Adam Putnam – Page 7 – Florida Politics

Speaking of dogs … Philip Levine should be more careful before blasting Adam Putnam

Democratic candidate for Governor Philip Levine blasted his Republican opponent, Adam Putnam, for scheduling a fundraiser at the home of a man who a decade ago shot two dogs that wandered into a pasture.

While murdering dogs is abhorrent, the former mayor of Miami Beach probably should have thought twice before attacking Putnam on the issue.

On Thursday morning, Levine tweeted: “Disgusting! Silence is not an option, @adamputnam. @HumaneSociety @peta @petallianceGO @petstrustmiami #sayfie #flapol”

After the outcry, and with little explanation, Putnam’s campaign canceled the event Thursday at the home of Christopher Comins.

Comins, an Orlando businessman, caused a stir in 2008 after a video became public showing him shooting two pet huskies that wandered into a cow pasture.

As reported by the Tampa Bay Times, a judge acquitted Comins of animal cruelty charges in 2011; he argued the property owner gave him authority to shoot the dogs to protect cattle.

It’s clear Levine respects animal welfare (a really good thing), but as Miami Beach mMayor, he was not quite as observant with his own canine companions (or the laws of Miami Beach).

According to the Miami-Dade Clerk of the Court, Levine received more than a dozen citations for various animal-related infractions, including failure to vaccinate against rabies (2011, 2013 and 2018) and failing to obtain a license for both intact and sterilized dogs (2013, 2014 and 2018).

One of the violations — failure to vaccinate — occurred in November 2013, the same month Levine was elected mayor.

The violations, 13 in all, are as follows:

— Failure to Vaccinate Animal Against Rabies (November 3, 2011)

— Failure to Obtain License Tag for Intact Dog (October 24, 2011)

— Failure to Vaccinate Animal Against Rabies; failure to obtain license tag for intact dog (January 21, 2013)

— Failure to Vaccinate Animal Against Rabies (August 19, 2013)

— Failure to Vaccinate Animal Against Rabies (November 18, 2013)

— Failure to obtain license tag for sterilized dog; failure to obtain license tag for intact dog (February 3, 2014)

— Failure to obtain license tag for sterilized dog (March 13, 2014)

— Failure to vaccinate animal against rabies (September 25, 2017)

— Failure to obtain license tag for sterilized dog (January 16, 2018)

— Failure to vaccinate animal against rabies; failure to obtain license for sterilized dog (February 5, 2018)

It is indeed praiseworthy to champion animal welfare, but it may not have been the wisest thing for Levine to tag the Humane Society (and other organizations) — especially when his own history on the subject is somewhat lax.

Joe Henderson: Publix will survive this, but Adam Putnam? We’ll see

If Adam Putnam’s campaign for Governor ultimately crashes on the rocks, historians will note the time of 8:27 p.m., July 25, 2017, as the point where it began to unravel.

That’s when he sent out a fateful tweet that was equal parts of bravado and miscalculation. It read: “The liberal media recently called me a sellout to the NRA. I’m a proud #NRASellout!”  

Putnam may have believed he was invincible at that point. He didn’t have a serious challenger looming for the Republican nomination and, well, don’t GOP candidates always win the Governor’s race in Florida?

He had money, folksy charm, name recognition, along with the perception by many that this was just his time. After serving in Congress and two terms as state Agriculture Commissioner, this fifth-generation Floridian with small-town Bartow roots seemed to have everything going his way.

But that changed on Valentine’s Day when 17 people were shot to death at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

The resulting backlash against the NRA, led by student outrage at how Florida Republicans rubber-stamp basically anything from the gun lobby, brought new and now-unwanted attention to Putnam.

Suddenly, being a “proud NRA sellout” didn’t sound like such a hot idea.

Then, the Tampa Bay Times uncorked a scoop that brought even more eyebrow-raising attention to Putnam. It reported top officials at the beloved Florida grocery chain Publix had donated more than $670,000 to Putnam in the last three years — far more support than it had given any other candidate.

Publix tried to explain it was just supporting a pro-business candidate, but a lot of people couldn’t get past “Proud NRA Sellout.”

Just a few days after that story appeared, 10 people were murdered at Santa Fe High School in Texas. That focused more attention on Publix and, by extension, Putnam.

Calls for a boycott of Publix for its support of gun-loving Putnam quickly grew loud throughout the state, and it has had an impact. The massive grocery chain, realizing potential damage to the brand, had to issue a statement to CBS.com saying it is reconsidering how to handle such matters in the future.

