Sunshine State News Blogs

On Monday, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced it was supporting U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., over Republican challenger former state Rep. Carl Domino. Murphy is one of only four Democrats to be backed so far in the 2014 election by the U.S. Chamber.

“At no other time in our nation’s history has it been more critical that members of Congress provide leadership that protects and advances the interests of the business community,” said Thomas Donohue, the president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber on Monday. “Murphy’s record of support on pro-business issues earned this endorsement.”

“It is truly an honor to receive the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a highly-respected organization that shares my commitment to creating an environment conducive to job growth through common-sense, pro-business solutions,” said Murphy. “As a former small-business man, I have brought my private-sector experience to Congress and put smart policy above partisanship to make sure that America and Americans succeed.”
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Gov. Rick Scott held an event on Monday in which he presented the University of Miami a $1 million check to highlight his commitment to include funding to research and combat HIV/AIDS in the Florida budget. Scott was joined by Florida Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah.

“I was proud to join the dedicated staff at the University of Miami to highlight the importance of investing in HIV/AIDS research,” Scott said on Monday. “Funding research to cure the horrible diseases that infect our loved ones must be one of our top priorities, and we must work together to treat these complex diseases which require much more research and development. Together we were able to eliminate the wait list for the AIDS Drug Assistance Program, and now 4,000 more Floridians have access to critical medications and disease management training. We thank the University of Miami for their work as Florida’s only nationally designated Center for AIDS Research.”

“We have come a long way since the early days of the HIV epidemic. Through technology and perseverance, it is no longer a death sentence but a chronic illness,” Garcia said. “Unfortunately, Miami-Dade County is the epicenter for new HIV diagnosis. This $1 million grant will go a long way to help the University of Miami continue their research for better treatment, prevention and more importantly a cure. Thank you, Gov. Scott, for your leadership on this worthy and noble cause”.
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Sal Nuzzo has left the Florida Chamber of Commerce to join the James Madison Institute (JMI) as vice president of policy and director of the Center for Economic Prosperity. Nuzzo worked for the Florida Chamber as a research and public policy manager, and before that was chief of staff for Florida State University’s Alumni Association.

“Sal is a key addition to the James Madison Institute team. His wealth of experience and knowledge significantly increases JMI’s ability to guide policy decisions made at the state and national level,” said Bob McClure, the president and CEO of JMI on Monday. “He is a trusted expert, a family man and a Floridian who is personally committed to JMI’s mission of advancing economic opportunity for all Floridians.”

“Leading JMI’s policy department is truly a dream job for me,” Nuzzo said. “I count myself fortunate to be joining such a respected think tank that prides itself on their commitment to free-market principles.

“As Florida’s population increases, our state will face many challenges, but also have the ability to take advantage of many opportunities,” Nuzzo added. “For nearly 30 years, JMI has played a critical role as the thought leader in this period of substantial growth in Florida. I look forward to working with the JMI team to further develop their already extensive research and education efforts as Florida enters into a new era.”
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The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) released a Web video taking aim at former Gov. Charlie Crist, the Democratic candidate challenging Gov. Rick Scott in November. The new ad accuses Crist of having “swindled Florida.”

The ad features Crist’s inconsistencies and position shifts as he moved from being a conservative Republican for most of his political career to running for the U.S. Senate in 2010 with no party affiliation and now running as a Democrat. Crist's shifts on abortion, same-sex marriage and taxes are featured in the new ad.

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At the end of last week, three congressmen from Florida -- Republican Mario Diaz-Balart and Democrats Ted Deutch and Patrick Murphy -- joined with U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., to send a letter to Ira Forman, the U.S. State Department’s special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism. The congressmen insisted there was a rise of anti-Semitism across the globe in recent months.

“We write to express our deep concerns about the alarming rise in anti-Semitic demonstrations and ask for your renewed commitment in combating this troubling surge,” the congressmen wrote. “Since the start of the most recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, a frightening number of violent anti-Semitic incidents have been reported.

“As you are aware, recent news reports indicate that violent radicals in Europe, Latin America, and around the world have used opposition to the Gaza conflict to inflame hatred and anti-Semitism,” the congressmen added. “In France, two synagogues, a kosher store, and a Jewish Community Center were attacked following an anti-Israel demonstration. In Germany, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a synagogue, and a Rabbi received death threats for 30 Jews in the city. In Italy, posters listed the names of stores owned by Jewish Italians and urged individuals to boycott Israel. In the Netherlands, a Holocaust memorial was vandalized, and two individuals were attacked for displaying Israeli flags. In Argentina, radicals displayed Israeli and American flags emblazoned with swastikas and vandalized a Jewish Cultural Center. Strongly condemning these and other intolerable acts will help stem the rise of anti-Semitism and help foster an environment more conducive to long-term peace.

