Gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine maintained his huge fundraising lead in the Democratic Primary with another $1 million raised last month between his campaign and committee accounts.
“In a big state like Florida, with over 20 million residents and ten media markets, resources are a key benchmark for running a successful statewide campaign. In his first month as a declared candidate for Governor, Philip Levine has shown he will aggressively meet those benchmarks,” senior adviser Christian Ulvert said in a press release.
“With this level of support, in the months ahead, we are confident that we will have ample resources to take Philip’s progressive vision for Florida’s future directly to voters in all 67 counties, from the Panhandle down to the Keys. Florida Democrats need a candidate with a vision and mission to do the right thing by getting things done, and Philip Levine is well-positioned to earn the support of Democratic voters in the coming months.”
Levine hadn’t uploaded his November finance report to the Florida Division of Elections as of Thursday afternoon, nor had his political committee, All About Florida, though the campaign said the two accounts “brought in over $1 million in November, with over $800,000 raised by the campaign and political committee.”
The difference could be made up through checks from Levine himself, who through October had already dumped $2.8 million of his personal fortune into his committee account.
That level of funding puts him far ahead of his closest primary competitor, former congresswoman Gwen Graham, who had raised a total of $4 million by the end of October. Through the same date Winter Park businessman Chris King had raised $2.7 million and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum had $1.6 million in total fundraising.
One of the few who could have financially overshadowed him in the primary race, Orlando attorney John Morgan, announced the day after Thanksgiving that he wouldn’t run for governor as a Democrat.
Still, Levine is far behind Republican front runner Adam Putnam, who had raised more than $20 million by the end of October with nearly $14.7 million in the bank.
The harshest exchange of the 2018 governor’s race thus far between a Democrat and a Republican just occurred as Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum called Republican candidate Adam Putnam “racist” Thursday, responding to Putnam’s tweet about their policy dispute over undocumented residents and sanctuaries.
“Half true & all racist is nothing to be proud of, Commissioner,” Gillum tweeted Thursday afternoon. “I’m proud to stand up for all people – precisely what Floridians expect of their leaders.”
Gillum’s campaign put out a news release saying the tweet was “In response to an unprovoked and untrue attack by Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, the GOP’s gubernatorial frontrunner, referring to a tweet Putnam had posted about a half-hour before Gillum responded.
“Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum made no apologies for standing up for immigrants and all Floridians,” the release added.
The exchange was carried out largely by Twitter, but it has its roots in Gillum’s and Putnam’s positions on undocumented residents and whether cities, or the state of Florida, should essentially act as sanctuaries for them by declining to work with federal authorities to identify and detain them.
Putnam’s campaign responded by suggesting that Gillum wants to make one side of the policy dispute the racist side.
“It is not racist to want to stop the flow of illegal immigrants. It is Adam Putnam’s goal to keep Floridians safe from criminals, particularly those who are in our country illegally, like the person who shot Kate Steinle,” Amanda Bevis, spokesperson for Adam Putnam, said in a written statement.
A new poll from St. Leo University found Gov. Rick Scott has surpassed U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup in for Nelson’s seat in 2018.
The poll, conducted online between Nov. 19 and Nov. 24, showed Scott with a double-digit lead over Nelson in the matchup, 42-32, with 8 percent preferring another candidate and 18 percent undecided.
Eight months ago Nelson held a 5-point lead over Scott, 39-34, and in September the Scott took a slim 35-33 lead.
Scott, a Republican, has not formally entered the race for U.S. Senate, but he is termed-out as governor and is almost sure to challenge Nelson, a Democrat, in his campaign for a fourth term next year.
“We’re still almost a year out from the 2018 elections, but Rick Scott is in the best position he’s been in yet against incumbent Bill Nelson,” said polling institute director Frank Orlando. “It will be interesting to see if he can maintain this support while his party is hurting electorally throughout the country.”
