Sunshine State News Blogs
“It is vital that veterans receive the care they need, but it is important to recognize that one size does not fit all when discussing treatments for veterans and the invisible wounds endured from their service to our great nation,” Bilirakis said. “While many veterans may thrive under evidence-based treatment plans, some may not be as responsive to this traditional medical care. As such, we need to provide them with choices and easy access to alternative forms of therapies that work best for them.
“We must find the most effective ways to treat veterans,” Bilirakis added. “The COVER Act will ascertain the viability of alternative treatments, providing a pathway forward that will eventually allow veterans to have a range of options for mental health treatments, such as outdoor sports therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, accelerated resolution therapy, and service dog therapy.”
“These 220 new jobs in Southwest Florida are another example of how our efforts to create an opportunity economy are working. Florida is continuing to add jobs, and this past year alone Comcast has added more than 1,800 jobs,” Scott said. “Comcast Corp. has shown that investing in Florida is good for business, and recently announced Universal Orlando’s addition of 3,500 new jobs in Florida. We must continue to create an environment where companies like Comcast can continue to succeed and where every Floridian who wants a job can get one.”
“There has never been a more exciting time to be part of Comcast as the company is developing breakthrough technologies and introducing new products that are at the forefront of the industry,” said Amy Smith, a regional senior vice president of Comcast Florida. “Comcast continues to make investments in our infrastructure and in our employees as we focus on improving the experience for all of our customers.”
“The increasing cost of energy is hurting American families and standing in the way of job growth,” Yoho said. “Lowering these costs and getting America closer to energy independence is something I will always support. The energy resources we have been blessed with, both offshore and onshore, have been taken off the table due to the restrictions and red tape of the Obama administration’s domestic energy policy and foreign policy. Every law, policy, and regulation of the federal government should be aimed at making America stronger and more competitive. This bill does just that. I owe it to my constituents and the American people to do all I can to lower their energy costs and improve our country’s energy security.”
The bill should pass the Republican-controlled U.S. House but its fate in the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate remains uncertain.
The poll found 54 percent of likely voters believe there's too much emphasis on standardized tests in American schools, a number that's jumped 5 points since November. Only 17 percent said there was not enough emphasis on standardized tests in schools.
When it came to whether or not students should be required to take standardized tests, responses were almost evenly mixed. Forty-five percent said students should be required to take the tests, while a slightly lower amount -- 44 percent -- said they should not.
Standardized testing has, over the years, become an increasingly common way for schools to measure their academic successes, but most voters don't see that as the case. More than half of voters (59 percent) believe how students perform on standardized tests shouldn't be a major factor in how well a school is doing. Almost a third -- 26 percent -- said standardized tests should be a major factor in determining how well a school is doing.
The survey of 1,000 American adults was conducted June 21-22 by Rasmussen Reports.
“The VA has systemic failures that promote a culture of mediocrity and discourage transparency and accountability, which has resulted in a backlog of veterans’ claims coupled with excessive and outrageous wait times to receive care,” Bilirakis said on Tuesday. “Part of this stems from the VA’s inability to provide timely access to quality care for veterans. Unfortunately, it has taken the preventable deaths of dozens of veterans to spur the VA to change. Changing how VA operates, combined with allowing veterans to receive care outside the VA, should help reduce the backlog and get veterans the access to the care they need.”
Bilirakis is a supporter of the VA allowing more veterans to receive care at non-VA medical facilities.
"The Republican Party of Florida congratulates Congressman-elect Curt Clawson on his well-earned victory tonight," said RPOF Chairman Leslie Dougher. "Congressman-elect Clawson will undoubtedly serve his district with distinction, bringing true conservative values to our nation’s capital."
Curt Clawson, who hails from from Bonita Springs, Fla., will replace former U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, who resigned from his post after pleading guilty to misdemeanor possession of cocaine.
Clawson will have to run for re-election in November.
