Sunshine State News Blogs
“One of the most important things we can do for the Everglades is to conserve water” said the executive director of Audubon Florida, Eric Draper. “Miami-Dade County’s water conservation program, “Use Less,” under the leadership of Doug Yoder, exemplifies this commitment to water conservation through quantifiable results.”
The Excellence in Water Conservation Award celebrates "outstanding dedication for caring for Florida’s water resources and promoting water conservation for the environment."
The county has reduced its water usage by 10 million gallons per day as a result of conservation. By 2017, Miami-Dade County projects it will save 14.25 million gallons of water per day.
Miami-Dade County implemented several initiatives to help conserve water, including incentives to homeowners and businesses to conserve water, education and outreach, and water restrictions. Miami-Dade County has saved millions of dollars in the process.
This is the second year the award has been presented. Cooper City won the award in 2012.
U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., was honored on Tuesday for his work against malaria. Malaria No More awarded Crenshaw and U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks, D-N.Y., with the Malaria Action Award and U.S. Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., with the Malaria Action Award.
"Malaria impacts millions of people around the globe -- mothers, fathers, and young children as well as American servicemen and women who are fighting overseas to keep us safe and building strong allies and trading partners in emerging economies," said Crenshaw. "I am honored to receive the Malaria Vision Award from Malaria No More and am proud to serve alongside Congressman Meeks as co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases. The fight to eliminate malaria as a public health threat requires teamwork and dedication. My commitment to that mission remains strong, and I look forward to continuing our critical work alongside the president's Malaria Initiative, the Department of Defense, and the Global Fund."
Tim Tebow’s entrance into the New England Patriots' NFL organization came as a sigh of relief to many Gator fans who feared the former University of Florida golden boy could end up playing abroad … on television stations far beyond their reach.
But, now the short-lived New York Jet will be back in a blue jersey. And, the UF Alumni Association is marking the occasion by celebrating the release of the former Heisman winner’s Patriots jersey.
In a special email blast offer to its members, the association is extending for a limited time a $10 off coupon for the new No. 5 Tebow jersey. Yes, the legendary No. 15 will be back in his high school number.
“I'm sure you, like the rest of us in the heart of the Gator Nation, were thrilled to hear the news that Tim Tebow was signed by the New England Patriots,” Danita D. Nias, executive director and senior Associate vice president of the UFAA wrote to members. “We are so proud of Tim and his indomitable Gator spirit!”
Fans are then directed to the Patriots’ ProShop to pick up their official gear. The $10 off coupon comes in handy, as the jerseys carry a hefty $99.95 price tag.
If history is any indicator, the Patriots can bank on the success of Tebow’s threads. Tebow was No. 1 in sales of his jersey during his rookie Denver Bronco year. That was when Gator fans got a cherry on top, as the Broncos also proudly wear orange and blue. In his second year with the Broncos, Tebow again managed to outsell Patriot legend Tom Brady. Sports marketing agents think Tebow’s following will make his No. 5 another winner this year, at least on retail shelves.
But, will he beat Brady? That's the real test.
On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio appeared on Bill Bennett’s radio show to weigh in on immigration reform. Rubio insisted that his support for immigration reform has nothing to do with politics and rejected arguments that it will help or hurt the Republicans.
“I believe that the problem that we have with immigration is a very serious problem in our country,” Rubio said. “We have a broken legal immigration system. I always say this. Even if we didn’t have a single illegal immigrant, we’d still have to do immigration reform because the legal immigration system we have is antiquated and broken. We don’t have real ways to enforce our immigration laws. The border in certain sectors is not fully secure. We have no way of tracking people that overstay visas. We have no way of confirming people’s eligibility to work – when they get hired, there’s no E-Verify. And topping it all off, due to mistakes that were made – when I was in ninth-grade, by the way – there are 11 million human beings living in the United States, most of them we have no idea who they are. They’ve been here longer than a decade. They’re having children that are U.S. citizens. They live among us. They’re probably going to be here for the rest of their lives, and leaving what we have in place is de facto amnesty.