“We regret that some of our political contributions have led to an unintentional customer divide instead of our desire to support a growing economy in Florida,” Publix said in an email to CBS.

“As a result of this situation, we are evaluating our processes to ensure that our giving better reflects our intended desire to support a strong economy and a healthy community.”

Since all of this hit the fan, Putnam’s tweets have concentrated on mundane campaign stuff like the Newberry Watermelon Festival parade last Saturday. He hasn’t used that medium to address the controversy with Publix or the growing backlash against the NRA.

The closest he came to any of this was a tweet that said he was “saddened” by the murders at Santa Fe.

I’m sure he was, but there’s a difference between being “saddened” and being willing to be an agent of change to a culture that believes guns are as essential as food and water.

Putnam’s candidacy remains strong though, and he still bashing the so-called “liberal elite” at every opportunity. I can’t see him losing the GOP nomination to an even more strident Ron DeSantis, and Democrats have yet to prove they have a winning formula.

But it’s not the sure thing it used to look like.

When Publix starts to move an arm’s length away, you may have a problem.

Publix will survive this.

Putnam? Too soon to say.

The internet lasts forever. If you tweet it, you own it.

Rebecca McLaughlin: What Publix can learn from Chick-Fil-A about handling political activists

Publix is currently facing an issue that is increasingly prevalent in American corporations: political activism.

As the left has become more radicalized with their demands for political conformity in the public space, the presence of activist-driven campaigns has increased and become more effective. Progressive activists understand that most American corporations are meek in the face of controversy and often mistake political activism as another type of customer complaint.

The result is that American corporations are easy targets for outrage campaigns spearheaded by mostly progressive activists on a range of environmental, social and economic issues.

Last week, Publix faced criticism on social media for its support of gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam, a natural fit given that Putnam is a native of Polk County and champion of Florida business.

Part of the Publix culture is putting customers first and responding quickly to complaints about shopper experience.  Publix’s customer-driven approach is part of the magic that allows the company to be a place “where shopping is a pleasure.”

Unfortunately, the Publix approach does not work when the complaints come not from shoppers, but from political activists. The key difference is this: the customer wants a company to make good on its stated goals. An activist wants a company to change it goals.

For the purposes of this article, an “activist” is someone engaging in a political mindset as opposed to a consumer mindset. The idea that a customer can move between being a consumer and an activist is vexing for companies, but is a reality of our increasingly politically infected culture.

Back to the Publix example.

Take a look at the Twitter response that drew the attention of the media last week.

The Publix response, while genuine and true to company culture, violates the three rules every company should follow if subjected to a campaign by political activists.

First, never apologize for your political position. The best corporate example here is Chick-Fil-A. Progressive activists disdain the company for its conservative, Christian values. Chick-Fil-A, however, just keeps growing, even in places such as liberal Manhattan, because Chick-Fil-A doesn’t apologize for its views. Apologies for intentional political stances only draw media attention, attract more activists, and make companies appear less authentic.

Second, never say what your company did NOT do. In the @Publix tweets, Publix clarifies they do not support the National Rifle Association (NRA). By attempting to be unambiguous Publix actually reinforced the idea of a link between themselves and the NRA.  The resulting headline the next day in the Tampa Bay Times actually read “Publix Clarifies: We Support Adam Putnam, Not The NRA.”

By saying what the company doesn’t support, Publix issued a denial and in politics, denials look like guilt.

Third, don’t respond to activists unless the media is directly asking for a response regarding the issue. The criticism of Publix could have been limited to a fringe social media campaign had Publix opted not to respond. By issuing a response, however, Publix created a mainstream media story that probably would have otherwise gone unnoticed.

The Publix story, however, has another layer.

The @PublixHelps Twitter handle also issued a response but one that followed the rules above. Here it is below.

The @PublixHelps tweet was a great response. The tweet simply states why the company supports Putnam without a denouncement of the NRA, mention of gun violence, or denial of any kind.

Simple. Direct. Perfect.

The rise of political outrage culture will continue to create headaches for every American company engaged in any public policy issue. The political minefield can be navigated, but only if corporate marketers are able to understand the differences between the political mind and consumer mind of their customers and obey the three simple rules above.

Remember, progressives still eat at Chick-fil-A and conservatives still buy coffee at Starbucks. If your product is good, even consumers who disagree with you politically can become loyal, lifelong customers.

___

Rebecca McLaughlin is the VP of Client Relations at Strategic Digital Services where she spearheads digital strategy for an array of political and corporate clients around Florida.

