Sunshine State News Blogs

Florida Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, was included in GOPAC’s “Class of Emerging Leaders” on Wednesday. GOPC selects promising state legislators who have the “potential and ability they have shown to have an impact in their state and the Republican Party.' Currently in the last year of his sophomore term, Boyd chairs the State Affairs Committee.

“Our Emerging Leaders program is a yearlong initiative to coach and develop promising state legislators on how to be effective legislative and political leaders,” said GOPAC Chairman Frank Donatelli. “With the 2014 class showing a strong commitment to ideas leading to more private-sector jobs and more effective government at lower costs, we look forward to assisting them with leadership training, policy seminars and interactive discussions at our Annual Emerging Leaders Summit.”

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The National Republican Senate Committee (NRSC) pointed to the news that Republican David Jolly won an open congressional seat in Pinellas County on Tuesday, insisting it boded well for the GOP to pick up the U.S. Senate come November.

“A Republican won a special election that all the experts predicted would go for the Democrats,” the NRSC informed supporters via email early on Wednesday morning. “The reason? Just like Senate Democrats Mark Pryor, Mary Landrieau, and Mark Udall – this Democrat candidate embraced Obamacare. Tonight, she delivered her concession speech.

In the words of political analyst Chuck Todd, ‘Most of the Senate battles are in a lot less friendly places for Dems,’” the NRSC added. “This is the year we hold Senate Democrats accountable for ignoring the will of the American people.”

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U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., offered his take on David Jolly’s win over former state CFO Alex Sink in a special congressional election on Tuesday niight, insisting the Republican victory showed that Floridians are tired of the policies backed by President Barack Obama and U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. Southerland is facing a major challenge from Democrat Gwen Graham and the GOP is looking to paint her as a Pelosi ally.

"America is at a crossroads, and tonight's victory is a clear indication that Floridians have had enough of the out-of-touch agenda being pushed by the president, Nancy Pelosi, and their allies on the campaign trail,” Southerland said. “Floridians don't want a representative who is going to fight tooth and nail to preserve Obamacare, increase taxes, and make it more difficult for hard-working families to get ahead."

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Former state CFO Alex Sink, the Democrat in Tuesday’s special congressional election in Pinellas County, conceded the race to Republican David Jolly.

“While tonight was not the result we were hoping for, I am proud of the race we have run and so grateful for the countless Pinellas residents, volunteers and supporters who put their faith in our campaign,’ Sink informed supporters.

“I have congratulated David Jolly and wish him the best success in representing the voices of Pinellas in Congress," Sink added. “My life has always been shaped by a deep commitment to service and problem-solving, and I look forward to finding new ways and new avenues to continue practicing these values in pursuit of doing good for our community, our state and our country.”

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Republicans are celebrating at the national level as David Jolly beat out Democrat former state CFO Alex Sink in a special election in Pinellas County.

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), offered his take on Tuesday night.

“I want to extend a big congratulations to David Jolly on his victory tonight,” Walden said. “David proved that Pinellas County voters are tired of the devastating policies of this administration. Throughout this campaign, David has outlined his vision on how to grow the economy, create jobs and deliver quality health care for Pinellas families.

“Tonight, one of Nancy Pelosi’s most prized candidates was ultimately brought down because of her unwavering support for Obamacare, and that should be a loud warning for other Democrats running coast to coast,” added Walden. “Pinellas County voters have made the right choice; David will be a dedicated and thoughtful representative for them in Congress.”

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With overseas and provisional ballots still out, Republican candidate David Jolly holds a solid lead over Democratic rival former state CFO Alex Sink in a special election on Tuesday to win the seat held for decades by his former boss, the late U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla.

Despite being outspent by the Sink campaign, with all precincts in, Jolly holds a solid lead for the seat, which represents parts of Pinellas County, with a 3,400 vote margin, taking 48.4 percent of the vote. Sink had 46.6 percent of the vote. Libertarian hopeful Lucas Overby garnered 4.8 percent of the vote.

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Former state Rep. Eric Eisnaugle took a step closer to returning to Tallahassee on Tuesday as he won the Republican primary in a special election for an open Florida House seat.

With early votes counted and 24 of 32 precincts in, Eisanugle beat out educator Vicki Bell in the Republican primary with 84 percent. Bell took 16 percent.

