Sunshine State News Blogs
“I am happy to hear that Attorney General Holder will be stepping down from his post,” Yoho said on Thursday. “While his appointment was historic, his tenure at the Department of Justice left much to be desired. Although Mr. Holder did not leave the way I saw fit, I am just happy he left. I hope the new attorney general will gain the trust of the American people, follow the Constitution, and restore faith in the Justice Department.”
“The Council of 100 recognizes that protecting our state’s natural resources is a key part of enhancing the quality of life and economic well-being of all Floridians,” said Steve Halverson, the chairman of the Florida Council of 100. “However, we should only amend our Constitution sparingly and thoughtfully and not use it to accomplish what can be addressed legislatively. The provisions of Amendment 1 can be dealt with legislatively.”
“Amendment 1 would tie the hands of our elected leaders, blocking them from optimally allocating tax dollars to citizens’ needs and preventing them from meeting those needs as the economy fluctuates,” said Susan Pareigis, the president and CEO of the Florida Council of 100. “Moreover, such appropriation by constitutional amendment would set a dangerous precedent by which other special interests would seek to further hamstring our policymakers’ ability to lead in a fiscally prudent manner.”
Amendment 1 needs 60 percent of the vote on the November ballot to pass.
"It's Charlie Crist, the Democrat, that had my back,” Wasserman Schultz said after former Gov. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., won the Democratic primary last month. “Rick Scott has given us the back of his hand."
Republicans fired back and demanded Florida Democrats denounce Wasserman Schultz’s remarks.
"Debbie Wasserman Schultz's outrageous attacks on Gov. Rick Scott are wildly insulting,” said Leslie Dougher, the chairwoman of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), on Friday. “Her comments are especially heartless because Rick Scott’s mother was going through a divorce from an abusive husband when the governor was born. Gov. Scott never knew his natural father because his mom left him before he was born. To suggest that Rick Scott gives women the 'back of his hand' not only grossly mischaracterizes the governor, it treats actual domestic violence victims as pawns in a political game. Allison Tant and Charlie Crist should condemn Debbie Wasserman Schultz's remarks immediately."
“I have found Attorney General Holder to be an outstanding public servant with whom I’ve had the privilege to work on a number of issues,” Nelson said on Thursday. “Among them, he has led the fight to protect the right to vote for all citizens and that includes his recent letter warning Florida’s governor against any future efforts there to suppress the vote. And he also has been very supportive of scientists’ efforts to unlock the secrets of potential abuse at a now-shuttered reform school in North Florida. The president will miss his counsel.”
"Eric Holder's tenure has been marked by the politicization of justice, disrespect for the rule of law and Constitution, and suppression of the truth,” DeSantis said on Thursday after news broke that Holder, after almost six years in office, was leaving. “He will be remembered for being held in contempt of Congress for stonewalling the Fast and Furious investigation and for conducting a sham investigation into the targeting of conservative groups by the IRS. President Obama could hardly do worse when naming Holder's successor; my hope is that the president tries to do much better. Our people need to regain their lost confidence in the nation's commitment to the even-handed administration of justice."
On Thursday, Rubio -- through his Reclaim America PAC -- emailed supporters, urging them to back former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., who is running against U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.
“My good friend and former colleague Scott Brown is locked in a neck-and-neck race for the United States Senate in New Hampshire,” Rubio wrote. “A recent poll shows he just pulled ahead of incumbent Jeanne Shaheen. This is huge because it means we could actually take back the United States Senate this November.
“Winning this seat is vital for Republicans to flip the Senate and end President Obama’s free ride,” Rubio added. “The only thing worse than not winning majority control of the Senate would be knowing that we didn’t do everything we could to win. In New Hampshire we have a proven Republican leader working tirelessly, overcoming the odds, and beating a well-funded incumbent, but he cannot do it alone. He needs our help to finish strong and win.”
On Wednesday, reports emerged that Rubio will be heading to New Hampshire next month to help Republican candidate Marilinda Garcia as she looks to take down U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H.
