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Government lawyers honor Tedcastle for lifetime achievement

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Government lawyers honor Tedcastle for lifetime achievement


Thomas R. Tedcastle, general counsel for the House of Representatives, has been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Bar’s Government Lawyers Section.

“Tom Tedcastle has dedicated his professional life to the betterment of Florida government, and he has stretched outside the bounds of Florida to reach the highest levels of achievement in national legislative circles as well,” said Rep. Dudley Goodlette, R-Naples, who nominated Tedcastle for the award on behalf of 67 attorney members and staff of the House.

This is only the third time the section has honored someone with its Lifetime Achievement Award, the other two being Janet Reno in 1996 and Bob Butterworth in 2002. The award was presented on the floor of the House near the end of the 2005 session.

Tedcastle has been a full-time government employee for 22 years, 20 of those with the House where he held the positions of staff attorney for the Judiciary Committee, staff director of the Criminal Justice and Rules and Calendar committees, director of Bill Drafting Services, and general counsel.

“Tom Tedcastle represents the essence of what a government lawyer should be,” Goodlette said. “Tom’s scholarly, fair, and reasoned advice makes those lawyers who serve in the legislature better-equipped, better-advised, and better able to serve the people of Florida.”

Bar President Kelly Overstreet Johnson presented the award and noted Tedcastle’s work with the National Conference of State Legislators, where he has served as staff chair and a member of that organization’s executive committee. Johnson said Tedcastle’s work has benefitted not only Florida but other states and other nations as well.

Goodlette said Tedcastle was one of the principle drafters of Art. I §24 of the Florida Constitution, which guarantees open records and meetings; Art. III §4(e), providing for open meetings of the legislature; Florida’s gift law; and other numerous ethics measures. He also was a principal drafter of much of the tort reform legislation throughout the last two decades and had a significant hand in preparing bills on a wide range of subjects, including capital punishment and implementation of Art. V.

“In the world of term limits the Tom Tedcastles out there are absolutely necessary to this institution,” said Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, adding that Tedcastle always delivers calm, deliberative advice even in the heat of the legislative process.

Rep. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, said Tedcastle distinguishes himself in the legislative process by his nonpartisan approach.

“He has a respect for this process like no one else that is very, very deep,” Gelber said.

“He’s a good man, and I am glad he is on my team,” said Speaker Allan Bense.

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