“Your work to fight anti-Semitism comes at a critical juncture,” the congressmen wrote. “By allowing anti-Semitism to flourish, nations risk violent attacks on innocent civilians, community destabilization, and escalating tensions across all ethnic, religious, and other minority groups. The values that the United States of America stands for – freedom, liberty, and equal justice under law – are directly threatened by rising anti-Semitism. The United States must speak strongly and resolutely in support of these values and we stand ready to support your efforts.” 
                                                              
More than 70 members of Congress signed the letter, including Republicans Gus Biliraki and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and Democrats Corrine Brown, Lois Frankel, Joe Garcia, Alan Grayson, Alcee Hastings, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson from Florida.
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U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., might not be on the ballot in November but he continues to push Republican U.S. Senate candidates through his Reclaim America PAC. Rubio is looking at running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.

On Friday, Reclaim America released a video featuring Rubio in which he backs Republican Senate candidates in Arkansas, Colorado and Iowa who are running against vulnerable Democratic incumbents.

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“This year we have an unprecedented opportunity to elect a conservative majority and take back the Senate,” Rubio says in the video.

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At the end of last week, as the U.S. House debated the merits of using federal money to arm Syrian rebels, freshman U.S. Rep. Curt Clawson, R-Fla., took to the House floor and warned about the dangers of Islamic terrorism and how the U.S. should respond to it. Clawson voted against funding the Syrian rebels which are battling Islamic State (IS) forces.
 
"I’m convinced that we and our allies need to come together and unite behind a much broader and very long-term plan – with the goal of ending militant Islamism across the globe – once and for all,” Clawson said on Thursday night. "In my opinion, anything less, such as reacting crisis by crisis like playing 'Whack a Mole' – is doomed to failure.
 
"IS is only one part of a widespread metastasizing cancer of hatred, intolerance, and violence,” Clawson continued. “We’re facing a cancer of militant Islamism with cells under various names in dozens of countries. In planning the elimination of IS, we, with a 'coalition of the willing,' must do so recognizing it as part of the overall global disease.
 
"I’m convinced that America must lead the civilized world in accepting the nature and breadth and complexity of global militant Islamism – and call it by its name,” Clawson added. “And lead a coalition resolved to stay the course and end this cancer once and for all."
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U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., holds a solid lead over his Republican opponent according to a new poll.

Gravis Marketing took a poll for the East Orlando Post which shows Grayson taking 44 percent, Republican Carol Platt garnering 29 percent and Marko Milakovich, who is running with no party affiliation, with 6 percent while 21 percent of voters are undecided. The poll shows Platt is largely unknown in the Central Florida district.

The poll of 606 registered voters was taken from Sept. 15-16 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.


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From his perch on the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee, U.S. Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., unveiled a proposal to cut off federal foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) until it ends ties with terrorists. Introducing the “Foreign Assistance Accountability Act of 2014,” Yoho ripped the PA for paying salaries to terrorists and for having ties to groups like Hamas.

“When the U.S. provides foreign aid, we give it in good faith that it will be used to better the situation for which it is being used,” Yoho said on Thursday. “As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, I have learned that the foreign aid the U.S. was sending to the PA had the potential, as money is fungible, to be used to pay a monthly salary to Palestinians imprisoned in Israel for security and terror-related offenses; salaries that go to more than 4,500 prisoners (as of December 2012) who have committed acts of terror -- acts of terror that have killed at least 54 U.S. citizens since 1993 and injured another 83 Americans.

"It is absurd that the United States remains one of the largest donors to the PA while this heinous practice remains on the books,” Yoho added. “My bill will stop all U.S. foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority until they stop paying the salaries of convicted terrorists and sever ties with terrorist organizations such as Hamas – an organization that in the most recent war with Israel placed missile sites near schools so as to use human shields as they fired missiles into civilian populations. This is unacceptable and needs to be stopped.”

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Gov. Rick Scott announced Florida saw 23,000 jobs created in August but the state unemployment rate rose from 6.2 percent in July to 6.3 percent.

