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RUBIO TAKING MESSAGE ON ROAD WITH BOOK TOUR

Published Nov. 12, 2014

Sen. Marco Rubio's new book is set for a January release, followed by a book tour that comes at a critical time for him as he weighs a presidential run.

American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone is listed on Amazon with a Jan. 13 release date. It is Rubio's second book; the first was a story of his upbringing as the son of Cuban immigrants and his political rise. The new book is more policy oriented.

"I wrote this book because we stand at a critical juncture," reads a blurb on Amazon. "What kind of country are we going to be? Will we surrender to Obamacare and other laws that crush innovation and entrepreneurship? Will we accept a powerful nanny state and the erosion of family values? Will we allow politics to kill the American Dream?

"Or will we rise to the challenge - and take back our legacy as the only nation on earth that offers unrestricted opportunity to all? ...

"In this book you'll meet an over-regulated small-businessman, a struggling single mother, an out-of-work and in-debt college graduate, and others who want nothing more than their own shot at the American Dream. Their stories are our stories; their challenges are our challenges."

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Lawmaker to lobbyist

What do Florida lawmakers do when they are termed out? Well, if you're Seth McKeel of Lakeland, who served as House appropriations chairman under Speaker Will Weatherford, you become a lobbyist with one of the most powerful firms in the state.

McKeel and Laura Boehmer, a partner with the firm, will open a new Tampa office for Southern Strategy, according to a Monday release by the firm. Making a surprise cameo in the release is Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, a Democrat, who lauds McKeel, a Republican.

"Seth has been a great leader for Tampa Bay," Buckhorn says in the release. "He'll be an asset to businesses and organizations throughout our region in his new role and I'm proud to welcome him and Southern Strategy Group to the Downtown Tampa business community."

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Special elections set

An open state Senate seat and two House seats being vacated in the wake of former state Sen. John Thrasher becoming Florida State University's president may not have new occupants until midway through the 2015 legislative session.

Gov. Rick Scott on Monday announced the schedule for special elections to fill the seat in Senate District 6, Thrasher's Northeast Florida district, along with the House District 17 seat held by state Rep. Ronald "Doc" Renuart, R-Ponte Vedra Beach, and the House District 24 seat held by Rep. Travis Hutson, R-Elkton. Renuart and Hutson are running to replace Thrasher.

Special primaries for the three seats would be held Jan. 27, with the special general elections set for April 7.

Times staff writer Michael Van Sickler contributed. Information from the News Service of Florid was used.