Scott has also made considerable strides over the last two months when it comes to voters’ perception of his job performance.
Back in March, about 56 percent of Florida voters said they had a “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” view of the second-term governor, while about 39 percent said they viewed Scott, a Republican, in a “somewhat unfavorable” or “not at all favorable” light.
Last month, the positive view climbed to about 61 percent while the negatives had dwindled to about 31 percent. The other 8 percent said they were unsure how they felt about Scott.
The poll also touched on the leading candidates to replace Scott in the governor’s mansion, though the bulk of the survey was conducted when Orlando attorney John Morgan was still considering a run in the Democratic Primary.
Among all voters lumped together — Republicans, Democrats and independents — Morgan again came out on top with 24 percent support, followed by Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam at just under 19 percent.
About 53 percent of Democratic voters said they were unsure, leaving the race wide open for fellow Democratic candidates Andrew Gillum (6 percent), Orlando-area businessman Chris King (3 percent) and Miami Beach Mayor Phil Levine (2 percent).
“No one has been able to rally establishment support and win the invisible primary. With some uncertainty removed as Morgan took himself out of contention, the process of winnowing the field might finally begin in earnest,” Orlando said.
Putnam, who has gone gangbusters on the fundraising trail, leads the Republican field with 15 percent support, though nearly 63 percent of GOP respondents were unsure.
U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, not yet a candidate,was second-place among named options at 4.8 percent, followed by House Speaker Richard Corcoran and embroiled Clearwater Sen.Jack Latvala, both with under 3 percent support.
“Adam Putnam isn’t in an insurmountable position, but he’s at least the leader in the clubhouse,” Orlando said. “Other prominent GOPers are busy fulfilling the duties of their office or in the news for the wrong reasons. It’s difficult to compare Putnam against Morgan at this point, as our results show that voters would still prefer someone else in the governor’s mansion.”
The poll took in responses from 500 Florida voters — including 181 Democrats and 166 Republicans — and has a 4.5 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level. More detailed information on the poll’s methodology and findings can be found on the St. Leo University polling website.
Thursday evening saw Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam address around 400 people at a ranch deep on Jacksonville’s Westside.
The speech was familiar, by and large, though a new phrasing crept in: a reference to “corruption and predation and harassment.”
Putnam didn’t elaborate on those themes on the mic, even as his remarks came just hours after Gov. Rick Scottdeemed scandal-scarred Sen. Jack Latvala a “distraction.”
“It is obvious that Senator Latvala remaining in the Senate is a distraction. It seems that everyone in Tallahassee is talking about this and not how to make Florida better … As I have said all along, if these allegations are true, he must resign immediately,” Scott said.
We asked Putnam for his take, and it very much aligns with that of the Governor.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that the legislative business has slowed to a crawl as they’ve struggled to deal with multiple complaints. And no woman should have to endure the type of treatment that has been alleged in this situation. And if it’s true, he needs to go,” Putnam told Florida Politics.
A month ago, as the first reportage of the charges against Latvala — still an opponent in the Gubernatorial race, even as at least one regional campaign staffer staff has been let go — broke, Putnam was reluctant to address them.
Since then, more particulars have come out, including one of Latvala’s accusers making her claims public. The issue has not gone away, and the investigation of Latvala churns on even as the Legislative Session nears commencement.
Putnam, the clear frontrunner on the Republican side of the Governor’s race, is not making Latvala’s travails the focus of his stump speech.
However, it’s clear that he’s become more comfortable discussing Latvala’s situation since news of it broke at the end of October.
And should the matter linger as an active issue into December and beyond, expect Putnam and others to be ever more direct in their takes.
Graham’s endorsement of the legislation, which is sponsored by Miami Republican U.S. Rep Carlos Curbelo, is her way of following through on what she described as her “fierce criticism” of the Trump administration’s decision last week to end TPS for the Haitians who sought refuge to the U.S. following the 2010 earthquake.