"For too long, the Republican-Democrat 'duopoly' has controlled the conversation, and they have used their power to silence the competition,” Wyllie said. “Their attempts to exclude me from the debates is just another example."
“After meeting with Mr. Lirot, I feel he not only understands the battle we are willing to take on, but is as devoted to the cause of having the undeniable third option heard on the debate stage,” said Wyllie campaign manager Danielle Alexandre. “I feel he has the same vigor as all of our staff and volunteers do, to ensure that Adrian be on that stage. I could not be happier to have him join our team.”
Wyllie‘s team pointed to a Quinnipiac Poll released this week which showed their candidate at 8 percent and noted the 2014 debates were using a different standard than Linn faced back in 2006.
“The campaign is set to fight to make sure that we be included in the debates and we will not stand for our voices to be silenced by erroneous criteria set out to exclude viable alternatives in the race,” the Wyllie campaign noted earlier this week. “In 2006, the criteria to secure participation in the debates required only that a candidate poll 7 percent or higher. What has changed in our political environment to warrant such a significant change in their criteria? Why in 2006 was 7 percent viable, but in 2014 it is 15 percent?"
"The people of Florida are demanding a third choice, and we are going to make sure that their voice is heard,” Wyllie said on Thursday. “We will not go quietly."
"Florida is experiencing increased investment in all regions of the state, and as new companies develop and existing companies grow, they are recognizing the value and available resources of the Florida Panhandle," said Dominic Calabro, the president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch.
"TaxWatch research shows that in addition to expansion of the manufacturing and trade, transportation, and utilities sectors, increased investment in tourism marketing by Visit Florida is helping the Florida Panhandle to bolster its number of annual visitors," said Jerry Parrish, Florida TaxWatch’s chief economist.
The report can be read here.
"You have been inundated with attack ads about Rick Scott and Charlie Crist,” Wyllie says in the ad. “Sadly, they are mostly true. The good news is, you have a third choice. I'm Adrian Wyllie, Libertarian candidate for governor of Florida. I am in this race because I'm like you. I'm fed up with the politicians using money and power to benefit themselves while making our lives more difficult. I want you and your family to enjoy freedom and prosperity. Don't let them scare you into voting for more of the same. This time take a stand."
The Wyllie campaign plans to run more ads in October.
“It’s time liberal billionaire Tom Steyer’s agenda was addressed for what it really is: extreme, out-of-touch, and hypocritical,” said Gail Gitcho, a spokeswoman for the RGA. “Steyer struck it rich by investing in ‘dirty’ energy, and then did an about-face when it became politically convenient. Plus, what Steyer doesn’t want anyone to know is that he’s hiding his own personal political ambitions behind his faux advocacy. Steyer’s wealth and troubling connections shouldn’t be driving the debate in these important races, and this website will allow voters to separate truth from abounding fiction.”
The new site hits Steyer’s connection and his business record. Steyer’s group has been active in Florida, running attack ads against Gov. Rick Scott.
WFLA released a poll taken by Survey USA on Tuesday showing 53 percent of those surveyed back Amendment 2 while 32 percent are opposed to it and 15 percent are undecided. Last week, WFLA released a poll showing 56 percent backed Amendment 2 which needs 60 percent to pass on the November ballot.
The poll of 588 likely voters was taken from Sept. 19-22 and had a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percent.
In the WFLA poll released on Tuesday, Scott leads by the narrowest of margins. Scott takes 43 percent with Crist right behind him with 42 percent. Libertarian Adrian Wyllie takes 4 percent while 11 percent back other candidates or are undecided.
The poll of 588 likely voters was taken from Sept. 19-22 and had a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percent.
Vision America Action and Watchmen on the Wall, which is affiliated with the Family Research Council (FRC), will be holding events for pastors in Melbourne on Wednesday, and Tallahassee and Panama City on Thursday. Former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., who moved to the Panhandle after his presidential bid in 2008, will speak at the Panama City event and leaders from FRC and John Stemberger from the Florida Family Policy Council (FFPC) will also be speaking at the meetings.