“The math in the DOH analysis predicts the potential of 1.25 million recipients receiving pot just through the caregiver system alone, and that assumes the caregivers all stick to the maximum five recipients,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd who leads Don’t Let Florida Go to Pot which opposes the amendment. “There is no way this monster can be managed with the resources DOH plans. I see increased taxes for Floridians so people can smoke marijuana if the public allows Amendment 2 to pass."
Opponents of Amendment 2 also brought out Dr. Stephanie Haridopolos, the wife of former Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, to speak out against the proposal.
“Amendment 2 sets a dangerous precedent by establishing medications by ballot,” she said on Wednesday. “It will create the largest public health safety concern of modern time.”
"Rick Scott believes in transparency, which is why he and his wife released their tax returns this year and in 2010,” said Leslie Dougher, the chairwoman of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF). “Rick Scott urged Charlie Crist and his spouse to do the same. If Charlie cares about transparency, he’ll release his spouse’s returns.”
Carson, a prominent neurosurgeon who entered the political realm in 2013 when he criticized President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law at the National Prayer Breakfast, has increasingly shown signs of running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. After retiring from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Maryland, Carson, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, is now based out of West Palm Beach.
On Wednesday, Carson sent out an email on behalf of the NRCC and he came out swinging against President Barack Obama and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the unquestioned favorite for the Democratic nomination in 2016.
“Recent developments surrounding the IRS scandal and other national issues make it quite clear that transparency and honesty are not highly valued by the current administration and its allies,” Carson wrote. “They seem much more interested in political power than with finding solutions to the many problems that threaten to destroy the American dream for our progeny"
Calling for conservatives to support the NRCC and “fight back against Nancy Pelosi’s millions,” Carson also looked ahead to the next presidential election, hoping to “build a firewall against Hillary Clinton when she runs for president in 2016.”
“If Hillary Clinton or someone with similar leftist ideology is elected president in 2016 and has the opportunity to appoint more Supreme Court justices of like mind, America will fundamentally change from the land of freedom and opportunity we know and love," Carson insisted.
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) praised Clawson on Tuesday night after the votes came in.
“I would like to personally congratulate Rep.-elect Curt Clawson on his victory tonight,” Walden said. “As the new representative for Florida’s 19th Congressional District, Curt will work tirelessly to create jobs, strengthen the economy, and stop Obamacare from continuing to hurt Florida families. With his common-sense approach and business skills he will also be an invaluable voice in the battle to balance the budget and rein in Washington’s out-of-control spending.
“Floridians have chosen a responsible conservative leader in Curt Clawson, and I look forward to working with him in the Capitol to secure a bright future for Americans across the nation,” Walden added.
"Scott was deposed in a civil case against his former company, Columbia/HCA, who later pleaded guilty to at least 14 corporate felonies including Medicare and Medicaid fraud, and paid a whopping $1.7 billion in criminal fines," reads the email from American Bridge. "Scott was under advisement from his attorney to invoke the Fifth Amendment in his deposition due to those ongoing criminal investigations."
The PAC accused Scott of dodging questions not only in the deposition, but in his re-election campaign as well.
"Whether Rick Scott is under oath or he's on the campaign trail, he just won't answer questions," wrote the PAC. "When it comes to tackling problems, the voters of Florida don't need a governor who pleads the Fifth. They need real answers."
See the ad below:
Latvala is running against Christopher Shepard in the Republican primary to replace term-limited Rep. Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater. Plasencia is battling Ed Rodriguez in the Republican primary with the winner taking on Rep. Joe Saunders, D-Orlando. Young, the son and namesake of the late, longtime U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., faces Joshua Black in the Republican primary to see who challenges Rep. Dwight Dudley, D-St. Petersburg.
"These outstanding candidates will do a fantastic job of representing their constituents in Tallahassee next year," said Crisafulli. "I look forward to working with them to help create jobs, improve our schools, and keep Florida moving in the right direction."