“Donald Trump lied to Florida’s Haitian community on the campaign trail and stabbed them in the back,” Graham said in a release, referring to Trump’s 2016 promise to support the community. “Haitian Floridians have contributed to our economy, lived in our communities and enriched our state.”
Graham, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former congresswoman, didn’t shy away from attacking current Gov. Rick Scott for being silent on the issue in the wake of the Trump administration’s announcement last week.
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who is a 2018 Republican gubernatorial candidate, and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who is highly anticipated to announce his candidacy after the 2018 Session, also were criticized by Graham.
“This isn’t a Republican or Democratic issue — this is about who we are as Floridians,” Graham said. “Do our state’s elected officials have the courage to speak out against Trump or will they turn another blind eye as he harms Floridians and our state?”
She added that she hopes the Republican trifecta joins her and the South Florida delegation consisting of U.S. Republican Reps. Mario Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Democratic Reps. Alcee Hastings, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Frederica Wilson, who all back the bill.
Thursday is the last day of the highly active, deadly and destructive 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, but Floridians will feel its impact for years.
Politicians are still scrambling to determine how much of the next state budget will be dedicated to covering losses that may or may not be paid by the federal government.
The massive hit from Hurricane Irma caused direct physical and emotional impacts in Florida, and ripples continue to come ashore as thousands of people flee Hurricane Maria’s devastation in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Lawmakers are also looking at regulatory changes for nursing homes and debris-removal companies, as well as changes dealing with issues such as evacuation lanes, shelters and a potential state fuel reserve.
Gov. Rick Scott, who was a constantly visible face before and after Irma struck, said Monday while in Tampa that he’d like to boost the availability of propane for generators before the 2018 storm season.
“You always learn something,” Scott said. “Everybody had generators. This last time we started running low on propane. I want to make sure that doesn’t happen again. But everyone did a good job. Highway safety, we kept the fuel going.”
Visit Florida spent $5 million to tell potential tourists that the state quickly reopened after Hurricane Irma, even as scars from the September storm remain etched across agricultural fields and the Florida Keys.
Meanwhile, 72 deaths in Florida are currently attributed to the Irma, according to reports supplied by county medical examiners to the state Division of Emergency Management.
The fatalities include 14 cases involving carbon monoxide, eight drownings, four electrocutions and 14 incidents involving blunt-force injuries. Deaths occurred statewide, with six in the Florida Keys, five in Duval County and even two in Leon County, which sustained relatively little damage from Irma compared to other parts of the state.
The numbers don’t include 14 deaths of residents of a Broward County nursing home — 12 were recently ruled homicides — that have caused Scott to push for new rules requiring nursing homes and assisted-living facilities to have emergency generators.
Members of the House Select Committee on Hurricane Response and Preparedness will meet Monday and discuss potential storm-related recommendations for the 2018 Legislative Session, which starts in January. Among the possibilities are legislation about housing, agriculture tax relief, hardening for emergency-operations centers and management of shelters.
“Obviously, there will be short-term things that need to be taken care of in the immediate, upcoming Session,” committee Chairwoman Jeanette Nunez, a Miami Republican, said. “And then, as we saw back in (Hurricane) Andrew, or during the ’04-’05 season, Legislatures will deal with this issue for years to come.”
Hurricane Hermine in 2016 was Florida’s first direct hit from a hurricane in more than a decade. But Irma, which made landfall Sept. 10 in Monroe and Collier counties and traveled up the state, was far more destructive.
Mark Wool, the warning coordination meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Tallahassee office, called 2017 the busiest for the Atlantic since 2005.
“We didn’t have any things working against tropical cyclone development like in recent years,” Wool said. “There was no El Nino in effect, which tends to suppress things. Didn’t see a lot of dust coming off Africa. We had a very warm ocean and the depth of the warm water was quite large. And all of those things tend to fuel development of a lot of storms.”
