Sunshine State News Blogs
U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., said on Wednesday he would support the budget agreement reached by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, Wis. Crenshaw, the chairman of the House Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, said the agreement would help reduce the deficit.
“Congress faces tough challenges on the road to providing economic peace of mind for hard-working Americans,” Crenshaw said on Wednesday. “This agreement stops the process of lurching from crisis to crisis and lends some certainty to funding government operations. The Appropriations Committee, which has already cut $200 billion in spending, can now move forward with creating fiscally-responsible appropriations bills to fund government operations: that’s our duty.
“I welcome a process that moves the nation toward deficit reduction without tax hikes or relying on devastating cuts of sequestration,” Crenshaw added. “All agencies of the federal government have a role to play in wiping out Washington’s habit of big-government spending, but my commitment to national security stands unwavering.”
Ed Moore, the president of the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF), was named to the Irish Education 100, a group that honors Irish-American educators. Moore will be recognized at an event in New York City next week.
“I am extremely honored to be included among the top education leaders nominated for the 2013 Irish Education 100,” said Moore on Wednesday. “This distinction pays tribute to both my Irish heritage and my unwavering passion for working toward success for students in Florida’s independent institutions of higher learning.”
On Wednesday, Gov. Rick Scott said Department of Children and Families (DCF) Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo will stay at her post until at least the end of the 2014 legislative session.
“Esther has been an incredible leader, and she will be an invaluable resource for legislators on children and family issues during the upcoming legislative session,” Scott said. “Our state has already benefited from the on-the-ground experience Esther brings to DCF, and we will continue to work with child services stakeholders to ensure we have the best leadership at the agency to protect Florida children.”
“When Governor Scott asked if I would stay through the legislative session, I jumped at the opportunity,” Jacobo said. “I am eager to lead our team through session because I believe in the work we are doing. I cannot thank Governor Scott enough for the honor of serving as secretary of DCF, and I look forward to continuing to work on significant changes that will have a positive impact on our state’s most vulnerable children and families.”
The U.S. House voted on Tuesday to pass a bill consolidating federal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facility leases, including in Pasco County. The bill won the support of U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., the vice chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
“Today’s vote is a win for all veterans, especially those living in and around the Tampa Bay area,” said Bilirakis. “This legislation will not only increase veterans’ access to quality care, but also make it more convenient for veterans to receive the care they need. In Pasco County alone, this bill will enable the five existing clinics that are strained and spread out across the Tampa Bay area to consolidate into a convenient, one-stop facility that will serve all veterans’ medical needs. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to take swift action in passing HR 3521 and for the president to sign this legislation into law, so the VA can continue to provide quality care to our veterans.”
Pope Francis was named Time Magazine’s "Person of the Year” on Wednesday and a new poll finds Americans have a good opinion of him.
Rasmussen Reports released a poll on Tuesday which finds 61 percent of American adults see the pope as favorable while only 12 percent see him as unfavorable. While only 3 percent see Pope Francis as very unfavorable, more than a quarter of those surveyed -- 29 percent -- see him as very favorable. Only 9 percent have never heard of Pope Francis while 17 percent are undecided on how they see him.
The poll of 1,000 American adults was taken from Dec. 5-6 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.
Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, continues to push her bill to create a poet laureate for Florida. On Wednesday, Hukill’s bill unanimously passed the Government Oversight and Accountability Committee.
“These types of creative outlets allow students to strengthen their public speaking, grow their knowledge of words, while sharing their passion with others,” said Hukill about the volunteer position she is proposing. “The state poet laureate position is an important role. If just one student discovers a love of words and writing, they have done their job.”
Hukill’s bill now heads for the Education Committee.
According to campaign finance records, the family's construction company donated a whopping $18,000 to Crist's campaign. Murphy's parents, Tom and Leslie Murphy, capped off the donation with $3,000 apiece.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., is backing the federal budget deal crafted by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., but he is offering some words of concern. The deal was announced late on Tuesday.
“We now have what amounts to be a major bipartisan budget deal, considering the gridlock that has gripped Congress in recent years,” Nelson said. “No one will love everything in this agreement. But we all should be able to compromise to get something done for the good of the country.”
Missionary Waters, a nonprofit organization just west of Stuart in Palm City, is preparing to send 3,000 portable water filtration kits to the Philippines to aid in the production of safe drinking water for the remote areas and islands hit by Typhoon Haiyan.