Huckabee is not the only former Republican presidential candidate who will be in Florida mobilizing religious and social conservatives before the election. The FFPC is hosting an event next month in Orlando with Gary Bauer who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000.
“Charlie Crist famously said that Obamacare’s 'been great!' but it’s clear that Obamacare isn’t great for Florida,” said RPOF Chairwoman Leslie Dougher on Tuesday night. “Obamacare is forcing Floridians to pay more for their health care and it's making it harder for Florida small businesses to create jobs. Because of Obamacare, patients are losing their doctors and losing their health care plans, even though President Obama promised they wouldn’t. Charlie Crist’s love of Obamacare shows that he’ll use the Obama playbook of bigger government, higher taxes and skyrocketing debt if he's elected again -- a playbook Floridians can't afford.”
When Wyllie is taken out of the race, Scott continues to lead with 46 percent and Crist gets 44 percent in that scenario.
Peter Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll, said voters backing Wyllie and independents -- who break 44 percent for Scott, 37 percent for Crist and 11 percent for Wyllie -- will determine the race.
"The two voter groups that will tell the tale of the election are independent voters and those who are backing Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie,” said Brown on Wednesday. “Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist are doing about the same with their respective party bases and former Republican Crist is not having any trouble being accepted by members of his new party.
"Wyllie voters are the bigger unknown because there is little way of predicting if they will stay with the third-party challenger or decide to switch to Scott or Crist in order to be with a winner," Brown added. "At this point, neither major-party candidate is doing markedly better as a second choice of Wyllie voters. It is also worth considering that there is a consensus that negative campaigning tends to be a turnoff more to the very people who seem to hold the keys to the kingdom -- independents and third-party voters."
The poll of 991 likely voters was taken from Sept. 17-22 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.
The John Thrasher for Senate Campaign, Senate District 6, distributed the following statement, which it attributes to Thrasher.
“I am honored that the FSU board of trustees has selected me to be the next president of Florida State University. However, this is just one more step in a long process which, under Florida law, must end with the approval of the Board of Governors (BOG). While I am hopeful that the BOG will accept the trustees' decision, that final decision will not be known until November.
“In the meantime, I intend to continue to campaign for re-election to the Senate and will continue to carry out my commitment to the people of my district. If I am ultimately selected to lead FSU, this will allow the voters to select who will be the next senator from the 6th District.”
Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, and President-Designate Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, released statements Tuesday regarding the Florida State University board of trustees selecting state Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, as Florida State’s new president.
Tuesday's selection now goes to the State University System Board of Governors.
“John Thrasher will lead Florida State University with the same consummate skill and commitment to excellence that has propelled him to success at every level of public service. From the battlefields of Vietnam, from which he returned as a highly decorated officer, to his years of honorable service as Florida’s speaker of the House of Representatives, and now as the lion of the Senate, if you want to succeed you want John Thrasher leading your team.
“In the tradition of Sandy D'Alemberte and T.K. Wetherell, John Thrasher will lead Florida State into a golden era of strength, integrity and success. While the Senate’s loss will be FSU’s gain, I have every confidence the State University System Board of Governors will ratify this wise selection.”
“I have mixed emotions today as I congratulate my friend John Thrasher. I am proud to call John a colleague, confidante and trusted adviser. While I will miss our interactions in the day to day operations of the Senate and the opportunity to serve together over the next two years, there is no question he is the right choice to lead Florida State as the university strives to solidify its ranking as a top research university. Florida State will be a stronger university with John Thrasher at the helm. Camille and I wish John and Jean great success as they embark on the next step of this journey, and we know they will always be a part of our Senate family.”
“Gwen Graham thinks Obamacare is less of an issue but hundreds of thousands of Florida families are losing their coverage and small businesses are hurting,” said Katie Prill, a spokeswoman for the NRCC, on Tuesday. “It’s clear that Gwen’s Washington insider is showing because her views on Obamacare are not the North Florida way."
