Florida Voices on the New Year that Marks Florida’s 500th

By: Jim Turner | Posted: January 1, 2013 10:30 AM
Downtown Tampa Fireworks

Credit: Jason Ludwig - TampaImages.com

The new year traditionally is looked at as a time to reassess one's self or one’s company. In 2013, Florida will also be taking a look back, celebrating "Viva Florida 500," marking the half-millennium that has passed since Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León became the first recorded European to arrive on Florida's east coast.

The Florida Department of State has already started to use the Viva 500 campaign to showcase the multicultural history of that land that has become Florida and the rich opportunities that Florida now offers.

Attorney General Pam Bondi
Pam Bondi

“Earlier this month, I sponsored a resolution during the governor and Cabinet meeting naming December Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month. As 2012 comes to an end and friends and family gather to ring in the New Year, I encourage everyone to act responsibly while celebrating. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 10,000 people died in drunk driving crashes in 2011. In fact, the American Automobile Association consistently ranks New Year’s Day as the year’s deadliest day for alcohol-related fatalities. Those who drive under the influence endanger everyone on the road. Please drive responsibly.”

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater

Jeff Atwater

“Our culture has a tradition of making resolutions for the new year, things that we have identified that we want to change and improve: our goals that we’re inspired to aim for.

“My office has been identifying priorities and outlining projects, preparing for this next year.

“I know that our state will face challenges in the coming year, but I believe that you, the people of Florida, have an extraordinary ability to overcome obstacles.

“My father used to have a favorite expression “Grab it and growl,” which meant face challenges head on, accomplish you goals with tenacity and passion.

“During my time as your CFO, I’ve seen Floridians take on many challenges with incredible tenacity. And time and after time they have been victorious over those challenges.

“Your spirit and drive inspires me and I’m excited to see what we will accomplish together in 2013.

“I wish you all the bountiful blessings of life and freedom in this coming year.”

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam

Adam Putnam

“In the spirit of the holidays, the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services collected canned goods to provide for those plagued by these tough economic times.

“Collectively, we contributed more than 1,200 pounds of food to Second Harvest Food Bank this year! Hopefully, our efforts brightened some Floridians' holidays.”


U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Miami

“Happy #2013. Wishing everyone all the best.”


Rep. Bill Hager, R-Delray Beach

Bill Hager

“A very happy and safe New Year to all.”


Florida Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee

“As I ring the new year, I do so w/Trayvon Martin on my mind, especially since this time last yr, he thought that his 2012 was full of promise.”


Matt Gaetz

Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach

“Happy New Year!”

Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach

“...btw, Happy New Year Grover Norquist, lol! Now, elected officials, stop signing asinine tax pledges and let's start governing!”

Florida Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Weston

"This New Year I hope - and will work extremely hard - to ensure we pass meaningful and effective legislation for our district."

Paula Dockery

Former Florida Sen. Paula Dockery, Republican from Lakeland


“Happy New Year! May 2013 be your best year yet

George LeMieux

Former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux‏

"Wishing you a happy and prosperous New Year!"

Chris Cate, Department of State

Chris Cate

“At 12am, Florida begins its 500th anniversary! Let your friends/history teacher know. Ponce de Leon named La Florida: 1513 (Jamestown:1607).”


Commander Kevin Ford and Flight Engineers Chris Hadfield and Tom Marshburn of the International Space Station's Expedition 34 crew send down their best wishes for a happy new year.  Go here.

Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

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