First elected to the Florida House in 2008, Eisnaugle was gearing up to run for a third term in 2012 until his plans were changed by redistricting. Eisnaugle landed in the same district with fellow Republican Rep. Steve Precourt who was running for his fourth and final term in the House. Despite bowing out in 2012, Eisnaugle simply changed his focus to 2014 when Precourt would face term limits. With Precourt resigning to take a position with the Orlando-Orange County Expressway, Eisnaugle shifted his efforts to run in the special election.

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Rep. Gayle Harrell’s House Memorial 607 urging the United States Congress to enact, before adjournment, the Water Resources Development Act authorizing the next phase of Everglades restoration as part of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, will be heard at 1 p.m. Wednesday in the House Local and Federal Affairs Committee.

Key projects include the Biscayne Bay Coastal Wetlands, the C-111 Spreader Canal, the Broward County Water Preserve Area, the Caloosahatchee River C-43 West Basin Storage Reservoir and the Central Everglades Planning Project. The Memorial calls for continued funding of projects already under construction as part of the Indian River Lagoon South project, including the C-44 canal. It specifically urges Congress to authorize and appropriate funds for all these projects. 

“This Memorial sends an important message to Congress and the president. It is the voice of the people of the state of Florida as expressed through their elected representatives in the Legislature,” said Harrell, R-Stuart. 

Since 2000, the state of Florida has spent over $2.4 billion on various projects and land purchases connected with CERP. Federal authorization and appropriation of funds for projects that are already underway under WRDA 2007 (the last WRDA bill passed by the federal government) as well as the inclusion of the Central Everglades Planning Project in the final version of the current WRDA bill are essential to reducing the ecological damage and negative economic impact of the large releases of water from Lake Okeechobee.

“The state of Florida is living up to its promise under CERP,” Harrell said. “Now is the time for Congress to step up to the plate and do its fair share by passing WRDA and funding these important projects.”

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Gov. Rick Scott debuted his first television ad of his 2014 re-election campaign on Tuesday, and it didn't take long for the Florida Democratic Party to pounce.

In the ad, Scott talks about his own family experiences as reasons why he remains focused on job creation and Florida's economy.

The Florida Democratic Party, however, wasn't so moved by the video. 

"Rick Scott wants Floridians to think he’s on their side, when in fact he has spent his whole career rigging the system so that only he and his special-interest friends will profit,” said FDP spokesman Joshua Karp.
“Rick Scott’s hypocrisy is on full display and no amount of campaign cash can change that. Rick Scott’s priority is where it’s always been -- helping the wealthy special interests and his campaign donors, not Florida’s middle-class families."
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Gov. Rick Scott released the first television ad of the 2014 gubernatorial campaign on Tuesday. The ad features Scott talking about his experiences growing up in poverty and how it drives him to focus on Florida’s economy and creating jobs.

“Gov. Rick Scott's tireless and singular focus on improving lives for Florida's families, by creating jobs and investing in education, comes directly from his life experiences,” said Florida Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, Scott’s campaign chair, on Tuesday. “Rick's story speaks to why no one works harder than he does to make Florida the best in the country for families and job creators."

Thrasher talked to the media and said it was a "significant buy," costing $2.2 million and running across the state and online.  

View the ad below:

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State Rep. Dane Eagle, R-Cape Coral, and Rep. Ray Rodrigues, R-Fort Myers, announced on Tuesday that they are backing Florida Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Fort Myers, in the special election for the congressional seat vacated when Trey Radel, R-Fla., resigned after pleading guilty to possessing cocaine.

“She is the proven leader of integrity we can count on -- exactly what Southwest Florida needs,” Eagle posted on Twitter on Tuesday.

"We have a responsibility to our children, our seniors, our students and the brave men and women who serve in our military to send the very best Florida has to represent our families in Washington,” Rodrigues said. “Lizbeth has my vote because she has proven to be highly effective while serving Southwest Florida in the state Senate. She understands it's going to take hard work and determination to get our country back on track -- and that's a fight I know Lizbeth can win."

“Ray and Dane are tremendous partners in the House,” said Benacquisto. “I appreciate their support and look forward to extending our partnership to Washington on behalf of the people of Southwest Florida.”

Benacquisto takes on businessman Curt Clawson and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel in the April 22 primary.

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Just last week it appeared Charlie Crist had been gaining traction in fundraising numbers, but Gov. Rick Scott's campaign account shows Crist may not have such a huge advantage after all.