Joe Henderson: Sure, young people are registering to vote, but for whom?

The New York Times reported that the number of young people registering to vote since the Parkland killings continues to, using the newspaper’s word, “accelerate.”

That trend is likely to spike upward again following Friday’s massacre at Santa Fe High School in Texas. The overriding factor for the increases obviously would seem to be gun violence in schools, and that is an issue that Democrats in Florida and elsewhere should own.

For Democrats though, there is a disturbance in the force of that narrative.

The Florida Supervisor of Elections Office shows that compared to the end of 2017, the number of registered Republicans increased by 11,065 through the end of April while the number of Democrats declined by 8,977.

It also shows an increase of 11,427 in registrations for what it calls “minor parties.”

Democrats still have more than 200,000 registered voters than Republicans statewide, but they have had that advantage forever and still lost the last five Governor’s races.

In this century, Democrats have won just one statewide legislative race — Alex Sink beat Tom Lee for CFO in 2006.

True, Dems have had some surprising special election success in unlikely places. In HD 72 in Sarasota, Democrat Margaret Good prevailed in February over Republican James Buchanan in a district Donald Trump won by 4.4 points in 2016.

And in Dade County last September, Democrat Annette Taddeo beat state Rep. Jose Felix Diaz in a special SD 40 race to fill the vacancy created when Republican Frank Artiles had to resign following a racist rant.

After those results, it looked like the predicted blue wave for Democrats would sweep over Florida in the midterms, and it still could. For that to happen though, some things have to change — and the kids will have to be the ones to make the difference.

While it’s almost impossible to predict what Trump will do next and how that will affect his popularity in November, he does seem to be better liked in Florida than most places.

A recent Florida Atlantic poll had his approval at 43 percent — not great, but better here than the national average. If that holds, it might mitigate some of the drag on other Republican candidates that Dems have been banking on.

Rick Scott poses the biggest threat of Democrat Bill Nelson’s career in the U.S. Senate.

Although Scott, once considered a darling of the National Rifle Association, helped push through a modestly tougher gun law in the wake of Parkland, but will that be enough to convince young voters that he can be trusted in Washington?

And just as important for Nelson, will those newly registered voters actually cast a ballot? Turnout is usually modest in midterm elections, even when such critical offices are at stake. That has benefitted Republicans in Florida.

The other X-factor is that “minor party” issue. Idealistic young voters often feel neither major party listens to them, and they can be attracted to the message that a candidate out of the mainstream might offer.

That’s where I think Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam has been smart. He has become a champion of expanded vocational education in the state, even to the point of ridiculing the notion that everyone should go to college as some liberal elitist plot.

I think that’s an issue that could resonate with young voters who see a job market that seems to offer them only service positions at $10 an hour.

In close races, those voters can sink the hopes of a candidate from one of the established parties.

Put another way, while major Republican candidates would love to have a big share of the youth vote, they’re probably OK if it goes to anyone else but a Democrat.

That thought alone should keep Dems awake nights.

Philip Levine adds campaign directors in Miami, North Florida

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine has added two more area directors to his campaign with the additions of Megan Sirjane-Samples as north Florida area director and Chris Hudtwalcker as Miami-Dade area director.

Sirjane-Samples previously served as a legislative advocate for the Florida League of Cities, helping to craft the League’s legislative policy statements and assisting on research and analysis of legislative and policy issues to provide league management and local government officials with information on state and municipal policies, laws, budgets, and operations.

Hudtwalcker worked as a legislative assistant to Democratic state Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, managing the senator’s legislative and political affairs. Hudtwalcker also worked as Rodriguez’s campaign manager during the 2016 election, working with staff to implement a successful strategy to secure Florida’s 37th Senate District in one of the most competitive races of the cycle.

Levine is battling with Gwen Graham, Chis King, and Andrew Gillum for the August 28 Democratic primary nomination to run for governor. The leading Republicans are Adam Putnam and Ron DeSantis.

“With the addition of Megan and Chris to Team Levine, we are continuing to build the campaign infrastructure best equipped to achieve success in the primary and general elections and flip the Florida Governor’s Office blue,” Levine’s Campaign Manager Matthew Van Name, stated in a news release. “The presence of our area directors throughout the state’s regions allows our team to have roots in communities across Florida and enables us to reach voters in all 67 counties.”

Putnam Ad 5.17.2018

Adam Putnam promotes voc-ed, bashes ‘liberal elites’ in new ad

Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam put out a new ad Thursday promising to strengthen vocational education in the Sunshine State and bashing so-called “liberal elites” who don’t respect trade workers.