It is seeking donations to do even more.
According to the organization, the kits are light in weight, easy to assemble and can produce up to 18 gallons per hour of clean water in the most remote places, providing pathogen-free and contaminant-free drinking water from any freshwater source. They will last for more than six years without replacement parts, the organization claims, reducing the labor and cost of conventional water supplies.
“Together, right now, we can impact over 500,000 people” said Allen Korson, CEO and founder. “Help us to help the people of the Philippines. A simple donation of $59 will send a complete kit and save over 170 lives from parasites and bacteria in their drinking and personal use water.”
The RW2 water filtration kits can be purchased through donation at the organizational website www.missionarywaters.com or contact 772-286-9995.
“When Renewed Waters came to the BDBMC looking for a location, we immediately jumped into action and found appropriate space within 48 hours”, said Tim Dougher, executive director of the Business Development Board of Martin County. “With so many people affected by water quality issues around the world, it’s nice to see a Martin County-targeted company offer this kind of assistance,” Dougher said.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry testified before the U.S. House on Tuesday and drew heat from Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the chairwoman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, after President Barack Obama shook the hand of communist Cuban tyrant Raul Castro.
“Mr. Secretary, sometimes a handshake is just a handshake,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “But when the leader of the free world shakes the bloody hand of a ruthless dictator like Raul Castro, it becomes a propaganda coup for the tyrant.
“Raul Castro uses that hand to sign the orders to repress and jail democracy advocates. In fact, right now, as we speak, Cuban opposition leaders are being detained and they’re beaten while trying to commemorate today, which is International Human Rights Day,” Ros-Lehtinen added. “They will feel disheartened when they see these photos.
“Could you please tell the Cuban people living under that repressive regime that, a handshake notwithstanding, the U.S. policy toward the cruel and sadistic Cuban dictatorship has not weakened?” she asked in conclusion.
John Phillip Sousa IV, great-grandson and namesake of the famed patriotic composer, continues to pitch Dr. Ben Carson as a possible presidential candidate in 2016. Sousa, the national chairman of the National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee, made the case for why conservatives should back his candidate.
Insisting Carson is a “stalwart conservative,” Sousa maintained he has the right beliefs.
“Ben Carson is a student of the founders, a man who believes in limited government, low taxes, and traditional moral standards,” Sousa insisted. “Ben Carson believes in the United States Constitution as the document that must be respected and followed as intended by the founders. Ben Carson is not a politician like those in Washington, Democrat and Republican, who created the mess we are in.”
Sousa pointed to Carson’s opposition to Obamacare, support of the Second Amendment, the free market and limited government.
“Dr. Ben Carson is the right man in the right place at the right time,” Sousa insisted.
In the meantime, Sousa plans to ramp up efforts in the early 2016 primary and caucus states. Sousa vowed his group will “continue its organizational efforts in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and North Carolina -- the first four states that Dr. Carson must win to get him on the road to the White House in 2016.”
Conservatives are starting to stand against the federal budget deal crafted by Senate Democrats led by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Republicans led by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Late Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., like Ryan a possible Republican presidential hopeful in 2016, said he opposed the deal.
“We need a government with less debt and an economy with more good-paying jobs, and this budget fails to accomplish both goals, making it harder for more Americans to achieve the American dream,” Rubio said. “Instead, this budget continues Washington’s irresponsible budgeting decisions by spending more money than the government takes in and placing additional financial burdens on everyday Americans.
“In the short run, this budget also cancels earlier spending reductions, instead of making some tough decisions about how to tackle our long-term fiscal challenges caused by runaway Washington spending,” Rubio added. “I voted against sequestration because of its effect on key programs, including the defense budget, but higher spending and more revenue are not the appropriate ways to address that problem.
“The American people should not be asked to choose between a strong military and responsible budgets that encourage job creation and reduce debt,” Rubio said in conclusion. “They deserve better than this.”
The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) continues to pile onto former Gov. Charlie Crist, the favorite for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in 2014 despite spending most of his career in the GOP, by linking him to President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law.
