Adam Putnam Archives - Page 4 of 40 - Florida Politics

Chris King issues bold, forward-thinking statement on climate change

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris King declared Thursday that Florida can fight climate change and spur the economy, while he recounted forecasters’ worst fears for Florida if sea levels and temperatures rise as scientists project.

In a lengthy statement placed as a blog post on his campaign website, King outlined his concerns for weather, sea level rise, and economic impacts to Florida under projections for the next couple of generations, declaring, “fighting climate change could be the smartest investment Florida makes this century.”

The Winter Park developer of affordable housing touted his business successes and decried that Republicans always accuse Democrats of not understanding business or the economy.

King first must win a Democratic primary in which he is facing Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee. The leading Republican is Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, with other prominent Republicans mulling the race. Also considering a run is Democratic Miami Beach Mayor Phil Levine, whose city is literally Ground Zero for climate change risk.

“As someone who has built a business from the ground up during the biggest economic recession of our lifetime, I will tell any Republican opponent that I know how to grow Florida’s economy — and it’s not by ignoring climate change. In fact, fighting climate change could be the smartest investment Florida makes this century,” King stated in a news release.

In his post, King laid out foreboding projections, declaring, “Florida has the most property vulnerable to climate change-related flooding, with $69 billion of it at risk. Many of Florida’s coastal communities, including portions of Miami Beach and the Keys, will become chronically inundated with rising sea levels, flooding every other week on average.

“Climate change is also making storms more frequent and destructive, a trend that will only get worse. Storm-related losses will increase by an average of $1.3 billion every year until 2030, a cost which will rise to $4 billion by 2050,” King continued.

The secondary economic impacts would be statewide, affecting Florida’s agriculture, manufacturing, and energy, as average temperatures rise, he added.

King then attacked policies and positions of Florida Gov Rick Scott, particularly for reportedly banning mention of climate change or global warming in the state’s environmental agencies. He also criticized the Florida Legislature for doing too little to address changes.

“Florida needs a Governor who will tackle climate change and the threat it poses to our economy head on — not one who ignores it,” King stated.

He also attacked President Donald Trump for pulling out of the Paris Climate Accords, and accused Scott of “standing idly by.”

“If Florida were to invest in renewable energy for all energy needs, we would create more than 300,000 long-term jobs in those industries,” he continued. “By 2050, our state would save $41 billion per year in health costs resulting from air pollution, the equivalent of 1.8 percent of our GDP. Energy costs would decrease, energy efficiency would increase, and lives would even be saved.”

Among proposals he outlines in his statement, many of which he had previously announced:

– Banning fracking and off-shore drilling [though the drilling issue is in federal hands.]

– Investing in renewable energy solutions.

– Supporting hurricane research and disaster-relief funding.

– Conserving and protecting valuable lands and coasts, including through the land-purchase fund set up by constitutional amendment.

– Commit Florida to the national U.S. Climate Alliance and uphold the spirit of the Paris Agreement in Florida.

 

 

More Florida Forest Service firefighters to head out West

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam Thursday said he’s sending 24 more wildland firefighters from the Florida Forest Service to help fight fires out West.

“After selflessly battling one of the worst wildfire seasons in Florida history, our firefighters will help protect other parts of our country from wildfire,” Putnam said.

The latest deployment makes a total of 91 Florida Forest Service firefighters battling western wildfires. Crews will potentially be sent to Utah, Montana, California, and South Dakota, he said.

The National Interagency Coordination Center will fly state and federal firefighter crews from Tampa to Salt Lake City, Utah, where they will receive assignments.

“Florida Forest Service firefighters have proven their bravery and ability time and again when fighting Florida’s wildfires,” State Forester Jim Karels said. “They are exceptionally well-trained and know how to suppress wildfires aggressively and safely.”

Gwen Graham turns free clinic ‘workday’ into push for a budget that cares

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham described a private meeting a patient asked to have with her while she was performing one of her “workday” events at an Orlando free clinic Wednesday night, and said it reminded her that state budget priorities need to be reworked to be more caring.

