July 05, 2016

Dena Grayson makes most of her new last name - with assist from husband Alan Grayson

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@ByKristenMClark

In her bid to replace her husband in Congress, Dr. Dena Grayson is taking full advantage of the name recognition her new married last name provides in Central Florida.

Grayson has already been featuring her groom, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate and current Orlando U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, prominently on her campaign website -- and now he's also helping her out in campaign ads, too.

Alan Grayson provides the voice-over for Dena Grayson's first TV ad, which her U.S. House campaign unveiled today, and Grayson also appears with his wife at the end of it.

For her part, Dena Grayson echoes his talking points and campaign platform, almost verbatim.

On her website, she uses Alan Grayson's Senate campaign pitch of "seniors deserve a raise," and in the ad, Alan Grayson mentions that Dena Grayson wants "to expand Medicare to cover eyes, ears and teeth" -- a nod to his current bill in Congress, the "Seniors Have Eyes, Ears and Teeth Act."

"She’s a doctor who's treated poor people for free and devoted years to developing cures for cancer," Alan Grayson says in the ad narration. "Our political system is sick, but this doctor will make it better."

Here's the ad:

Dena Grayson is a biochemist and medical doctor in her first bid for public office. She wants to replace Alan Grayson in representing the newly-redrawn 9th Congressional District in Central Florida.

The couple wed on May 29 in a private ceremony in Melbourne Beach and hope to become the first husband-wife pair elected to the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House. Both face contested Democratic primaries on Aug. 30.

Dena Grayson's campaign said her first ad is already running in metro Orlando. Online records of the Federal Communications Commission don't yet reflect any ad buys by her campaign.

July 01, 2016

Rubio's lagoon visit to check out algae prompts critics to ask why he didn't pay attention before

via @learyreports

"Indian River Lagoon advocates ask: Where is Rubio?"

That was a TCpalm headline in September 2014, which began, “During this summer’s Indian River Lagoon crisis, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio — Florida’s most notable name on Capitol Hill — was neither vocal nor visible on the issue.”

Today, Rubio makes a visit to the area, a trip in his official capacity but one that serves his re-election campaign. Critics on both sides today called him out.

“Now that he’s surrounded by campaign photographers, Marco Rubio has suddenly found the time to address the toxic environmental strain that has been choking Florida waterways for years,” said Florida Democratic Party spokesman Max Steele. “What else could Floridians expect for a part-time Senator who abandoned the challenges facing the Sunshine State to pursue his presidential ambitions?”

GOP primary opponent Carlos Beruff issued a release laced with links to news articles and columns about Rubio’s absence on the water issue.

“From his absence during the lost summer of 2013 to his broken promise to hold regular discussions with stakeholders, Marco Rubio has failed to use his time and position in Washington to solve the problems impacting the Indian River Lagoon,” spokesman Chris Hardline said. “If Treasure Coast residents want a senator who will visit them every year and is committed to using his business experience to solve Florida’s problems, they should vote for Carlos Beruff. If they want more of the same inaction, then No-Show Marco is their man.”

Rubio is to hold a news conference about 11:45 a.m. His office in a news release noted how he wrote a letter urging the Army Corps to “take immediate action, including stopping discharges from Lake Okeechobee, to help Florida’s Treasure Coast.”

Rubio did pay a visit to the area before, but it came after mounting criticism that he was MIA.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

June 29, 2016

Environmentalists question Nelson, Rubio move on Biscayne National Park

via @jenstaletovich

A marine preserve in Biscayne National Park — a key piece of a new management plan 15 years in the making and designed to protect Florida’s dwindling reef tract — may be derailed by a new bill proposed by Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio.

The bill, proposed Friday and fast-tracked through a committee hearing, would undo the preserve and require the National Park Service to consult with Florida wildlife managers, who opposed the preserve.

“This is a reasonable bill that will ensure the park consults with the state and uses the best available science moving forward,” Nelson said.

Rubio called the bill, dubbed the Access to Sportsfishing Act of 2016, a “model to address the proposed closure.”

But environmentalists say the rare move by Congress sets a dangerous precedent “that would block the National Park Service from doing its legal authority to protect America’s national park,” said Caroline McLaughlin, Biscayne program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association.