Numbers posted Monday showed Scott raised $585,000 in the month of February. Scott's campaign account is separate from "Let's Get to Work," Scott's political committee. In total, Scott's accounts raised more than $757,000 last month.

Charlie Crist's campaign account raised $292,000 in February. The "Charlie Crist for Governor" political committee raised $827,000 in February.

Account details posted Tuesday showed Scott had nearly $1.2 million cash on hand, while Crist had $1.4 million on hand.

The governor's race is expected to be one of the year's most expensive campaigns and is already shaping up to be one of the costliest in Florida's history.
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While most eyes have been on Pinellas County where there is a special congressional election on Tuesday, there is also a Republican primary in Orange County for an open House seat. Former Rep. Eric Eisnaugle is a heavy favorite over educator Vicki Bell in the Republican primary.

Eisnaugle, who stepped aside for Steve Precourt after redistricting in 2012, has garnered the support of House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and the Republican leadership in Tallahassee. Weatherford went to bat again for Eisnaugle on Tuesday, taking to Twitter to help his former colleague.

“Best of luck to my good friend Eric Eisnaugle today,” Weatherford wrote. “We need him back in the Florida House!”

Democrat Shaun Raja will take on whoever wins the primary.

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Trying to catch former Gov. Charlie Crist in the Democratic primary to see who challenges Gov. Rick Scott in November, former state Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich hit her chief rivals on school choice on Monday.

“My position on vouchers has always been crystal clear,” said Rich. “I opposed them when Republican Gov. Jeb Bush introduced them. I opposed them when Republican Gov. Charlie Crist expanded them. I oppose expanding them now. Vouchers allow public money to go to private schools and that’s just not right – period.”

Despite Crist spending most of his political career as a Republican, he holds a commanding lead over Rich in polls of the Democratic primary. Rich stressed her opposition to current efforts to expand school choice in the Legislature which she expects Scott to sign.

“That’s simply bad public policy -- it’s bad for public schools, bad for teachers, and bad for students,” Rich said. “Gov. Scott said he is ready to sign the bill to expand the voucher program as soon as the bill gets to his desk. I wouldn’t. As governor, I would veto this bad legislation -- without hesitation.”

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The business community continues to rally behind Gov. Rick Scott as the Florida Retail Federation (FRF) endorsed the Republican for a second term on Tuesday.

“Gov. Rick Scott has a tremendous record of helping Floridians create jobs and succeed in the workplace. We enthusiastically endorse him for re-election,” said Rick McAllister, the president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation. “In making this endorsement, FRF is expressing its confidence that under Gov. Scott’s leadership during his second term, Florida will continue to be the premier state to do business.”

McAllister pointed toward job growth in the retail sector over 2013, noting one out of three new jobs created in the Sunshine State was in retail.

“Retail growth means retail jobs, and retailers are proud to help Gov. Scott reach his goal of creating 700,000 jobs in seven years,” McAllister added. “It is clear that Gov. Scott is the best choice for Florida. Let’s keep working together to continue our unmatched track record of economic growth and job creation.”

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Florida TaxWatch released a study on Tuesday which shows allowing Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) a greater role in Florida’s health care would save the Sunshine State almost $340 million as well as improve access for patients.

"Improving the quality of care for Florida's families through increased access to professionally trained APRNs will ensure our state has the foundation for a sustainable health-care system for the future," said Dominic Calabro, the president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch. "APRNs can fill a need stemming from Florida's shortage of doctors and provide much of the primary care that patients are not receiving due to this shortage."

"To move Florida forward and balance access, quality, and cost, both physician and nurse practitioner perspectives need to be considered, always with the patient's best interest coming first," said Tamara Demko,the director of Florida TaxWatch’s Center for Health & Aging. "Florida's health-care needs will continue to increase, and every health-care practitioner plays an important role in addressing those needs."

The study can be read here.

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Republican David Jolly took to the national airwaves on Monday afternoon as he made his final pitch in the special election for the congressional seat left open after the death of U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla. Jolly, who takes on Democrat former state CFO Alex Sink and Libertarian Lucas Overby in Tuesday’s election, appeared on “Your World with Neil Cavuto” on Fox News and sounded optimistic about his chances despite this being a “true purple district." Jolly added he believed the race had national ramifications. 

