Adam Putnam Archives - Page 2 of 42 - Florida Politics

Billionaire blasts Donald Trump ‘dreamer’ decision

A prominent Republican fund-raiser turned critic of President Donald Trump said Thursday it would be a huge economic mistake not to let young undocumented immigrants, called “Dreamers,” remain in the United States.

“There is something wrong in separating families,” Miguel “Mike” Fernandez said, after delivering a speech to students and faculty at Florida A&M University. “That is a universal wrong. We are doing that in DACA.”

DACA is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows children brought to the country by their undocumented-immigrant parents to remain in the U.S. Former President Barack Obama put the program in place by executive order.

But the Trump administration this week rescinded the order, with an effective date of six months, giving Congress time to enact its own version of a DACA plan.

The Cuban-born Fernandez, who is a billionaire Miami businessman, supported Jeb Bush in last year’s presidential primary, but broke with his party over Trump’s anti-immigration stances and spent some $3 million in a campaign against Trump.

“If the president talks about Mexicans, murderers, criminals, rapists and so on, these (the Dreamers) are the very best. These are the opposite,” Fernandez said. “These are the students who are working hard. They are going to be tomorrow’s taxpayers.”

Fernandez, 65, who has created a number of health-care companies and later sold them, said Florida has more than 32,000 immigrants protected under DACA, and he estimates they will pay $6.7 billion in taxes over their lifetimes.

“It’s an economic issue,” he said. “Throw them out?”

Fernandez’s own story as a Cuban exile who came to the U.S. as a 12-year-old with his family was the focus of his speech to the FAMU students. Despite his enormous economic success, Fernandez repeatedly emphasized that he did not believe he had any great talents.

“I’m as average as they come,” he said.

He also talked about the many setbacks in his life, including business failures, three failed marriages, two heart attacks and cancer.

“You have to adjust,” Fernandez said. “There is not a linear path to success. Actually, I guarantee you that failure is a necessary step towards your success. If you haven’t failed, you haven’t pushed yourself hard enough.”

Fernandez distributed 700 copies of his autobiography, “Humbled by the Journey,” and took time after the speech to sign dozens of copies and talk to individual students.

Fernandez’s candor was also on display. Earlier in the day, he sent an email to the Tampa Bay Times calling state House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes, who supports the elimination of DACA, a “bully” and an “intellectual midget.”

“They are just facts,” Fernandez said when asked about the comments. “That’s my opinion of the guy.”

Fernandez, who said he has given about $30 million to Republican causes over the last 15 years, also expressed “disappointment” in Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, although he had given $100,000 to help Putnam’s Republican gubernatorial campaign.

“I think that we lack in this country people who speak and stand on their backbone,” Fernandez said.

“He’s a guy who was fairly normal in his position until he is faced with an opponent who is more to the right. He feels he has to move to the right,” Fernandez said. “I move to where I am, and that’s who I respect.”

Republished with permission of the News Service of Florida.

Jack Latvala adds $273K in committee cash

Republican gubernatorial candidate and state Sen. Jack Latvala raised $273,000 last month for his political committee, according to updated reports on the committee website.

The top contributor to “Florida Leadership Committee” last month was investor and hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones II, who cut a $50,000 check to Latvala.

The committee also took in $25,000 from veterinarian Richard D. Wilkes and Titan Healthcare Services.

The committee also spent about $100,000 last month, including a $20,000 payment to Tel Opinion Research, several small consulting contracts and a handful of donations to county level Republican parties.

The August haul leaves the committee with about $4 million in the bank heading into September.

The Clearwater Republican, who chairs the Senate Appropriations committee, entered the race for governor in mid-August, and as of Sept. 7 had not turned in his first campaign finance report. Candidates and committees face a Monday deadline to file updated reports.

Latvala was the second major Republican candidate to enter the race after Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

Putnam had about $10.8 million on hand in his political committee, “Florida Grown,” at the end of July. He also had a little over $1.5 million on hand in his campaign account through the same date.

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis and House Speaker Richard Corcoran are also considering entering the primary race. Corcoran had about $2.8 million in his “Watchdog PAC” committee at the end of July.

Adam Putnam checks on Polk storm prep

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam returned to his home of Polk County on Thursday, checking on preparations for food, shelter and transportation from the county’s Emergency Operations Center.

He also issued warnings to state residents to take action immediately: “Irma is a beast. There is no scenario in which Southeast Florida will escape it. And a slight shift can send it (farther inland). Being inland is not a free pass to this storm.”