The patient had been struggling to get medications he needed. In his private meeting Wednesday night with the Democratic former congresswoman who wants to be Florida’s next governor, he began to cry. She responded with tears of her own, she said.

He got what he needed at the Shepherd’s Hope clinic in Longwood, one of five Shepherd’s Hopes in the Orlando area that serves people who do not qualify for Medicaid but cannot afford medical insurance. The clinics serve thousands of patients, but still, on some days, must turn people away.

“These are good people who are facing real challenges all the time. But for places like Shepherd’s Hope, which is really their last hope, what would they do?” Graham said.

“We need to have people who want to make a difference in people’s lives, who really care,” she concluded. “We need to look at our state budget in ways that get our priorities back in place, caring for people… for the right reasons.”

Graham faces Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Winter Park affordable housing developer Chris King in pursuing the Democratic nomination to run for governor. She has spent much of her early campaign months pursuing the activity coined by her father, former governor and former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, who spent “workdays” working other people’s jobs.

While the younger Graham has worked an occasional hard-labor workday such as installing solar panels on roofs, her focus so far has been on more social services, from education to health care. It’s a distinction working into her campaign them, which she described as offering someone the voters will get to trust to care about them.

It’s a theme both Gillum and King would insist they share, though Gillum is presenting himself more as the Democrat who has the courage to push Democratic values, and King as the Democrat who has succeeded in business while pushing Democratic values.

The leading Republican thus far is Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who’s defining himself with strong conservative values.

On Wednesday night she spent four hours working at Shepherd’s Hope with the organization’s president, Marni Stahlman, and with Dr. Jamaal McLeod, normally an emergency room physician in Volusia County, and the rest of the all-volunteer staff.

Graham used the moment, as she did with her workday at a Jacksonville clinic earlier this month, to condemn Republican Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-led Florida Legislature for refusing to accept the federal Medicaid expansion deal offered in the Affordable Care Act, a deal that would have provided health care to at least 800,000 uninsured Floridians, and billions of dollars to Florida, but also a longterm financial commitment to Florida.

She also pushed Wednesday night for other health care reforms, such as modernizing the state’s laws so that clinics such as Shepherd’s Hope, and ordinary doctors’ offices, could turn to telemedicine and other advances to offer specialist care.

 

Florida Democrats slam Adam Putnam for Facebook comment about anti-NRA protest in Tampa

The Florida Democratic Party is taking Adam Putnam to task a day after the Agricultural Commissioner and gubernatorial nominee mocked an anti-National Rifle Association protest held in Tampa.

“Classic progressive move,” Putnam wrote on his Facebook page on Monday. “Desperate attempt to limit our 2nd Amendment rights.”

Listed below his comment was a link to a story that Florida Politics reported about Sunday, when more than 80 citizens marched in downtown Tampa against a provocative NRA television ad featuring conservative commentator Dana Loesch which progressive activists claim is a call for violence.

“The NRA’s recruitment video with Dana Loesch was meant to provoke fear and stoke the flames of division,” said Florida Democratic Party spokeswoman Johanna Cervone in a statement. “The activists in Tampa Bay were right to denounce this video for what it is–a dangerous incitement of violence. If Adam Putnam is endorsing this video, he’s encouraging violence against fellow Americans.

Not satisfied with accusing Putnam of only that charge, Cervone then asserted that perhaps the comment was meant to curry favor with conservatives in the Republican Party of Florida who are still evaluating his candidacy.

“Could Putnam be more transparent in his pandering to the far right?” Cervone asks. “It’s clear Putnam is more than a little insecure about his credentials as a conservative.”

Also chiming in to ding Putnam was Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is running for the Democratic nomination for governor.

“Their ad was despicable and we know what its true intentions are – to tear us apart and divide us,” Gillum said.”But in a year after the Pulse Nightclub tragedy, and losing law enforcement officers in the line of duty in Orlando, we’ve stood together and become stronger. It’s a shameful day when someone who wants to lead our state stands behind such violent, divisive rhetoric, and against commonsense gun protections for Floridians.”

The protest on Sunday in Tampa was similar to other demonstrations which took place over the weekend in Washington D.C. and other U.S. cities that were organized by gun control groups.