“So my goal here is not politics,” Rubio insisted. “I don’t believe that this is the salvation or the doom of the Republican Party. This is an issue that confronts our country, and it has to be solved because it’s bad for America. That’s why I’m involved in the issue.”
Rubio also called for more border security in the immigration reform bill.
“Now you mention legalization, I think there’s confusion,” Rubio said. "Permanent residency in the United States, a green card, that’s what permanent residency is. In this bill, that does not happen until there is an E-Verify system that is fully implemented, until there is an entry-exit system that is fully implemented, and until there is a border security plan that is fully implemented. And what I’m asking for in this bill is that we go one step further, and we say that border security plan has to be fully implemented before the green card is available. That border security plan should not be left to the Department of Homeland Security. Let’s design it, let’s work with the border patrol, let’s put it in the bill – the specifics in the bill – so we know exactly what has to happen on the border, so that we can be sure that it will work.”
The poll shows more Americans are following the news reports about the IRS scandal than they were just a month ago. Eighty-two percent of American voters said they were following the IRS targeting story, with 44 percent saying they were following news reports about the scandal "very closely."
Americans also aren't buying statements that the targeting is solely taking place at the Cincinnati office. Seventy percent of Americans believe the IRS decision to target tea party and other conservative groups was made in Washington -- a 5 percent increase from last month. That percentage includes the 29 percent who believe the decision was made at IRS headquarters and the 44 percent who believe the decision was made directly at the White House. A mere 17 percent of voters believe the decision was actually made at the Cincinnati office.
Only 21 percent of voters believe the IRS targeting was purely coincidence. Sixty-one percent believe the IRS decision was politically motivated. More than half of voters believe it's likely Obama and his administration were aware of the targeting, despite the president saying otherwise.
The national survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted June 16-17. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.
Public Policy Polling (PPP) just released a poll that proves what most folks studying the issues suspected -- Americans want the cost of college loans kept ankle deep or lower.
According to the poll out Tuesday morning, more than four in five voters, that's 83 percent, want Congress to either keep interest rates on subsidized federal Stafford student loans where they are now, or lower them significantly. It was a completely bipartisan result -- voters of all partisan stripes are in agreement; 86 percent of Republicans, 84 percent of Democrats, and 77 percent of independents want Congress to get off its collective backside and take action before rates double July 1.
See the related story now on Sunshine State News.
Taken June 11 and 12 and commissioned by liberal group MoveOn.org, the poll also finds that roughly three-quarters of voters say they would be less likely to vote for their representative if he or she voted to double rates to 6.8 percent (74 percent opposed), or allowed them to increase to a maximum of 8.5 percent (77 percent opposed).
In a surprise finding, PPP finds Republicans even slightly more likely than the overall electorate to punish their representatives for raising rates; 82 percent of them would look down on a candidate for letting rates rise to 8.5 percent, and 77 percent would disapprove if they let rates double to 6.8 percent.
Voters like the legislation proposed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachussetts, known as the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act. They support it by a 2:1 margin (60 percent for, 30 percent opposed).
The polling is being released as MoveOn escalates its campaign on student loans. In the next two weeks, MoveOn members will be engaging in a June 27 National Day of Action at congressional district offices and in D.C., flooding congressional offices with phone calls and faxes, and promoting the campaign on social media. More than 442,000 MoveOn members have signed the MoveOn petition created by Sen. Warren calling for students to receive the same low loan rates as the big banks.
Said Anna Galland, executive director of MoveOn.org, “If Congress fails to act and students see their loan rates double, then they will have a huge political problem on their hands. ..."
See PPP’s memo here.
See the full polling results here.
