Published Dec. 15, 2010|Updated Dec. 16, 2010

Rich Glorioso wants to be transportation secretary

State Rep. Rich Glorioso, a Plant City Republican, has applied to be secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation. So far, 28 people from all across the country have applied to head the agency. The deadline for accepting applications was Friday, but the search committee extended the deadline until Dec. 31.

Glorioso, who is term-limited out of the House in 2012, said his experience serving on Hillsborough County's Metropolitan Planning Organization, as chair of the House's transportation and economic development appropriations committee and handling logistics during his service in the Air Force qualifies him to head the transportation agency. And, he said, he and Governor-elect Rick Scott are in tune philosophically. "I know what he wants to do. He wants to make sure every organization in Florida is more efficient and processes are improved and we're creating jobs for a better Florida," Glorioso said.

Last year, Glorioso took heat for supporting a sweep of the transportation trust fund to make up for shortfalls in other parts of the state budget. Glorioso, though, said that wasn't his idea." I was asked to support that by leadership. I didn't like to do it, but I did it," he said. And he points out that he fought a proposal to reinstate administrative fees for management of the trust fund, which would have sliced into the DOT budget. As for high speed rail, Glorioso said he supports it as long as the state isn't stuck with huge subsidies. Beyond that, his biggest concern is what riders will do when they disembark at the station in downtown Tampa. "There's no distribution system in Tampa," he said. "You've got to have a seamless system to have it work."

Posted by Janet Zink at 10:14:44 am

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Study: Marco Rubio strongest GOP presidential contender, better communicator than Jeb Bush

Brad Phillips, an alum of ABC News and CNN, has posted an interesting study on his Mr. Media Training site, rating 18 potential Republican challengers to Barack Obama in 2012 based on their effectiveness communicating in front of the camera. It's a mighty subjective study, based on reviewing video of TV interviews. Rubio earns a solid A, compared to A- for Haley Barbour and Mike Huckabee, B for John Thune, B-for Jeb Bush and C + for Sarah Palin and Jim DeMint.

On Rubio: ...He hasn't been tested (or vetted) on a national stage. I suspect he would do well, but the difference between a statewide campaign and a national one is vast - just ask Barack Obama, who took many months to find his stride as a national candidate.

In the television age, we have never had a contest between two more charismatic candidates. If Mr. Rubio runs, he would match well against President Obama's oratorical gifts. This guy's a phenom for a reason, and he earns the highest grade to date.

On Jeb Bush: Governor Bush's charisma is real, but understated. His obvious distaste for the interviewer's questions makes him look more like a professorial scold than a winning presidential candidate.

Mr. Bush is not well-aligned to constituent concerns on the immigration issue, as public opinion polls find Arizona's immigration law is broadly popular. Primary opponents would demagogue his moderate stance, likely blocking his nomination.

And then there's his last name. Although Jeb Bush comes across as a more thoughtful and articulate man than his brother, certain facial expressions are eerily reminiscent of George W. Bush, making it hard for voters to forget his lineage.

Still, Jeb Bush is a serious man who would likely fare well in a general election.

Posted by Adam C. Smith at 11:46:47 am

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Florida Chamber gives Rick Scott a blueprint for 143k jobs

The good news, that's about about 20 percent of Scott's campaign promise of creating of 700,000 and could be done within five years. The bad news, it would cost about $1.7 billion at a time when tax collections are dropping.

"This is a both a bridge to the new economy and a strategy for 143,000 new, high-wage jobs," Florida Chamber of Commerce President Mark Wilson said.

The chamber's 37-page Florida Trade and Logistics Study focuses much of its attention on development of the state's 14 seaports, including creating at least one capable of servicing the world's biggest container ships that will have easier access to Florida once the Panama Canal expansion is completed in 2014. The only port on the country's east coast ready to handle the huge ships is in Virginia.

Scott's statement: "It's critical that Florida's ports and infrastructure be modernized so that our state's economy is positioned to thrive. As trade expands with Latin America, Florida is uniquely positioned to play a major role in international trade. The Chamber's trade and logistics study paints a very clear picture of what must be done to make Florida an international hub for logistics and freight handling, and I will do everything I can as governor to help our state achieve that goal."

Posted by Michael C Bender at 11:49:19 am

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Scott highlights some ideas from Floridians

Incoming Gov. Rick Scott today highlighted a few ideas that he has received from his transition web site, which includes a page that lets Floridians offer ideas for cost savings or other changes in state government.

Out of more than 3,000 suggestions, here are three Scott gave as examples:

o Have a jobs summit. Invite the Governors of states like Michigan, Nevada, California, and Rhode Island that have experienced economic hardships similar to Florida to learn from the innovative things other states are doing.

o Consider payments in lieu of health insurance benefits for state employees. The State could realize significant savings. Several by offering incentives to employees who could legally be claimed on a partner's health insurance plan and opt out of the state's health plan.

o Empower unemployed Floridians to start small businesses. The Governor could host small business boot camps across the state where volunteer business mentors would explain the in's and out's of starting a business. Topics covered in the boot camps would include things such as, filing the right paperwork, budgeting for taxes, and marketing strategies.