Crisafulli has waded into competitive primaries before, backing former Rep. Brad Drake over Jan Hooks in the Republican primary to replace term-limited Rep. Marti Coley, R-Marianna, and Chris Sprowls over Debbie Faulkner to challenge Rep. Carl Zimmerman, D-Dunedin. The incoming speaker has also backed former Rep. Scott Plakon who is running against Rep. Mike Clelland, D-Longwood, but he is the only Republican in the contest.
"These six leaders will have a lot of momentum going into November and will help form the foundation for a strong Republican majority after Election Day," said Crisafulli.
“After attending ‘political meetings’ in Washington, D.C., yesterday, Charlie Crist will appear this evening at a D.C. fundraiser thrown by Obama inner-circle members Jim Messina and Teddy Goff,” said Gail Gitcho, a spokeswoman for the RGA, on Tuesday. “Since switching to the Democrat Party, Crist has embraced failed Obama administration policies, even saying ‘God bless’ President Obama for passing Obamacare. It’s no wonder Crist’s poll numbers are sinking just like President Obama’s. Was Crist summoned to D.C. by Team Obama for ‘political meetings’ to discuss how he and the president can rebound before Election Day?”
"In reality, the deaths of dozens of veterans across the country have been linked to delays in VA care and other severe department health-care problems,” Miller said on Monday. “But in the fantasy land inhabited by VA’s Office of the Medical Inspector, serious patient safety issues apparently have no impact on patient safety. It's impossible to solve problems by whitewashing them or denying they exist. This is a lesson VA should have already learned as part of its delays in care crisis, but President Obama needs to help reiterate it to each and every VA employee to ensure the department’s focus is on pinpointing and solving problems, rather than downplaying them. In the meantime, OMI owes it to America’s veterans and American taxpayers to provide an immediate and thorough explanation as to why it keeps reaching the same implausible conclusions in one report after another."
“Gov. Scott’s No. 1 focus is making sure every Florida family can get a job and live their dream,” the Scott campaign insisted on Tuesday. “He knows what it’s like to grow up in a family that struggles for work. That’s why helping Tonge comes naturally.”
The rigid Florida Democratic Party leadership can climb all over Kartik Krishnaiyer's The Florida Squeeze for failing to embrace Charlie Crist before Crist debates Nan Rich, but now look -- The Miami Herald is saying the same thing:
Debate Nan Rich.
In fact, the newspaper said the same thing two months ago.
What will party hardliners' comeback to the Herald be after its Monday editorial, "Make a date to debate, Charlie Crist"? Are they going to try to sink the Herald, too, as they vowed to do to Krishnaiyer? Of course not.
"Ms. Rich is an accomplished former state senator from Weston and a true-blue Democrat," the Herald editorial said. "She’s also the underdog, the long shot. But for some reason, Mr. Crist, a newly minted Democrat who’s running hard to regain his job as governor, is also running in the other direction when it comes to stepping up and debating Nan Rich for all the world to see."
The Herald had words for the party: "... the Florida Democratic Party is giving Mr. Crist undeserved cover."
And it had words for Crist: "Not only is his rebuff of a Crist-Rich debate unseemly, it has handed the Republican Party of Florida the ammunition with which to attack him. Makes no sense. Neither did the trial balloon he sent up a few weeks ago, announcing that he was considering a trip to Cuba. He has postponed it. Now that he has a little extra time, he should deign to debate Nan Rich."
It's time for the party to do to the no-debate dogma what it did to the Cuba trip. Ditch it.
If Crist is "for the people," show it. Stop hassling dissenters, make a Democratic primary debate, televised statewise, a priority. Get it over with.
Party-line Democrats' Twitter-announced blog -- the one concocted to "stop the lies" about Democratic Party mistakes -- appeared at a few minutes after 6 p.m. Monday.
If anybody was expecting clever, cutting payback prose aimed at party "traitors," they probably got the surprise of their lives.
