miami-based nonprofit made a vital contribution to policy changes and other initiatives.
The center's accomplishments include:
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-- Partnering with leaders in government, the private sector and education to tackle campaign ethics, and led a nonpartisan analysis of the state's representative form of government.
-- Establishing a partnership of civic and community leaders to resolve an African American boycott of the South Florida tourist industry in the early 1990s.
-- Developed a civic education course for high schools that examined the role of the Legislature.
-- Established a growth partnership to revitalize low-income and inner-city neighborhoods by attracting new jobs and improving housing.
-- Developed a program to improve access to health care for the uninsured and underserved in 2003.
-- Established a hurricane mediation program to resolve disputes between insurers and homeowners in 2004.
The collapse of the Collins Center is a loss for all Floridians committed to good government and sound public policies. It will be missed.