“Surprisingly the demographics here trend Democrat,” Jolly said. “That is why this has drawn such national interest. A Republican has held this seat for 43 years but President Obama won this district. It is a true purple district, if you will, which is why the national parties have taken such an interest in this race and such an interest in the messaging around Obamacare. I actually would argue it trends Democrat and I would say that makes it even more important when we win tomorrow; what it means for our party, for the national party on the Republican side going into November. I think we know if we hold this seat tomorrow, which I believe we will, that means the Republicans not only hold the House in November but I think it means a very good year for us in the Senate as well.”

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U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., and U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., announced on Monday they were backing Florida Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto in the special election to replace former U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., in Congress.

“Washington is broken and this president has no interest in fixing it,” Diaz-Balart said. “Lizbeth’s fighting spirit and proven ability to get things done are just what we need to get things moving for hard-working Florida families.”

“Lizbeth is a proven and trusted leader,” said Rooney. “Washington desperately needs more people like her and I look forward to standing shoulder-to-shoulder with her to fight for the fiscal responsibility the people of Florida need and deserve.”

“I am honored to have the support of two of Florida’s strongest conservatives in Washington,” Benacquisto said. “Together, we will fight to cut taxes, balance the budget and reduce regulations that are holding back our economy – just as I have done here in Florida.”

Benacquisto takes on businessman Curt Clawson and former state Rep. Paige Kreegel in the April 22 primary.

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Appearing on Fox Business Network (FBN) on Monday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., weighed in on tax reform, went after the Democrats and said Russia should be expelled from the G8.

FBN’s Rich Edson asked Rubio his thoughts on the tax reform plan from U.S. Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich. While Rubio said he was leaning against backing Camp’s plan, he did say he was crafting his own tax reform plan with U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.

“I haven't read in this totality,” Rubio said about Camp’s proposal. “I doubt I would support it as it currently is structured. But I do think it has very - many elements that are very promising, that will be borrowed in future endeavors. I am working on my own tax reform plan with Senator Lee of Utah.”

Edson asked Rubio about whether Russia should be forced out of the G8. “Yeah, the G8 was supposed to be a group of advanced democracies and free enterprise economies, advanced countries and - under at least Vladimir Putin - Russia is not that,” Rubio replied. “It certainly is not a democracy. It does not behave like a democracy. It doesn't seem to want to govern itself by international norms and by impeding a neighbor and making illegitimate territorial claims, I think the G7 or G8 should be a group of advanced democracies. And Russia certainly isn't behaving this way.”

Rubio was asked if Republicans were only committed to opposing President Barack Obama‘s agenda.

“I would say that the Democrats are not necessarily awash for new ideas, either,” Rubio answered. “ I mean, it's the same old lame stuff about higher minimum wage or more government spending, things that haven't really been affected as restoring the American dream. Now do I think Republicans need to do a better job? Sure. Of course, especially in the 21st century, when the economic challenges that we face now are largely due to the rapidly changing nature of the global economy, not simply a cyclical economic downturn.”

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George Zimmerman may have been acquitted in the death of Trayvon Martin over the summer, but protests against Florida's Stand Your Ground law have persisted into the 2014 legislative session.

On Monday, several hundred protesters, led by Rev. Al Sharpton, headed to the Florida Capitol to speak out against the self-defense law, which gathered considerable media attention and controversy following Zimmerman's acquittal. The law was not used in Zimmerman's defense. 

The father of Trayvon Martin and the family of Marissa Alexander, a woman who was sentenced to 20 years for firing a gun near her estranged husband, joined in Sharpton's march. The mother of Jordan Davis, a 17-year-old who was shot over an argument over loud music, was also present at the protest.

“Florida is the first state to enact the law in 2005,” Sharpton said. “We came back to where it started to begin where it will end.”

Florida's Stand Your Ground law allows residents to use force, including deadly force, if they reasonably believe it's necessary to avoid death or great bodily harm.

Republican legislators have repeatedly declined to make any changes to the law. The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee took up two bills related to guns in a five-hour hearing in November, but ultimately shot them both down and made no changes to the Stand Your Ground law.


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At a media event in Orlando on Monday, Gov. Rick Scott showcased his proposal for $80 million in the state budget to be used for cancer research, including sending $60 million to Florida Cancer Centers as they seek National Cancer Institute (NCI) status

“I am proud to join UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando Health to highlight our $80 million commitment for cancer treatment centers across Florida,” Scott said. “We must put our state in a position to be on the cutting edge of cancer research, and this investment goes a long way toward that goal. We remain committed to fighting this terrible disease, and we continue to work toward a cure.”