The one blog piece on notgettingsqueezed.blogspot.com cited no party enemies, no stats or evidence to support its claims, and no real harm done -- at all. What it did do was cheer relentlessly, gushingly for party Chairwoman Allison Tant and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist.
It did include a party ad zinging Gov. Rick Scott for promising jobs he forgot he promised.
You might want to call notgettingsqueezed.blogspot.com a work in progress. Actually, a work in progress with a long way to go to be effective.
The folks behind it could start by running their blog past a copy editor.
“Rep. Hood’s leadership and dedicated service to the families of his district combined with his decades of practicing law will make him a great addition to the 7th Judicial Circuit bench,” Scott said on Monday. “I am proud to appoint Dave Hood today with confidence that he will continue his service to Florida with a keen sense of justice and compassion.”
Before winning a seat in the Florida House in 2012, Hood served as mayor of Ormond Beach and on the City Commission.
“The movement to impeach Barack Obama for high crimes and misdemeanors is growing,” West emailed supporters on Monday. “This weekend, the Republican Party of South Dakota passed a resolution calling for the impeachment of the president! They are the first state party to rally to the cause.
“Barack Obama may finally answer for the things he has done to destroy this country,” West continued. “Make no mistake – Obama is ignoring the Constitution, our laws, and the system of checks and balances that safeguard this country. Consider this: Just last week, GOP Congressman Lou Barletta just announced that he thinks there may be enough ‘yes’ votes in the House of Representatives to impeach Obama!”
"It’s disgraceful that Charlie Crist's vision for Florida's economy is to propose business ventures with a failed terrorist state that's been holding an American hostage for the last five years," said Lopez-Cantera.
Crist's campaign didn't rule out the possibility of traveling to Cuba in the future.
"Crist and his campaign continue to talk about wanting to go to Cuba for business opportunities – but unlike Crist, my position on Cuba is clear," continued Lopez-Cantera. "Gov. Scott and I stand with the Cuban-American community and their desire for the Cuban people to be free. I am sure, after the election, Charlie Crist will have a lot of time to go to Cuba since Floridians will once again reject his failed record on jobs.”
"As you know, your station’s obligation to serve the public interest requires you to decline to air false and misleading advertising, and unlike an advertisement aired by a candidate, your station can be held liable for distributing defamatory messages," reads the letter. "With this letter, your station is on notice that the FDP advertisement includes false and misleading accusations that are defamatory. Your station must cease and desist from airing this advertisement."
The letter refers to a recently-released ad from the FDP accusing the governor of taking the Fifth 75 times in lawsuits concerning his former company, Columbia/HCA, committing Medicare fraud.
View the ad below:
In May, Crist said he wanted to end the Cuban embargo and also expressed interest in visiting the communist nation. Crist supported the embargo of Cuba when he was a Republican.
"Despite his stark disagreements with the government in Cuba, the governor continues to believe the embargo hasn't worked for the Cuban people and is bad for Florida's economy," said Crist spokesperson Brendan Gilfillan.
The Crist camp didn't entirely rule out the possibility of a trip to Cuba in the future, however.
"If at some point after the election there is an opportunity to travel there to learn from the people of Cuba and help find opportunities for Florida businesses, the governor will go," said Gilfillan.
The poll of 806 likely voters was taken by Cherry Communications for the Florida Chamber on June 11 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent.
The poll shows Scott ahead with 41 percent, Crist right behind him with 38 percent and Libertarian Adrian Wyllie taking 4 percent.
The poll finds 43 percent of those surveyed think Florida is heading in the right direction and 41 percent think the Sunshine State is going the wrong way and that’s helping Scott. A majority -- 52 percent -- of those surveyed approve of Scott while 42 percent disapprove of him. While 43 percent see Scott as unfavorable, 45 percent see him as favorable.
Crist is upside down in the poll with 45 percent seeing him as unfavorable and 41 percent viewing him in a favorable light.