On Tuesday, still in France where he attended the Paris Air Show, Gov. Rick Scott announced that Vision Systems, a company based in France that supplies transportation companies, will launch a project in Melbourne which will create 40 jobs and bring $1.2 million to the Space Coast. Melbourne beat out locations in Georgia, North Carolina and Texas to host the 12,000-square-foot facility.
“Today’s announcement further demonstrates the importance of Florida’s international missions,” Scott said. “It’s working. I am thrilled that Vision Systems chose Melbourne for their first U.S. operations. With the creation of more than 330,000 private-sector jobs in just over two years and an unemployment rate below the national average, our economic formula is working to create jobs and opportunities for families.”
“We felt it was essential for Vision Systems to be located in America,” Carl Putman, the president and CEO of Vision Systems said. “We feel confident in moving our first American location to Florida’s Space Coast. This location will enable us to be closer to our U.S. customers and to expand our business activities in this area. We thank Governor Scott, Enterprise Florida, and the EDC for helping to make this move a great opportunity for Vision Systems, and for Florida families.”
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey is in great shape to win a second term in November -- but that doesn’t mean that voters in the Garden State want him to seek the presidency in 2016.
Rasmussen Reports unveiled a poll on Tuesday showing only 37 percent of New Jersey voters want him to run for the presidency in 2016 while 41 percent do not think he should seek the White House. A large segment of voters -- 22 percent -- are undecided.
The poll of 1,000 likely New Jersey voters was taken from June 12-13 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.
On Monday, the Florida Sheriffs Association honored Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, as their 2013 Legislative Champion. Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco presented the award to Fasano.
“I have long advocated on behalf of Florida’s law enforcement community,” Fasano said in a statement. “I am humbled that the Florida Sheriffs Association has honored me with this cherished award. I look forward to continuing to work with the sheriffs to make certain that our community and our state are as safe as possible.”
"Representative Fasano is a strong advocate for law enforcement and his efforts to fight the illegal use of prescription pills has saved lives,” Nocco said.
Former Congressman Allen West, a favorite of the tea party movement who has opened the door to a political comeback, took aim at President Barack Obama for supporting allowing women to enter the Army Ranger and Navy SEAL programs.
“Just read another instance of Obama's fundamental transformation of America: women will enter U.S. Army Ranger and U.S. Navy SEAL training in 2015 and 2016 respectively,” West posted on Facebook on Tuesday morning.
“Being in close quarters special operations combat units is not a social gathering,” West, who rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Army, continued. “It is obvious Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is nothing more than a social egalitarian lackey and Obama's yes-boy. I find it completely hypocritical for everyone to be up in arms about military sexual assault, but then want to cast women into high stress, small unit combat elements. The objective is obvious: destroy the last bastions of American warrior culture all for the advancement of a misguided vision of fairness and equality.
“There is no equality on the battlefield,” insisted West. “The goal is simple: you physically overpower the enemy and kill them. Don’t tell me about technology, war is about fighting and fighting is about killing, mano y mano. Imagine how the Islamic jihadists are going to use this as propaganda. Is there one senior uniformed leader in our military who will stand up and say, ‘no’?”
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has yet to declare she will run for president in 2016 -- but she already has the backing of a Democrat in the U.S. Senate.
On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who supported Barack Obama over Clinton back in 2008, said she is supporting Ready for Hillary, a group looking to get Clinton in the race.
“Hillary Clinton had to give up her political operation while she was making us proud, representing us around the world as an incredible secretary of state, and that’s why Ready for Hillary is so critical,” McCaskill said on Tuesday. “It’s important that we start early, building a grassroots army from the ground up, and effectively using the tools of the Internet – all things that President Obama did so successfully – so that if Hillary does decide to run, we’ll be ready to help her win.
“They aren’t only reaching out to folks who supported Hillary in 2008,” McCaskill added. “They’re helping to show that regardless of who you supported for president back then, we can all agree today that there is nobody better equipped to be our next president than Hillary Clinton.”