More here.

Rubio, Nelson help push Puerto Rico rescue bill

via @learyreports

Florida Sens. Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio this morning helped advance legislation to ease Puerto Rico’s debt crisis.

The bill (read the details here) would restructure territory’s finances and create an oversight board. The Senate could take a final vote later this week, just in time for a July 1 deadline on a $2 billion debt payment.

“This legislation that the House has crafted is certainly not the bill that I would have crafted, but it's the only bill that we have before us that could get by the Tea Party element in the House of Representatives,” Nelson said. “It's not ideal, particularly with regard to the labor provisions in the bill and the way the oversight board is organized. And you'll hear that bipartisan attacks against the bill in the Senate, well-meaning and well-felt, but this legislation is needed to get Puerto Rico out of this immediate crisis.”

Rubio was among opponents of Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

“While some form of debt restructuring may become necessary at some point, it should be a last resort with the onus first being on San Juan’s politicians to get their fiscal mess in order and adopt pro-growth policies,” Rubio wrote in opinion column that ran in Florida Today. “Only then will the conditions for long-term economic growth and prosperity in Puerto Rico exist.

“But Congress has a role to play too, given that our Constitution gives the House and Senate responsibility over all U.S. territories like Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rico Oversight Management and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA) is an appropriate first step by Congress to deal with this calamity. The bill would create a fiscal oversight board to help fix the mess, ensure that bondholders’ rights are protected and make sure a taxpayer bailout does not happen. Iunderstand that federal oversight is a tough pill to swallow for some on the island – and it’s an option I don’t take lightly, given my belief that government usually works best when it is closest to the people, not dictated from Washington. But in Puerto Rico’s case, it has become a necessary condition to ensure that tough decisions are made now, so that an even bigger crisis can be avoided.

Carlos Beruff, Rubio’s GOP primary opponent, used it as another attack point.

“A bailout by any other name is still a bailout,” Beruff’s campaign said in a statement. “In true Washington fashion, they’ve tried to hide the bailout from the people of Florida in the latest version of the bill. But the Puerto Ricopackage supported by Marco Rubio and Barack Obama leaves the taxpayers of Florida on the hook for Puerto Rico’s fiscal insanity and no Washington spin can hide that fact. Carlos Beruff is committed to using his business experience to give Washington’s out of control spending a serious reality check. Marco Rubio, on the other hand, has done nothing to fix this country’s fiscal mess and now wants to leave the taxpayers on the hook for anotherbailout.”

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times

June 28, 2016

Miami-Dade commission chair fundraising for Annette Taddeo

@PatriciaMazzei

The featured guest at a Wednesday fundraiser for Democrat Annette Taddeo will be Jean Monestime, the Miami-Dade County Commission chairman.

The 6 p.m. reception will take place at the Coral Gables home of Ralph Patino, Taddeo's campaign treasurer. Another county commissioner, Daniella Levine Cava, recently fundraised for Taddeo as well.

Taddeo faces a tough rival in former Rep. Joe Garcia. Thursday marks the end of the quarterly fundraising period. Both are vying to challenge Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo -- who's also planning a Wednesday fundraiser.

South Dade fundraiser planned for Carlos Curbelo

Curbelo fundraiser@PatriciaMazzei

Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo will get to pick up a few more re-election checks Wednesday at a South Miami-Dade County fundraiser.

The reception is planned for 5:30 p.m. at Schnebly's Winery in Homestead. Hosting the event are Peter Schnebly, Mike Carricarte, Tom Reider, Pedro Sifuentes and Victor Sifuentes, according to an invitation obtained by the Miami Herald.

Suggested donations begin at $250 per person, with a $2,000 contribution requested to "chair" the event.

The quarterly fundraising deadline is June 30.

Senate Democrats block Zika funding in Congress

via @learyreports

WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats blocked a $1.1 billion Zika funding bill, complaining it was packed with partisan provisions.