As of noon on Tuesday, Putnam’s comment had generated 159 other comments on his Facebook page.

“It is well within these individuals rights to protest, regardless if we agree with them or not,” wrote Taylor Dupree Brewington. “I am a staunch 2nd amendment supporter—but Adam Putnam, remember that if you really want to be governor, these “progressives” are your constituents too, and it is your civic duty to represent them.”

But there were plenty of other people who cheered his comment.

“All these guys have left; is Classic Moves,” writes Victor Salichs. “It’s a constant barrage of the same obvious tactics; in order to make common sense into something meaningless. They are constantly feeding this to their followers; so that they will have a covey of people, who will simply do what they tell them, without question.”

Putnam is the only major Republican candidate currently running for governor at the moment, but the field could get more crowded in the coming months.

Clearwater state Senator Jack Latvala said over the weekend he would make an announcement regarding his potential candidacy on August 16, while House Speaker Richard Corcoran continues to raise funds for a potential run as well.

Adam Putnam sees ‘pathway’ to open carry, campus carry

Agriculture Commissioner and Republican candidate for governor Adam Putnam Tuesday said “there is absolutely a pathway” to bring back open carry and to permit what’s called “campus carry” in Florida.

“We have a track record of law-abiding citizens in Florida who submit their fingerprints, undergo background checks, and lawfully exercise their Second Amendment right,” he told reporters.

Putnam spoke at Tallahassee’s National Guard Armory at an event on his initiative to expedite applications for concealed weapon licenses (CWLs) from active-duty service members and veterans. He was joined by fellow Cabinet member and state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, who pulled out his wallet to show his license.

The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, through its Division of Licensing, oversees the issuance of such permits.

Open carry was repealed in 1987, the same year the state permitted concealed carry. Legislation to reinstitute it and to allow campus carry, allowing guns on Florida’s college campuses, has been filed but failed in recent years.

Though he didn’t offer his own specific proposal, Putnam said campuses and other “gun free zones, where victims have no opportunity to defend themselves, ought to be modified in a responsible way so that people can exercise their Second Amendment rights.”

The Legislature “has struggled with the right way to get there,” Putnam added. “But it is a proven fact that areas that are gun free zones tend to be an attractive target for people who would prey on victims who can’t shoot back.”

In late 2014, for example, a gunman opened fire inside Florida State University’s main library, shooting and injuring three people. Law enforcement arrived soon after and shot the gunman after he fired on them, killing him.

Putnam also noted “the number of students who have had an extraordinary amount of firearms training (and) are highly qualified, highly competent and safe … There is absolutely a way” to allow guns on campuses.

The state Supreme Court earlier this year upheld the open-carry ban after a constitutional challenge from a Fort Pierce man who had a concealed weapon license but was arrested after he carried his handgun openly on his hip.

Putnam said “there’s some interest” among Floridians he’s talked with over the years in again legalizing open carry, though “it varies.”

Also Tuesday, the Florida Democratic Party jabbed Putnam for what it called his “endorsement” of the National Rifle Association‘s “violent video ad.” (For more on that story, click here.)

“The NRA’s recruitment video … was meant to provoke fear and stoke the flames of division,” party spokeswoman Johanna Cervone said in a press release.

“The activists in Tampa Bay were right to denounce this video for what it is—a dangerous incitement of violence,” she said. “If Adam Putnam is endorsing this video, he’s encouraging violence against fellow Americans.”

Andrew Gillum tells Orange Democrats its time for leaders to take on difficult conversations

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum told Orange County Democrats Monday night that the party needs a Democrat with courage to espouse Democratic values if it wants a chance to win the governor’s office next year.

Gillum, speaking before perhaps 200 people gathered at the Orange County Democratic executive committee meeting, charged that Democrats have not been able to win the governor’s office because they have run candidates who show fear, who were not unapologetic advocates for the party’s values.

It is time, he said for leaders to have difficult conversations.