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio R-Fla., has been on the high wire in recent weeks, trying to ensure immigration reform passes Congress while still ensuring conservatives would still be open to backing it -- and, perhaps, Florida’s junior senator for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.
Rubio’s high wire act grew even more dangerous as reports emerged that one of his aides is slamming American workers.
“There are American workers who, for lack of a better term, can’t cut it," attorney and Rubio aide Enrique Gonzales said in a New Yorker magazine article which is not yet online. "There shouldn’t be a presumption that every American worker is a star performer. There are people who just can’t get it, can’t do it, don’t want to do it.”
Needless to say, Gonzales’ remarks have created a mediafirestorm with a number of articles appearing on it. Rubio quickly tried to get in front of it. .
“It is not my view in any way," Rubio said. "I could not disagree with it more. I completely reject the suggestion that American workers cannot compete with the rest of the world."
Rubio has shown considerable political skills so far in keeping his 2016 dreams alive while still supporting immigration reform. But his task has just become much more difficult.
On Monday, former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich celebrated his 70th birthday -- and opened the door to a second bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
Gingrich’s friends and family threw him a surprise party and, according to National Review, politics was in the air. Jonathan Strong has the details:
Think Newt Gingrich is out of politics?
The former House speaker enjoyed a surprise 70th birthday party on Monday night where talk of Gingrich’s political future was a hot topic among attendees. More than 200 of his friends and supporters toasted him at D.C.’s Cafe Milano, his favorite restaurant.
A 2016 presidential run, sources say, hasn’t been ruled out. “There’s no planning or anything like that. But these are people who are big fans of his, so a lot of them want to see him run in 2016,” said one insider who attended.
Still in France for the 50th Annual International Paris Air Show, on Tuesday, Gov. Rick Scott said that Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Diamond Aircraft Industries have reached an agreement which will have the Austrian company establish ties with Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus.
“Florida is proud to have Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University helping our state lead the way in aerospace innovation and I was honored to present Dr. John Johnson with a Governor’s Business Ambassador Award at the Florida Pavilion Grand Opening yesterday,” Scott said. Johnson is the president of Embry-Riddle. "Private and public partnerships, such as Embry-Riddle and Diamond Aircraft, are critical to job creation, and this agreement demonstrates that our business development missions are working by providing job opportunities for Florida families.”
Former Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico, who left the GOP to run as the Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee in 2012, shows no signs of leaving the political scene. On Monday, Johnson announced that he would be playing a large part in trying to ensure same-sex marriage in Arizona. Our America Initiative, which has ties to Johnson, will help gather signatures to file a state constitutional amendment to overturn Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage.
“Like a great many legal experts, I believe the U.S. Supreme Court will -- any day now -- empower states to decide the fundamental question of marriage equality,” Johnson wrote supporters on Monday. “We want to seize the momentum such a decision will create, and doing so in Arizona, a ‘conservative’ Western state, will send a message of individual freedom to every corner of the nation.
“We have crafted a proposed amendment that not only protects the rights of committed couples to marry, but also clearly protects the religious freedoms of all faiths," Johnson insisted. “Overturning Arizona’s ban on same-sex marriage is just the first step in a broader effort that will extend to additional states in the days and weeks ahead. Eliminating marriage discrimination requires a coalition that cuts across all political lines. I am proud that this effort is being launched from a platform of liberty, individual freedom, and fundamental fairness -- and I am excited by our prospects for success. In a dramatic shift from a few short years ago, polls show that America is ready for marriage equality. Our task is to provide them with the opportunity to go to the polls and take this decision away from the politicians and the courts.”
Reports emerged on Monday that the federal government is considering reopening direct mail service with Cuba. Officials from the Castro regime will be meeting with the State Department on Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss reestablishing mail services between the two nations for the first time since in more than 50 years.
U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., whose family left Cuba due to the communist takeover, weighed in on Monday against the talks.