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A poll from Public Policy Polling (PPP), a firm with connections to prominent Democrats, shows a tight race in Tuesday's special election for the congressional seat left open by the death of U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., as the contest is within the margin of error. The poll was commissioned by the League of Conservation Voters' Victory Fund which is backing former state CFO Alex Sink, the Democratic candidate in the race,

The poll, which was released Monday, shows Sink leading with 48 percent followed by Republican David Jolly with 45 percent. Libertarian Lucas Overby takes 6 percent.

The poll finds Sink is routing Jolly with independent voters, with 61 percent of them backing her and only 27 percent of them backing the Republicans.

The poll of 702 likely voters was taken from March 7-9 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percent.

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The various campaigns and the pundits are expecting a close contest in Tuesday’s special election for the congressional seat left open by the death of longtime U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla. With that being the case, Republicans backing David Jolly are starting to worry about Libertarian Lucas Overby who has polled consistently in the mid-single digits and has cracked double digits in some polls.

At the end of last week, American Crossroads, a super-PAC with ties to prominent Republican strategist Karl Rove, unleashed U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., in support of Jolly. The son of former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who was the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate in 1988, Paul is a favorite of libertarians and a possible presidential candidate in 2016.

“I'm calling to urge you to vote on Tuesday for David Jolly in the race for Congress,” Paul says in the robocall. “David believes in smaller government. He thinks it's the way to protect our liberty, and I agree. That's why I'm supporting him. He will go to Congress to ensure you, not the government, are making decisions for you and your family. Please remember to vote on Tuesday for David Jolly.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) hit back on Saturday in support of their candidate, former state CFO Alex Sink. David Bergstein, a spokesman for the DCCC, pointed to Paul’s criticism of Social Security and said Pinellas County voters can’t trust Jolly on the issue. The DCCC also hammered Jolly for getting the support of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

“It’s clear that lobbyist David Jolly is already aligning himself with the same dysfunctional politicians in Washington like Sen. Rand Paul and Congressman Paul Ryan who were responsible for the shutdown of our nation’s government,” said Bergstein on Saturday. “Just like Sen. Paul and Congressman Ryan, lobbyist Jolly would make Pinellas seniors pay more by jeopardizing Social Security in order to protect unfair tax breaks for corporations and the ultra-wealthy. It’s just more proof we can’t trust lobbyist David Jolly.”

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Republican congressional candidate Carlos Curbelo spoke at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday, highlighting how his experiences as an immigrant from Cuba have shaped his political beliefs and criticizing Barack Obama's signature health-care law. 

Curbelo was named a "“Top 10 Conservative Under 40” at the American Conservative Union’s annual conference.

"Before, [the Democrats] used to trap people in welfare," said Curbelo. "Today, they trap people in Obamacare. Under this law, workers are discouraged from seeking the jobs that they need and employers are encouraged to suppress employee hours. And what does that do? It denies the people that need jobs and opportunity the most to become better.

"Obamacare is just the most recent example of the left's misguided policies that close the path of upward social mobility for those that have the desire to grow and achieve more for themselves and for their families."

See Curbelo's full remarks here:
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Gov. Rick Scott, U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., and Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown reached across party lines to showcase the Intermodal Container Transfer Facility (ICTF) project at the Dames Point Marine Terminal, part of the JaxPort system. The new system will allow quicker cargo transfer and is estimated to create more than 340 construction jobs and lead to hundreds of jobs in the future. The project relies on both federal and state funding.

“We’re committed to making Florida the trade gateway to the world,” Scott said. “That’s why we committed funding for this project to create more than 1,000 jobs for Florida families. This project will allow the port to be more competitive and grow more volume, which will create more opportunities for families in the Jacksonville community. We continue to invest in our seaports because they are tremendous economic generators and provide jobs for Florida families.”

"There is no time to waste in strengthening the port to take full advantage of trade growth, create more jobs, and stay competitive in the regional, national, and international marketplace," Crenshaw said. “Gov. Scott understands that projects like the Intermodal Container Transfer Facility and the deepening of the St. Johns are two examples of initiatives that will open the door wider to tremendous economic opportunity. He and everyone on the port team deserve our thanks. If we do not act quickly, JaxPort will fall behind competitors on the East Coast, and the economic engine that has driven this community for the past decade will be put in danger."

