Friday, December 15, 2017
Politics

Pam Bondi is latest Florida politician on GOP list of convention speakers

TAMPA — Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is the latest state politician added to the Republican National Convention's speakers list, joining Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Jeb Bush.

Bondi, Scott and Bush are among the convention's headliners, a group that, as of Wednesday, included 17 speakers for the four-day convention. So far, there's no word on who will speak when. Also still to come are announcements on the keynote speaker and Mitt Romney's running mate.

Other convention speakers announced Wednesday were:

• Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the first U.S. governor to hold his seat in a recall election. In June, Walker turned back a recall attempt organized in response to his plan to close a budget shortfall by taking away union rights of most public workers and requiring them to pay more for health insurance and pension benefits.

• Texas Republican U.S. Senate nominee Ted Cruz, a former Texas solicitor general and the first Hispanic and youngest person to serve in that position.

• Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño, the first Republican elected governor of Puerto Rico since 1969 and first Republican representative from Puerto Rico elected to Congress.

• Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens.

Buckhorn's meetings to get C-SPAN airtime

The latest sign the world is getting interested in Tampa: When Mayor Bob Buckhorn holds a town hall meeting on the RNC's local impact next week, C-SPAN plans to have a camera crew cover it — though, let's get real here, not live.

The city's town hall meetings are scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Florida Aquarium, Wednesday at the Tampa campus of the Stetson University College of Law and Thursday at the Kate Jackson Community Center. City officials expect C-SPAN to cover the meeting at Stetson.

RNC by the numbers

The city of Tampa is paying $2 million to buy three RNC-related insurance policies: $24 million in workers' compensation coverage; $25 million in auto liability coverage; and $15 million in law enforcement liability coverage. The expense will be reimbursed by the city's $50 million federal grant for convention security.

Town hall to focus on 'next generation'

Hillsborough County school superintendent MaryEllen Elia and University of South Florida Tampa student body president Brian Goff will be featured guests at "Conversations with the Next Generation," an invitation-only town hall meeting on Aug. 29.

NBC special correspondent Chelsea Clinton and National Journal correspondent Jim Tankersley will moderate the meeting at the Improv Theatre in Ybor City.

Other confirmed guests include George P. Bush, MTV's Power of 12 correspondent Andrew Jenks, StudentsFirst founder Michelle Rhee, U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., Ourtime.org co-founder Matt Segal and Young Republican National Federation chairwoman Lisa Stickan.

Trop to host kids charity benefit

Coming to Tropicana Field during the convention: a kids charity event with politicians and batting practice.

"Home Runs for Happy Kids" is a private, invitation-only event scheduled for Aug. 29 at the Trop. Guests will have a chance to take batting practice, do some fielding and mingle with politicians from the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate's Commerce and Transportation and Energy and Natural Resources committees.

Proceeds will benefit the Tampa Bay Rays Baseball Foundation, which supports community organizations that help children and families.

A flier for the event says it's not connected to the Republican Party. Sponsorships start at $2,500 ("The Sports Fan"), which comes with 10 general admission tickets but no batting practice, and top out at $50,000 ("The Grand Slam Package"), which includes top billing for the event, plus 50 tickets for batting practice as well as 100 general admission tickets.

Schools to provide RNC updates online

Do you live near downtown? Do you have a student at Gorrie Elementary School, Wilson Middle School or Plant High School?

Then check the Hillsborough County School District's RNC link, www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/RNC. Features include a Q&A column and daily updates.

Students who live on Davis Islands and Harbour Island and go to other schools will receive bus information from their schools.

Rampello K-8 Downtown Partnership School, the public school closest to the convention, will be open a week early, on Tuesday, and close for the event.

Times staff writer Marlene Sokol contributed to this report. Richard Danielson can be reached at [email protected], (813) 226-3403 or @Danielson_Times on Twitter.

Comments
House Speaker Paul Ryan says he’s not leaving Congress soon

House Speaker Paul Ryan says he’s not leaving Congress soon

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday he’s not leaving Congress anytime soon, trying to squelch rumors that he will walk away in triumph after the Republicans’ treasured tax bill is approved. Politico and the Huffington Post published re...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Pence to delay Mideast trip as tax deal nears vote

Pence to delay Mideast trip as tax deal nears vote

WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence is delaying his weekend departure for the Middle East as Congress nears completion of a tax overhaul, his office announced Thursday. White House officials said Pence now plans to leave for Egypt on Tuesday so he...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Senator: Comey’s remarks on Clinton probe heavily edited

Senator: Comey’s remarks on Clinton probe heavily edited

WASHINGTON — A draft statement former FBI director James Comey prepared in anticipation of concluding the Hillary Clinton email case without criminal charges was heavily edited to change the "tone and substance" of the remarks, a Republican senator s...
Published: 12/14/17
William March: AG candidate Ashley Moody called ‘liberal;’ bill takes Orlando money for Tampa transit

William March: AG candidate Ashley Moody called ‘liberal;’ bill takes Orlando money for Tampa transit

Ideological divides in Florida’s Republican attorney general primary race are producing some early negative campaigning, with a strong Tampa Bay area flavor.State Rep. Jay Fant, R-Jacksonville, one of four candidates, has attacked the early frontrunn...
Published: 12/14/17
Florida lawmakers want stronger college free speech rules amid First Amendment flareups

Florida lawmakers want stronger college free speech rules amid First Amendment flareups

Rising up in defiance to Richard Spencer, hundreds of University of Florida students sounded off in a deafening chant."Go home, Spencer!" they shouted, as the exasperated white nationalist paced the stage, pleading to be heard.Were the students exerc...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17
Senate race motivated Alabama’s white, black evangelical voters in different ways

Senate race motivated Alabama’s white, black evangelical voters in different ways

Nationally, the word "evangelical" has become in recent years nearly synonymous with "conservative Republican" and Alabama is one of the most evangelical states in the country. But in Alabama, there is a difference: black Christians.While in many par...
Published: 12/13/17
Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith named to fill Franken seat

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith named to fill Franken seat

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Lt. Gov. Tina Smith on Wednesday to fill fellow Democrat Al Franken’s Senate seat until a special election in November, setting up his longtime and trusted adviser for a potentially bruising 2018...
Published: 12/13/17
Elections chief: Automatic recount unlikely in Alabama race

Elections chief: Automatic recount unlikely in Alabama race

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Still-uncounted ballots are unlikely to change the outcome of the U.S. Senate race in Alabama enough to spur an automatic recount, the state’s election chief said Wednesday as Democratic victor Doug Jones urged Republican Roy Moore...
Published: 12/13/17
Democrats jubilant, and newly confident about 2018, as Alabama delivers win on Trump’s turf

Democrats jubilant, and newly confident about 2018, as Alabama delivers win on Trump’s turf

The Democrats’ seismic victory Tuesday in the unlikely political battleground of Alabama brought jubilation — and a sudden a rush of confidence — to a party that has been struggling to gain its footing since Donald Trump won the presidency 13 months ...
Published: 12/13/17
Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans on Tuesday rushed toward a deal on a massive tax package that would reduce the top tax rate for wealthy Americans to 37 percent and slash the corporate rate to a level slightly higher than what businesses and co...
Published: 12/12/17