“I’ve been saying for a long time the voters of Florida appreciate leadership and the Florida Chamber’s poll is an indicator voters believe our state is headed in the right direction again,” said Mark Wilson, the president and CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, on Monday. “Gov. Rick Scott’s favorability numbers are increasing, voters recognize more jobs and opportunities are being created for Floridians and they are feeling more confident.”
The poll of 806 likely voters was taken by Cherry Communications for the Florida Chamber on June 11 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent.
“I would like to thank Rep. Conyers for joining me, in a bipartisan effort, to keep U.S. weapons and equipment out of the hands of Syrian rebels,” Yoho said on Friday. “With so many combatants involved in that conflict, sending rebels easily concealed shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles could come back to bite us. Distributing these weapons to Syrian rebels only increases the chances that these weapons will end up in the wrong hands and be used against Americans in the region. This amendment shows that members from both parties can come together for the good of America and our troops.
“In addition to our amendment, the defense bill we supported today funds key readiness programs, authorizes pay raises for military personnel, maintains 100 percent of troop housing costs, and provides medical care for our soldiers, their families, and retirees,” Yoho added.
“Former state Rep. and state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff has proven time and time again her strong support of the issues and initiatives backed by the Florida Medical Association,” said Dr. Ralph Nobo, the resident of the FMA PAC. “She is a friend of medicine and we are thrilled to support her candidacy and look forward to having her back in Tallahassee.”
“It’s an honor and privilege to have received the support of physicians throughout the state of Florida,” said Bogdanoff. “I believe it is imperative that doctors remain in charge of patient care, and I will always support policies that place the patient’s health above all else.”
Bogdanoff is running for the Republican nomination to face Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, and she’ll face businessman and philanthropist Joseph “JB” Bensmihen in the primary. If she wins, Bogdanoff is expected to support Clearwater Republican Sen. Jack Latvala's Senate presidential ambitions. Sachs beat Bogdanoff 53 percent to 47 percent in 2012.
“Charlie doesn’t want to talk about what happened four years ago: slashing education funding, skyrocketing tuition, and teachers getting laid off,” said Leslie Dougher, the chairwoman of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), on Monday. “He is so desperate to run away from his failed record that he’ll say and do just about anything to avoid talking about it.”
The ad starts hitting the airwaves on Tuesday.
“The report by the Manhattan Institute proves what many American families feared would happen under Obamacare,” Diaz-Balart said. “Not only are you unable to keep your health care plans and doctors of choice, but you are seeing your premiums skyrocket. Whether it’s a 25 percent increase for a 40-year-old woman, or a 65 percent for a 27-year-old man, the president’s health care plan is hurting the wallets of hard-working American taxpayers. I will continue to work for Floridians’ access to the care they need, from the doctors they choose, at a price they can afford.”
In April, Florida had an unemployment rate of 6.2 percent, which is below the national unemployment rate of 6.3 percent.
Florida gained 34,000 jobs in April, putting it in third place for the highest number of jobs created behind Texas and California.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., weighed in on Thursday after the vote and said he backed U.S. Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Ind., over McCarthy but did back Scalise. Yoho also tried unsuccessfully to move the vote back a week.
“Yesterday in the House Republican conference I introduced a motion to delay the vote for the majority leader of the Republican Party for one week,” Yoho said after the vote. “I did this so we would be able to do our due diligence and have the needed time to vet the candidates. This would also allow time for other members to enter the race and campaign. My motion was not accepted and the vote was held today. This is a critical vote not just for the Republican conference in Congress but also for the direction of the Republican Party and our nation. This is why I believed we should have given more people more time to put their names forward for the position.
“The next majority leader stands a good chance to be the next speaker of the House,” Yoho added. “Given the importance of this vote today, we should have given it more time. The direction of our party and our nation will not improve until we have leadership that has a strong vision for America. Therefore, I supported Raul Labrador for majority leader and Steve Scalise for majority whip.”