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What I’ve Learned

Arthenia Joyner 76, Tampa Civil-rights warrior, former Senate Democratic Leader, longest practicing black woman lawyer in Florida INTERVIEWED BY JIM ROSICA

ON INTEGRITY AND THE PROCESS: I learned that people gain respect for you when you remain true to your values and your word is your bond. That you believe in – and never compromise – your core beliefs. Folks know that if I said something, if I gave a commitment, that was it. Now there were a couple of times when I changed, but I called the person and told them. In fact, I called somebody from the Senate floor once and told them I wasn’t certain what I would do and I would make my decision later, and they said they had never had anybody call them to say that. And then a while later I called back and said, “Nope, can’t support it.” And that person said, “I respect you even more because nobody has ever done this before.” I’ve always been one to be forthright and would not compromise what I felt was fundamental to my being .… You know, what happens sometimes when you’re in the minority and you file a bill that other folks feel is a big deal, the (majority party) takes it from you. They say they’ll put both names on it (a Democratic and Republican sponsor) and then at the end of the day they don’t …. Being in the minority, there were times that things were basically unfair.

128 | INFLUENCE SUMMER 2019

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INFLUENCE Florida Magazine – Summer 2019