"There is no reason to have this talk because the ones not complying with the mail accords from years ago are the Castro thugs,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “The regime is once again manipulating the U.S. administration in this game because it wants us to lift the embargo and make further concessions. Meanwhile, a U.S. citizen languishes unjustly in a Cuban prison and brave freedom Cuban activists are risking their lives while on hunger strikes to protest the island tyranny."
Gov. Rick Scott is gaining ground according to a poll released by Quinnipiac University on Tuesday morning. The poll finds Scott trailing former Gov. Charlie Crist in a possible 2014 match-up 47 percent to 37 percent. A Quinnipiac poll from March found Crist up by a larger margin, routing Scott 50 percent to 34 percent.
Surprisingly, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, the only Democrat to hold statewide office, leads Scott by the same margin Crist does. Nelson takes 48 percent while Scott gets 38 percent.
Scott does hold a lead over former state Senate Democratic Leader Nan Rich. Scott takes 42 percent while Rich garners 36 percent.
The poll of 1,176 registered Florida voters was taken from June 11 through June 16 and had a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percent.
Read the full story here in Sunshine State News.
Florida teachers are about to learn a great deal more about the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS). On Monday, the state Department of Education announced it will be holding seven events, each lasting two days, at high schools across the state this summer to get educators ready for the new standards.
“The Common Core State Standards will help ensure Florida’s students are well-prepared to compete for jobs and college admissions in today’s global marketplace,” said Dr. Tony Bennett, Florida’s education commissioner, on Monday. “Through the Common Core Summer Institutes, Florida’s teachers are engaging in meaningful professional development over the summer in order to successfully implement a more rigorous set of academic standards. I can’t thank them enough for their dedication and hard work on behalf of their students.”
The first event starts Tuesday in Santa Rosa County. Later in June, there will be Common Core Summer Institutes in Pinellas County. Palm Beach County and Duval County will host Common Core Summer Institutes in July.
There is already little support for the NSA's surveillance program. Reports surfaced earlier in June about the Obama administration collecting millions of telephone records from U.S. Verizon customers. The Obama administration defended collecting the records, saying the collection of phone records was a necessary safeguard against terrorism.
Sixty percent of voters said it's better to collect phone records of people suspected of having terrorist connections rather than collect the phone records of millions of ordinary Americans. Only 26 percent said it was necessary to collect the phone records of millions of ordinary Americans.
The poll also found nearly 75 percent of Americans believe the government should be required to show a judge the reason for monitoring the phone calls of specific Americans. Only 17 percent said it would be OK for a judge to authorize the routine monitoring of millions of Americans.
Americans have been paying attention to the government's surveillance programs -- 82 percent have been following the news reports about the NSA surveillance scandal either very closely or somewhat closely.
A new poll confirms Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s status as the overwhelming favorite to win an open U.S. Senate seat in New Jersey.
Rasmussen Reports released a poll on Monday showing Booker running away with his party’s nomination. Booker takes 54 percent followed by U.S. Rep. Rush Holt with 11 percent, U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone in third with 8 percent and state Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver with 5 percent. Matched against Republican Steve Lonegan, the state director of Americans for Prosperity, Booker leads a potential general election match-up 50 percent to 33 percent.
The poll of 1,000 likely New Jersey voters was taken from June 12-13 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.
For the moment, Democrats look like clear favorites to keep this Senate seat.
Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, R-Fort Myers, was named as a Council of State Governments' (CSG) Henry Toll Fellow on Monday, making her the only state legislator in Florida who received this award. There were 34 other state legislators who received Toll Fellowships on Monday.
"Individually, these leaders have a proven track record of accomplishing great things; collectively they represent the future leadership of the states," said David Adkins, the executive director and CEO of the Council of State Governments.
Fitzenhagen said she was looking forward to working with state legislators and members of the executive and judiciary branches of other states when Toll Fellows meet in August.