Reaction from Florida politicians:

Sen. Bill Nelson (voted against): “Four months after the request for emergency funding, the House in the dark of the middle of the night, with no opportunity for debate, puts on an otherwise uncontroversial bill, a bill to deal with the virus. It's not serious. Instead, it's another attempt to use an emergency must-pass bill to try to further extremist political agendas. Why can't we grow up and get to the point that we don't want to play partisan politics? We need to stop playing these political games. It's time to treat this as a real emergency and it's time to pass the appropriations bill without all of this political agenda added to it.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (voted for): “Shame on Washington for failing to pass Zika funding. We’ve been on top of this issue for five months, and it’s a failure of both parties in this town, including the President of the United States, that it’s taken this long to even get to this point. This total Washington leadership failure will have devastating consequences on those Americans already infected with Zika and many more who will become infected in the coming months. I realize this was not a perfect Zika bill, but getting this plan approved now is absolutely better than nothing. We need to get something done here, and we need to do it quickly." Rubio's office did not respond to a question about the issues Democrats raised.

GOP Senate candidate Carlos Beruff (campaign statement): "It’s been four months since a federal funding request to help fight Zika was sent to Congress. Marco’s had a lot to say on the subject – giving floor speeches and reiterating talking points during interviews – and yet Floridians still haven’t seen a dime from the federal government to help combat this threat. In the five years Marco Rubio has been in Washington he’s often found speaking eloquently on various issues in interviews and, when he’s not running for President, on the Senate floor. But Marco’s Washington talking points rarely translate into action."

Continue reading "Senate Democrats block Zika funding in Congress" »

Jeff Atwater, Adam Putnam, Steve Crisafulli endorse Marco Rubio

@PatriciaMazzei

Marco Rubio rolled out Senate re-election endorsements Tuesday from top Florida Republicans: CFO Jeff Atwater, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli.

Here are their statements of support:

From Atwater: "Marco's ability to communicate the conservative principles that we so desperately need is second to none. His vision for our country, and his work in the U.S. Senate on behalf of Floridians is something I am proud of, and why we need Marco to continue his service."

From Putnam: "Now, more than ever, we need Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate. The control of the Senate is going to come down to Florida, and without a Republican majority, we would be giving a green light to the disastrous policies of the last eight years. With Marco, we have the power to determine a Supreme Court nominee, the future of the disastrous Iran deal, and the future of our country, based on conservative policies and ideals. I wholeheartedly endorse Marco in his re-election bid, and I encourage all Floridians to unite in support."

From Crisafulli: "This will be a pivotal election in our nation's history. I commend Senator Rubio on his decision to run for re-election and will do everything in my power to ensure that he wins in November.  Marco has a proven conservative record of leadership for Floridians, whether that be in the state legislature or the U.S. Senate. We must unite our party, and I ask all Floridians to join me in supporting Marco Rubio in his re-election bid."

 

National Organization of Women picks side in Miami Democratic primary for Congress

@PatriciaMazzei

The National Organization of Women endorsed Miami Democrat Annette Taddeo on Tuesday, stepping into a congressional primary that the group appears to have sat out in recent election cycles.

"I'm so proud to have the backing of the National Organization for Women," Taddeo said in a statement. "Even in 2016, women don't get equal pay for equal work, they don't have adequate access to affordable health care. I'm running for Congress to fight for South Florida women and working families."

Taddeo was recruited by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and has gotten the backing of other large, national organizations like Emily's List. But she faces a challenge from former Rep. Joe Garcia, who was elected in 2012 despite not being the Democratic establishment's primary favorite.

PORK PAC and other D.C. interests to fundraise for Marco Rubio

Rubio invitevia @learyreports

Marco Rubio may talk down Washington, but establishment Washington's big money will play a key role in his re-election campaign beginning Wednesday.

A fundraiser that evening features a long list of special interests (PORK PAC!) plus Mitch McConnell and more than two dozen other senators. Cost is $500 to $5,000.

It displays the advantage the incumbent has and how eager colleagues are to retain him.

The newly formed Rubio super PAC, Florida First Project, is also focused on an aggressive fundraising schedule in the early stages of the campaign. We're told there are no plans (at this point) for a dark money group, one of which spent millions in support of Rubio during the presidential campaign.

--ALEX LEARY, Tampa Bay Times