Earlier, Gov. Rick Scott had noted in his Thursday morning press conference that the storm is so large it will cause damage across the state and on both coasts.

Residents and officials of Polk County still remember the three hurricanes that crossed Polk County in 2004, with heavy damage each time. Emergency personnel in Polk and counties south say they are not dropping their guard just because of the latest predictions are that Hurricane Irma may only hit southeast Florida.

The most devastating  of the three 2004 hurricanes hitting Polk County was Hurricane Charley, which was predicted to go offshore up the west coast of the state. Instead, it suddenly shifted east almost at the last minute, entered Charlotte Harbor and went up the middle of the state.

Putnam, also a Republican candidate for governor in 2018, said his department also is closely monitoring the distribution of gasoline in Southeast Florida where many stations have already run out.

“This is not a fuel shortage problem but a distribution problem,” he said. “There is gas in the state; we are now working to get it distributed to areas needed.”

Jack Latvala joins call to save DACA

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Latvala joined the chorus of so far mostly Democrats calling for preservation of the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” program to let young, undocumented immigrants stay in the United States.

Latvala, the state senator from Clearwater, directed his call not at President Donald Trump, who has signaled he will end the President Barack Obama program as early as Tuesday, but at Congress and the Republican Party.

The push to preserve the program, which provides limited protected status to as many as 800,000 people nationally, and more than 100,000 estimated in Florida, has come out from numerous Democrats, but only a few Republicans, notably U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

“We must lead with a compassionate heart, not by punishing children,” Latvala said in a statement first published on Facebook, then released by his campaign. “Florida is a diverse state and our economic success depends on a strong diverse workforce. If DACA ends in 6 months it will have a disastrous impact not only on hundreds of thousands of bright, promising young people but also on our business climate.”

Latvala’s statement came shortly after Democrats, notably Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham, publicly challenged him and fellow Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam to speak out on the plan.

Latvala then turned that challenge to the rest of Republicans in Florida.

“Congress has dropped the ball on this issue like so many others,” Latvala stated. “It’s time for Congress to pass a law protecting Dreamers. I call on other leaders of the Republican Party in Florida to join me in supporting these children so they can come out of the shadows and legally secure jobs.”

Graham, the former congresswoman from Tallahassee, and fellow Democratic gubernatorial candidates Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Winter Park developer Chris King all issued strong statements supporting DACA and urging its preservation. Gillum declared that a revocation of DACA would be a “moral stain.” King called such a move “cruel and misguided.” Graham called it “unconscionable.”

Putnam, Florida’s agriculture secretary, has not made a statement regarding DACA.

Democrats have been pushing for weeks to raise awareness of young adults who were brought without visas to America as young children, or who have overstayed their visas while growing up, and the program that allows them to stay under certain conditions.

Those eligible have been dubbed “DREAMers” after the the “Development Relief And Education For Alien Minors” bills filed several times by pro-immigration members of Congress in recent years.

 

Adam Putnam: The right to vote

On July 4, 2017, 15,000 immigrants were sworn in as new American citizens — something each and every one of them worked hard to attain. On that day, they earned the most sought-after citizenship in the world and swore they would support and defend our Constitution. And on that day, along with their citizenship, they were granted the right and the responsibility to vote,

Voting is a right that we, as Americans, hold dear. It is the right to choose the leaders who represent us. It is the foundation of a democratic republic. That’s why we must protect that right and not minimize the value of it by allowing noncitizens the same right.

There are more than 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in the United States. These illegal aliens have crossed our borders, violated our laws and ignored the processes we have in place to keep our citizens safe.

And, yet, there are cities throughout the United States that willingly ignore this violation of the law. Many cities, like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, proudly call themselves “sanctuary cities,” where violent illegal aliens can find refuge and forgiveness for any violations of the law they have committed. These sanctuary cities put the safety of all American citizens at risk to harbor fugitives.

Even worse, some cities across our nation have taken it a step further. Not only are they allowing violent illegal aliens to remain within their boundaries without the threat of getting caught, but some cities are going so far as to grant illegal aliens the right to vote in America.

In San Francisco, voters passed a proposition in 2016 that grants illegal aliens with school age children the right to vote in school board elections. The proponents of the measure argued that they wanted better representation on the school board, and, if their kids — children of illegal immigrants — are in school, then they should have a voice on the school board.