Posted by Michael C Bender at 1:11:22 pm

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Senate, with Nelson and LeMieux in favor, passes $858 billion tax cut deal

The U.S. Senate just approved the $858 billion tax cut deal that includes an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts, for all income levels, for at least two years and scores of other incentives aimed at the middle class and other taxpayers.

While neither Republicans nor Democrats were entirely happy, the deal represents a rare sign of bipartisanship and a victory for President Obama.

Florida Sens. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, and George LeMieux, a Republican voted for the deal. It now heads to the House. Below, the complete roll call.

By The Associated Press

The 81-19 roll call Wednesday by which the Senate passed a sweeping tax package that would save millions of Americans thousands of dollars in higher taxes while also reducing their Social Security taxes and extending jobless benefits.

A "yes" vote is a vote to pass the bill.

Voting yes were 43 Democrats, 37 Republicans and 1 independent.

Voting no were 13 Democrats, 5 Republicans and 1 independent.


Sessions (R), No; Shelby (R), Yes.


Begich (D), Yes; Murkowski (R), Yes.


Kyl (R), Yes; McCain (R), Yes.


Lincoln (D), Yes; Pryor (D), Yes.


Boxer (D), Yes; Feinstein (D), Yes.


Bennet (D), Yes; Udall (D), No.


Dodd (D), Yes; Lieberman (I), Yes.


Carper (D), Yes; Coons (D), Yes.


LeMieux (R), Yes; Nelson (D), Yes.


Chambliss (R), Yes; Isakson (R), Yes.


Akaka (D), Yes; Inouye (D), Yes.


Crapo (R), Yes; Risch (R), Yes.


Durbin (D), Yes; Kirk (R), Yes.


Bayh (D), Yes; Lugar (R), Yes.


Grassley (R), Yes; Harkin (D), No.


Brownback (R), Yes; Roberts (R), Yes.


Bunning (R), Yes; McConnell (R), Yes.


Landrieu (D), Yes; Vitter (R), Yes.


Collins (R), Yes; Snowe (R), Yes.


Cardin (D), Yes; Mikulski (D), Yes.


Brown (R), Yes; Kerry (D), Yes.


Levin (D), No; Stabenow (D), Yes.


Franken (D), Yes; Klobuchar (D), Yes.


Cochran (R), Yes; Wicker (R), Yes.


Bond (R), Yes; McCaskill (D), Yes.


Baucus (D), Yes; Tester (D), Yes.


Johanns (R), Yes; Nelson (D), Yes.


Ensign (R), No; Reid (D), Yes.


Gregg (R), Yes; Shaheen (D), Yes.


Lautenberg (D), No; Menendez (D), Yes.


Bingaman (D), No; Udall (D), No.


Gillibrand (D), No; Schumer (D), Yes.


Burr (R), Yes; Hagan (D), No.


Conrad (D), Yes; Dorgan (D), No.


Brown (D), Yes; Voinovich (R), No.


Coburn (R), No; Inhofe (R), Yes.


Merkley (D), No; Wyden (D), No.


Casey (D), Yes; Specter (D), Yes.


Reed (D), Yes; Whitehouse (D), Yes.


DeMint (R), No; Graham (R), Yes.


Johnson (D), Yes; Thune (R), Yes.


Alexander (R), Yes; Corker (R), Yes.


Cornyn (R), Yes; Hutchison (R), Yes.


Bennett (R), Yes; Hatch (R), Yes.


Leahy (D), No; Sanders (I), No.


Warner (D), Yes; Webb (D), Yes.


Cantwell (D), Yes; Murray (D), Yes.


Manchin (D), Yes; Rockefeller (D), Yes.


Feingold (D), No; Kohl (D), Yes.


Barrasso (R), Yes; Enzi (R), Yes.

Posted by Alex Leary at 1:14:33 pm

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Crist wants you to vote in Budweiser poll

An e-mail sent out today by Charlie Crist urges people to cast a vote in Budweiser's "Conservationist of the Year" competition. "One of the four finalists is my good friend 'Alligator' Ron Bergeron," the e-mail reads. "As a Florida Wildlife Conservation Commissioner, Ron has fought to bring attention to Florida's most pressing environmentalist concerns. He is the founder of and the Bergeron Everglades History and Cultural Museum, which educates the public on the importance of saving our precious Everglades."

Budweiser, which is doing the poll in conjunction with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, will donate $50,000 to the cause of the winner's choice. "I want to see that money put to good use here in Florida," Crist's e-mail reads. All votes must be cast by Friday.

Posted by Janet Zink at 4:28:01 pm

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How Florida voted on repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell'

Florida Reps. Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen were among the 15 Republicans who voted for the repeal of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy barring gay and lesbian soldiers from serving openly.

The rest of Florida's delegation voted with their respective party. The repeal passed 250-175 and now heads to the Senate, where Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson is in favor and Republican George LeMieux is opposed.

Posted by Alex Leary at 6:04:42 pm

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PolitiFact Florida: Checking Rick Scott's claim that Florida gov workers only in country not contributing to their retirement

Gov.-elect Rick Scott is taking office next month with big plans to cut state spending. One idea: cut $1.4 billion in state pension costs by making government employees contribute to their own retirement.

"What do you all think about employees contributing to the pension plan?'' Scott asked legislators Tuesday. "We are the only state in the country that state employees don't contribute'' to their pensions.

Posted by Aaron_Sharockman at 6:33:31 pm