“As a fifth generation Florida farmer, I know what it’s like to sweat for your paycheck,” Putnam said in the 30-second ad, which features shots of him walking through a factory and shaking hands with workers.

“Today, liberal elites look down on people who work with their hands, pressuring too many kids into student loan debt, leaving them with degrees they can’t use and bills they can’t pay. We need to get back to honoring and respecting experts of a trade,” he said in the ad. “I’ll make vocational training a top priority. Our kids should be career-ready, not debt ridden. College is not the only path to success, and it’s okay to say it.”

A campaign release said the ad will begin running on cable and broadcast statewide beginning tomorrow. The closing frames of the TV spot indicate it was paid for by Florida Grown, Putnam’s affiliated political committee.

The ad follows the campaigns recent release of its “Florida Jobs First Agenda,” which includes a plan to boost vocational and technical education in middle and high schools. When it was released, Putnam said if Florida is going to continue job growth, it needs to better prepare students who don’t pursue a four-year college degree to get jobs in trades.

“As Governor, Putnam’s top priority will be to build a robust education pipeline that puts vocational and technical education back into middle schools and high schools, providing Florida’s students with the tools and practice necessary to find their piece of the American Dream here in Florida,” a Monday press release announced.

Democrats aren’t buying the rhetoric.

“Adam Putnam is a multi-millionaire career politician who spent ten years in Congress voting to make it more expensive for students to go to college and against vocational education. Putnam’s latest ad is another absurd election year attempt to hide his long record of hurting Florida students and working families,” Florida Democratic Party spokesperson Kevin Donohoe said in a Thursday press release.

The FDP release included more than a dozen clippings on past votes Putnam made during his decade in Congress, including his vote against interest rate reductions for federal student loans in 2007. A Lakeland Ledger article from the time said the bill was supported by “all but the staunchest of White House lapdogs.”

Putnam, currently in his second term as Agriculture Commissioner, faces Northeast Florida U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis in the Republican Primary to succeed termed-out Gov. Rick Scott. Four major Democrats are also running.

Putnam sits atop the field in fundraising, with $28.88 million raised including $2 million in April.

The ad is below.

Joe Henderson: I go to Publix for groceries, not for politics

Yes, the giant Publix supermarket chain has essentially endorsed Adam Putnam to be Florida’s next governor and has thrown a lot of money into his campaign.

Interesting but, in the big picture, so what?

I find shopping at Publix to be a pleasure, especially when its deli fried chicken is fresh out of the cooker. The stores are clean, the worker bees are helpful, and by the time I reach the checkout line, it doesn’t really matter to me what the company thinks about Putnam or any other politician.

I go there for groceries, not for political advice.

A lot about Putnam’s campaign rhetoric has been troubling, especially that “elitist liberal” crap in his latest TV ad, the one that trumpets his Bartow roots, complete with hay bailing.

Guess what, Adam? I bailed hay too, back in the day. I rolled sod. I recapped tires for $2 an hour. I don’t think that qualifies me to lead the state.

Adam.

Please.

Stop with the liberal bashing. You are better than this.

Aren’t you?

But I also understand primary politics today, which basically forces candidates in either party to prove they can appeal to the almighty base. That’s true of Democrats as well as Republicans, and it’s a big part of why politics today is so partisan.

The “base” is filled with dedicated voters who would turn out if the primary was held at midnight on a Thursday during a hurricane. To win the nomination, a candidate has to show he or she can be just as extreme and uncompromising as anyone in the base.

Then the general election comes and everything changes. That’s when the everyday voter, with concerns that include politics but don’t exclude everything else, turns out.

And if Democrats can somehow ride a blue wave and gain control of the state Senate – even if they aren’t successful in winning the Governor’s mansion — having the political savvy to work with the other side will be important.

By that time, I don’t think anyone worth a rat’s patooie will care if whoever wins the race was endorsed by Publix or anyone else.

The issues in Florida are going to be the same for a while – health care, guns, schools, transportation.

The question for all candidates is how do they plan to address those things, not their stance on weekly BOGOs.

If it’s going to be a strictly agenda-based administration, on either side, then people might want to stick their heads under the covers for the next four years.

Rick Scott won two terms by about 1 percentage point each time. I wouldn’t call that a mandate, but Republicans – with the help of gerrymandered districts in the House and Senate – treated it that way and rammed through laws that gave the cold shoulder to about half of the state.