"I think it is imperative to understand each branch's view of their domain and why we should or should not alter the balance currently in place," Fitzenhagen said. "As a Toll Fellow I would actively engage members of the remaining branches of government to explore this issue. I believe as public servants we should strive to understand, scrutinize and enhance the function of our government.
"Skills, such as effective communication and strategic thinking, are unique attributes that I believe I possess and will develop further as a result of my Toll Fellowship," Fitzenhagen added. "Enhancing these skills and cultivating new ones is essential to being an effective leader for the state of Florida.
"I look forward to immersing myself in the program and to being a strong contributor so that I may take away some new perspectives on standard perceptions," Fitzenhagen said in conclusion.
Gov. Rick Scott continues to target businesses in other states -- all of which have Democrats as governors -- encouraging them to uproot and move to Florida. On Monday, Scott sent out a letter to businesses in Kentucky, letting them know that the Sunshine State is open for business.
“Kentucky’s formula of higher taxes and more spending is not working,” Scott said. “Florida has cut over 2,500 regulations, cut taxes 25 times and paid down state debt. As a result, over the past year Kentucky’s unemployment rate remained relatively stagnant while Florida’s has dropped 1.7 percent. Not only is Florida a great place for businesses, but it’s also a great place to get an education, and we will continue to work to bring more jobs and opportunities to Florida families.”
In April, former first lady Barbara Bush said she did not want her son to run for president in 2016. “He’s by far the best-qualified man, but no. I really don’t,” said Mrs. Bush when she was asked if she wanted to see her son make a presidential bid in 2016. “I think it’s a great country, there are a lot of great families, and it’s not just four families or whatever. There are other people out there that are very qualified, and we’ve had enough Bushes.”
But former president George H.W. Bush is on board for his son's potential run for the White House in 2016. The former Florida governor hinted his father wants him to make his own run for president in an interview with ABC's "This Week" on Sunday.
“I think we’ve got a split ballot amongst the Bush senior family. Pretty sure that’s the case,” he said.
His older brother, former president George W. Bush, also agreed that Jeb Bush would make a great candidate for president.
“He’d be a marvelous candidate if he chooses to do so. He doesn’t need my counsel ’cause he knows what it is, which is ‘run,’” said George W. Bush in April about his brother's potential candidacy. “But whether he does or not, it’s a very personal decision.”
Jeb Bush served as the governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007. If he runs in 2016, he would be the third member of the Bush family to make a bid for the White House.
When MaverickPAC (MavPAC) meets in Miami next month, they will be hearing from a potential Republican presidential candidate -- Gov. Susana Martinez.
MavPAC, which has ties to George P. Bush, Jeb Bush’s son, announced on Monday that Martinez will be speaking at their meeting.
“I am very optimistic about the future of the Republican Party and am excited to meet some of our future leaders at the MavPAC conference,” said Martinez. “There is a great opportunity for young, reform-minded conservatives to shape the direction of our party and this conference will give them the platform they need.”
Martinez will join two other possible Republican presidential candidates who hail from Florida -- former Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio -- speaking at the event.
Florida will be implementing the Common Core standards beginning in the 2014 school year.
The Board of Education will also be discussing the approval of district turnaround plans for 58 schools in 18 districts across the state. If a school receives an "F" or a second consecutive "D" grade, that school district must submit a turnaround plan to the Department of Education for approval by the State Board of Education. If the plan is approved by the Board of Education, the turnaround plan must be implemented within the next school year if a school's grade doesn't improve.
Broward County has already recommended closing two of its schools. It was the only school district to recommend closing schools' doors versus implementing another turnaround plan.
The Board will also be discussing an amendment to the state Board rule on supplemental educational services and the differentiated accountability rule, which will add "focus" and "priority" as two new levels of intervention. It will also define the five new turnaround options for school districts.
