Here are the top five latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com.
The State of the Union in one word, according to Florida politicians
President Donald Trump will deliver the State of the Union address tonight for the first time in front of a divided Congress. With a captive audience of 535 members of Congress and millions of viewers at home, the speech is often an opportunity for an administration to assess the current condition of the country and lay out its priorities for the year ahead. What is the state of our union? The Tampa Bay Times on Monday asked Florida’s two Senators and the 27 members of its Congressional delegation to provide one word that summarizes their own view of the nation’s outlook. The Times also asked each legislator what topic they want Trump to highlight and what they hope he says about it.
Jane Castor has big lead in Tampa's mayor's race, according to survey by St. Pete Polls
The first public polling in months shows former Tampa police chief Jane Castor with a commanding lead in the race to replace term-limited Mayor Bob Buckhorn. In a survey of 429 registered Tampa voters conducted by St. Pete Polls on Tuesday, Castor had the support of 45.3 percent of voters — triple the percentage point margin over the second place candidate. At No. 2, retired banker and philanthropist David Straz Jr. polled at 12.9 percent. The poll, with a margin of error of 4.7 percent and conducted by automated phone calls, showed 10.8 percent of voters remain undecided a month before the March 5 election.
DeSantis counts on feds to chip in $1.5 billion for hurricane damage
Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposed budget banks on at least $1.5 billion in federal money for Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Michael, a total the governor’s office anticipates could go up as damage estimates continue to mount from both storms. DeSantis on Friday introduced a $91.3 billion budget proposal for the 2019-2020 fiscal year that includes at least $323.6 million in state funding tied to the two storms. The money would go to needs such as debris collection, housing and educational programs. Meanwhile, the Federal Emergency Management Agency would put up an estimated $561.7 million for Irma and $942.6 million for Michael.
Rays giveaway items include Cy Zilla bobblehead, Ryne Stanek (bottle) opener
With the Cy Young award come the promotions. A way-cool Blake Snell "Cy Zilla" bobblehead (March 30) and a Snell replica jersey (July 20) are among 23 giveaway items announced by the Rays today. Also on the creative list, the Ryne Stanek (bottle) opener (April 20), in honor of the pitcher who started 29 games under the Rays' innovative strategy. The Rays are again sticking to weekend games for their promotions — besides the opening day schedule magnet — with giveaways to all fans slated for 11 Saturday games and for kids 14 and under for 11 Sunday games as part of the family funday theme and activities.
‘Hamilton’ 101: What you need to know for the big show in Tampa
Such is the power of Hamilton that everyone wants to be in the room where it’s happening. Hamilton comes to Tampa on Feb. 12 and runs through March 10 at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, part of a national tour that started in 2017. Hundreds of people lined up at the Straz when tickets went on sale in November, with thousands more trying to buy tickets online. If you managed to snag a ticket for the monthlong run, here are three things to keep in mind while you’re watching the show.