Business, Union Groups Rally Behind Pinellas County Special Election Candidates
Around the State
Groups across Florida are taking sides in the special election being held in Pinellas County for the congressional seat held for decades by the late U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla.
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) fell in line behind Republican David Jolly who takes on former state CFO Alex Sink, the Democratic candidate, and Libertarian Lucas Overby in the March 11 general election. SAFE (Save America's Free Enterprise) Trust, NFIB's PAC, endorsed Jolly on Thursday.
"David Jolly understands the challenges facing Floridas small, family-owned businesses and is the clear choice in the special election to represent the 13th District in Congress,” said Bill Herrle, the executive director of NFIB/Florida, on Thursday.
Herrle went on to praise Jolly’s credentials. “After serving as a congressional aide for NFIB Guardian Award winner Bill Young for over 20 years, Jolly began several Florida-based small businesses and dealt with the same challenges facing our members,” Herrle said. “As a result, he founded the Florida Federal Contractors Association and worked to stop project-labor agreements (PLAs) so that small businesses could have equal opportunity to bid for jobs."
NFIB Vice President of Political and Grassroots Lisa Goeas insisted Jolly's positions would help small businesses. “In addition to his strong small-business background and advocacy, Jolly supports the repeal of the burdensome Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and passage of a balanced budget amendment,” Goeas said. “David Jolly will be a staunch supporter of small businesses as they continue to create the kinds of jobs Florida needs.”
For his part, Jolly used the opportunity to offer his take on economic solutions which include repealing President Barack Obama‘s federal health-care law.
“We have to protect, sustain and grow jobs in Pinellas County. I’ve done that for industries here in Pinellas throughout my career and will continue to do so in Congress,” said Jolly. “As a small-business owner myself, I understand the impact that regulations and taxes have on entrepreneurs, and will be a tireless advocate for job creators and employees in Pinellas from day one – that includes fighting to maintain the robust defense, manufacturing and high-tech industries that now call Pinellas home. Most importantly, I will work to help overturn the mess that is Obamacare and the job-crippling and costly regulations that promise to slow our economy, reduce our labor force, and hurt Pinellas County businesses and families.
“I thank the NFIB for their endorsement of my candidacy today, and I look forward to continuing to work with our local partners, businesses and industry leaders to grow jobs for our Pinellas County workforce and roll back intrusive and cost-prohibitive measures pushed by Washington,” Jolly added. “I have said it before and I will say it again – President Obama and Nancy Pelosi got us into the Obamacare mess and it is foolish to now think that President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Alex Sink will get us out of it.”
Sink is drawing on the support of other groups including the Florida Professional Firefighters and the International Association of Firefighters Local 747 which endorsed her earlier this week.
“The Florida Professional Firefighters are proud to endorse Alex Sink for Florida’s 13th Congressional District,” said Jim Tolley, the president and CEO of the Florida Professional Firefighters, on Wednesday when the group backed Sink. “Florida’s firefighters were honored to have worked alongside Alex during her years of service as chief financial officer and fire marshal – when she was a champion for the values that firefighters and first responders believe in and practice every day: putting aside useless finger-pointing to solve problems. We know that she is committed to fighting for Pinellas County’s first responders, who have made the protection of life and property their life’s work.”
“I am humbled to have again earned the support of our firefighters, who selflessly put their lives at risk every day to protect our community,” said Sink. “It has been an honor to work with the courageous men and women of Florida’s fire and emergency medical services, and I will proudly take their voices to Washington. Congress should take a lesson from our brave first responders who work together and get results when lives hang in the balance. It’s these results-oriented values that I believe in, and it’s these values I will take to Washington to tackle the challenges that matter most to Pinellas families.”
In the meantime, both sides are ramping up the attacks on each other. The Florida Democratic Party is about to run a robocall targeting voters in the district.
“Washington lobbyist David Jolly’s radical repeal of the Affordable Care Act would bring back the Medicare prescription drug doughnut hole, forcing seniors to pay more for medicine, eliminating $186 million in savings for hundreds of thousands of seniors in Florida alone,” says the narrator of the call. “That’s why USA Today wrote that lobbyist Jolly’s repeal would mean higher costs. But that’s not all. Lobbyist Jolly also supports privatizing Social Security, which could force seniors to gamble with their retirement on the stock market and Jolly even praised the Ryan budget that turns Medicare into a costly voucher program. Pinellas seniors just can’t trust Washington lobbyist David Jolly.”
The Jolly team responded in kind as they continued to pound Sink for holding fundraisers in Washington with the backing of the Democratic leadership including U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
“Can you help us figure out where Alex Sink is?” asked Nick Hansen from Jolly’s campaign in an email to supporters on Thursday. “Here are some clues. She may spend a few hours at the Botanical Garden. She may be meeting with President Obama to console him after the CBO report outlined how Obamacare, which Sink supported, would cost 2.5 million American jobs. She will be holding a fundraiser with Nancy Pelosi and the D.C. liberal elite.
If you guessed Washington, D.C. -- you are correct! Alex Sink is in Washington, D.C., to fundraise with Nancy Pelosi.”
Reach Kevin Derby at email@example.com.