Lawrence Mower - Tallahassee Correspondent

Tallahassee Correspondent

How did I end up in Florida’s capital city? I’m a Las Vegas native (yes, they do exist), and that’s where I got my journalism chops, working the night cops beat for my hometown paper. I covered enough celebrity arrests and police shootings there to make it to the investigative team at The Palm Beach Post, where I wrote about bizarre lottery winners and even weirder elections. I like stories and ideas that challenge what we think we know about the world. Got one? Let me know. Just don’t screen your calls from a 702 area code. Chances are it’s not a vacation offer — it’s just your friendly Capitol journalist.

  1. FILE - In this March 5, 2021 file photo, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to the media as he visited the drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination site at On Top of the World in Ocala, Fla.,  Repealing statewide mask mandates and criticizing the Biden administration’s unemployment-based formula for distributing billions in federal aid has put Republican governors and their approach to handling the coronavirus pandemic back in the spotlight. (Alan Youngblood/Ocala Star-Banner via AP)
  2. Ron DeSantis speaks at a Monoclonal Antibody Treatment center at the Barnstorm Theater in The Villages on Wednesday, August 25, 2021.
  3. Gov. Ron DeSantis answers questions while First Lady Casey DeSantis listens following a roundtable discussion regarding mental health at the downtown Tampa Firefighter Museum on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020.
  4. Oct. 11• The Buzz on Florida Politics
    U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist.
  5. Desmond Meade of Florida Rights Restoration Coalition speaks at a rally in October 2020. Meade headed a successful effort to restore voting rights for many of the state's former felons.
  6. FILE - In this Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, file photo, envelopes from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Reemployment Assistance Program are shown, in Surfside, Fla. Unemployment fraud in the U.S. has reached dramatic levels during the pandemic: more than $63 billion has been paid out improperly through fraud or errors since March 2020. Criminals are seizing on the opportunity created by the pandemic and are making false claims using stolen information. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)
  7. La oficina del gobernador no dio a conocer detalles sobre la etapa del cáncer de la primera dama ni dónde planeaba ser tratada.
  8. First Lady Casey DeSantis speaks during a roundtable discussion regarding mental health at the downtown Tampa Firefighter Museum on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. Gov. Ron DeSantis announced plans to allocate funds from the CARES Act to state mental health services.
  9. In this photo provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Desmond Meade poses for a portrait Sept. 13 at the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition's headquarters in Orlando. The activist whose mission is to make sure people who walk out of prison are free to walk into the voting booth is among this year's MacArthur fellows and recipients of "genius grants."
  10. Sep. 27• The Buzz on Florida Politics
    Florida's Cabinet: From left, Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried, Gov. Ron DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis.
  11. Sep. 24• The Buzz on Florida Politics
    Sitting on stage inside Mater Academy in Hialeah, Gov. Ron Desantis signed a bill for a pay raise for Florida teachers that was accomplished with bipartisan support.
  12. Then-state Rep. Jamie Grant, R-Tampa, in Tallahassee in 2019.
  13. Governor Ron DeSantis.
  14. Dr. Joseph Ladapo, a Harvard-educated researcher, was chosen by Gov. Ron DeSantis to become Florida's next surgeon general on Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021.
  15. Sep. 13• The Buzz on Florida Politics
    Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at an event in West Palm Beach earlier this month, touting the benefits shown by the Regeneron monoclonal antibody treatment offered at pop-up clinics throughout the state.
  16. Ron DeSantis speaks at a Monoclonal Antibody Treatment center at the Barnstorm Theater in The Villages on Aug. 25.
  17. Senator Wilton Simpson, R- Trilby.
  18. Sep. 1• The Buzz on Florida Politics
    A small group of demonstrators gathers at Lake Eola Park to protest the Florida unemployment benefits system in June 2020 in Orlando.
  19. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
  20. In this June 4, 2019 photo, Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried, speaks during a meeting of the Florida cabinet, in Tallahassee, Fla.
  21. Feeding Tampa Bay volunteers (Left to right) Nicaury Garcia, 17, Marianny Moreta, 17, and Ivanna Ferreras, 18, help load cars with food on the USF Tampa campus Monday, March 9, 2021.
One year into the pandemic , the nonprofit is still stretched trying to meet the need of hungry Tampa Bay Families. While most focus is on lines for a vaccine, the group recently held its 300th mega pantry where lines for boxes of groceries still stretch around the block. The pandemic meant wholesale changes to how the group operates with more emphasis on cooked meals and a massive expansion of its food operation. It was forced to open a second warehouse and increase the number of volunteers by more than 1,000. It expects the level of need will continue for most of 2021.
  22. Pictured is the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation's building. | [Courtesy of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation]
  23. ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times
The Florida Digital Service has seen a wave of high-level departures in recent months. Half of the state’s 10-member cybersecurity response team positions are vacant.