But that’s getting ahead of things.

Publix, based in Lakeland, understandably supports Putnam. He came from nearby Bartow, and he represents much of what that corporation stands for.

Interestingly, there are some things they don’t agree on. Remember how Putnam regrettably referred to himself as a “proud NRA sellout?”

Publix has sought to distance itself from the NRA, if not Putnam, after the Tampa Bay Times initially reported the chain’s significant financial support of him.

I’m not saying that initial story wasn’t interesting.

It was good reporting and it’s helpful to know where the money comes from.

However, it won’t make me decide to shop somewhere else if I decide not to vote for Putnam. I mean, I really like Publix fried chicken.

John Morgan on Richard Corcoran: Don’t go to your own ‘ass kicking’

Orlando attorney John Morgan told reporters Wednesday that he supported the decision of his friend, outgoing House Speaker Richard Corcoran, to end his bid for the Governor’s Office before it even formally started.

Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican, last week endorsed Republican candidate for governor Adam Putnam, currently term-limited as Commissioner of Agriculture.

Morgan, who aligns with Democrats, said he had told Corcoran several weeks ago he couldn’t catch up in the money game, having been already out-fundraised by Putnam and with GOP Congressman Ron DeSantis putting up a formidable challenge.

“I told him it’s all about money,” Morgan said in Tallahassee, before a trial in his lawsuit over the state’s medical marijuana smoking ban. “The question was answered for Richard Corcoran when the money froze up.

“You know, he was somebody I have helped,” added Morgan, who flirted with his own run for governor. “He’s a friend of mine. He’s someone I would have helped on the Republican side. He made the right decision … I think he knew he was gonna get beat.

“If I knew I was gonna get beat, I wouldn’t like to go to my own ass kicking,” he added.

Morgan also weighed in on Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson‘s re-election chances against Gov. Rick Scott, the Naples Republican challenging him for the seat.

Nelson “is in for a dogfight,” he said. “He’s got to get busy. You cannot underestimate Rick Scott. He’s methodical, ever ready with money. He’s like a bald (Energizer) bunny. He never stops. He’s got the message. If I were Bill Nelson, I’d be worried.”

Chris King hits TV with progressive-themed ad

Orlando businessman Chris King, who consistently polls behind at least two of the four other Democratic gubernatorial candidates in the 2018 election, is airing a new 30-second ad Wednesday in television markets peppered across the state.

King is the second Democrat in the Governor’s race to break into TV. The other, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, was also the first gubernatorial candidate to air a TV ad when his affiliated political committee in November dished out $800,000 for a 30-second spot. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a Republican candidate, hit cable waves for the first time in April.

The ad demonstrates the King campaign’s ability to capitalize on momentum; the spot follows just one day after the candidate unveiled an ambitious, progressive and multi-faceted criminal justice plan — which attracted the attention of some of the state’s largest media outlets.

King’s ad is set to air in Gainesville, Jacksonville, Orlando-Daytona Beach-Melbourne, Panama City and West Palm Beach-Fort Pierce television markets.

The ad opens with a waiter asking a politician if he’d like more sugar. The politician responds, “Yes, of course!” And the waiter fills the politician’s cup with an excessive amount of sugar.

Then, in a voiceover, King is heard saying, “It’s the same old politics. Big Sugar buys influence in Tallahassee and pollutes our environment.” When he enters the frame, he says, “I’m Chris King and I won’t take a dime from them.”

The message is intended to highlight King’s sugar-free stance, which he declared almost immediately after entering the race. All of the Democratic candidates have since announced they would not take money affiliated with the sugar industry. Former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, however, received $17,400 for her congressional campaign from what’s been described as ‘big sugar,’ but donated that money to the Indian Riverkeeper and pledged to not take any more money from the sugar industry. 

The rest of the ad is made up of calls for progressive policies, including the expansion of Medicaid, funding for affordable housing and making community college and public trade school free.

“If you want new leadership and fresh ideas,” King says at the end of the commercial. “I’m ready to fight for you.”

Pam Bondi lawsuit accuses opioid industry of racketeering

Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a racketeering lawsuit Tuesday, blaming five major pharmaceutical companies for instigating the opioid drug crisis and alleging “a campaign of misrepresentations and omissions” about the powerful painkillers to doctors and consumers.

Bondi’s office filed the 54-page complaint in Pasco County, which it identified as among the state’s hardest hit areas, with the highest overdose mortality rate between 2004 and 2012.

