Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart has requested a big budget for Florida's education system -- a whopping $16.97 billion, which is $35 million more than the current year's budget.
Stewart says the additional money is needed to cover growing costs of student enrollment and help make up for $250 million of federal grants that expire this year.
If Stewart's budget request is approved, per-student funding would jump to $6,913.45, an increase of $126.77, or 1.87 percent, from last year, according to the Miami Herald.
Stewart said the proposed spending plan is “a continuation budget,” but pointed to several new initiatives that would take place. Among them would be $40 million to support technology in school districts, $8.9 million for math camps, $6.3 million to cover the cost of dual-enrollment courses in high schools and $582,000 to help school systems. The budget would also provide $8.4 million for principal training, and $5 million for school district professional training associated with the new Common Core State Standards, which are set to be fully implemented in Florida's schools by the 2014-2015 school year.
In addition to the K-12 system, the Department of Education oversees the Florida College System as well. State education officials are requesting $1.16 billion for colleges, which is an increase of 4.09 percent over last year.
Sunshine State News Blogs
One of the leading moderate Republicans in Tallahassee, Florida Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, ripped into former Gov. Charlie Crist on Tuesday. Latvala and Crist moved up the GOP ranks together in Pinellas County before Crist left the Republicans in 2010. On Monday, Crist launched a gubernatorial bid as a Democrat.
"I have known and observed Charlie Crist here in Pinellas County for almost 30 years,” Latvala said on Tuesday. “I know him to be a career politician who cares more about his own political ambitions than doing what's right for Floridians. Time and time again he has started running for the next higher office after barely being elected to the one he held at the time. We've seen him in action, ignoring his responsibilities as governor to focus on his own political campaigns for higher office. When Floridians were experiencing crippling job losses and record unemployment under his watch, he abandoned his job as governor to try to run away to Washington, D.C. Charlie is an example of failed leadership and we can't trust him at the helm again."
Americans understand there is no way to guarantee the privacy of their Internet searches, and now one out of two thinks it's likely the government has monitored their Internet activity or that of someone in their family.
A new Rasmussen Reports poll found 60 percent of Americans who use the Internet at least occasionally consider their Internet communications at least somewhat private now, with 21 percent who feel they are very private. Twenty-eight percent think their Internet activity is not private, with 8 percent who say it is not at all private.
But 75 percent of all Americans believe it is no longer possible to guarantee that an individual's Internet searches will remain private. Only 7 percent think such a guarantee is possible, while 18 percent say they aren't sure.
Fifty percent of likely American voters now think it is at least somewhat likely that the government has monitored their Internet activity or the activity of a member of their family, while a smaller number -- 35 percent -- considers that possibility unlikely.
People using the Internet daily are even more convinced their Internet activity isn't so private and believe government monitoring of their Internet activity is likely.
The survey of 1,000 adults was conducted Nov. 2-3. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.
Florida Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, ripped into newly minted gubernatorial candidate and new Democrat former Gov. Charlie Crist. Thrasher served as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) during Crist’s last days as a Republican.
"Charlie Crist claims to care about Florida but we know he is not committed to our state,” Thrasher said on Tuesday. “As governor he failed to lead us during tough economic times and as a result, Florida lost 832,000 jobs under his watch and added $5.2 billion in state debt. Instead of buckling down and fixing the problems we were facing he focused more on his own political career, first auditioning to be John McCain's vice president and then later trying to escape Florida for the bright lights of Washington, D.C. Charlie's opportunism is apparent and he simply cannot be trusted again."
On Tuesday, former U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., doubled down on his support of U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who is looking to defeat U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., next year. Republicans across the nation have pointed to this race as crucial to flipping the Senate in 2014.
“Representative Tom Cotton, candidate for U.S. Senate in Arkansas, urgently needs our help,” West emailed supporters on Tuesday. “Tom Cotton is a great American patriot, and we would all be well-served to have him representing us in the United States Senate. That's why the Allen West Guardian Fund has endorsed him."