“As Florida's Obamacare defender-in-chief, Charlie Crist wants voters to forget about this law's many problems,” said RPOF Chairman Lenny Curry on Wednesday morning. “Obamacare's chief administrator, Kathleen Sebelius, has yet to be held accountable for the law's disastrous rollout, and Obamacare's chief architect admits that the law will cause patients to pay more for their doctors. Charlie Crist's dismissal of these problems proves that Floridians can't afford to have him back in the governor's mansion."
On Tuesday, Scott opened his official campaign account and turned in paperwork to seek a second term in office.
Scott's intentions to run for a second term haven't been secretive, but he hadn't officially filed to run before Tuesday. For the past two years, however, Scott has been raising millions and millions of dollars for a political organization called Let's Get to Work.
Neraly 30 other candidates have also filed paperwork to run for governor. The two most prominent candidates are Democrats -- former Gov. Charlie Crist, who jumped in the race in November, and former state Sen. Nan Rich, who has been in the race for over a year.
On Tuesday, Gov. Rick Scott cheered the news that Office Depot and OfficeMax, which are murging, will base their operations in Boca Ration.
“We worked hard to win this new headquarters for Florida – and today’s victory will no doubt be a game changer for Florida and Boca Raton,” Scott insisted. “With the assets of OfficeMax and Office Depot, this newly formed Fortune 300 company will add more jobs and capital investment, retain 2,000 existing jobs, and create new opportunities for Florida families.
“Today’s win builds on this year’s news that Hertz – another Fortune 300 company – is relocating their headquarters to Southwest Florida,” Scott added. “Our success in landing the headquarters of two Fortune 300 companies in one year is remarkable. It’s the result of our work to create an opportunity economy with low taxes that allows innovators and job creators to succeed.
“While this is a huge victory for Florida, our work isn’t done,” Scott said in conclusion. “We’ll continue working hard to create an opportunity economy that creates more opportunities for families to succeed for generations to come.”
In a tweet, John Morgan said: "My son @MikeMorganESQ is thinking of running for FL Attorney General. What do you think?" Morgan's tweet was met with some supportive responses, while others bashed the younger Morgan, saying: "Nothing says 'person of the common man' than Democrat lawyers with 'ESQ' in their twitter handle." If true, Morgan would face off against Pam Bondi in the race. Mike Morgan received his law degree from the University of Florida in 2008.
Former U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., came out swinging against President Barack Obama on Tuesday, encouraging conservatives to vote for the president’s biggest flub in 2013.
“We're getting to that time of year again,” West explained on Tuesday. “Everyone and their brother will be releasing their lists of 2013's best and worst songs, influential leaders, and most impactful moments and events. But one top 10 list the left-wing media won't be releasing is Barack Obama's Biggest Flubs. So naturally, the Allen West Guardian Fund is stepping in to fill the void.
“We've compiled a list of shocking missteps by the president and his administration in the past 12 months – and we need your vote to determine the absolute worst,” West added. "No one is talking about the truly appalling excuses, miscalculations, and lies President Obama and his administration have cooked up. It's a double standard we've grown far too used to, and the sad reality is: in Obama's case, his flubs are actually dangerous. In fact, many of them have undermined America's strength and authority abroad, jeopardizing our security here at home. But of course the left-wing media would never criticize their liberal darling!”
While West is not running for anything in 2014, he has opened the door to a political comeback in 2016.
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) clearly thinks that former state CFO Alex Sink, the Democratic candidate in the special election for the congressional seat left vacant by the death of longtime U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., is vulnerable when it comes to Obamacare. On Tuesday, the NRCC unleashed its latest attack on Sink on the issue. The NRCC also tried to link Sink to U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
“It’s troubling that while Pinellas County families are losing their health care coverage, Alex Sink won’t get off the train wreck that is Obamacare,” said Katie Prill, a spokeswoman for the NRCC, on Tuesday. “Sink’s loyal support of Nancy Pelosi and Obamacare proves that she’s a risk we can’t afford in Congress.”
Gray Swoope, secretary of commerce and president and CEO of Enterprise Florida,struck back at the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald on Tuesday over their recent articles profiling Rick Scott's economic record in the Sunshine State.
“Recent articles take a narrow and shortsighted approach to understanding economic development in the state," said Swoope. "The facts and numbers tell us that Florida’s economic development programs are not only working to win competitive job creation projects, but they are also protecting the investment of our taxpayers. We have elevated Florida’s professional approach to new levels.