Now, a college town in Maryland is mulling a similar initiative. College Park is currently weighing a new measure to permit illegal aliens vote in elections. Proponents of the measure argue that residents — no matter their legal status — rely on critical government services and should have the opportunity to weigh in. Should College Park approve this absurd measure, it would be one of 11 cities in the Maryland to do so.

Cities like San Francisco and College Park, among others, have lost their American values, and have been overrun by liberals. They have forgotten the principles our nation was founded on — the right for American citizens to choose our leaders — in granting foreigners who violated our laws to come to our country the right to shape our country’s future through voting.

It is simple: You are either an American citizen or you are not. If you are, you enjoy the rights and privileges of American citizenship. And you also bear the responsibility to ensure its safety and survival for generations to come. The right to vote should not be allowed or practiced by anyone who was not born in our country or who has not taken the necessary, legally required steps to become a citizen of our nation. This right is too precious to grant to those who have not earned it.

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Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is a native of Bartow. He is a Republican running for Governor.

Bill Nelson and Rick Scott virtually tied, new poll shows

A new poll of the likely 2018 U.S. Senate race finds Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and likely challenger Gov. Rick Scott virtually tied.

The Florida Atlantic University poll, scheduled for release Tuesday, shows Nelson with 42 percent support compared to 40 percent for Scott.

“It is very early with many undecided voters,” wrote FAU political scientist Kevin Wagner.

The poll also took stock of the race to replace Scott as governor and found nearly half the voters for both parties – 47 percent of Democrats and 53 percent of Republicans – had not yet decided who they would support during primary season.

Republicans picked Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam with 27 percent support, followed by House Speaker Richard Corcoran at 10 percent, U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis at 9 percent and Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Latvala at 2 percent.

Only Putnam and Latvala have launched campaigns.

Democrats’ top pick is John Morgan, who picked up 19 percent support despite not being in the race, followed by former Congresswoman Gwen Graham at 14 percent, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum at 9 percent, Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine at 8 percent and Orlando Businessman Chris King at 4 percent.

Levine, like Morgan, has hinted at a run, but has not yet entered the race. He has also played around with the idea of running as an independent in 2018.

The biggest dividing line between voters is how the Sunshine State should handle guns.

Over half of Democrats, 54 percent, said the state should outlaw guns in public places, while 55 percent of Republicans hold the opposite view.

About a fifth of Republicans are in favor of “open carry” gun laws, so long as a person is licensed, while only 16 percent of independent voters and 9 percent of Democrats felt the same way.

Just 8 percent of respondents said residents should be able to openly carry firearms without a license.

The survey was conducted by the FAU Business and Economics Polling Initiative and took in 800 responses from registered voters through the internet and robocalls. It has a margin of error of 4 percent, while the polling questions on the Democratic and Republican primaries have a margin of error of 7 percent, due to smaller sample sizes.

Adam Putnam’s committee has raised $165K so far in August

Agriculture Commissioner and GOP candidate for governor Adam Putnam overcame a slow start to raise $165,000 for his political committee so far in August, though “Florida Grown” is still well below its monthly average.

Disney, Comcast, the Firefighter FactPAC and circus co. CEO Kenneth Feld each cut $25,000 checks to the committee. Adena Golf gave $15,000, pari-mutuel company Gulf Stream Park Racing Association pitched in about $14,000 across four contributions, and pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb threw $10,000 into the pot.

None of the money came until Aug. 11, making the month an unusually one for Putnam, who has cleared $1 million in contributions for his committee each month since he announced he was running for governor.

The committee has also burned through more than it raised this month, with $187,000 in expenditures listed between Aug. 1 and Aug. 22.

Consulting groups made up the bulk of the spending, including $42,000 to Lakeland-based Silloh Consulting LLC. The largest non-consulting expense came in the form of a $25,000 contribution to a committee controlled by former  St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, who is running for his old job again this year.

Through the end of July, Florida Grown had raised a total of $14.7 million and had about $10.85 million on hand, and those numbers look unlikely to change much unless the last week of August sees Florida Grown take in a flurry of contributions.

Still more Florida Forest firefighters heading west to battle blazes

Another 36 firefighters with the Florida Forest Service will be helping to put out wildfires in the western United States.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who oversees the Forest Service, announced the move Friday. A total of 96 state forest firefighters now are deployed in the West, spokeswoman Jenn Meale said Friday evening.

The Forest Service firefighters are part of a Type 2 Incident Management Team that will help combat 62 large fires, and they will be assigned to specific locations by the National Interagency Fire Center, according to a press release.

