Gov. Rick Scott submitted the necessary paperwork to the state Division of Elections Tuesday to seek a second term in 2014. Republican "Richard L. Scott" appointed Abby Dupree as his campaign treasurer and Frederick (Rick) Carroll III, a well-known Tallahassee CPA, as his deputy campaign treasurer.
Scott's paperwork is in addition to his Let's Get to Work re-election committee. The filing is a formality, but it officially makes him a candidate, and he is not expected to have serious opposition in the Republican primary. The first reporting deadline for contributions to Scott's re-election fund will be on Jan. 10, 2014.Full Story
Looks like the last three mayors of St. Petersburg are totally divided on who should succeed the late C.W. Bill Young in Congress.
St. Petersburg Mayor-elect Rick Kriseman is helping raise money for fellow Democrat Alex Sink to fill the Pinellas congressional seat.
Former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker appears in a TV ad for Republican David Jolly, as well as a mailer that hit mailboxes today: "David Jolly knows Pinellas and has worked to support Congressman Young's many efforts -- from industry to tourism to the support of our veterans," Baker is quoted saying in the flier.
Now comes a fundraising email from outgoing St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster on behalf of fellow Republican Kathleen Peters:
...Kathleen is one of us. She is a Pinellas insider, NOT a Washington insider. I worked closely with Kathleen as our State Representative for Western St. Petersburg and as a fellow mayor of South Pasadena. But even before that, she was a Cub Scout leader, soccer and little league mom, involved with the YMCA, and a volunteer for too many charities to mention. In short, Kathleen Peters has demonstrated her love and commitment to Pinellas County by her actions. …Full Story
Florida House Minority Leader Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, filed his first campaign finance report Tuesday for Attorney General and the message is clear.
He's not dropping out any time soon.
Thurston raised $21,500 in November, even though he didn't hold a fundraiser. His first one is Friday in Tamarac. He still trails George Sheldon, the former secretary for the Florida Department of Children and Families, who raised $46,379 in November to raise his total to $52,310. Sheldon got into the race Oct. 21, five days before Thurston.
"He got in the race before me," Thurston said, explaining Sheldon's fundraising edge. "But that's ok. It is for real. We assume there will be a primary and it's going to be a pretty good primary."
Awaiting the Democratic victor will be current Attorney General Pam Bondi, who raised a total of $316,823 in November from two committees and her own campaign, including paid expenses for consulting, sponsorships and media play. Since announcing her reelection bid this summer, Bondi has raised a total of $1.9 million. …Full Story
In just a little less than a month, Charlie Crist raised about $2.96 million in his bid to reclaim the governor's office from Rick Scott.
While that is impressive, especially for a non-incumbent Florida Democrat, it still trailed what Scott was able to raise -- about $5.8 million. All told, Scott has raised about $42 million.
Still, even with that $39 million gap, Crist made it seem like November was a magical time for his fundraising team.
Check out Tuesday's press release from his campaign:
Rick Scott says he will have more money than any politician in the history of Florida politics. But he doesn’t have the people.
Every public and private poll says that the people of Florida want to be back in charge.
And today, I’m humbled to announce that between Charlie Crist for Florida and our campaign, we raised about 3 million dollars in just over three weeks. More than 3,500 of you contributed directly to our campaign. You are incredible. Thank you.
While Rick Scott shakes down a few gigantic special interests, I will continue to be inspired by you, the people.
I work for you. Always have, Always will.
God bless you,
WASHINGTON - News broke this evening of a bipartisan budget deal and brought praise from lawmakers on both sides.
But Sen. Marco Rubio was swift to condemn the deal, arguing it fails to deal with debt and improve the economy.
"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," said Rubio, who has opposed every major budget deal.
“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. 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 last paragraph is worth noting. Rubio says that he opposed the sequestration but in the previous sentence he seems to critize the deal for easing off on some of the cuts. Some Republicans and tea party members think the sequester is a good thing. Is the Florida senator having it both ways? Spokesman Alex Conant writes: "He opposed sequester because it was a dumb way to cut spending, but has said that we shouldn't undo it without seriously reforming long-term debt drivers. Today's deal undoes some of the sequester cuts, but doesn't deal with real debt problem."
Meanwhile, Sen. Bill Nelson praised the deal. “We now have what amounts to be a major bipartisan budget deal, considering the gridlock that has gripped Congress in recent years. 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.”
According to a release from the negotiators Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc):Full Story
Source: Governor's Office
Hollingsworth's 2011 application to Gov. Rick Scott for a seat on Enterprise Florida's board of directors.