West bashed the “far left” for “mercilessly attacking” Cotton and insisted “with less than one year until Election Day now, I suspect their assault will only escalate.”
Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart has requested a big budget for Florida's education system -- a whopping $16.97 billion, which is $35 million more than the current year's budget.
On Monday, U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., demanded the Obama administration ramp up its efforts to help Alan Gross, an American relief worker accused of espionage by the Castro regime and who has been imprisoned for four years. Ros-Lehtinen accused the Obama administration of “kowtowing” to the Castro regime.
“Next month will commemorate the fourth year of the unjust imprisonment of Alan Gross in Cuba,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “The Castro regime must release Alan immediately without any preconditions. It would be a travesty to swap one U.S. citizen unjustly jailed in Cuba for four Cuban agents who were convicted in the U.S. for trying to infiltrate our military installations with the aim of undermining our national security interests. Such a deal would dishonor the memory of the four brave Brother to the Rescue members who were killed over international waters by those acting under direct orders from the Castro brothers. The Obama administration, and all responsible nations, must stop kowtowing to the Castro dictatorship and demand freedom on the island for Alan Gross and the rest of the 11 million people living under tyranny in Cuba.”
The Jacksonville Jaguars were not supposed to be in the spotlight in recent days. The Jaguars, clearly the worst team in the National Football League (NFL), had a bye on Sunday and First Coast football fans were supposed to focus on the Miami-FSU game which had national implications and, while the Georgia Bulldogs and Florida Gators have been disappointing this season, their game in Jacksonville is one of the city’s annual traditions.
But the Jaguars are once again in the news as they look to start the second half of the season after stumbling out the gate to a 0-8 start. WR Justin Blackmon, one of the few bright spots of the season, was suspended yet again on Friday for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policies and he won’t be back for the rest of the year. And now Tim Tebow fans ran a billboard this week urging Jaguars owners Shahid Khan to sign the former Gator star.
Tebow played at Nease High School in the area and played at the University of Florida. Tebow supporters had planes flying over Everbank Field demanding the Jaguars sign the quarterback. Earlier this year, Tebow was cut by the New England Patriots after stints with the Denver Broncos and the New York Jets.
“Mr. Khan, sign Tebow and we will fill the stadium. Signed, Jacksonville,” read the new billboard.
Actually, while the Jaguars haven’t scored a touchdown at Everbank Field this year, none of the team’s home games has been blacked out. The Jags head up to Tennessee on Sunday to take on the Titans this weekend before hosting the Arizona Cardinals on Nov. 17.
With a pivotal case on the role of religion in the public square scheduled for a U.S. Supreme Court hearing on Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., posted an op-ed over at Fox News on the importance of prayer to open legislative meetings.
“Wednesday morning, I plan to attend oral arguments at the Supreme Court of the United States for the case of Town of Greece, N.Y. v. Galloway,” Rubio wrote. “There, I’ll observe what will be an important moment in our country’s long tradition of protecting religious liberty. The town of Greece is the latest party to be thrust into the middle of our country’s debate over the right to public religious expression, and all it did to deserve this was allow prayer before sessions of its town council.
“The tradition of praying before meetings of governing or legislative bodies is common all across our country. In fact, it has been meaningful to me in my own career as a public servant,” Rubio added before pointing to his time in Tallahassee as an example.
“In the Florida state House, I often took time with my fellow state representatives to pray for the wisdom and discernment to properly serve our constituents. Now, every morning before debate commences in the U.S. Senate, we pause for prayer and reflection,” Rubio wrote. “Even the Supreme Court, which is now considering this case, has long begun every session with the proclamation, ‘God save the United States and this honorable court!’ These are just some examples of how religious freedom, including in the public square, is one of the things that unites us as a ‘nation under God.’
