Adam Hollingsworth, the chief of staff and closest advisor to Gov. Rick Scott, admitted Friday that he lied about earning a college degree on his resume with a former employer.
Hollingsworth, who worked for CSX Corporation from 1995-2000 and again from 2002-2004, told the Herald/Times that he regrets inflating his resume with the transportation company by claiming he had received a bachelor’s degree in 1990, but he denied it contributed to his departure from the company a decade ago.
“For many years, I publicly stated that I was a graduate of the University of Alabama, however, I did not complete my degree until 2009,’’ Hollingsworth said in a written statement given to the Herald/Times. “I am not proud of this and I deeply apologize for this misrepresentation. I have learned from this failure in judgment and know that, over the last several years, my life and character have and will continue to grow from this.” …
The most important player in the Republican primary to succeed the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young probably isn't even on the ballot.
It's state Sen. Jack Latvala, one of the most effective, wiliest and cantankerous legislators in Florida.
The moderate Republican who has been variously described as the Florida Senate's Jack the Ripper or Dark Star for his unrivaled knack for piecing together coalitions and blocking bills that he opposes, is especially busy these days. Even as Latvala, 62, is working to become the first Senate president from Pinellas County in 90 years, and guiding the campaigns of candidates across Florida, and helping his son get elected to the state House and his ex-wife re-elected to the Pinellas County Commission, he is hell-bent on ensuring that whoever succeeds Young has his stamp of approval.
David Jolly, the lobbyist and former aide to Young, did not pass Kingmaker Latvala's muster, so others were pressed to step in: Former Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard and, after that failed, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. When that didn't pan out, Latvala embraced state Rep. Kathleen Peters, who announced her candidacy with Latvala and several of his political clients at her side. …
"There's a lot of great Floridians and so we're continuing the process," Scott said during a brief press availability after a speech at the Florida Manufacturers Association annual meeting on Thursday morning in St. Petersburg.
"Is Adam under consideration?" the Times/Herald asked.
"There's a lot of great Floridians," the governor repeated.
A new television commercial for Republican congressional candidate Kathleen Peters went up this morning, and shows the race is heating up between her and fellow GOP hopeful David Jolly.
Peters takes a jab at Jolly in the ad, saying "the choice is clear: A Washington lobbysit who has put his special interest clients first; or a local community leader who has put Pinellas families first."
Peters is a state representative and former South Pasadena mayor. Jolly is a former longtime aide to the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young. Jolly lives in Pinellas County but also has worked in recent years as a Washington-based lobbyist, lawyer and consultant.
Jolly released his own commercial this week and immediately took criticism because portions appear to have been filmed in parts of St. Petersburg that are outside of the district. …
David Jolly, one of the three Republicans vying to succeed the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young, likes to say he's best equiped to serve Pinellas County because as a former aide to Young he already know how to get things done in Washington. In a Political Connections interview airing on Bay News 9 Sunday in Tampa Bay, however, the federal lobbyist sounded like a rookie when it came to the question of whether he would have voted for the House Republican budgets proposed by Paul Ryan in recent years.
"I would have to examine the details of the Ryan plan," said Jolly, clearly not ready to embrace the sweeping changes to entitlement programs envisioned by the Ryan plans that Rep. Young and the overwhelming majority of other House Republicans supported.
Political Connections airs at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Sunday. Here's a clip.
If Pinellas County voters elect Kathleen Peters to Congress next March, the victory could come with a price — her seat in the state House of Representatives may stay empty.
Peters is a state representative from South Pasadena who is now running for the congressional seat that became vacant after the death of longtime Republican U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young.
If Peters were to get elected to Congress and resign her state position, a special election could be called to find a replacement to represent people in state House District 69, which includes west St. Petersburg, Gulfport, South Pasadena and beach communities south of the Redingtons.
But it's not likely the replacement could be elected in time for the legislative session, which runs from March 4 to May 2. The general election will be March 11, after the session already has begun.
Although Peters said she would take measures to make sure her constituents in District 69 were well taken care of, she acknowledged it's possible they might not have their own representative for a period of time if she leaves the state House for Congress.
U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings: "Truly, the name Nelson Mandela has become synonymous with peace, justice, and the most steadfast perseverance. The outpouring of support across the globe for President Mandela is a testament to his integrity and fortitude. I have no doubt that his name will live on for generations to come."
State Sen. Arthenia Joyner: “As an early participant in the struggle for civil rights, Mr. Mandela and his epic struggle for freedom for the people of South Africa was an inspiration to me; his cause a continuous reminder to never give up in the fight for equal rights here at home. I was one of the demonstrators in front of the South African Embassy in Washington, D.C. arrested for demanding his freedom and the end to apartheid in that country. And when those demonstrations helped lead to his release from decades of imprisonment and the dismantling of segregation, I celebrated along with millions of others reveling in South Africa’s first taste of real freedom."
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson: "Nelson Mandela was one of the great pioneers of human rights whose courage inspired people around the world." …
Florida Supreme Court justices on Thursday peppered the attorney for the group backing a proposed medical marijuana amendment with lots of questions on several issues concerning the language and intent of the amendment during an hour-long hearing.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, legislative leaders and other opponents have raised numerous objections to the proposed state constitutional amendment, which People United for Medical Marijuana wants to put on the 2014 ballot if the group can get the 683,149 signatures it needs by early next year.