“We appreciate the governor’s strong leadership in support of JaxPort to make sure our city and state stay competitive in the global economy,” Brown said. “We must build the very best port infrastructure to create more jobs and make the most of the growing business opportunities offered by international trade.”

The project -- which drew $20 million from the state and $10 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation -- also garnered the praise of several state legislators, including Rep. Lake Ray, R-Jacksonville, one of the leading experts in the Legislature on ports issues.

“This project is the next step in making JaxPort a key gateway for international trade and logistics,” Ray said. “We appreciate the governor’s support in accomplishing our vision.”

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The Florida chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) launched Small Business Days on Monday. The NFIB’s program includes a reception at the governor’s mansion with Gov. Rick Scott.

Bill Herrle, the executive director of the Florida chapter of the NFIB, praised Scott on Monday, saying the governor was good for small businesses. Herrle also expressed support for Scott’s call to cut business retail taxes by $100 million which is one of the governor’s chief goals for the current legislative session.

“"From cutting corporate income tax so four out of five businesses no longer pay it, to reducing annual business filing fees, to pushing for a decrease in the sales tax businesses pay on commercial leases, Gov. Scott has shown he is committed to doing everything he can to help businesses grow and succeed in Florida,”” Herrle said. ““We are confident Florida's business-friendly climate will continue to strengthen throughout this year and look forward to seeing more businesses move their operations to the Sunshine State."

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Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign team weighed in on President Barack Obama vacationing in Florida over the weekend and former Gov. Charlie Crist appearing in Washington to speak at the annual Gridiron Club dinner. Despite spending most of his political life as a Republican, Crist is the favorite for the Democratic nomination to challenge Scott in November.

"Charlie Crist and President Obama have decided to trade places this weekend,” said Greg Blair, a spokesman for the Scott team. “The president is on another golfing trip in South Florida while ignoring the crisis in Venezuela, and Charlie Crist is hobnobbing with the Washington elite crowd while ignoring over 1 million Florida seniors who could be harmed by Obamacare’s cuts to Medicare Advantage.”

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U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., who was accused by his wife of a domestic violence incident, was cleared of the charge by the Orange County sheriff's office. Earlier in the week, Lolita Grayson, the congressman’s wife of 24 years who is currently engaged in a divorce battle with him, was granted a temporary injunction against the congressman. Grayson responded by showing video of his wife attacking him.

More from the Tampa Bay Times and the Associated Press on the matter can be read here.

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On Friday, the Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) and the Consumer Energy Alliance submitted almost 24,300 signatures from Florida to federal officials in support of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

“Dependable and affordable energy is the lifeblood of manufacturing,” said Brewster Bevis, the senior VP of state and federal affairs for AIF. “We support the Keystone XL Pipeline because it will supply reliable, affordable supplies of energy to millions of consumers across the United States. As a large, energy-consuming state, Florida needs projects like Keystone XL.”

“Keystone XL will displace energy from our enemies for energy from our ally,” said Kevin Doyle, the executive director for Consumer Energy Alliance--Florida. “Energy prices are influenced by global events. Transforming North America into energy self-sufficiency dampens the price spikes caused by upheaval overseas. The comments we are submitting today from thousands of Floridians reflect what people across the country are saying: We need jobs, we need a stronger economy, and we need to build the Keystone XL Pipeline.”

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U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, threw his weight behind David Jolly, the Republican candidate in the special congressional election in Pinellas County. Jolly takes on Democrat former state CFO Alex Sink and Libertarian Lucas Overby in Tuesday’s election.

Boehner sent out a fundraising email  to his supporters on Friday, encouraging them to back Jolly in this “highly contested” and “neck and neck” race. Most of Boehner’s focus was against Sink, looking to tie her to President Barack Obama and U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

“A Republican win next week against Barack Obama’s and Nancy Pelosi’s hand-picked candidate will help our team build momentum here in 2014,” Boehner insisted. “Don’t let the Left steal this election in its final days. This is anyone’s race.”

Boehner also praised Jolly.

“David Jolly will be a welcome addition to our team that’s fighting for lower taxes, more jobs, and balanced budgets,” Boehner maintained.


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