Emergency-management officials each year stress preparing for hurricanes. But Wool said the flatness of Florida requires additional vigilance by coastal communities against flooding, as the state is also experiencing a period of rising sea levels.
“Parts of South Beach are flooding now without any storms. Blue skies, tidal flooding, the king tides,” Wool said. “We’ve seen times in the historic record where we’ve had large fluctuations in sea level, and we’re certainly on the upswing.”
As of Nov. 13, more than 830,000 property owners across the state had filed claims for $5.88 billion in insured losses from Irma, which was one of four storms — Tropical Storm Emily, Irma, Hurricane Nate and Tropical Storm Philippe — that had a direct impact on the state during the six-month hurricane season that closes Thursday.
Emily in early August made landfall on Anna Maria Island and quickly was downgraded to a tropical depression. Nate brushed the western Panhandle on Oct. 8 as the center of the storm came ashore near Biloxi, Miss. Philippe brought rain and couple of tornadoes to the Southern part of the state as it made landfall Oct. 29 with 45 mph winds in Southwest Florida.
Overall, there were 17 named storms this year. The most devastation came from Harvey’s Aug. 26 landfall in Texas, Irma’s double landfall and run-up of Florida starting Sept. 10, and Maria’s destruction of utilities and other infrastructure across Puerto Rico on Sept. 20.
While spinning in the Atlantic, Irma reached maximum sustained winds of 185 mph, a pace it held for a record 37 consecutive-hours. Nate also set a record in October for the fastest forward motion recorded for a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.
“We certainly did establish some records,” Wool said. “Harvey’s rainfall established a new rainfall record for one system in the United States. I think some areas had 60 inches of rains, which was phenomenal.”
Irma also set new benchmarks for evacuees — an estimated 6.5 million people left their homes in advance of the storm — and power outages and restoration crews. Florida Power & Light, for example, reported 90 percent of its customers — about 10 million people — were without power on average 2.3 days.
The agriculture industry has put a preliminary estimate of $2.5 billion on its losses from the storm.
However, Florida leaders have yet to convince the White House and Congress to include an estimated $761 million in losses to the citrus industry in a series of disaster-relief packages this year.
State Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam again implored Florida’s congressional delegation on Tuesday to support U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney‘s proposal to add $1.5 billion for Florida’s agricultural industry to a $44 billion disaster-relief request sent to Congress on Nov. 17 by the White House Office of Management and Budget.
While awaiting federal assistance, Scott authorized a $25 million interest-free loan program for citrus farmers.
Visit Florida, meanwhile, directed $5 million from its tourism budget for a special post-Irma marketing campaign, and Scott has requested lawmakers boost Visit Florida’s marketing dollars from $75 million in the current year to $100 million because of the need to have post-disaster marketing money readily available.
Despite the state saying tourism numbers continue to climb, hotels remain closed in parts of the Keys, where housing issues have grown for workers after Irma devastated a number of areas outside of Key West.
The Islamorada Resort Company, which hired more than 500 construction workers to repair storm damage at four locations on the islands, is reopening the first of the four on Dec. 15 and the second a month later.
“We are thrilled to welcome guests back to our slice of paradise,” said Eddie Sipple, the company’s area general manager.
Gubernatorial hopeful Adam Putnam is serving up the BBQ and the equally slow-roasted Florida exceptionalism stump speech Thursday in Jacksonville.
The meet-and-greet — not “meat and greet” — event with the Agriculture Commissioner kicks off at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, and promises Putnam will “discuss his vision for Florida’s future and how he’ll always put Florida First.”
Putnam has campaigned on a monthly basis in Jacksonville’s media market, but has avoided the city limits until this event, which is at the Diamond-D Ranch near U.S. 301 on the western edge of the county.
Putnam holds a fundraising advantage over every other declared candidate in the race. Between his committee and campaign accounts, he had over $14.5 million cash on hand at the end of October.
This event will serve as a gauge of Putnam’s support.