“As defenders of religious freedom, many of us were concerned by the lower court’s ruling in the case of the town of Greece,” Rubio continued. “The opportunity to deliver a prayer or reflection before the town council in Greece is open to individuals of all faiths, and those of none at all. Prayers have been said by members of various Christian denominations, the Jewish faith and a Wiccan. Nevertheless, because the town is overwhelmingly Christian, so are a large number of prayers. In spite of this obvious fairness to people of all beliefs, including atheists, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the town had violated the First Amendment prohibiting the establishment of religion. I found this ruling to be deeply unsettling, and the Supreme Court has rightfully agreed to hear the appeal. The decision has implications far beyond the legal realm, impacting American life, culture and government. I believe that part of what distinguishes America from the rest of the world is that we do not feel threatened by each other’s faiths.”
On Tuesday, Florida Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto, R-Wellington, took aim at former Gov. Charlie Crist who launched a bid against Gov. Rick Scott on Monday. Benaquisto bashed Crist for his ambitions, insisting he was always in campaign mode. While Crist held three statewide offices, he never bothered to run for a second term in any of those posts.
"Charlie Crist wants you to believe that he has changed and that this election is all about what's best for Florida,” Benacquisto said on Tuesday. “The reality is he's been on a lifelong journey, always in search of higher office and what's best for Charlie Crist. In the span of just four years he ran for governor, vice president and the U.S. Senate, all while Floridians faced hard economic times. Florida voters deserve more than an empty chair in the governor's mansion, they deserve someone that will work every day to improve Florida's economy and get people back to work."
Charlie Crist jumped into the governor's race on Monday and his new campaign team is chock-full of Democrats who weren't big fans of Crist or his administration when he was a Republican.
The chairman of Crist's political committee, Charlie Crist for Florida, is Bob Poe, who is a former chairman of the Democratic Party of Florida. Crist's top Florida adviser is Steve Schale, who worked for President Barack Obama.
Crist's top media staffer is Kevin Cate, who has also worked for former CFO Alex Sink as well as Obama. Joe Anzalone will also be joining Crist's team, serving as his pollster. The former governor's finance director will be Jessica Clark, who has worked with U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Obama. Jim Margolis has also joined Crist's team for advertisements. Margolis produced the ads for Obama for both election cycles.
Crist emphasized that his campaign is "not about the past" when asked about the odd options by the Times-Union. Crist also said he expects trial attorneys from across the country to support him in his campaign. Crist himself has the support of well-known Democratic attorney John Morgan of the Morgan & Morgan law firm. Crist's formal announcement of his candidacy sounded oddly reminiscent of Morgan's television ads -- at several points, he said he was the governor "for the people" and even referenced an "army of angels" to help him in his campaign -- two slogans Morgan uses prominently in his advertisements.
"I hope it plays a big role in it," said Crist of Morgan, adding that he doesn't prefer the term "trial attorneys." He said he would instead call them "caring people from across the country."
"I know that the Republican Party of Florida has already started their $100 million campaign to try to vilify him. Calling him names. Questioning his motives. It won’t work," wrote Gelber on his blog. "Floridians know what’s going on. They have watched as a narrow swath of ideologues have taken over the Republican Party nationally and here in Florida, intent on purifying its ranks of officials who commit the high crimes of moderation or bipartisanship."
Gelber went on to say many Republicans and independent voters would understand why Charlie changed parties so many times.
"Tons of Republicans and independent voters understand why Charlie had no place in a Republican Party that has jumped the tracks because they feel like the Republican Party has abandoned them, too," Gelber wrote. "Floridians already know Charlie and like the fact that he represents the kind of bipartisanship that is so sorely lacking in this nation. They also know that Rick Scott is cut from the same cloth as these Washington, D.C., demagogues. Like his Washington brethren, Scott supported defaulting on our nation’s debt rather than upsetting his tea party base. And Scott’s policies as governor are four square with these political outliers."