Gillum faces former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee and Winter Park developer Chris King for the Democratic nomination. The leading Republican at this stage is Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

“We need to go out there and tell people, tell people who it is we are, what believe in. that we believe in a strong public education system, that we believe in second changes, that if people make a mistake in their lives they should be able to come back, get a job and make a living for themselves and their families. We shouldn’t be afraid to tell people that we believe in science.

That drew applause.

“And that shouldn’t even be an applause line,” Gillum continued. He went on to describe the need for Democrats to lead the way in Florida on confronting global climate change, and encouraging solar energy, and to build 21st-century transportation infrastructure, and support for the LGBTQ community.

He also spoke of his battle, as Tallahassee mayor, to defend a city ordinance forbidding people from shooting guns in a city park. So far, Tallahassee has won court battles in the district and appeals level, against what he said was the gun lobby “that has run roughshod over public policy.”

“I said, we’ll see you in the Supreme Court, if that’s where you want to take us,” Gillum said. “You all, we have to stop rolling over and being afraid. The Second Amendment, the Second Amendment, the Second Amendment can sit side by side with common sense gun law reform.

“It will require us to stop being silent. What are we afraid of? Are our lives not important enough for us to stand up and say I deserve to be recognized to advocate laws to protect me and my children?” he said.

“We should be able to look into our children’s eyes to speak words of affirmation and hope and encouragement to them. And then to be able to rest at night that we’ve done the difficult work to make the hopes and aspirations of those children come true,” he added.

A governor, he said, should be measured by the answer to the question, “How are the children doing?”

Eight grassroots leaders give thumbs up to Gwen Graham

Democrat Gwen Graham is adding eight new endorsements Friday in her quest to become the state’s next governor.

The endorsements announced by her campaign include a host of young and engaged grassroots leaders from across the state.

“I wake up every day focused on one mission: fighting for our shared values,” Graham stated in a news release issued by her campaign. “The passion and support of grassroots leaders from across Florida are fueling our fight, and I’m proud to have the support of these dedicated Democrats.

Graham is in a race for the Democratic primary for the 2018 election with Winter Park affordable housing developer Chris King and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. The one major Republican candidate is Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

“After almost twenty years of Republican rule, our state is running out of time, Democratic National Committeeman and former Florida Democratic Party Vice Chair Alan Clendenin. “For too long, the politicians in Tallahassee have ignored the major challenges our state faces. I’m proud to support Gwen Graham in her campaign to renew our public schools, protect our precious environment and build an economy that works for every Floridian.”

Former Chair of the Jacksonville Planning Commission Lisa King said: “Gwen Graham is committed to protecting our state’s clean air and water. Florida is Florida because of our beaches and rivers, forest and springs. As governor, Gwen will fight to protect our natural treasures for generations to come.”

FDP Committee on Clubs Chair Beth McMillen said: “Florida’s environment is vital to our very way of life in this state — and no candidate understands that better than Gwen Graham. After watching Gwen rally the Florida delegation to restore the Apalachicola Bay and spend a Workday highlighting the threat of algae in our waters, I know Gwen will fight to save the Indian River Lagoon and all of Florida’s natural treasures.”

The list of new endorsements also includes:

– Former Florida Young Democrats Treasurer Andrew Bell

– Brevard County Democratic Veterans Caucus Chair John Frazier

– Former Florida Young Democrats President Shannon Love

– State Committeeman John Parker

– Democratic Progressive Caucus founding member and former Wakulla DEC Chair Rachel Pienta

– American Muslim Democratic Caucus Miami-Dade Regional Director Duysevi “Sevi” Miyar

 

Andrew Gillum pledges major response on heroin/opioid crisis

Saying that Gov. Rick Scott has done little to address Florida’s opioid crisis compared with how counties and other states are responding, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum pledged Thursday to make it a major effort.

Gillum, mayor of Tallahassee, released a statement that offers several initiatives he said he will undertake if elected to take on a drug crisis that reportedly is killing 14 Floridians a day, 25 percent more drug deaths than the peak of the opiate pill crisis of a few years ago.

“Rick Scott’s devastating inaction on opioid abuse led to a state emergency, but even then, his response has been totally inadequate,”  Gillum stated in a news release. “Once again, Florida has fallen behind other states in responding to a crisis.”