The ad is running in Tallahassee and Panama City.
The new video features Garcia talking about a scandal-plagued congressman -- then-U.S. Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla., who the Democrat beat in 2012. But Garcia has been hobbled by his own ethics problems including having his chief of staff resign and do time in jail for his role in a voter fraud scandal resulting from the 2012 elections.
State Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, today applauded Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet for selecting St. Lucie County as Florida's next Veterans Affairs nursing home site.
In a written press statement, Negron said, "Today's decision is a testament to the great work and leadership of (St. Lucie County) Commissioner Frannie Hutchinson. I am pleased that the Legislature approriated $9 million in this year's budget to begin construction.
The site proposed for the new nursing home is within the Tradition community of Port St. Lucie, "with close access to Tradition Medical Center and biomedical research facilities."
In a piece published in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, Rubio and Lee called for raising the child credit, eliminating the marriage penalty and cutting the corporate income tax.
They also present their case as to why the income tax needs to be reformed:
Too many Americans believe the American dream is slipping away for them and their children. They see their cost of living rise while their paychecks remain stagnant. They see an economy that benefits stockbrokers but not stock clerks. They see the ladder of economic opportunity being pulled farther up and out of their reach.
This isn't the result of a mere cyclical downturn in the U.S. economy, but rather a fundamental transformation. In recent years, old industries have fallen, new ones have risen, the skills required for high-paying jobs have evolved, and the competition at all levels is increasingly global.
Despite these dramatic changes, the policies and practices of Washington remain stuck in the 20th century, leaving too many Americans unable to access the enormous potential of this new era.
If we hope to realize a new American Century, many institutions and government programs will need to be updated, reformed or replaced. Both of us have spent a large portion of the year proposing such reforms.
Perhaps no function of the U.S. government is more antiquated and dysfunctional than its tax system, so we are joining together to propose a federal tax-reform plan that will remove obstacles to investment, innovation, growth and opportunity.
“We should be in session more,” Jolly said on Monday. “We cannot rightfully address the many concerns of the American people like the national debt, tax reform, national security and education if we are not in session.”
“I support the president’s actions to target IS’s facilities in Syria,” Rubio said on Tuesday. “I have argued for months that President Obama has the authority to confront this threat to the United States wherever they seek refuge. Defeating this menace to all who value freedom and tolerance will not be easy, but is essential to our security. My thoughts and prayers are with our men and women in uniform carrying out their duties as part of ongoing operations in Iraq and Syria.”
“At no other time in our nation’s history has it been more critical that members of Congress provide leadership that protects and advances the interests of the business community,” said Thomas Donohue, the president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber on Monday. “Murphy’s record of support on pro-business issues earned this endorsement.”
“It is truly an honor to receive the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a highly-respected organization that shares my commitment to creating an environment conducive to job growth through common-sense, pro-business solutions,” said Murphy. “As a former small-business man, I have brought my private-sector experience to Congress and put smart policy above partisanship to make sure that America and Americans succeed.”
“I was proud to join the dedicated staff at the University of Miami to highlight the importance of investing in HIV/AIDS research,” Scott said on Monday. “Funding research to cure the horrible diseases that infect our loved ones must be one of our top priorities, and we must work together to treat these complex diseases which require much more research and development. Together we were able to eliminate the wait list for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, and now 4,000 more Floridians have access to critical medications and disease management training. We thank the University of Miami for their work as Florida’s only nationally designated Center for AIDS Research.”
“We have come a long way since the early days of the HIV epidemic. Through technology and perseverance, it is no longer a death sentence but a chronic illness,” Garcia said. “Unfortunately, Miami-Dade County is the epicenter for new HIV diagnosis. This $1 million grant will go a long way to help the University of Miami continue their research for better treatment, prevention and more importantly a cure. Thank you, Gov. Scott, for your leadership on this worthy and noble cause”.