If Putnam packs the ranch at rush hour on a Thursday, it may mean he has a lock on Northeast Florida.
In advance of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner AdamPutnam and Attorney General PamBondi offered shopping tips to help consumers avoid scams.
Putnam’s office says to keep the following tips in mind while shopping on Black Friday:
— Some retailers may inflate prices ahead of Black Friday to create the illusion of a drastic price cut. Research the regular retail price of items to check how much will actually be saved.
— Price matching policies may be suspended by some retailers between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
— Be wary of unexpected emails that claim to contain coupons with significant discounts and ask for personal information. Don’t click on any suspicious links. These may contain malware to compromise your identity.
— Read the fine print at the bottom of sales ads, as sales may be limited to certain time periods, brands or quantities.
His office also provided advice for Cyber Monday:
— Avoid websites with odd or incorrect spellings of legitimate companies. Domain names that include hyphens are often red flags.
— Beware of bogus websites promising unbelievable deals. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
— Be wary of “delivery failure” or “order confirmation” emails for items you did not order. These may be used to gain a consumer’s personal information.
— Use a credit card for online orders. It is easier to dispute and mediate fraudulent charges with a credit card than a debit card.
— Use strong passwords for credit cards and bank accounts.
Bondi’s office released the 2017 Holiday Consumer Protection Guide, which “provides product safety information and tips to help consumers enjoy a safer and more satisfying holiday shopping experience.”
Consumers can find online purchasing tips and advice for avoiding charity scams. Also, the guide includes a list of items recalled by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission in the past year, specifically focusing on children’s toys and items that pose a particular risk to kids and teens.
Bondi also offered tips to protect financial information when purchasing online:
— Pay with a credit card rather than a debit card.
— Ensure the browser is using a secure connection.
— Contact debit and credit card account providers to see if the providers offer one-time card numbers to be used for online transactions.
— Keep receipts and be sure to understand retailers’ return policies and periods so consumers can return any unwanted items in a timely manner and get a full refund.
The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ consumer protection and information hotline is 1-800-HELP-FLA (435-7352) or, for Spanish speakers, 1-800-FL-AYUDA (352-9832). For consumer protection information and resources, go to FloridaConsumerHelp.com.
Bondi’s Citizens Services hotline is at 866-9-NO-SCAM or go to MyFloridaLegal.com. The link to her 2017 Holiday Consumer Protection Guide is here.
A compilation of Thanksgiving message from Florida’s elected officials and politicians:
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, via Twitter:
“Grace and I wish everyone a wonderful #Thanksgiving. And special thanks to all the brave men and women serving in our military – both here and overseas – who sacrifice so much to keep the rest of us safe. We are ALL thankful for your service!”
Gov. Rick Scott:
“As another great year comes to a close, I am so thankful for my family, my wife, Ann, our wonderful daughters, Allison and Jordan and six beautiful grandchildren. I am also so honored and thankful to have the incredible opportunity each and every day to work for Florida families and fight to make our state the best place in the nation to get a great job, receive a top-notch education and live in a safe community. I wish every Florida family a safe and happy Thanksgiving.”
Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis:
“Gathering around my family’s table each year, I’m reminded of the many reasons to be grateful. I’m reminded of our firefighter community, and the men and women who protect our country. Both sacrifice time with their families to keep us safe while we spend time with ours.
“This year, I’m incredibly thankful to serve this great state as your CFO and State Fire Marshal. Thanksgiving marks the start of the season of giving. My hope is that this spirit will remain in our hearts all year long.”
Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum:
There are so many things I’m grateful for in my life. In May, my wife and I welcomed our third child, Davis, and our twins Caroline and Jackson continue to make us proud as they grow and learn their place in the world. I’m truly blessed with a house of love. … I’m grateful for the grace of the people of Tallahassee, and people all across Florida. On this journey, we’ve had a chance to meet thousands of people who have shared their stories of triumph, their big dreams, and their hopes for their children. They’ve given us strength and hope that our state’s best days are still ahead of us. … And I’m grateful for the richness of our experience, especially during trying times. Our collective strength far outweighs the difficulties we might face, and I’ve never been more convinced of that than I am today.
Gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham:
“While there will always be more work to accomplish and more challenges to meet, this Thanksgiving I am reflecting on how fortunate we are to live in America and how thankful I am for the people of this great state. Florida is blessed with amazing beaches and springs, live oaks and palm trees, wild turkeys and orange groves — but our greatest blessing is each other, our fellow Floridians.”
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, on what he’s faithful for:
“Melissa and the kids. My faith. The resilience of this state. We’ve faced so many challenges this year, and there are many more ahead in our future. But the people of Florida prove time and time again that they can withstand anything that comes our way.”
Sen. Thad Altman, via Twitter:
“Thankful every day for God, my Family, our Veterans, our Active Military men and women, and First Responders who serve and protect this great nation including on Thanksgiving Day.”
Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto:
“During this Thanksgiving season, I am reminded of all we have to be grateful for. First and foremost, as a mother, I am thankful to have the ability to spend this holiday with my son Austin and daughter Gabriella. Also, I am thankful that you have placed your trust in me to serve on your behalf in the Florida Senate. It is truly an honor to serve beautiful Southwest Florida. … In the United States of America we have a great number of things to be thankful for, but paramount among them are the service members who sacrifice greatly to protect our freedom. Let us remember and thank our servicemen and women during this season. … Lastly, this Thanksgiving I hope we can all take time to reflect on the blessings in our lives and be sure to keep in mind the less fortunate in our community. Let us continue to look to the future with hope and gratitude in our hearts, and a love for all humankind.”
Sen. Jim Boyd:
“The first Thanksgiving was in 1621 and was a three day long feast celebrating the pilgrims coming to the New World in search of liberty. Today, we give thanks that we’ve been able to maintain liberty on this continent since the pilgrims landed here 396 years ago.”
Sen. Jeff Brandes:
“This year has given me so much to be thankful for.
“First and foremost, I am incredibly grateful for my wife and children. Natalie and I added a fourth child to our family this year, and eight-year-old Lizzie is already proving she can hold her own amongst her new siblings. We are relishing this time as we get to know her and have learned that she loves swimming, chicken nuggets, and playing Candy Crush (no English required). I am blessed to now say we now make dinner reservations as the Brandes party of six.
“I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to serve the hardworking taxpayers of District 24. I recognize the special trust placed in me to represent our district in the Florida Senate and truly appreciate their thoughts and advocacy as we work together to build a stronger community.
“Finally, I want to say I am especially thankful to my colleagues in the Florida House. Last year, on the sixtieth day of Session, I found myself needing a miracle to pass SB 590, a bill to help unmarried, non-custodial parents establish a path to see their children. The bill had stalled in the House, and the rules needed to be waived in order to hear it (a situation that usually kills the legislation). Leader [Janet] Cruz (D) and Rep. [Lori] Berman (D) graciously agreed to not object and allow the bill to be both read and voted on that final day of Session. This is a gesture that I will not forget as it allowed a day sixty legislative miracle to happen.
“In this all too often partisan world, I am thankful for the relationships that allow us to look beyond party and to extend kindness and trust that so together we can make Florida a better place to live.”
Sen. Denise Grimsley:
I hope you have a great Thanksgiving full of family, friends, and food! … Without the hard work of our farmers and ranchers, Thanksgiving meals wouldn’t be possible. While we’re all thankful for so much this year, I am especially thankful for our Florida Agricultural community. … God bless you, and have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Sen. Jack Latvala:
“As we gather with family and friends during this Thanksgiving holiday, I have a lot to be thankful for. I am grateful for my family. They have been my rock, especially during these past few weeks. I’m also thankful for my friends whose support has lifted me up.