U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., has drawn a major Republican opponent. Republican Gloreatha “Glo” Scurry-Smith will be looking to defeat Brown, who first won a seat in Congress back in 1992, in 2014.
Scurry-Smith has been active in North Florida and the First Coast for years, working with Kids First of Florida before joining up as an aide to then-Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll. As a staff assistant and program analyst, Scurry-Smith was based in Orange Park and spent almost two and a half years in that role. Carroll was asked by Gov. Rick Scott to resign earlier this year after her name was brought up in an investigation of Internet cafes.
Besides her links to Carroll, who ran against Brown twice, Scurry-Smith has other challenges to defeating the incumbent. Democrats make up more than 60 percent of the district while Republicans comprise less than 22 percent. In recent years, Brown has proven near unstoppable, winning more than 60 percent over the last decade, including taking 71 percent in 2012.
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are riding high in the Lone Star State as they look to 2016.
Cruz leads a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released on Monday looking at the possible Republican presidential field in 2016. Cruz takes 25 percent of Texas Republicans followed by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., in second with 13 percent and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in third with 11 percent.
While Cruz remains a favorite son of Texas Republicans, the poll finds Gov. Rick Perry, who had a disappointing presidential bid in 2012 and is open to running again in 2016, stands in fourth with 10 percent. Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin stand tied for fifth with 8 percent apiece. Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana are far behind with 2 percent each.
Clinton has an impressive lead with 66 percent of Texas Democrats behind her with Vice President Joe Biden in distant second with 11 percent and other candidates pulling a total of 3 percent.
The poll of 1,200 Texas voters was taken from May 31-June 9 and had a margin of error of +/- 2.83 percent.
With three of the leading Republican presidential possibilities sitting in the U.S. Senate, there’s high drama in the GOP ranks as Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida tries to pass his immigration reform bill -- and how possible fellow 2016 hopefuls Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky react to the final bill.
A group affiliated with Paul’s father came out swinging against the bill on Sunday. The Campaign for Liberty, associated with former Congressman Ron Paul of Texas, bashed the immigration reform bill -- but not on immigration.
“The Senate is set to take up the so-called ‘immigration reform’ bill tomorrow!” the Campaign for Liberty wrote in a message to supporters sent out late Sunday. "And buried deep within the bill are plans to develop a National ID Database of every American citizen, linked with birth dates, Social Security numbers, biometric information -- like photos and retinal scans -- laying the groundwork for full-scale tracking of every aspect of our lives.”
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., continued to make the rounds this weekend in support of his immigration reform bill. Rubio appeared on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday and insisted increasing border security would help rally conservatives behind the proposal. Rubio also claimed adding more border security was the only way the bill would pass both chambers of Congress.
“The vast majority of Americans, the vast majority of conservative Republicans are prepared to support immigration reform, but only if we can ensure that we’re not going to have another wave of illegal immigration in the future,” Rubio said. “And so I think they have pointed to valid criticisms of how the border security plan is structured in the bill, and quite frankly very reasonable ways to address it.
“I think the debate now is about what that border security provision looks like,” Rubio added. “And if we do that, this bill will have strong bipartisan support. If we fail, we’re going to keep trying, because at the end of the day, the only way we’re going to pass an immigration reform law out of the House and Senate so the president can sign it, is that it has real border security measures within it.”
There's also a huge generation gap between those who believe they'll receive Social Security benefits in their lifetime and those who believe they won't. Seniors are overwhelmingly sure they'll be able to reap the benefits of Social Security, with nearly 70 percent saying they're very confident or somewhat confident they will receive all the Social Security benefits promised to them in their lifetime.
Voters between 18-39 were less certain -- 73 percent of them said they were not confident they'd receive all the Social Security benefits promised to them in their lifetime.
Voters over 65 years old also had a very favorable opinion of the program -- with 45 percent viewing Social Security favorably -- while only 13 percent of voters between 18-39 said they view the Social Security program favorably.
The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted June 12-13. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.