“Today’s announcement of 23,000 private-sector jobs being created in Florida over the month of August is great news for Florida families,” Scott said. “As we continue to create an opportunity economy and a business-friendly environment, we are seeing more jobs being created throughout Florida communities. Since December 2010, we have created more than 643,000 private-sector jobs, and we will continue to work so that every Floridian who wants a job can get one.”

In December 2010, the month before Scott took office and the lost month under then-Gov. Charlie Crist, the unemployment rate stood at 11.1 percent. Scott faces Crist in November’s general election.
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Rupert Murdoch, the chairman and CEO of 21st Century Fox, appeared on Neil Cavuto’s show on Fox Business Network on Thursday and had kind words for two Republicans from Florida looking at running for the presidency.

“I am intrigued with the whole process that is happening,” Murdoch said.  “Who is going to run against Hillary on the Democratic side? If they do they will run way to the left. Will they pull her more a bit to the left, or a rather centrist position? What could happen there, how will that affect the results.

“There are a lot of people in the Republican field … and Paul Ryan, though he hasn't declared yet. Jeb Bush may,” Murdoch added, saying the former governor “would be a very good president.”

Murdoch also looked at other possibilities for the GOP.

“Marco Rubio is making some very interesting speeches,” Murdoch said. “I think that -- John Kasich in Ohio is going to emerge as a candidate and Chris Christie, there’s other governors.”

 “I think he will be a very visible and strong candidate when the primaries come,” Murdoch said about Christie.
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U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., released a new TV ad on Thursday linking Democrat Gwen Graham to U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and to President Barack Obama’s health-care law.

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“As a third generation small-business owner, Steve Southerland’s top priority is improving conditions for job creation and economic growth,” said Luke Strickland, Southerland’s campaign manager. “Steve’s record in Congress proves that he’s been an effective legislator and a leader who has delivered for hard-working North and Northwest Florida families. Gwen Graham, on the other hand, has staked her entire campaign on support for Obamacare – a law that has decreased take-home pay and destroyed 350,000 U.S. jobs.”
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State CFO Jeff Atwater probably has the easiest electoral assignment of all the Florida Cabinet members come November and polls show him with a huge lead over Democrat Will Rankin. Atwater is staying positive in his campaigning so far this election cycle. On Thursday, Atwater’s team showcased a Web video in which the CFO talks about his experiences going to Omaha Beach on the 50th anniversary of D-Day back in 1994 and how it motivated him to enter public service. Atwater visited Omaha Beach with his father who was a B-51 Mustang pilot during World War Two

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“Jeff’s positive vision for keeping Florida on the right track is reflected in everything he does,” said Brian Hughes, a spokesman for Atwater, on Thursday. “This digital ad is simply another example of the optimism and hopefulness that Jeff brings to his public service."
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On Thursday, Gov. Rick Scott announced he was appointing state Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City, to the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) and keeping Julie Brown on it.

First elected to represent parts of the Panhandle and the Big Bend back in 2006, Patronis faces term limits in November. Earlier this year, Patronois ended a bid to replace current Florida Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Ft. Walton Beach, in the Florida Senate in 2016. Replacing Eduardo Balbis on the PSC, Patronis will start his new assignment in January 2015 and will serve for four years.

“Rep. Patronis has faithfully served Florida families during his years of service in the Florida House of Representatives,” Scott said on Thursday. “I am confident that Jimmy will make an excellent addition to the Public Service Commission as he continues to put Florida families first.”

Brown, who started her post at the PSC in 2011, will also serve until 2019.

“Julie has done an excellent job during her time on the Public Service Commission, and I am confident that she will continue serving Florida families with honesty and integrity,” Scott said. “I look forward to continuing to work with her, and the rest of the PSC, to keep the cost of living low in the Sunshine State.”
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The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) announced on Thursday it was backing Gov. Rick Scott for a second term, citing his strong record on the Second Amendment.

“Rick Scott has an unmatched record of support for the Second Amendment in Florida,” said Chris Cox, the NRA-PVF’s chairman. “Rick has signed more pro-gun bills into law in one term than any other governor in Florida history. Law-abiding gun owners in Florida have a true friend in Rick Scott.

“We can continue to count on Rick Scott to stand up for our constitutional freedoms in Florida,”  Cox continued. “On behalf of the NRA’s 5 million members, I want to thank Rick for his steadfast support of the Second Amendment and urge all NRA members, gun owners and sportsmen in Florida, to vote Rick Scott for governor on Nov. 4."
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The Florida Forestry Association (FFA) announced on Thursday it was backing Gov. Rick Scott for re-election.