Ultimately, Gelber said, $100 million wouldn't be enough to convince Floridians that Charlie Crist is the right choice for governor.
"It’s simple," wrote Gelber. "Floridians have concluded that Charlie has their back and Scott doesn’t. I’m not convinced that even $100 million can convince people to disregard their honestly held beliefs."
"With today's announcement, Charlie Crist has done something that's, in my mind, really breathtaking, not only in Florida but in the country," said LeMieux. "In my view, this is the largest change of position by a leading American political figure in as quick of a period of time as we've had in recent American history."
LeMieux went on to say that Crist has had "more positions than a gymnast" from being in three political parties over the last three and a half years.
"The Charlie Crist that I knew and had the opportunity to work with called himself a Reagan conservative," said LeMieux.
LeMieux went on to say that anyone who wants to be in a high political office has to have a guiding set of principles, which in Crist's case, are seriously in question.
"Leading Democrats ... have said it's unusual to have someone flip-flop, then flop-flip," he said. "This election is going to come down to credibility, and it's going to come down to believability and values that the people of Florida can look at and say 'This is where that person stands.' I think as this election sorts itself out, the people of Florida will realize there's only one person running for governor that has that set of core values that that person is willing to act upon, and that's Governor Scott."
Crist officially announced his candidacy on Monday in front of a crowd of about 150 people in St. Petersburg.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., ripped into old rival former Gov. Charlie Crist on Monday. Crist announced on Monday that he was running for the Democratic nomination to challenge Gov. Rick Scott in 2014. Rubio caught Crist in the 2010 Republican U.S. Senate primary, chasing the then-governor out of the GOP and to continue his bid with no party affiliation. Crist joined the Democrats at the end of last year.
"Floridians have a clear choice between a governor with a proven record of job creation, and a consummate political opportunist that can't be trusted,” Rubio said. “ Charlie Crist's governorship was underwhelming, to say the least. Rick Scott has proven himself very capable of cleaning up after Charlie's mess, creating jobs, and restoring Floridians' hope about the future."
Former Gov. Charlie Crist announced on Monday that he was going to run for governor again, this time as a Democrat. Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, weighed in later on Monday morning and ripped Crist in very personal terms.
"In four years Charlie Crist switched three times the core principles he said he would be faithful to -- Republican then independent now Democrat,” Gaetz said. “In private, Democrats have to be wondering, ‘Will he use us to be something else next year?' I respect, even honor opponents who stand by their principles. I cannot respect an opponent who has no principles and therefore no honor."
Keep Vern Buchanan in Congress, baby? Is Buchanan a PTP or an isolation man? Was he a diaper dandy in his first term?
As readers familiar with the catch phrases of one of the most popular commentators on ESPN may have guessed, Dick Vitale is supporting Buchanan’s re-election bid. Vitale and his wife Lorraine will be hosting a fundraiser for Buchanan on Wednesday night. Based in Lakewood Ranch, in recent years Vitale has grown increasingly active in the area and has become a Tampa Bay Rays fan.
With former Gov. Charlie Crist announcing on Monday that he was running for his old job in 2014, this time as a Democrat, Republicans at the national level turned to Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana to take aim at the new candidate. Jindal is the chairman of the Republican Governors Association and a possible presidential candidate in 2016.
“Charlie Crist was a failure as governor and is a pure political opportunist who is out for himself,” Jindal said on Monday. "Under Crist, Florida lost over 800,000 jobs, saw their unemployment rate surge from 3.5 percent to 11.1 percent, and experienced a budgetary crisis that left the state sinking faster and faster. And when the going got tough, Charlie dropped his rifle, abandoned his post, and ran away from the people of Florida. If you like losing jobs and are looking for a politician who blows with the wind, Charlie Crist is your guy. Senator Marco Rubio said it best: ‘I don’t know of anyone who in over a decade has run as a Republican, an Independent and a Democrat. He’s running out of parties.”