Gov. Rick Scott's chief of staff, Adam Hollingsworth, listed on a 2011 application for a high-level Scott appointment that he attended the University of Alabama from 1986 to 1990. He did not obtain his degree there until 2009 and did not note that fact on the application, but two subsequent state applications for employment did note his 2009 graduation.
The first notation apppeared on Hollingsworth's May 27, 2011 bid for an appointment to the board of Enterprise Florida Inc. (EFI), the state's public-private economic development agency. (See first image in above gallery).
On his Enterprise Florida appointment application, an official state document that was subject to review by the Florida Senate, Hollingsworth wrote: "University of Alabama, 1986-1990, BA, Communications."
The governor's office said Tuesday that Hollingsworth correctly answered the question because it asked for "dates attended" at a university and "degrees received." The questionnaire did not specifically ask for the year of graduation, the governor's office said. …Full Story
He survived a coup attempt and is now officially in line to take over the Senate presidency in fall 2014.
Andy Gardiner, the 44-year-old Orlando Republican, was the focus of a personal, yet pomp-and-circumstance filled ceremony this afternoon where the Senate GOP unanimously approved him as its next leader.
Gov. Rick Scott, Cabinet members, former senators and current House leaders all were in attendance. The invitations to the ceremony were addressed by hand by Gardiner’s mother, a calligrapher. And his three children -- Andy Jr., Joanna and Kathryn -- lead the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.
But Gardiner also got down to business in his acceptance speech, outlining three points of focus for his two-year term: the economy and jobs; the environment and ecotourism; and expanding education and employment opportunities.
“It should be a goal of our caucus to continue to look for areas where we can improve the business climate for businesses here in the state of Florida, what opportunities there are for targeted tax cuts that we can bring more businesses to the state of Florida,” Gardiner said. …Full Story
A top official for the Florida Department of Children & Families told senators at a hearing Tuesday that the state was no longer relying on a “promise” from parents that they would do right by their children, a practice that left some members of the Children, Families & Elder Affairs Committee shaking their heads.
In a domestic violence case, for instance, “we would get the mom to promise that if she and her boyfriend, whoever, engaged in domestic violence that she would leave,” said Stephen Pennypacker, DCF’s new assistant secretary for programs. “That’s not a safety plan. That’s a prescription for disaster … So we don’t do that anymore.”
He said the agency is addressing several other measures to improve its efforts, many of them recommendations from a recent report by the nonprofit, Seattle-based Casey Family Programs.
Committee chairman Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, said “lots needs to be done” in the aftermath of at least 40 children dying while under state care between January and July.
“We’re looking for solutions,” she said, noting that legislators also need to determine “what can be done administratively and what do we need to pass by law.
"I think we're digging deep to find out why so many kid died and making improvements," she said, noting that more of a team approach, staffing and re-evaluating assessment tools would "make the system work better."
Sobel said she agreed with the findings of the Casey Family report, which pointed out many issues in Florida’s child welfare system, and said those suggestions should be implemented.
Interim DCF Secretary Esther Jacobo requested Casey Families conduct a comprehensive review in order to identify "potential improvements and shortcomings" in the agency's protective investigative process after the Miami Herald catalogued the stories of children from families with DCF histories who had died over the spring and summer.
The report, Pennypacker said, provided "tangible recommendations regarding policies and practices that can potentially reduce future child maltreatment deaths."
There’s something of an endorsement war going on in the Pinellas congressional race, and this time candidate David Jolly scored one on the home turf of fellow Republican Kathleen Peters.Full Story
The Jolly campaign announced the endorsement of Dan Calabria, mayor of South Pasadena. Peters is a former mayor of South Pasadena.
Calabria said Jolly “is the only candidate who will hit the ground running on day one - no on-the-job training needed - and will work to keep the issues that are important to us at the forefront in Washington.”
And in other news from the Pinellas County congressional seat on Tuesday:
• The Pinellas Supervisor of Elections sent out 77,071 mail ballots to Republican voters for the Jan. 14 primary in the special election. That’s in addition to 993 previously mailed to military and overseas voters.
• Democratic Alex Sink has branched out from political-leader endorsements to small-business-owner endorsements. She announced these backers: Daniel Beauchesne of All Florida Fire; Mandi Tucker of Salon 131; Gordon Chernecky of Shield Insurance; Keith Burden of Reel Deal Outdoors Inc.; Kirk Smith of Monitors & More; Choon Hee Tou of Joe's Produce; and Joe Barkley of Barkley Insurance Agency.
• Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times explains the unique challenge David Jolly faces as a lobbyist-turned-candidate.
• A legislative candidate has ties to David Jolly, but says that has nothing to do with why he’s running for the House seat now occupied by Rep. Kathleen Peters. …
State pension fund chief Ash Williams got a big raise. Citizens Property Insurance got its first in-house watchdog. And Florida drivers will soon be able to show proof of car insurance by flashing their cell phones. All of that and more took place Tuesday during the final meeting of 2013 of Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet.
