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Unions get smart (and angry), gays get benefits (and ridicule), UCF hates environmentalists (and trees) and can somebody make Gary Siplin go away? Please?

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Samantha Ruiz, president of UCF student group I.D.E.A.S. (profiled on page 10), says that activists plan to bombard St. John's with phone calls. Naturally, she has some words for UCF as well. "It's not the greatest of calls for the university to ignore the student body," she says. "We're the reason why the university is thriving."

Does State Senator Gary Siplin
need a progressive intervention? State Democratic party brass and liberal activists think so. In addition to other conservative political maneuvers, Democrat Siplin recently voted yes on the Republican-controlled Senate's budget, which features cuts so deep that even Gov. Rick Scott couldn't get on board with all of them. According to Amy Mercado, chair of the Orange County Democratic Executive Committee, county Democrats are now "reaching out" to Siplin to gauge where he stands. "It's just not clear where he's going with certain things, and why," Mercado says.

In addition, after the state legislature's passage of a bill that cuts unemployment benefits by at least six weeks, activists from the liberal group Working America went door to door in Siplin's district, asking for handwritten letters asking the senator to openly oppose the deal, lest he vote on a companion bill in the Senate. On April 19, the six-inch-thick stack of letters was delivered to Siplin, accompanied by a personal visit from another liberal group, Florida New Majority, who essentially demanded that Siplin address his constituents publicly.

He did so two days later in front of his office, albeit for roughly two minutes and one TV camera, his voice largely drowned out by the sound of traffic of Pine Hills Road.

Let him go, Dems. He's obviously not that into you.

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