“We are fortunate to live in a free country and an incredibly dynamic state. I’m thankful for the men and women who protect our freedom and keep us safe. To our military men and women, I say thank you. To law enforcement, firefighters, and other first responders — I am grateful not only for your support, but the sacrifice you make on a daily basis.
“As you spend time with loved ones over these next few days, remember the things that make this country the greatest of all countries. The spirit of the original European settlers who made great sacrifice to come here still exists today. This Thanksgiving is a great time to remember that America is still a beacon of hope for many around the world.
“Have a great time with friends and family. I will. We all have many reasons to be thankful.”
House Speaker Richard Corcoran:
Rep. Lori Berman:
Rep. Danny Burgess:
“I’m thankful for the men and women in uniform who are away from their families this holiday season to ensure I can be with mine.”
Rep. Bob Cortes:
“I am thankful for a new day for another chance at doing right to others. To family, friends and everyone else that makes our lives complete. I am also thankful that even though it has been a rough year full of natural disasters, it has brought us all together with renewed compassion. Thankful for the opportunity to serve and being able to help my fellow Puerto Ricans in their time of need.
“Finally, thankful to live in a free country and enjoy what many in other parts of the world many people are denied.”
Rep. Janet Cruz:
“I’m thankful that my 83-year-old mother, who’s still working, taught me the value of a solid work ethic. I’m proud of my reputation … known as a workhorse, not a show horse. Thanks, Mom! … I’m thankful for a family that fully supports my fascinating yet frustrating service as a Legislator. Nothing better than feeling loved by my husband Steve (the good doctor and smartest all-around man in the WORLD) daughter Ana Cruz (the brilliantly successful redhead at Ballard Partners) and son Nick Cruz (eat at Big Ray’s which will someday contribute to my nursing home fund) … I’m thankful for every American soldier. These brave men and women risk their lives for my freedom … they have never met me, yet they are willing to die for my freedom. Could never thank them enough. … I’m thankful for our teachers in Florida. They are underpaid and often underappreciated, yet they continue to educate and are sometimes the only positive influence in a child’s life. Blessed are the teachers! … I’m thankful for Maddie, Peter, Tess, Patrick, Maizy, and Julian who are my delightful grandchildren. They are living proof that things will be alright once I’m gone. … I’m thankful for a supportive staff in Tampa and Tallahassee make me look good. The taxpayers certainly get their money’s worth here!”
Rep. Dane Eagle:
“My staff and I wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful start to the holiday season. As we enjoy this time with our loved ones, let’s remember those who cannot be with their own families as they protect us and defend our freedom. We have many reasons to be thankful. Happy Thanksgiving!”
Rep. Randy Fine:
“My wife, Wendy, for being a great partner and friend, and for giving us our two young sons, Jacob and David. Every moment I get to spend with them is a blessing. I’m particularly grateful to Wendy this year for the all solo duties she has had to handle when I’ve been in Tallahassee.”
Rep. Jason Fischer:
“Thanksgiving is upon us again, and it offers us all a chance to reflect and show our gratitude for life’s many blessings. And blessed we all are! The Fischer family invites you all to join us as pray a special blessing for our armed service personnel and their families as they work to keep us safe at home and abroad.”
Rep. Bill Hager:
“As you prepare to sit down with your family and friends for a festive holiday meal, I want to take a moment to thank you. Thank you for allowing me to serve you in the Florida House of Representatives. I am privileged to represent District 89 in Tallahassee, and it is only possible because of the honor you have bestowed upon me. Happy Thanksgiving!”
Rep. Blaise Ingoglia:
Rep. Wengay “Newt” Newton:
Rep. Chris Sprowls:
“I’m thankful that I get to experience childhood again through the eyes of our two little boys. Every day brings another gift.”