In the endorsement, Alan Shelby, the FFA’s executive vice president, pointed toward Scott’s work on the greenbelt assessment for agricultural land taxes.

"Gov. Scott understands that working forests work for Florida," said Shelby. "We appreciate his support of our industry's importance to the state's environment and economy.

"Greenbelt is vital for the forest industry," he said. "Tree farmers could not afford to continue growing trees without it. Greenbelt might be the single most important factor keeping Florida green today. When Gov. Scott made that legislation law, it was a great day for the state of Florida."
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While Florida’s leaders cheered the news that NASA would rely on contracts with private companies like Boeing and SpaceX to resume manned space flight by 2017, the idea is drawing the fire of a prominent national figure: former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga.

The 2012 presidential hopeful published a piece at CNN’s website on Wednesday

“Tuesday's announcement was a modest step forward for the commercial space industry, since it will mark the first time NASA has bought tickets from American companies to send astronauts into space,” Gingrich wrote. “But NASA will need to embrace new entrants and promote a lot more competition to make sure this one small step for NASA isn't one giant leap backward on the taxpayer dime.”

Gingrich questioned the decision for most of NASA’s contract to end up in Boeing’s hands instead of SpaceX and other smaller companies.
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Facing the real possibility of being excluded from the gubernatorial debates, Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie came out swinging on Thursday morning, making his case to be included.

“The campaign is set to fight to be included in the debate and will not stand for our voices to be silenced by erroneous criteria set out to exclude viable alternatives in the race,” Wyllie said. “In 2006, the criteria set from these organizations included candidates that polled 7 percent or higher. When Max Linn proved in court he had reached that standard, these same organizations more than doubled their own criteria benchmark to 15 percent.

“What has changed in our political environment to warrant such a significant change in their own criteria?" Wyllie demanded. “Why in 2006 was 7 percent viable but in 2014 it is 15 percent?

“I can answer that question for you,” Wyllie continued. “This is only because third-party and nonparty registered candidates can now successfully qualify by their 2006 standards. This change was done solely to exclude otherwise thought to be viable candidates, in a way to silence the voice of these people (the largest growing demographic in Florida politics). Adrian Wyllie and the entire Wyllie campaign team will fight for that voice to be heard and are prepared on many different fronts for that very scenario.”

Wyllie has polled in the upper single digits in most recent surveys.

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Florida is making progress but places in the middle of the pack of states on highway performance, according to the Annual Highway Report released on Thursday by the libertarian-oriented Reason Foundation. The Sunshine State placed 31st in 2012, up from 33rd in 2011 and 37th in 2009.

Florida scored well on rural interstate pavement condition by placing 10th, on deficient bridges by coming in 11th and taking 12th on both  narrow rural arterial  lanes and rural arterial pavement condition. But Florida placed 50th on urban interstate congestion and 49th on capital and bridge disbursements per mile. Florida ranked 32nd when it came to highway fatalities.

The report can be read here.


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On Thursday, former state Rep. Carl Domino, the Republican challenger taking on U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., in November, invoked the legacy of the man his opponent beat in 2012:  former U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla. Earlier in the election, West backed Ellen Andel over Domino in the Republican primary but she quickly dropped out of the race after failing to raise significant funds.

“No man or woman left behind,” Domino emailed supporters on Thursday morning. “That was our creed in the United States Navy where, for over 20 years, I served as a decorated naval commander of men and women in uniform. In Vietnam, I learned firsthand that ‘no man or woman left behind’ is more than just a military slogan. It's a matter of principle.

“Lt. Col. Allen West also understands this code,” Domino added. “After a slim loss to Pelosi's ‘favorite’ politician in 2012, West has now moved on to other battlefields. West held the line against Nancy Pelosi during some of the darkest days of Obama's reign of destruction when he served in Congress. But the Democratic machine lined up its entire liberal resources and propped up Patrick Murphy to defeat West. Allen West was left behind, and now I am ready to defeat Murphy in the same seat he took from West and return it into its rightful Republican hands."

Domino called upon Republicans to “restore Allen West's seat into the hands of another conservative champion” and pointed out his own ties to the former congressman.

“In 2012, I personally hosted a fundraiser at my home for Allen West -- it was the final fundraiser of his campaign -- and he asked me to host it because I so passionately supported a conservative direction for our country,” Domino noted. “Now, as the official Republican nominee to reclaim and restore this congressional seat, my marching orders are clear: put Washington back to work for the people by cutting the perks and hold the Obama-Pelosi team accountable.”