“Sal is a key addition to the James Madison Institute team. His wealth of experience and knowledge significantly increases JMI’s ability to guide policy decisions made at the state and national level,” said Bob McClure, the president and CEO of JMI on Monday. “He is a trusted expert, a family man and a Floridian who is personally committed to JMI’s mission of advancing economic opportunity for all Floridians.”
“Leading JMI’s policy department is truly a dream job for me,” Nuzzo said. “I count myself fortunate to be joining such a respected think tank that prides itself on their commitment to free-market principles.
“As Florida’s population increases, our state will face many challenges, but also have the ability to take advantage of many opportunities,” Nuzzo added. “For nearly 30 years, JMI has played a critical role as the thought leader in this period of substantial growth in Florida. I look forward to working with the JMI team to further develop their already extensive research and education efforts as Florida enters into a new era.”
The ad features Crist’s inconsistencies and position shifts as he moved from being a conservative Republican for most of his political career to running for the U.S. Senate in 2010 with no party affiliation and now running as a Democrat. Crist's shifts on abortion, same-sex marriage and taxes are featured in the new ad.
“We write to express our deep concerns about the alarming rise in anti-Semitic demonstrations and ask for your renewed commitment in combating this troubling surge,” the congressmen wrote. “Since the start of the most recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, a frightening number of violent anti-Semitic incidents have been reported.
“As you are aware, recent news reports indicate that violent radicals in Europe, Latin America, and around the world have used opposition to the Gaza conflict to inflame hatred and anti-Semitism,” the congressmen added. “In France, two synagogues, a kosher store, and a Jewish Community Center were attacked following an anti-Israel demonstration. In Germany, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a synagogue, and a Rabbi received death threats for 30 Jews in the city. In Italy, posters listed the names of stores owned by Jewish Italians and urged individuals to boycott Israel. In the Netherlands, a Holocaust memorial was vandalized, and two individuals were attacked for displaying Israeli flags. In Argentina, radicals displayed Israeli and American flags emblazoned with swastikas and vandalized a Jewish Cultural Center. Strongly condemning these and other intolerable acts will help stem the rise of anti-Semitism and help foster an environment more conducive to long-term peace.
“Your work to fight anti-Semitism comes at a critical juncture,” the congressmen wrote. “By allowing anti-Semitism to flourish, nations risk violent attacks on innocent civilians, community destabilization, and escalating tensions across all ethnic, religious, and other minority groups. The values that the United States of America stands for – freedom, liberty, and equal justice under law – are directly threatened by rising anti-Semitism. The United States must speak strongly and resolutely in support of these values and we stand ready to support your efforts.”
More than 70 members of Congress signed the letter, including Republicans Gus Biliraki and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and Democrats Corrine Brown, Lois Frankel, Joe Garcia, Alan Grayson, Alcee Hastings, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson from Florida.
On Friday, Reclaim America released a video featuring Rubio in which he backs Republican Senate candidates in Arkansas, Colorado and Iowa who are running against vulnerable Democratic incumbents.
“This year we have an unprecedented opportunity to elect a conservative majority and take back the Senate,” Rubio says in the video.
"I’m convinced that we and our allies need to come together and unite behind a much broader and very long-term plan – with the goal of ending militant Islamism across the globe – once and for all,” Clawson said on Thursday night. "In my opinion, anything less, such as reacting crisis by crisis like playing 'Whack a Mole' – is doomed to failure.
"IS is only one part of a widespread metastasizing cancer of hatred, intolerance, and violence,” Clawson continued. “We’re facing a cancer of militant Islamism with cells under various names in dozens of countries. In planning the elimination of IS, we, with a 'coalition of the willing,' must do so recognizing it as part of the overall global disease.
"I’m convinced that America must lead the civilized world in accepting the nature and breadth and complexity of global militant Islamism – and call it by its name,” Clawson added. “And lead a coalition resolved to stay the course and end this cancer once and for all."