“Our nation’s firefighters have worked diligently and tirelessly to keep our natural resources, citizens and property out of harm’s way during one of the worst wildfire seasons we’ve seen,” Putnam said in a statement.

Added State Forester Jim Karels: “Florida Interagency Incident Management Teams have an exceptionally high level of training and experience in all aspects of wildfire suppression. Despite the severity of this year’s wildfire season, our firefighters have the ability to successfully battle the large fires raging across the western United States.”

Type 1 and Type 2 IMTs undergo rigorous training, so they can successfully address complex emergencies at the state and national level, he said.

Online is the next battleground in governor’s race

Shortly after a “Liberal Jack Latvala website launched, an anti-Adam Putnam/Richard Corcoran Twitter account has started tweeting criticism of the declared and presumptive GOP candidates for governor.

The “Conservative Watch” account, which goes by the handle @CWNewsUpdates, was created in June, billing itself as “your source for the latest news and commentary on politics and business by conservative leaders and writers.”

On Wednesday, it tweeted that “Adam Putnam wants you to think he’s a citrus farmer—but for 21 yrs he’s farmed campaign cash from special interests.” A photo of Putnam carried the caption, “Career Politician for more than 20 years.”

On Thursday, a second tweet posted: “Richard Corcoran said he would fight Crony Capitalism. In reality, he restored all funding to Florida’s corporate incentive slush fund,” apparently referring to Enterprise Florida, the state’s economic development organization, and/or VISIT FLORIDA, the tourism marketing agency.

Putnam, the current Commissioner of Agriculture, is actively campaigning for the GOP’s 2018 nomination for governor. Corcoran, the state’s House Speaker and Land O’ Lakes Republican, is widely expected to enter the governor’s race next year.

Last week, a website surfaced after state Sen. Latvala, the Clearwater Republican and Senate Appropriations chair, announced his bid for the governor’s mansion.

It was soon reported by POLITICO Florida that a “longtime political consultant for … Putnam is behind (the ‘Liberal Jack Latvala’) website.”

Putnam spokeswoman Amanda Bevis told POLITICO Florida the site is not “a campaign effort”: “I saw it when it popped up in my Twitter feed like everyone else,” she said.

The website, however, has a disclaimer linking it to a political committee, United Conservatives for Florida. The “Conservative Watch” Twitter account does not.

Déjà vu: Richard Corcoran seeks repeal of public campaign financing

House Speaker and presumptive Republican candidate for governor Richard Corcoran, who declared war on “corporate welfare” last Legislative Session, now wants to end “welfare for politicians.”

On Wednesday, he asked the Constitution Revision Commission—of which he appointed nine of its 37 members—to consider an proposal to repeal a section of the state Constitution that provides for public financing of statewide political campaigns.

The Legislature, however, placed a similar amendment on the ballot for statewide approval in 2010. It flunked at the polls with 52 percent approval; amendments need 60 percent for adoption.

“Commissioners have received the letter and will consider it along with all other comments and proposals submitted to the commission,” CRC spokeswoman Meredith Beatrice told Florida Politics.

The money, which comes with provisos, comes out of the state’s general revenue, said Department of State spokeswoman Sarah Revell.

“This is a gross waste of taxpayer money and is nothing more than welfare for politicians,” Corcoran said in a statement. “All it does is protect the insider political class.

“You really have to be clueless or just plain selfish to accept money from our state coffers that could go to our schoolchildren, first responders, or be put back in the pockets of our taxpayers,” he added. “This proposal is simply about doing the right thing.”

Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican, is widely expected to run for governor. He opened a new political committee, Watchdog PAC, though he publicly has said he will remain Speaker through 2018 and will decide on his future plans after the next session. He’s term-limited in the House next year.

Corcoran’s office also provided links to information on past statewide candidates that have taken public financing, including Agriculture Commissioner and Republican candidate for governor Adam Putnam, who took $587,000 for his 2010 election and another $459,000 during his 2014 re-election.

Attorney General Pam Bondi took $432,000 in 2010 and $328,000 in 2014. Gov. Rick Scott took no public dollars to fund his 2010 or 2014 campaigns, records show.

Though the original intent of public financing was to “level the playing field,” as Corcoran and House Commerce Committee chair Jim Boyd, a Bradenton Republican, wrote in a letter to commissioners, instead it has been used “to subsidize statewide candidates, mostly incumbents, when they are facing weak opposition.

“Simply put: politicians benefit, voters do not,” they wrote. “Pollsters, media buyers, mail houses, and campaign consultants benefit while the people of Florida are left holding the bill.”

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