“We are in the midst of a national opioid crisis claiming 175 lives a day nationally and 15 lives a day in Florida, and I will not tolerate anyone profiting from the pain and suffering of Floridians,” Bondi said in a written statement.

“The complaint I filed today seeks to hold some of the nation’s largest opioid manufacturers and distributors responsible for their role in this crisis and seeks payment for the pain and destruction their actions have caused Florida and its citizens,” she said.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam appeared alongside Bondi at a news conference, held Tuesday afternoon at Riverside Recovery of Tampa, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility.

“This lawsuit will result in the resources for additional treatment, prevention, awareness, additional facilities, like this, additional tools and support for the men and women in law enforcement, so that we can break the hold that this opioid crisis has on our state and on our nation,” Putnam said.

The lawsuit names Purdue Pharma L.P.; Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Cephalon Inc.; and Allergan PLC.

It also names the following drug distributors: AmerisourceBergen Drug Corp.; Cardinal Health Inc.; McKesson Corp.; and Mallinckrodt LLC.

The complaint alleges violations of Florida RICO and unfair trade practices laws, plus negligence.

It seeks unspecified monetary damages — including treble damages, designed to discourage egregious misconduct; restitution on behalf of state agencies and consumers; disgorgement of “ill-gotten proceeds;” divestment of any business or real assets linked to the alleged misconduct; and forfeiture of property used to promote the scheme.

“The state of Florida brings this civil action to hold the defendants accountable for unconscionably creating the state of Florida’s opioid public health and financial crisis,” the complaint says.

“The defendants reaped billions of dollars in revenues while causing immense harm to the state of Florida and its citizens, and now they must pay for their role in the crisis and act to remediate the crisis.”

Pasco and Pinellas counties, comprising FDLE District 6, recorded the highest number of oxycodone deaths in the state during 2016, according to the document. That same year, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office treated nearly 2,00 inmates for opioid addiction. Last year, someone overdosed in Pasco County an average of once every three days.

“The disproportionately high overdose rates were the direct, readily foreseeable result of the shockingly high amounts of opioids which have been funneled into Pasco County throughout the crisis,” the complaint says.

“For example, a single pharmacy in Hudson, Florida — a Pasco County town of 34,000 people — purchased 2.2 million opioid pills in just one year (2011). That same year, another pharmacy dispensed more than 1.4 million opioids in Port Richey, Florida.”

Bondi’s office alleged a “strategic campaign of misrepresentations about the risks and benefits of opioid use to physicians, other prescribers, consumers, pharmacies, and state governmental agencies.”

This, the complaint alleges, included the use of “front organizations” and medical professionals hired to promote opioids without acknowledging that they actually served as the manufacturers’ “mouthpieces.”

“Because they are so dangerous and addictive, Florida imposes obligations on both manufacturers and distributors of opioids aimed at preventing the misuse of these drugs and their diversion into the marketplace for uses other than legitimate medical uses,” the complaint says.

“Because of the actions of the defendants in violating these duties, the closed chain of supply broke down in Florida, leading to a massive public health crisis that continues to ravage the state.”

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis issued a written statement endorsing the lawsuit and calling Bondi “a fearless warrior against the opioid epidemic.”

Update: Putnam said state GOP leaders, including House Speaker Richard Corcoran, Sen. Wilton Simpson, Rep. Jim Boyd, and Bondi, have “led the way” in fighting opiates.

Gwen Graham, seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, disputed that assessment.

“After years of inaction and with just months left in their terms, Pam Bondi, Adam Putnam and Republican leaders stood at a news conference today to take credit for a lawsuit that should have been filed years ago,” Graham said in a written statement.

“I’m glad they are finally taking this long overdue step but remain disappointed it took them so long to do so,” Graham said. “Under Lawton Chiles, Florida led the nation in suing big tobacco. Under Pam Bondi and Adam Putnam, we’re following behind other states — and Florida families have paid the price.”

Sean Shaw, a Democrat running for attorney general, issued the following statement:

“Unfortunately, today’s action is too little too late for the families in our state who have been devastated by a preventable epidemic had action been taken years ago before we reached this tipping point. It is disheartening that it took eight years of warnings, thousands of unnecessary deaths, and for her time in office to be coming to an end for Attorney General Bondi to finally acknowledge that Floridians have been facing an overwhelming opioid crisis.

“As attorney general, I won’t wait until others have acted to be an advocate for Floridians who are suffering. Our state deserves a top legal officer who will lead in the face of a crisis, not one who will have to be pressured into acting in the best interests of our citizens.”

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