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4 posts from July 8, 2013

July 08, 2013

Gov. Scott says search for next LG will be 'internal'

Gov. Rick Scott said Monday that the search for his new lieuteuant governor will be headed by chief of staff Adam Hollingsworth, and he emphasized it will be "internal" with no vetting by outsiders.

"We're starting the process now," Scott said, speaking to reporters at the Governor's Mansion.. "We'll take the right amount of time because we want to get the right person that would do a great job at this."

Scott said Hollingsworth will first develop the criteria for the ideal candidate. The post has been vacant since March 12 when Jennifer Carroll resigned.

The Sunshine State News reported last week that former Senate President Mike Haridopolos, who is now a lobbyist, was assisting in the vetting of LG hopefuls, but Scott would not confirm the accuracy of the report.

"The process is an internal process," Scott said. "It won't be done externally."

Scott also said he and the governors of Mississippi and Louisiana have signed a letter to the federal government asking for an immediate end to one-day weekly furloughs of about half of Florida National Guard members because of the federal budget cutting exercise known as sequestration.

"This should stop immediately. We want our National Guard ready in case of a disaster," Scott said.

Steve Bousquet, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau

Let them eat cake ... or not?

From @amysherman1

Let’s step away for a moment from the political implications of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions on same-sex marriage and fast-forward straight to the wedding day: What does it mean for those who make the white-tiered frosted wedding cake, arrange the bouquet tossed by the bride, or snap the "I Do" pics?

Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, said on CBS’ Face the Nation a few days after the ruling that such wedding vendors have already been "forced" to serve same-sex couples.

"We're already seeing bakers and florists and photographers forced to participate in same-sex marriages under the threat of law and in some cases even jail. I can't think of anything that's more un-American than that. ... "

Host Bob Schieffer responded: "How is it that bakers and florists are being forced to participate in this? I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here."

Perkins replied: "Well, we're seeing in Washington state, Colorado, and some of the other states that have these anti-discrimination statutes that are being imposed, that when a same-sex couple comes and says, ‘I want you to take pictures of my wedding,’ or ‘I want you to bake a cake.’ And they say, ‘Look, my religious convictions will not allow me participate in that,’ they're literally being sued by the government, not the individuals, and they've even been adjudicated in such places as New Mexico. So we're going to see a loss of religious freedom. There is no question about it. It's already happening."

Have there been bakers who have laid down their wire whisks and refused to bake a cake for a gay couple and hauled off to jail? A florist nervously piecing together a floral arrangement under the threat of a cop? PolitiFact decided to investigate.

Miami-Dade school board member poised to announce congressional bid


Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo is poised to make official his bid to challenge Congressman Joe Garcia.

Curbelo, joined by his family, will make an announcement regarding the District 26 congressional race at his Kendall home on Tuesday. He formed an exploratory committee on May 20 to gear up for a run.

"All the responses I've received have been very positive and very encouraging," Curbelo told the Miami Herald on Monday.

urbelo, a Republican political consultant, has repeatedly pounced on Garcia, a Miami Democrat, over an investigation into fraudulent absentee-ballot requests that has engulfed the congressman's office since May 31. He released a poll last month showing Garcia's popularity is somewhat soft in his Kendall-to-Key West district. Garcia's office has dismissed the survey as "skewed."

Garcia's fundraising totals for the quarter that ended June 30 have not yet been posted, but his campaign thanked supporters in a July 2 email.

"With your help we hit our online fundraising goals," he said. "Because of the overwhelming support we've received over [the] past six months - we are in a strong position to hold this seat next November."

The GOP field of potential Garcia challengers appears crowded, with former Miami-Dade Commission Chairman Joe Martinez and Cutler Bay Mayor Ed MacDougall both announcing runs earlier this year. Other candidates could still jump in or leave the race, since there is plenty of time left to qualify for the 2014 election.

Curbelo would not have to resign his School Board seat, to which he was elected last year, to run for Congress.

Scott, on campaign trail, says: 'We have to tell our story'

Gov. Rick Scott visibly stepped up his re-election campaign activity with a string of weekend events in North Florida. On Sunday, before he attended the Escambia County Lincoln Day Dinner in Pensacola, Scott spent two hours in rural Graceville in Jackson County, hard by the Florida-Alabama state line.

On a rainy and stormy Sunday afternoon, about 100 people crowded into the Circle Grill, a restaurant locally renowned for its fried shrimp. Scott worked the crowd, posed for pictures and touted his record of reducing debt and unemployment, getting the budget back in the black and creating jobs. The candidate who ran against the Republican Party machine the first time, in 2010, also went out of his way to introduce state Republican Party staffers Tim Saler and Susan Hepworth, who were on the trip.

"We're going to have another race," Scott said. "These elections have consequences. We have to show up. We have to tell our story ... If we don't tell our story, then it's our fault if everybody doesn't vote our way. Everybody should be a Republican."

Scott's chief of staff, Adam Hollingsworth, tagged along on the Sunday campaign swing, which included a brief stop at Holmes Correctional Institution in Bonifay.

Jackson County is very dependent on state government for employment, and some at the Circle Grill said Scott's paring of the work force and his support for privatization in the prison system will require some explaining on the campaign trail.

"There's some mixed emotions," said civic activist Karen Fader. "The privatization is a real issue with state workers. They don't want to go through that re-application process." (Scott backed the complete privatization of all prison health care in the state).

Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville; his son, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach; and Rep. Marti Coley, R-Marianna, all boosted Scott's re-election prospects at the Graceville stop. They said Scott deserves the credit for an improving economy that generated enough money to give pay raises to state workers for the first time in seven years.

"We all need a governor who's pro-life," Matt Gaetz told the crowd. "We need a governor who believes in the Second Amendment and our right to hear arms, and this governor has been firm on those issues."

Democrats outnumber Republicans in Jackson County by more than a 2-to-1 margin, but people in Marianna, Cottondale, Graceville and Sneads reliably vote Republican in statewide elections. Three years ago, Scott defeated Democrat Alex Sink by about 500 votes here (7,420 to 6,898).

Scott continues his re-election politicking on Monday night with a visit to the Ronald Reagan Blue Jeans and Black Tie Affair in Wakulla Springs.

-- Steve Bousquet