Sunshine State News Blogs
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-Wisc. 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 on to 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.”
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., continues to go to bat for U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Ark, who is challenging U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, R-Ark., in one of the nation’s most competitive U.S. Senate races in the 2014 election cycle.
Reclaim America, a PAC with ties to Rubio, is running a television ad praising Cotton, highlighting his military service.
“Tom is Reclaim America PAC’s first endorsement of the 2014 elections because he is the kind of person we need in the United States Senate,” Rubio wrote supporters on Friday. “His leadership and courage will help us Reclaim America.”
With the holiday shopping season now into its second week, retailers in Florida say sales are off to a strong start.
On Friday, the Florida Retail Federation (FRF) said retailers were on track to meet their projections which show an increase between 3.5-to-4.5 percent over last year’s numbers.
“A majority of the reports coming in a week after Black Friday are positive, and we expect a steady buildup to the big weekend before Christmas,” said Rick McAllister, the president and CEO of the FRF. “The big winner this week was e-commerce, which continues to expand as a share of retail sales. This clearly increases the urgency for the Florida Legislature and Congress to modernize our tax code and establish a level playing field for sales tax collection.”
But big-time trial lawyer -- and Charlie Crist supporter -- John Morgan didn't seem to see it that way.
“You’ve got to be comfortable,” Morgan told Lloyd Dunkelberger of the Herald-Tribune. “It’s a marriage, and it’s for the long haul. I think it was more of a chemistry thing.”
Morgan also alluded to a time commitment issue since Hyers has a New York girlfriend.
“Charlie Crist is not going to be in short supply of campaign managers,” Morgan said, who called Crist's campaign the "hottest" for next year. “Many, many people want to manage his campaign.”
Hyers recently ran Bill de Blasio's successful campaign for mayorship of New York City, and was on track to lead Crist's campaign until his abrupt departure this week. Crist had even directly referred to Hyers as "his campaign manager," though his camp attempted to downplay Hyers' departure, saying Hyers wanted to stay in New York because "it was good for him."
But Hyers wasn't the only one who left Crist's campaign. Lauren Hitt, who worked on de Blasio's communications team, had also headed down to Florida for the Crist campaign, but is exiting the candidate's team along with Hyers.
Political analysts have raised questions that Hyers may have seen problems with Crist and his campaign. Some speculate Hyers made the decision to pull out before his newfound reputation as a successful campaign manager was tarnished by Crist's flip-flopping politics.
It's unknown who will replace Hyers. Several names have floated around as potential replacements, such as Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina.
Florida House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, issued the following statement following the death of former South African president Nelson Mandela:
“On behalf of the Florida House Democratic Caucus, I offer my sincerest condolences on the news of the death of Nelson Mandela, one of the most inspirational leaders of our time.
“As a peaceful champion for the causes of equality, fairness, freedom and justice, time and again Nelson Mandela showed the world the power of moral courage. It is with the deepest gratitude that I offer sympathies to the Mandela family, the people of South Africa, and all who have been affected by his life’s work.”
During their meetings in St. Petersburg this week, the Manufacturers Association of Florida (MAF) recognized Gov. Rick Scott and several legislators for their efforts in Tallahassee.
“All our award recipients demonstrated a commitment to improving the Florida economy and improving the manufacturing business climate in our state,” said Nancy Stephens, the executive director of MAF, on Friday.
MAF named Scott as “Elected Official of the Year” for his economic agenda. One of Scott’s chief legislative priorities this year was eliminating the manufacturing sales tax.
“Governor Scott has been willing to personally pick up the phone and talk to any business thinking about entering or leaving the state,” said Stephens. “It’s really given us a boost in terms of getting meaningful voices behind our programs and businesses. We are delighted to have our state officials supporting Florida’s manufacturing companies.”
The MAF recognized Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange, and Rep. MaryLynn Magar, R-Hobe Sound, as “Legislators of the Year” for leading the charge for their work on fighting to eliminate the manufacturing sales tax. Incoming Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, and Rep. Ed Hooper, R-Clearwater, were also designated “Legislators of the Year” for their work in backing small-business export assistance and for their support of Workforce Florida’s Quick Response Training grants.
On Friday, Gov. Rick Scott showcased PortMiami’s dredging project as Florida continues to prepare for the Panama Canal expansion which is expected to be finished in 2015. When the canal expansion is complete, larger vessels will be able to dock at PortMiami once the dredging is finished.