Domino also took aim at Murphy.

“Patrick Murphy had his chance to do this and he failed miserably,” Domino wrote. “In voting 84 percent of the time with Pelosi, he has disgraced this seat. Now it's time for Pelosi's puppet to exit stage left. He will vote to restore Pelosi as speaker of the House, and I will fight her on any liberal program she promotes. This seat does not belong to the Obama-Pelosi team -- it belongs to the Republican-conservative team. It's a call to arms for America to stand up for freedom and the American dream.

“It's time for electoral payback!” Domino concluded.
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Florida TaxWatch launched the Center for Florida Citizenship at an event at the Old Capitol in Tallahassee on Wednesday.

The new organization will educate Floridians on their state government and encourage them to become active in state affairs.

"To hold government accountable, citizens must be directly involved in its processes," said Dominic Calabro, the president and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, on Wednesday. "The Center for Florida Citizenship will give Floridians the tools they need to understand government and take necessary steps to effect change."

The new center will be chaired by former Gov. Bob Martinez
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Former state Rep. Carl Domino, the Republican nominee challenging U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., released a new TV spot on Wednesday which is more akin to the preview of a summer blockbuster than a political ad. Domino ignores Murphy in the ad, instead focusing his fire on President Barack Obama and Washington.

“Our new ad highlights the kind of leadership ‘action’ needed in Washington,” Domino noted about the new ad. Domino is an underdog against Murphy who has been filling the airwaves with TV ads.

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On Tuesday, freshman U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., sounded the alarm on arming rebels challenging the Syrian government. DeSantis noted that arming the Syrian rebels would lead to weapons in the hands of Islamist terrorists despite their efforts against Islamic State (IS) forces.  

DeSantis wrote the following on Tuesday:

What is a “vetted moderate Islamist rebel”? Though this term is frequently thrown around the D.C. Beltway as our answer to the advances of the Islamic State in Syria, it has been unclear who, exactly, would qualify for this designation and, thus, for American-provided arms and training.

The text of the amendment authorizing the president to train and equip Syrian rebels gives us some answers. Section (e)(1) provides as follows:

(1) The term ‘‘appropriately vetted’’ means, with respect to elements of the Syrian opposition and other Syrian groups and individuals, at a minimum, assessments of such elements, groups, and individuals for associations with terrorist groups, Shia militias aligned with or supporting the government of Syria, and groups associated with the government of Iran. Such groups include, but are not limited to, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Jabhat al Nusrah, Ahrar al Sham, other al-Qaida-related groups, and Hezbollah.

This seems to mean that any Islamist fighter short of a member of a designated terrorist group could satisfy the vetting standard. Thus, the amendment would authorize U.S. arms to be provided to groups such as Harakat al-Hazm (which is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood), the Syrian Revolutionaries Front (which has conducted operations alongside al-Qaida), and the Army of the Mujahideen (which has publicly disavowed any confrontation with their “brothers” in al-Nusra).

The bottom line is these groups are not “moderate” in any meaningful sense of the word. None of these groups are pro-American. They will be happy to take U.S. arms when it suits them but their main goal is less to fight ISIS than to replace Assad’s regime with a Sunni sharia state – a state that would be hostile to the United States, our interests and our allies.

You cannot subcontract out American national security policy to fighters aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood. Half-measures will not suffice – there are no shortcuts when it comes to defeating the enemy.
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U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., the dean of the Florida congressional delegation, announced on Tuesday she was backing three bills to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs which has been under fire in recent months after revelations of altered waiting lists at medical centers across the nation.

Ros-Lehtinen said she was backing the “VA Construction Assistance Act” which reforms building VA facilities, the “Veterans Traumatic Brain Injury Improvement Act” to help set up an assisted living program for wounded veterans, and the “Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act” to increase compensation rates for wounded and disabled veterans.  

“Our veterans deserve the highest quality facilities and care available,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “Their selfless sacrifices for our nation are the epitome of public service. While we can never repay the courage shown by these brave men and women, the very least we can do is ensure the facilities dedicated to treating them and programs designed to serve them work correctly and efficiently.”
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With former Gov. Charlie Crist focusing  on small-business issues at an event in Boca Raton on Wednesday, Gov. Rick Scott’s team fired away at the Democrat’s economic record.