Rep. Frank White:
“This week we celebrate and give thanks for the many blessings in our lives and as a nation. I’m giving thanks for my family, friends, faith and community. I am blessed every day by my lovely wife, Stephanie, and my three boys Henry, Clayton, and Wesley. In fact, these overwhelming blessings in my life were my primary motivation for entering public service. My faith teaches that to whom much has been given, much is expected. Giving back to my community in public service with your support has been the honor of a lifetime. … I wish you all a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving!”
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry:
“I’m thankful for my wife Molly, my kids Boyd, Brooke & Bridget, and for the opportunity to serve the city I love.”
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman:
“I am thankful for quite a bit this year, including my family, friends, and good health. The opportunity to serve the city and people I love for another four years is also at the top of my list. Thank you for believing in me and for giving me a chance to earn your support if I didn’t have it in this past election. Have a happy Thanksgiving and please take a moment to take stock of your blessings. Please also keep St. Pete’s first responders and personnel in your thoughts, for many of them are not able to enjoy Thanksgiving with their loved ones. Thank you, St. Pete.”
Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano:
“As a public servant, I am blessed and thankful to have the opportunity to continue to serve the people of Pasco County and work with individuals at our Tax Collectors office who are truly second to none. Thankful and blessed to have been given the means allowing me to help those less fortunate than us and so I may give back to our community in some small way. God bless!”
Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore:
Chief Financial Officer candidate Jeremy Ring:
Pinellas County Republican Party Chair and House District 66 candidate Nick DiCeglie:
“Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you’re enjoying a tasty home cooked meal this week in the company of family and friends.
“On this Thanksgiving, and every day, I thank God for the many blessings he has bestowed upon me, especially my loving and talented wife Erica, and my kids Livia and Carlo. I’m also thankful for my family business, Solar Sanitation, which for 37 years has provided the essential service of trash collection to the residents and businesses of Pinellas County.
“This year I am also thankful for the opportunity to run as a candidate for Florida House, District 66. For more than 20 years, Indian Rocks Beach has been where Erica and I have decided to raise our children and enjoy the breathtaking sunsets in the best place to live, work and play.
“Happy Thanksgiving from the DiCeglie family to yours.”
Picking up ingredients for your family’s favorite Thanksgiving dishes locally can be so easy that we sometimes take for granted our ranchers’ and farmers’ hard work to provide the food we all rely on.
Agriculture has been and will continue to be the cornerstone of society — it is the industry that provides for one of our most basic needs.
Some elements of agriculture have remained unchanged over centuries while others have changed radically with scientific and technological advancements.
Agriculture is not for the faint of heart. It has always drawn people who are stubborn, resilient, courageous and love the land that gives the bounty. Ranchers and farmers must embody these traits to weather whatever Mother Nature throws their way, whether it’s too much rain, too little rain, or an invasive pest or disease.
Agriculture is both robust and fragile, and it requires commitment and adaptability. Farmers have faced these challenges for hundreds of years, and they face them today.
While the heat, hard work and vagaries of nature haven’t been automated, agriculture today is high tech. Innovative ranchers, farmers and researchers are finding ways to do more with less. As our population soars and the demands for land and water increase, our ranchers and farmers are turning to science to decrease inputs and increase yields.
It’s not Old McDonald’s Farm anymore. Florida’s 47,000 farms are sophisticated operations that implement cutting-edge technology and constantly evaluate the results.
With a recent report projecting that by 2070 Florida will have 15 million new residents, the stress on our resources will only grow. As always Florida’s farmers and ranchers will continue to be leaders in conservation and innovation ensuring that they are able to produce the abundant food and fiber we depend on as a state and nation while being good stewards of the resources entrusted to them.
As you gather with your family and loved ones this Thanksgiving, let’s all be grateful for our dedicated ranchers and farmers who work day in and day out to produce our safe, affordable and abundant food.
And when you sit down to enjoy your “Fresh From Florida” meal, remember that it all began on a farm.
Adam Putnam is Florida Commissioner of Agriculture.