“While the projects Florida has won are contracted to meet job-creation benchmarks over several years, you can see progress in communities throughout the state today. Companies such as Navy Federal Credit Union in Pensacola, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care in Jacksonville, Verizon in Lake Mary, Amazon in Lakeland and Hillsborough County, Harris Corp. in Melbourne, Hertz in Estero and Univision in Miami are all investing hundreds of millions of dollars in building new and expanded facilities. Beyond the investment in our communities, these projects are already generating new jobs in construction and services, and will create thousands of jobs over the coming years.
“Enterprise Florida is committed to working every day to bring new job opportunities to Florida. With our partners at the Department of Economic Opportunity and Workforce Florida, and our 67 economic development stakeholders, we are actively pursuing projects in and out of the state, nationally and globally, large and small, to create jobs for Floridians. We know economic development works in our state and we will continue to responsibly use the tools available to encourage the establishment, expansion and retention of business in Florida.”
Enterprise Florida pointed to several reasons why Florida wasn't competitive before Scott took office, including a high unemployment rate and hundreds of thousands of job losses. Today, Enterprise Florida contends, Florida is "winning on cost, talent and competitiveness," bringing competitive private-sector jobs to the state as a result of friendly business policies.
Lenny Curry, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), came out swinging against the mainstream media on Tuesday. Curry painted the Tampa Bay Times and the Miami Herald as in the corner of former Gov. Charlie Crist, the front-runner for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination despite spending most of his political career as a Republican.
“I'm sure many of you have seen the recent Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald stories on Governor Rick Scott's jobs record,” Curry wrote in a memo sent out on Tuesday. “At best, the stories are a very narrow view of the Scott administration's efforts and results, cherry-picking data that presents the public a skewed view of reality.
“To me, this appears to be an effort to prop up Charlie Crist's campaign for governor by trying to tear down Rick Scott,” Curry insisted. “We don't expect the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald to do a series of stories on Charlie Crist's jobs record. So, using their own math and very narrow, obscure sources of data, let's take a different look at Charlie's record.
“The Times and Herald used YourEconomy.org to assess private-sector jobs,” Curry continued. “Using that data source, Charlie Crist lost over 3.4 million private-sector jobs from January 2007 to December 2010. The Times and Herald also used data from the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) filings from large employers. Using that data source, there was a loss of over 89,000 jobs from companies with more than 100 employees under Charlie Crist.
“Charlie Crist has tried, and will continue to try, to brush off blame for his disastrous economic record,” added Curry. “Using real math and common sources of data, like the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here's the Crist record that isn't being reported, and likely will never be reported, by the Times or the Herald.”
Curry pointed to the growth of the state unemployment rate under Crist which rose from 3.5 percent to 11 percent during his term as governor. The RPOF chairman also cited Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers. “Of the 48 months Charlie Crist was in office, Florida's unemployment was above the national average for 35 consecutive months."
Curry ended by tearing into Crist. “Florida Democrats know that Charlie Crist can't defend his own economic record," Curry wrote. “Many prominent Florida Democrats who have questioned Crist's candidacy have recognized that this record is a liability. So the only way for Charlie to talk about the issue that Floridians care about most is to attempt to tear down Rick Scott.”
Curry also encouraged Republicans to hit back. “The misleading talking points that the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald have provided to Charlie Crist and the Florida Democratic Party will undoubtedly be used on the campaign trail and on the airwaves,” Curry wrote. “But the facts that we've provided above should give you ample opportunity to respond whenever you see these arguments being made on talk radio, in newspapers, on TV, on Facebook or on Twitter.”
“Bottom line: No news organization can manipulate or dictate the facts to Floridians, especially when those facts clearly show we can't afford another four years of Charlie Crist,” Curry wrote in conclusion.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. praised both houses of Congress for voting to reauthorize the Undetectable Firearms Act which passed the Senate on Monday. First backed by Ronald Reagan in 1988 and renewed by Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, the act bans guns that aren’t read by metal detectors.
“I supported reauthorizing the existing common-sense law banning undetectable firearms, which are intended to avoid metal detectors and jeopardize public safety,” Rubio said late Monday. “I am glad gun-control groups failed in their attempts to use this vote as an opportunity to further regulate the lawful ownership of firearms, a right protected by the Second Amendment to the Constitution.