Scott toured the site on Friday and said the dredging will lead to economic growth and tens of thousands of jobs.
“The work at PortMiami will ultimately create thousands of opportunities for Florida families,” Scott said. “The deepening of Miami’s channel will create 30,000 new jobs and increase PortMiami’s annual economic impact to more than $34 billion. Projects like the ones here at PortMiami are creating an opportunity economy that will create careers for generations to come.”
On Friday, the Florida Lottery announced it had generated $26 billion for education since being launched back in 1988.
“For 25 years, the Florida Lottery has provided Florida students with the tools they need to succeed in the future workforce,” Gov. Rick Scott said. “Today’s announcement that the lottery has reached $26 billion in funding for education is great news for students and their families across Florida. Our goal is to create a diverse economy that will support jobs for generations to come while continuing to strengthen our education system. We will continue to make investments to provide all of our students with access to a great education and the opportunity to achieve their dreams in the Sunshine State.”
“The Florida Lottery has established itself as a billion-dollar-a-year resource for education, and continues to flourish,” said Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O’Connell. “The lottery takes its commitment to education seriously, and Floridians can always count on the lottery to generate additional funds to benefit the state’s most valuable resource of its future – our students. The lottery’s success has been made possible by the support and dedication of our players, stakeholders, employees, retailers and partners.”
The Florida Lottery is celebrating record sales last year. Sending more than $100 million a month to schools, the lottery generates around 6 percent of Florida’s education budget.
U.S. payrolls rose by 203,000 last month, with the unemployment rate dropping three-tenths of a percentage point to 7 percent.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast nonfarm payrolls would rise by 180,000 and the unemployment rate would drop to 7.2 percent. September and October payroll numbers were revised up by a combined 8,000. The September jobs number was revised from 163,000 to 175,000, while the October tally was changed from 204,000 to 200,000.
“This is a very strong report,” Christian Weller, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, said on CNBC. “This is a good basis to grow from and I think if leaders in Congress come to an agreement next week, pass a budget resolution and get the debt ceiling off the table, I think you can see real economic growth being unleashed.”
Former Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico, the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate in 2012, ripped into President Barack Obama’s health-care law on Thursday.
“I’m growing a bit tired of news stories about the daily status of the government’s Affordable Care Act website,” Johnson wrote in an email sent out to supporters on Thursday night. “The website isn’t the problem! Sure, the fact that hundreds of millions of our tax dollars were spent to build a website that doesn’t work is important -- and a glaring example of what happens when the government tries to do something that is better left to the private sector.
“The website is just the tip of the iceberg," Johnson added. “The real problem is the government takeover of health care that it represents.Let’s not forget, the politicians justified President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, on two basic claims: First, it would make health care more affordable, and second, it would make it more accessible.
“As is now becoming clear, they lied,” Johnson continued. “Many of us knew at the time that the math simply didn’t add up, and more importantly, we knew that putting the government squarely in the middle of any marketplace will not reduce costs or improve services. But now, as the realities of cancelled insurance policies, higher premiums for new policies, and the growing list of private health-care providers who are not going to participate set in, the rest of America is seeing the truth.”
Johnnson pointed to polls showing younger voters are increasingly opposed to the law and cited his record in New Mexico as proof that free-market solutions would be a better option than the law. Johnson, who has not ruled out a second presidential bid in 2016, vowed his Our America initiative would continue to play a role in pushing back against Obama’s law.
Conservative leader Ken Connor, former head of the Family Research Council and a candidate in the Republican gubernatorial primary back in 1994, announced on Friday that the Center for a Just Society, which he has led in recent years, will be enfolded into the John Jay Institute, a religious and social conservative group.
“The Center for a Just Society has effectively advanced ideals of life, human dignity, and justice in principled public discourse since 2005,” Connor and Alan Crippen, the president of the John Jay Institute, announced on Friday. “We are excited to announce its next stage of growth and advancement. The John Jay Institute has received and enfolded the Center for a Just Society into its organization and operations. This means that the Center for a Just Society has now become the main idea and issue advocacy arm of the John Jay Institute. In this capacity the center serves as the John Jay Institute's primary thought and communications center for advancing the ideals and principles of life, human dignity and justice in the public square.”
Connor will continued to play a prominent role, with the title of distinguished fellow for law and human dignity.