Jerry Pierce, the Florida chairman of the National Federation for Independent Business (NFIB) Leadership Council and Scott’s small business coalition chairman, came out swinging at Crist on Wednesday.

“Charlie Crist’s small-business plan is simple: if he’s governor again, Florida will have less of them,” Pierce said on Wednesday. “When he was governor, Crist stood idly by as Florida lost 28,000 small businesses, 300,000 small-business jobs, and $7.8 billion in small-business wages. While Crist fully embraces Obamacare, a failed law that hurts small businesses with higher taxes and burdensome regulations, Gov. Rick Scott has cut taxes and regulations for job creators in Florida. The only job Charlie cares about is his own.”
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This week, NASA announced new private-public partnerships to revive the American space programs with new manned space flight efforts by 2017.

On Tuesday, at a media event at the Kennedy Space Center, NASA unveiled an agreement with Boeing and SpaceX to transport American astronauts to the International Space Station. Boeing’s CST-100 and SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecrafts will carry out the missions. Currently, with the end of the space shuttle program, the American space effort relies on Russia’s program to send astronauts into space.

The announcement won the applause of Florida‘s political leadership.

“Today’s announcement from NASA marks an important milestone for our nation’s space program and is an exciting development for Florida and the commercial space industry,” said U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., after the partnerships were announced. “These partnerships will ensure that American astronauts are once again launched into space from American soil. As the nation’s spaceport, Florida’s Space Coast will play a crucial role in advancing this initiative and exploring low-Earth orbit. I, along with all Floridians, look forward to seeing our astronauts launch from Kennedy Space Center once again.”

Frank DiBello, the CEO of Space Florida which leads efforts to ensure the Sunshine State remains at the vanguard of space exploration, also said the new partnerships were good news for the state.

“Today’s announcement is continued good news for Florida and for the nation,” DiBello said. “It advances a new era in space transportation and is the next major step toward restoring U.S. capability to fly astronauts to the ISS and beyond. Both Boeing and SpaceX have already invested significant time and resources into establishing commercial crew operations here in Florida and we look forward to working hand-in-hand with both companies to make their upcoming missions successful.”
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With the Government Accountability Office (GAO) releasing a report this week which showed President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law allowed public funds to go toward elective abortions, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., slammed the news, saying it was the latest in a series of broken promises on the law.

“Five years ago, the president spoke before Congress about his health care law and said ‘under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.’ Like so many other things in the president’s health-care law, it turns out this statement is just another broken promise,” Bilirakis said on Tuesday. “Republicans and Democrats have come together for years, believing that taxpayer dollars should not fund elective abortion. This is another example of the president’s disregard for taxpayer dollars and provisions in his own signature piece of legislation.”
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WFLA News Channel 8 released a poll on Tuesday morning which shows the fate of Amendment 2, a proposal to expand medical marijuana in Florida, is unclear.

With the proposal needing 60 percent to pass in November, the poll shows 56 percent of those surveyed support it while 31 percent oppose it and 13 percent remain undecided on it.

The poll, which was taken by Survey USA, had a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percent.


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WFLA News Channel 8 released a poll on Tuesday morning which shows Gov. Rick Scott increasing his lead over former Gov. Charlie Crist.

Scott takes 44 percent while Crist garners 39 percent. Libertarian Adrian Wyllie takes 7 percent while 9 percent remain undecided.

Two weeks ago, Scott led 45 percent to 44 percent. This marks the first WFLA poll which had Crist below 40 percent.

The poll, which was taken by Survey USA, had a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percent.


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China has been on the foreign policy backburner in recent months as the Middle East and other hot spots command more attention. But, as the ranking Republican on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., called on U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to stand up to China’s creeping influence over Hong Kong.

Rubio wrote Kerry on Monday taking exception to China refusing to allow Hong Kong to choose its own chief executive and rely instead on candidates selected by the communist regime.

“The NPCSC’s decision violates the international commitments China has made regarding Hong Kong’s status,” Rubio wrote. “The people of Hong Kong have the right to elect their chief executive through democratic procedure, not be forced to pick from a pool of Chinese government-approved candidates.

“I urge you to clearly speak out against this most recent decision by NPCSC and to work with your Chinese counterparts to ensure that Beijing does not further limit Hong Kong’s promised autonomy and its ability to move toward full democracy if its citizens so intend,” Rubio added. “If Hong Kong continues down this dangerous path, Congress may need to consider reviewing the special trade and economic provisions Hong Kong enjoys as an autonomous region of China under U.S. law.”
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