With the Virginia gubernatorial race looming on Tuesday, a poll released late Sunday and one released Monday morning find Republican candidate state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is a solid underdog against Terry McAuliffe, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
Quinnipiac University unveiled a poll on Monday morning which shows McAuliffe with 46 percent and Cuccinelli with 40 percent, while Libertarian Robert Sarvis takes 8 percent.
"Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli made the race to become Virginia's next governor interesting,” said Peter Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “But barring a late surge of Republicans returning to the fold and independents jumping on the GOP train, Terry McAuliffe has a small but steady lead that is formidable entering the final day of the campaign. All year long, Cuccinelli has suffered from an inability to unite the Republican base, and if today's data holds true for another 24 hours, analysts may look back at his 85 percent of the GOP vote as his fatal flaw, while McAuliffe was getting 93 percent of the Democratic vote,"
Brown insisted Sarvis supporters can play a major role in shaping this race.
"Libertarian Robert Sarvis continues to get almost one in 10 votes, apparently taking many of the Republican and independent votes Cuccinelli needs," Brown said. "If Sarvis' supporters stay with him in those numbers it is difficult to see where Cuccinelli can find enough votes to turn his fortunes around.
"To make a comeback in the final hours, Cuccinelli will need to take virtually all the undecided; peel off a few percent from Sarvis and hope that his turnout operation is superior to that of McAuliffe,” Brown said in conclusion. “Obviously that is a long-shot formula for victory. The good news for Cuccinelli is that his supporters seem more enthusiastic about their guy than are the McAuliffe backers, but there just doesn't seem to be enough of them to get Cuccinelli over the top."
The poll of 1,606 likely Virginia voters was taken from Oct. 29-Nov. 3 and had a margin of error of +/-2.5 percent.
Public Policy Polling (PPP), a firm with connections to prominent Democrats, released a similar poll on Sunday night which finds Sarvis less of a factor. McAuliffe leads the PPP poll with 50 percent followed by Cuccinelli with 43 percent and Sarvis taking only 4 percent.
The PPP poll of 870 likely Virginia voters was taken Nov. 2-3 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.3 percent.
Former state CFO Alex Sink is claiming momentum after jumping into the Democratic primary for the special election for the open congressional seat previously held by the late U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla.
“On Wednesday, we launched our campaign for Florida’s 13th Congressional District,” Sink emailed supporters late on Sunday. “We decided to set an ambitious fundraising goal to get started: $50,000 in the first week. But then something amazing happened. Folks from Pinellas County, across Florida, and around the country started to step up in a way we could never have imagined. After raising our goal to $100,000, we broke right through it.”
On Monday morning, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) named Sink to its Jumpstart program which includes their 20 strongest candidates challenging for seats currently held by Republicans. The only other Florida Democrat the DCCC included in the Jumpstart tier is Gwen Graham who is challenging U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland.
“In the first few days since she launched her campaign, Alex Sink is again demonstrating what the people of Florida know – she is results-oriented, and her approach to solving problems would help get Washington focused on the right priorities, like creating good jobs,” said U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., the chairman of the DCCC. “Independent voters are fleeing the Republican Congress – and problem-solving candidates like Alex Sink are giving Americans the chance to elect representatives who will bring people together and focus on improving lives for middle-class families.”
With former Gov. Charlie Crist set to announce later on Monday that he will be running for governor again, this time as a Democrat, the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) launched a preemptive strike.
The RPOF released a website -- www.CharlieForFlorida.com -- bashing Crist while Let’s Get to Work, which has ties to Gov. Rick Scott, unveiled a television ad featuring quotes from prominent Democrats attacking Crist.
"Throughout his career, Charlie Crist has only been interested in one person -- himself. When things got tough in Florida, he abandoned the state to pursue the bright lights of Washington, D.C," said RPOF Chairman Lenny Curry on Monday. "During his four-year term, 830,000 Floridians lost their jobs, the unemployment rate increased over 7 points, and state debt increased by over $5 billion. This is the record of a failed governor and there is bipartisan agreement that Charlie Crist shouldn't be governor. If he wants to be governor again why did he quit the first time around?"