Gillum faces Winter Park developer Chris King and former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee for the 2018 Democratic nomination to run for governor. The leading Republican in the race so far is Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

Gillum pledged to create a statewide task force, much like those set up in a number of Florida cities and counties including Orange County, and in 18 other states battling the heroin and related drug epidemic. Among other places with such task forces are Miami-Dade and Duval counties and the cities of Ocala, and Coral Springs.

He also proposed working with the Florida Legislature to create special opioid intervention courts much like one in Buffalo, N.Y., which would use accelerated hearings, daily accountability, and strict curfews to “reduce recidivism and save lives.”

And he pledged to press lawmakers to restore state mental health and substance abuse treatment funding, while working with Florida’s congressional delegation to secure current and additional federal funding.

“By establishing a statewide task force, we can learn from those most affected by opioid abuse and trafficking. We can direct resources exactly where they need to go. We can offer those struggling with addiction a pathway to recovery instead of prison. We can fund mental health like the priority it should be. And we can end this dark chapter hurting Floridians,” Gillum stated in the release.

Democratic state Sen. Jeff Clemons of Lake Worth, who earlier endorsed Gillum, seconded Gillum’s proposals.

“Our governor has been quick to proclaim emergencies over Zika and wildfires, but slow to react to an epidemic that killed 4,000 Floridians last year,” Clemons stated in the release. “Gillum’s proposals will focus energy, resources, and expertise into stopping this crisis. These are things our current governor should have already done.”

 

Gwen Graham now taking on Adam Putnam over drilling

Democratic candidate for governor Gwen Graham is now making offshore drilling an issue in the race, calling out Republican candidate Adam Putnam for not opposing President Donald Trump‘s efforts “to expand drilling off Florida’s beaches.”

“Representing the Gulf Coast in Congress, I saw the long-lasting negative effects the BP oil spill had on our state’s economy,” she said in a statement. Graham represented the state’s 2nd Congressional District in 2015–17. 

It cost us jobs and hurt real Floridians,” she said. “Can you imagine a spill closer to our coasts? Banning drilling off our beaches is vital to our military, economy, and environment.

“Drilling will only benefit oil companies and Wall Street. Every Floridian, regardless of party, has a responsibility to speak out against Trump’s dangerous proposal.”

Here’s the rest of her release:

A report in Tuesday’s Tampa Bay Times highlighted the military’s opposition to drilling off Florida’s coasts, citing a letter from Air Force Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson[, a Democrat].

Goldfein wrote that the Air Force needs the certainty of a drilling ban to guarantee it can carry out its testing and training missions in the Gulf of Mexico.

While in Congress, Graham was the only Florida Democrat to serve on the House Armed Services Committee. She represented Tyndal Air Force Base and heard firsthand from Air Force generals and airmen who opposed drilling off Florida’s beaches.

“I was proud to stand up for our military in Congress, and, as governor, I will continue to fight for the bases and service members in Florida,” Graham said. “Open waters are vital to the Air Force’s operations. Limiting their mission could put our airmen at risk, endanger national security and cost our state jobs.”

Graham supported Nelson’s efforts to fight drilling and co-sponsored bipartisan proposals with Reps. Patrick Murphy and David Jolly to ban exploration off Florida’s beaches.

In stark contrast, Adam Putnam has flipped flopped on the issue over the course of his long career in politics.

In 2006, he led congressional Republicans in an effort to expand drilling as close as 50 miles from Florida’s beaches. And as Trump and congressional Republicans have pushed for drilling off Florida’s beaches, the gubernatorial candidate has remained silent on the issue.

“Adam Putnam shouldn’t have to wait for a poll or measure political winds to stand up to Trump. After 20 years in politics, it’s time for Putnam to put Florida first and oppose any drilling off our beaches, once and for all,” Graham said.

Bob White wants to give GOP voters an alternative in governor’s race

For Florida Republicans unsure who to support for governor in 2018, Bob White wants to give them a staunchly conservative alternative.