“I continue to believe that the answer to gun-related violence is vigorous enforcement of existing criminal laws and enhanced efforts to address mental health problems,” Rubio added. “This is not the first time we’ve seen gun-control advocates seize any opportunity to advance federal regulations, but I will continue to fight for the rights of law-abiding Americans to bear arms.”
Note to Allison Tant:
Are you eating your words yet, Allison? Gov. Rick Scott isn't pushing flat college tuition to win votes, he's been consistently advocating to keep tuition as low as possible for Florida's tapped-out college students. He's right on message.
When you said in September, "Voters deserve to know just how much education funding will suffer because the governor wants a new talking point for his re-election campaign," I wondered where you've been. Maybe you don't remember: Scott vetoed a 3 percent tuition increase at state colleges and universities in this year's budget and he pressured universities not to take advantage of a section of state law that provides for an automatic increase tied to inflation.
The governor has been flogging the low-tuition horse since 2011.
More important, why don't you and the Democrats have the plight of college students on your agenda? Are you going to tell students they're not a liberal enough item to make the cut on the Democrats' priority list?
Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, was announced Monday as recipient of the 2013 First Amendment Foundation’s Pete Weitzel/Friend of the First Amendment Award for working to ensure Florida’s government remains open and transparent.
“The input of my constituents and all Floridians is important to me and is the driving force behind my work in the Senate,” Negron responded. “I am committed to making government readily accessible to those looking to be heard. The First Amendment Foundation shares this goal, and I am honored to receive their recognition. I look forward to continuing to strive to remove unwarranted barriers and to making sure there are always open lines of communication between public servants and their constituents.”
In a printed statement announcing the award, Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation, said, “We are grateful for Senator Negron’s unwavering determination to ensure the passage of legislation guaranteeing members of the public a reasonable opportunity to speak before their elected and appointed representatives. We applaud the passage of Senate Bill 50 and are grateful for Senator Negron’s efforts on behalf of all Floridians, setting a standard all those in government should emulate.”
Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, said of Negron, “Throughout his service in the Florida House and Senate, Joe Negron has been a tireless advocate for open government. There is no elected official in Florida more deserving of this prestigious award ..."
Negron represents SD 32, which includes parts of Indian River, Martin, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties.
The email read:
Two committees affiliated with Attorney General Pam Bondi have reported raising collectively more than $140,000 in the month of November. And Justice for All ECO raised $47,500, bringing its total raised to more than $941,500. In its first month of fundraising Justice for All PC reported raising $102,250.
The total raised collectively by the two committees since being established in July of this year totals $1,043,832.
For clarification, these committees and the total amounts listed here are separate from and do not include funds raised into the re-election campaign account of Attorney General Pam Bondi.
And Justice for All is registered with the Florida Division of Elections as an electioneering communications organization. Justice for All is registered with the Florida Division of Elections as a political committee.
More details on these committees can be found at:
And Justice for All, ECO: http://andjusticeforallfl.com/
Justice for All, PC: http://justiceforallflorida.com/
Strong negative opinions of the new health-care law are at their level highest yet as opposition to the government requiring every insurance plan to cover the exact same set of medical procedures grows.
A new Rasmussen Reports poll found 40 percent of likely U.S. voters now have at least a somewhat favorable opinion of the health care law, while 56 percent view it at least somewhat unfavorably.
Those opposed to the law have stronger opinions -- only 19 percent view the law very favorably, while 47 percent have a very unfavorable view of the law.
Unfavorables are down slightly from 58 percent two weeks ago, while favorable reviews are up 4 points, but the number with a very unfavorable impression is at its highest level measured to date.
Just 33 percent of all voters still believe the government should require every health insurance plan to cover the exact same set of procedures, which is down from 36 percent in early November and the lowest level of support measured. Forty-three percent now oppose this government requirement, up from 40 percent in November and the highest level measured this year.
Twenty-four percent are undecided.
Seventy-three percent believe individuals should have the right to choose between different types of health insurance plans, including some that cost more and cover just about all medical procedures and some that cost less while covering only major medical procedures. Even more voters -- 83 percent -- think individuals should have the right to choose between different types of health insurance plans, including some with higher deductibles and lower premiums and others with lower deductibles and higher premiums.
The survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted Dec. 6-7. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.