Jolly, a Republican, said in an interview Saturday he decided to run after former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker said he wouldn't be running for the seat.
“I’ve worked on behalf of the people of Pinellas County for the last 20 years,” Jolly said. “I believe I’m uniquely qualified to step in on day one and do the job.”
Jolly has close ties with Young and the Young family -- he served as council for Young and later as a lawyer for Young's family. He received support from Bill Young's widow, Bev Young, immediately after announcing his candidacy. Bev Young had previously said she intended to run for her late husband's seat, but said she did not intend to do so.
Jolly is currently president of the Washington, D.C., lobbying firm Three Bridges Advisors. He is expected to make a formal announcement of his candidacy Tuesday or Wednesday.
It's expected Crist will make an official announcement Monday morning in St. Petersburg.
Crist has been in campaign mode for a while. He has already set up a website, and has been quick to criticize Gov. Rick Scott -- and the Republican Party of Florida has fought back with attack ads of its own.
On Saturday, Nov. 2, Gov. Rick Scott will lead a delegation of more than 20 business leaders on an economic development mission to Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, Japan.
According to a press release from the governor's office, the delegation to Japan will focus on increasing business development opportunities for companies from Japan to invest, grow and create jobs in Florida. Over the duration of the trip, Gov. Scott will meet with more than a dozen leading Japanese companies, and speak to more than 350 business leaders at seminars and forums promoting Florida as a superstate for business.
The total expected export sales reported by Florida companies that attended Gov. Scott-led international missions is more than $400 million, and the mission's goal is to recruit more foreign direct investment (FDI) for Florida and to encourage Japanese-owned businesses in the Sunshine State to expand. According to the latest data, there are more than 2,500 FDI establishments in Florida accounting for 236,000 jobs.
Japan's been a big exporter to Florida. In 2012, Japanese companies exported $6.7 billion to Florida, which was an increase of 19 percent over the previous year. Tourism to Florida is also popular with the Japanese -- more than 270,000 Japanese tourists visit the state each year.
November is National Adoption Month, and the Florida Department of Children and Families kicked it off by launching a new online campaign on Friday called “30 Days of Amazing Children: Exploring Adoption,” which will highlight Florida children available for adoption throughout the state and help them find forever families.
There are currently about 750 children in Florida’s foster care program who are currently available for adoption, and every day in November the campaign will feature a different video of a teen or sibling group on the state’s Adopt Florida website at www.adoptflorida.org.
“These children ask for the one thing many of us take for granted, and because of that they are ready to give a lot of love and joy to a family,” DCF Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo said. “Imagine a child without someone special to guide and protect them, to share successes and heartaches with, to share a holiday with, and then imagine the wonderful possibilities that could come from making a place in your own family for a child.”
Last year the department and its community-based partners found families for 3,353 Florida children, 100 more than the year before.
“National Adoption Month is an exciting time for our community-based care lead and provider agencies. Our unique community-based system has made us a leader nationally for the number of adoptions taking place each month across the state,” said Kurt Kelly, Florida Coalition for Children CEO. “During National Adoption Day we celebrate the thousands of adoptions that have been finalized in the last year and the hard work of our child welfare agencies' staff and volunteers to ensure every child in Florida has a forever family.”
A national poll released on Friday gives U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius mixed marks after the continued problems plaguing Healthcare.gov.
Rasmussen Reports unveiled a poll of likely voters showing 40 percent of those surveyed think Sebelius should resign or be dismissed by President Barack Obama while 41 percent disagree. Almost a fifth of those surveyed -- 19 percent -- are not sure.
The poll of 1,000 likely voters was taken Oct. 30-31 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.
Only in Florida ...