Most questions directed at People United attorney Jon Mills addressed possible vague or misleading language in the amendment's title -- "Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions." They focused on words like debilitating and disease versus medical condition, honing in on the state’s initial complaint that the amendment is too broad, in effect, leading to de facto “unfettered” marijuana legalization under the guise of compassionate medicine.
The proposed initiative would allow marijuana to be used in several specified conditions but it also states that it could be used for "any other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient."
Mills argued that the amendment was indeed narrow and would apply to people with serious conditions, not someone with a headache or anxiety over a test.
Justices Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince appeared inclined to ask Mills questions to help explain the amendment where Chief Justice Ricky Polston and Justice Charles T. Canady were more challenging in their remarks, with Canady asking more probing questions of Mills than the state's Solicitor General Allen Winsor, representing Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Pinellas Republican congressional candidate David Jolly has released his first television commercial, which features endorsements from former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker and from Beverly Young, widow of the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young.
Jolly is a candidate in a special election for the Pinellas congressional seat that was left vacant when Young died Oct. 18, after serving in Congress for more than 40 years.
Republican voters on Jan. 14 will decide which of three candidates should be the GOP nominee. The choices are Jolly, a longtime aide to Young; state Rep. Kathleen Peters; and Mark Bircher, a retired Marine Corps brigadier general.
The GOP nominee will then go up against Democrat Alex Sink and Libertarian Lucas Overby in the March 11 general election.
They are running in Florida's 13th Congressional District, which extends from south Pinellas to Dunedin, with downtown and southern St. Petersburg cut out.
PolitiFact gives @JebBush a "Pants on Fire" for this recent tweet: "Why would our president close the embassy to the Vatican? Hopefully, it is not retribution for Catholic organizations opposing Obamacare."
For starters, the United States is not going to "close" its embassy -- it’s relocating it to a place that’s closer to the Vatican and that is more secure, less expensive and more architecturally distinctive. In addition, the move didn’t originate with Obama. It has been in the works since George W. Bush -- Jeb Bush’s brother -- was president. Finally, we found no evidence to support the idea that the relocation was related to battles over Obamacare. We rate Bush’s claim Pants on Fire!
State Attorney Willie Meggs said Wednesday that he will announce the results of his investigation into sexual assault allegations against Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston on Thursday.
"We're going to make an announcement tomorrow at 2,'' Meggs told the Herald/Times. "We'll reveal all that we can reveal."
Winston, who was named ACC Player of the Year on Wednesday, is scheduled to fly to Charlotte, NC on Thursday evening for the ACC championship game. Under his leadership, FSU has been elevated to No. 1 in college football rankings and will play for the conference title in North Carolina on Saturday.
Meggs, who took over the investigation three weeks ago from the Tallahassee Police Department, said the timing of the team's departure did not factor into his scheduling of the announcement.
Winston, a Heisman Trophy candidate and red-shirt freshman standout, has been the focus of national media scrutiny since it was revealed that he was the subject of a sexual assault investigation stemming from a Dec. 7, 2012, incident at an off-campus apartment at FSU.Full Story
Charlie Crist's newly-formed political committee, Charlie Crist for Florida, raised $2.1 million in its first month and, according to expenditures reported late Wednesday, spent only $137,538 -- most of it to the Florida Democratic Party, presumably reimbursing for consulting and fundraising expenses.
The former GOP governor turned Democrat has had an aggressive fundraising schedule, criss-crossing the state as well as ducking into other states to collect funds, his aides report. On Tuesday, for example, when news broke that Crist's newly named campaign manager, Bill Hyers, was stepping down, the former governor was in New York City recording the audio for his book to be released in February -- and raising cash.
Crist's fundraising haul is interesting for several reasons. It includes a line-up of old-line Republicans as well as old-line Democrats. The donors also span industry sectors. There's the predicable allotment of trial attorneys, who traditionally align with the Democratic candidate, but there are also a host of equity fund managers, health care companies, real estate developers, a "Debt Sucks" guru, a yogi, and an interesting contingent of people who (our guess) may want to see the state's no-fault auto laws demolished -- or preserved.
Word is that next week, when Crist's campaign releases the fundraising totals for his campaign committee, the numbers could match these. By contrast, Gov. Rick Scott, who has not officially announced his re-election campaign, had an equally impressive month of November. His Let's Get to Work political committee amassed $4 million for November alone.
The big question now: who is going to sustain it?
Meanwhile, curious about who is ponying up the big bucks for Crist? Here’s the Who’s Who of the top Crist donors for November:Full Story
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz engaged in a fiery debate last night on Crossfire with her counterpart at the RNC, Reince Priebus. At one point, Wasserman Schultz said she "can't wait" for the 2014 elections to draw a contrast between the GOP-fueled goverment shutdown and the benefits of Obamacare.
For Florida political news today, the Buzz is your can't-miss-it source. Tampa Bay Times writers offer the latest in Florida politics, the Florida Legislature and the Rick Scott administration. Keep in mind: This is a public forum sponsored and maintained by the Tampa Bay Times. When you post comments here, what you say becomes public and could appear in the newspaper. You are not engaging in private communication with candidates or Times staffers.