As we've noted previously, Cabinet meetings have devolved of late into marathon photo-ops with more fluff than substance. And on Tuesday, Attorney General Pam Bondi presented an adorable dog in need of a loving home, and state officials played a two-minute video of news clips, featuring cameos by Tampa TV news anchors Keith Cate and Denise White, touting new jobs. Then the gang of four (Scott, Bondi, CFO Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam) got down to business: …Full Story
David Jolly letter terminating lobbying work
WASHINGTON — David Jolly's close association with C.W. Bill Young is his biggest asset as he tries to replace the late congressman. It may also be his biggest liability
Jolly parlayed his work as an aide to Young, the powerful appropriator, into a lobbying career, the quintessential Washington revolving door story
As he pursues the GOP nomination in the Congressional District 13 special election, running as a "Bill Young Republican," opponents have seized on Jolly's lucrative profession\
"The choice is clear: A Washington lobbyist who has put his special interest clients first or a local community leader who has put Pinellas families first?" GOP rival Kathleen Peters states in her first television ad
Hundreds of former congressional aides have left for K Street jobs over the years, returning to Capitol Hill to ply a system they know intimately. But it's rare for a lobbyist to run for office and those who do face the same attacks as Jolly is now …Full Story
Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday stood by his chief of staff, Adam Hollingsworth, who has acknowledged that for years he claimed a college degree before he obtained it. In his first impromptu public remarks on the matter since the Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau broke the Hollingsworth story last Friday, Scott spoke positively about his senior advisor.
"I'm just glad that Adam has a college degree. I'm proud of him for doing that," Scott told reporters at the end of a Cabinet meeting. "He's admitted he made a mistake. He's doing a great job. He's a good friend."
In response to a follow-up question by a Capitol reporter who suggested that there's a "lot of talk" that Hollingsworth will have to go, Scott said: "Again, I'm glad he has a college degree. He's doing a great job, he's a good friend and he's going to continue to do a great job."
Hollingsworth has acknowledged that in the mid-1990s, he told a former employer, CSX Corp., that he had a bachelor's degree from the University of Alabama when he did not. He earned his degree at Tuscaloosa in 2009. On Friday, in a statement to the Times/Herald, he apologized for what he called a "misrepresentation" and a "failure in judgment." …Full Story
Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, announces that SB 84, a proposal allowing veterans to pay in-state tuition, was renamed after Congressman Bill Young.
A proposal to allow veterans from anywhere to pay in-state tuition if they attend a Florida college or university has a new name on it: that of U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young.
The Senate Education Committee voted unanimously today to rename Senate Bill 84 in honor of Young, who died in October after nearly 53 years of service in Washington and Tallahassee.
"I don't know anyone who has ever served in a public office in Florida who has cared more about our active duty military and our veterans than Congressman Young," said Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, who sponsored SB 84.
Senate Bill 84 is moving fast. It has already passed two of four assigned committees even before the beginning of session, including today’s vote.
The House companion, HB 35, has been referred to three committees and hasn’t been put on the agenda of any of them yet. But the proposal is expected to have an easy time there, too, since the House approved a similar bill last year. …Full Story
President Barack Obama shakes hands with Cuban President Raul Castro on Tuesday at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in South Africa.
The Miami Herald's Marc Caputo has a good analysis on the handshake President Barack Obama shared this morning with Cuban President Raul Castro at the memorial service for Nelson Mandela in South Africa. The entire post is a great read, but here's an excerpt:
Most didn't hear the speech broadcast in the U.S. this morning. They won't read it. And there's a far better chance they'll see the photo or video of the handshake. Twitter is abuzz. The partisans have donned their armor of lazy talking points, hoisted their tired 140-character standards of dysfunction.
A few have noted the president "bowed" to Castro. It's a function of the president being so much taller than the little dictator, and being decorous at an event on the world stage. It just didn't look like an act of obeisance.
That doesn't mean we shouldn't talk about the handshake. But we should talk about the speech as well.
There's some historical significance to the greeting, as CNN points out, but reporter Christiane Amanpour's reaction was as instructive as it was over-wrought: "Castro! He's shaking hands with Raul Castro!"
Duh. …Full Story
Gov. Rick Scott and the Cabinet on Tuesday appointed Bruce Meeks as the first inspector general of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. Meeks was one of the four finalists for the newly-created position, which was authorized by the Legislature in the 2013 session.
Meeks is a long-time state government employee, having worked as a personnel director and deputy attorney general under former A.G. Bob Butterworth, and he also served as the inspector general of the State Board of Administration, which oversees the state's investments.Full Story