Former Gov. Charlie Crist is expected to announce on Monday that he will be running for his old job in 2014. Crist’s party changes in recent years have gotten national attention, of course, as he moved from the GOP to running for the U.S. Senate with no party affiliation in 2010 before jumping over to the Democrats at the end of last year.
As strange as it might be, Crist is not the first former Florida governor running again for his old job with a new party.
Having lost the Democratic primary in a controversial fashion, Sidney Catts was elected governor in 1916 as the candidate of the Prohibition Party. Catts quickly moved back to the Democrats, but his subsequent bids for the U.S. Senate in 1920 and for governor in 1924 and 1928 failed.
Despite being the first Republican governor since Reconstruction, eight years after he was defeated in his bid for a second term, Claude Kirk ran for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. Kirk was a nonfactor in the 1978 Democratic gubernatorial primary, pulling 6 percent and placing sixth in a seven-candidate field.
All eyes will be on former Gov. Charlie Crist on Monday. Crist will be making an announcement in St. Petersburg -- in all probability to announce he will be running for governor.
Crist will be making the announcement in Albert Whitted Park. While he ran for statewide office five times before, all as a Republican, Crist left the GOP to run for the U.S. Senate in 2010 with no party affiliation. He joined the Democrats in 2012 and is expected to run for his new party’s nomination.
Nan Rich, Democratic gubernatorial candidate, says she backs John Morgan's medical marijuana initiative, “United for Care.”
Morgan, who is putting his clout behind Charlie Crist, Rich's probable Democratic Primary opponent, has said he wants "United for Care" on the ballot to legalize the use of medical marijuana in Florida.
“I’ve seen the research, I’ve studied the issue, and I’ve met with patients who clearly benefit and desperately need medically prescribed cannabis,” Rich said in a press release. “Nineteen other states and the District of Columbia already allow medical marijuana to be dispensed on a doctor’s order. Florida should join their ranks. That’s why I’m signing the petition to get this important measure on the ballot in 2014 and I’m calling on all of my friends and supporters to do the same. There is simply no reason patients should suffer when an effective, safe, and organic remedy is readily available.”
Former Gov. Charlie Crist is expected to announce next week that he will run for governor in 2014. After running for statewide office five times as a Republican, Crist left the GOP in 2010 to continue his bid for the U.S. Senate as an independent. After endorsing President Barack Obama in 2012, Crist joined the Democrats at the end of last year.
Crist is now scrambling to build ties with his new party including going to bat for the Democratic candidate in St. Petersburg’s mayoral race. Former state Rep. Rick Kriseman reeled in Crist’s endorsement earlier in the election cycle. The former governor encouraged supporters to back Kriseman on Thursday.
“Please join me in helping get the vote out for my friend and St. Petersburg's next mayor, Rick Kriseman,” Crist posted on Facebook.
On Thursday, Gov. Rick Scott announced Bank of America and Merrill Lynch are expanding in Jacksonville bringing $13 million to the First Coast and 200 new jobs by 2015.
“Bank of America’s expansion in Jacksonville will create at least 200 more job opportunities for Florida families,” Scott said. “Their expansion is also a great example of Florida’s pro-business climate. To make Florida an even better place for families and businesses, we are planning to cut $500 million in taxes and fees for Florida families in this year’s proposed budget. We are proud to say Bank of America is creating more jobs in Jacksonville. It’s working.”
On Thursday, a jury found Nicholas Finch not guilty of misconduct and tampering with public records. Gov. Rick Scott reinstated Finch as sheriff of Liberty County.
The charges emerged after Finch let Floyd Eugene Parrish free after a deputy arrested him for carrying a concealed gun. Second Amendment advocates lobbied on Finch’s behalf.
“Sheriff Nick Finch will be reinstated immediately,” Scott said on Thursday. “I would like to thank the members of the jury in Liberty County for their service in this trial. I would also like to thank Interim Sheriff Buddy Money for his service to the state of Florida."