On Monday, Gov. Rick Scott doubled down on his call for a $500 million cut in taxes and fees.
On Friday, the Revenue Estimating Conference estimated the state would pull in an additional $95.7 million in new revenue in fiscal year 2013-2014 due to the strong economy. The conference estimated the state will garner $225.7 million in new revnue in fiscal year 2014-2015.
Scott said this news made it more imperative to reduce taxes and fees.
“Florida’s improved economic forecast means we are in an even better position to give $500 million in taxes and fees back to Florida families,” Scott said. “After all, it’s their money. Our ‘It’s Your Money’ $500 million tax and fee cut will be a central part of the budget we roll out in January.
“The improved economic forecast also means we will once again invest in critical areas – like education, health care, and transportation infrastructure," Scott addded. “Additionally, we are confident that we will be able to hold the line on tuition for another year, as we encourage colleges and universities to graduate students in high-demand job areas by again investing in targeted performance funding. Performance funding for higher education means we will reward those schools who graduate students with degrees that help them start a career.”
Let’s Get to Work, a PAC affiliated with Gov. Rick Scott, is going on the attack, hitting former Gov. Charlie Crist for his support of President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law. Despite spending most of his career as a Republican and only joining the Democrats at the end of 2012, Crist is the favorite for his new party’s nomination to challenge Scott in 2014.
Let’s Get to Work is now running a television ad showing clips of Crist expressing his support for Obama’s law.
"Charlie Crist’s unwavering support of Obamacare and its disastrous effects on the 300,000 Floridians that are losing their current health insurance plans is alarming," said Lenny Curry, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) on Monday. “Plain and simple, Florida cannot afford Charlie Crist and the liberal Obama agenda."
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) is turning up the heat on former state CFO Alex Sink, the Democratic candidate running in the special election for the congressional seat vacated by the death of U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla.
At a candidate forum on Friday night, Sink called the launch of President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law a “disaster” and insisted the Obama administration “has failed us.” Despite those harsh words, Sink insisted “Americans deserve the right to health insurance and affordable health care.”
That wasn’t enough for the NRCC which took aim at Sink on Saturday.
“Alex Sink’s refusal to address the real issues with Obamacare is appalling,” insisted Katie Prill, a spokeswoman for the NRCC. “The fact that 300,000 Floridians have lost their health care plans, are forced to pay more in premiums and deductibles, all while losing their doctors is exactly what Obamacare was intended to do. Alex Sink needs to stop with the political spin and just tell Floridians the truth -- she supported the law when it was passed, she supports it now, and she won't stop supporting it if elected.”
With the World Trade Organization (WTO) holding a meeting in Bali last week to push global free-trade agreements, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., praised the efforts.
“The successful WTO negotiations in Bali mark an important first step toward reducing global trade barriers in the 21st century,” Rubio said on Saturday. “American entrepreneurs and workers can compete with anyone on a level economic playing field. Expanding free and fair trade is a national imperative that will create job opportunities for our own people and help others around the world rely less on foreign assistance and benefit more from the free-enterprise system.”
Rubio called for increased free-trade agreements across the globe.
“While this successful global trade deal is a step in the right direction, we should also continue pursuing regional and bilateral trade agreements – such as the TPP with Asia and Latin America and the TTIP with Europe – that hold enormous economic promise and where overcoming some of the tougher trade obstacles are more realistic in the shorter term,” Rubio said.
Still, Rubio took aim at efforts to lower trade barriers with Communist Cuba.
“While overall the WTO agreement is welcome news, I am concerned that U.S. officials reportedly met with Cuban representatives in Bali to discuss the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba,” Rubio said. “There should be no question that the U.S. will not end the trade embargo until the Castro regime releases its political prisoners and holds free and fair elections.”
On Friday, Gov. Rick Scott ordered U.S. and state flags to be flown at half-mast to mark the passing of the iconic Nelson Mandela, the former South African president who passed away on Thursday. Flags will remain at half-mast until the end of Monday.
“Today, Ann and I honor South African President Nelson Mandela,” Scott said on Friday. “His work to bring equality to his country is one of the greatest human rights movements the world has ever seen. President Mandela’s legacy is apparent today all across the world. I join every Floridian as we honor this great man and offer President Mandela’s family, and South Africa, our condolences while they grieve his passing.”