One might add ‘libertarian’ as well: White chairs the Republican Liberty Caucus of Florida, which is “dedicated to working within the Republican Party to advance the principles of individual rights, limited government and free markets,” its website says.

The Florida GOP has occupied the Governor’s Mansion for nearly two decades. Several candidates — both officially and unofficially — hope to keep it that way:

— Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam has more than $11 million cash-on-hand for his run and is the acknowledged front-runner.

— State Sen. Jack Latvala is all but in the race, crisscrossing the state to accept awards and gather contributions.

— There’s also talk of U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis joining the field, while House Speaker Richard Corcoran says he won’t announce his 2018 ambitions until next year, but he continues to dominate the headlines and raise beaucoup bucks for his political committee.

So where does White fit into all of this?

The 60-year-old Suntree resident (that’s in Brevard County) has become another official candidate in the 2018 sweepstakes.

White says that, in a divided field, many Republican primary voters don’t want the “same old.” That, he believes, makes him a serious player.

“I’m predicting that somebody’s going to win the Republican primary with less than 30 percent of the vote,” he said Friday in Tampa. “And that means anything can happen. So we just gotta find a way to organize the grassroots to get them motivated to get out there and help us.”

Yes, White is optimistic. But he’s also angry about some injustices. And as anyone who runs such a quixotic campaign must be, he’s also an optimist.

Rock-solid conservative on issues like abortion, Medicaid expansion, and the escalating national debt, his platform is enacting serious campaign finance reform. That’s not something you’re likely to hear from political insiders Putnam, Latvala or Corcoran.

“I’m not going to be one of the big money candidates in this race, and that’s intentional,” he said. White is focusing on running against dark money and special interest contributions that he believes are fundamentally destroying the voice of the people in Florida’s legislative process.

“We’ve got to find a way to make that message, to get that message out because it resonates everywhere we go, every person we talk to about that issue agrees with us 100 percent and they become very fast supporters of ours,” he said.

White was speaking in a small studio at WMNF radio in Tampa, part of a local media blitz that included interviews with other radio and TV stations in the region as he begins the slog of a statewide campaign with virtually no name recognition (outside of the confines of the Liberty Caucus, which has about 1,500 members statewide).

While Putnam remains the big dog in the race, White said the Lakeland native is extremely vulnerable as the living definition of a “career politician” (the soon-to-turn 43-year-old Putnam has served in politics literally half his life).

Putnam is also vulnerable on some key votes during his tenure in Congress that he says will be fresh meat for attack from all other potential candidates. “It is going to be very difficult for him,” White predicts.

White admires Corcoran (who has accepted an invitation to speak at a Liberty Caucus’ Constitution Day Dinner event in September), but slams the Speaker as being somewhat hypocritical in declaring victory over Gov. Rick Scott in the Session-long battle to defund Enterprise Florida, the public-private state agency that the governor said was crucial to retain to recruit companies to come to Florida.

After it was all said and done, the Florida Legislature ended up funding $85 million this year to create what is known as the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund within the Department of Economic Opportunity.

The fund will finance projects that fit broad criteria to help targeted industries: rural infrastructure, transportation projects for local governments and individual training programs at state colleges and technical schools. There are no restrictions on how to disperse grant money, except that it “shall not be used for the exclusive benefit of any single company, corporation, or business entity.”

Nothing in the legislation requires an audit. There are no application requirements, no job metrics and no mandate that the project show it is developing jobs.

“Richard Corcoran was actually against corporate welfare until he was for corporate welfare,” quipped White in evaluating what went down with Enterprise Florida this year. He said the new law essentially creates a Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) for the entire state of Florida, “with an $85 million budget, and a board of directors of one.”

White supported Rand Paul for president last year, but said Donald Trump had done a good job in his first six months in office, notwithstanding his present coverage.

“I would prefer it if he would just lighten up on the tweets if would stop personalizing it as much as he is. He needs to be I think to a certain extent, he needs … to raise the level of the debate on a lot of these issues  and not take the bait that’s being put out there, but he’s got his own personality, he’s got his own way of doing business, he’s going to have to continue to do his own thing.”

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