Bill Nelson Archives - Page 2 of 31 - Florida Politics

Andrew Gillum says he stands with Florida teachers in opposing Betsy DeVos

Tallahassee Mayor and potential 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum says America’s kids deserve someone better than Betsy DeVos to serve as education secretary.

The U.S. Senate voted early Friday to advance President Trump‘s choice at education to a final confirmation vote, expected Monday. The vote was 52-48 along party lines.

Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson has already announced that he will oppose DeVos, as have Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine. No other Republican Senator has joined them, however.

In his statement, Gillum says “the attack on our teachers must end,” adding that DeVos responses during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Education Committee earlier this month, “fell woefully short of the kind of leadership we need to ensure that all Floridians have a quality education.”

National teachers unions have mounted an aggressive campaign against DeVos, contending that she is an ideological extremist with a record of undermining the public schools her department would oversee.

The Florida Education Association is the state’s largest teacher’s union. It boasts over 140,000 members statewide, and getting their support in a statewide race would be a huge boost for any Democrat.

Here is Gillum’s full statement:

“Public education changed the trajectory of my life. I can still hear my grandmother’s voice telling me to ‘Go to school, mind my teachers, get my lesson, and bring that education home — for my brothers, my baby sister and the kids down the street.’ It was a reminder that if we were going to get anywhere; we would get there together. As a student at Westwood Middle School, I never thought I would excel in challenging courses until a teacher named Ms. Alexandria encouraged me to try my hand at an honors class.

“The attack on our teachers must end, because it hurts the ability of the vast majority of our kids to get an education that will position them to succeed. A high-quality public education is a civil right. This is why I stand shoulder to shoulder with Florida’s teachers in opposition to Donald Trump’s nomination of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary. Her answers during her Senate hearing fell woefully short of the kind of leadership we need to ensure that all Floridians have a quality education.

“We have an opportunity to re-imagine how we deliver a world-class public education for our kids; while also supporting the teaching professionals who carry the responsibility of helping shape the young minds who will power us into the future.

“Our kids deserve better than Betsy DeVos.”

Environment Florida wants Bill Nelson to reject Scott Pruitt as EPA head

Scott Pruitt is one step closer to being the next leader of the Environmental Protection Agency.

On Thursday, Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted 11-0 to confirm Pruitt, who serves as Oklahoma Attorney General.

Democrats on the committee boycotted the vote.

Pruitt, a climate change skeptic, was one of 14 attorneys general suing the EPA over regulations to limit carbon emissions put in place by the Obama administration.

The entire Senate will vote on his confirmation next week and the advocacy group Environment Florida is calling on the Sunshine State’s two senators to reject his nomination.

“This country needs an Environmental Protection Agency Administrator whose top priority is protecting our air and water and our families’ health,” says Turner Lott, Environment Florida’s campaign organizer. “We need somebody willing to enforce and defend our bedrock environmental laws and a leader guided by science when creating and implementing policy.”

The organization is one of several environmental groups criticizing Trump’s choice at EPA.

While Environment Florida is calling on both senators to oppose Pruitt, Marco Rubio already declared his support.

“The next EPA administrator should be someone who understands the important balance between protecting our air, water and environment without needlessly hurting workers with excessive regulations,” Rubio said in a Jan. 10 statement. “Attorney General Pruitt ‎is the right choice to bring a much-needed dose of common sense to a department where overzealous, out-of-touch regulators have been allowed to operate seemingly unchecked. I look forward to working with him on the many important environmental issues facing Florida.”

Florida’s senior Senator, Bill Nelson, is getting lobbied from both sides to either support or oppose Pruitt. The Florida Democrat pleased liberals Wednesday by announcing his opposition to Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary.

“I will be joining my Republican colleagues Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski in voting ‘no’ against Betsy DeVos,” Nelson declared in a statement.

“Floridians and all Americans deserve an EPA administrator who will fight to protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the planet we love. Scott Pruitt fails on all these accounts,” Lott said. “The Senate must stand with science. The Senate must stand up for our families’ health, clean water and clean air.

“We urge Senators Nelson and Rubio to reject President Trump’s nomination of Scott Pruitt to head the EPA.”

 

Marco Rubio says Senate Democrats should confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court

Marco Rubio has come out solidly in support of President Trump’s selection of Neil Gorsuch to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Judge Gorsuch is a highly qualified, mainstream jurist, which is why he was unanimously confirmed to the circuit court by the Senate in 2006,” Rubio said in a statement shortly after the announcement was made in the East Room of the White House in prime time on Tuesday.

“By all accounts he has the right temperament and experience for the job, and I’m pleased to see him nominated to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court,” said Rubio. “Most importantly, he is committed to the principles of original intent and judicial restraint. This is critical, because too many in the federal judiciary today believe it is appropriate for judges to invent new policies and rights instead of interpreting and defending the Constitution as it is written.”

Original intent, or “originalism,” was the focus of the late Antonin Scalia, the longtime Supreme Court justice who Gorsuch would be replacing on the high court. Original intent theory hold that the interpretation of a written constitution is (or should be) consistent with what was meant by the Founding Fathers.

The question now remains is how much of a fight will Senate Democrats pose to the Gorsuch pick. Many are still hopping mad that GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell never put Merrick Garland up for a vote in 2016. Garland was Barack Obama’s choice to replace Scalia when he died nearly a year ago

“Unfortunately, Senate Democrats already announced they would oppose any Supreme Court nominee no matter who it is,” said Rubio, who says “this objection  is neither principled nor reasonable, considering we just had an election where the future of the Supreme Court was a central issue not only at the presidential level but in every Senate contest.

“On the issue of this Supreme Court nomination specifically, the American people gave the president and the Republican-controlled Senate a mandate to choose a successor to Antonin Scalia,” Rubio continued. “Senate Democrats should accept the results of the election and allow the process to move forward with a vote. I look forward to a fair and thorough confirmation process, and I am confident Judge Gorsuch will be confirmed by the Senate once again, this time to serve on the Supreme Court.”

Several Senate Democrats have already announced their opposition to Gorsuch, but not Rubio’s Florida colleague, Bill Nelson. Nelson said he’ll base his decision on a full examination of Gorsuch’s judicial record and his responses to senators questions.

 

 

Val Demings on Donald Trump: ‘We’re going to hold him accountable’

At a ceremonial swearing-in for newly-elected Congresswoman Val Demings in Orlando, she and Sen. Bill Nelson, along with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, spoke out fiercely against several of President Donald Trump‘s actions in his first week of office.

In a letter to Trump, Nelson expresses dissatisfaction with Trump’s freeze on government hiring, saying it will have a negative effect on veterans.

“A hiring freeze at VA will delay veterans’ access to health care and resolution of their disability claims,” he writes. “Which for many of our nation’s heroes provides a sole source of income to them and their families. Our nation’s veterans should not be made to sacrifice any more than they already have while you review federal hiring.”

Nelson says the VA’s inability to hire clinicians and administrative support could prove detrimental to veterans in need of health care, that it will affect appeals for disability compensation – more than 450,000 are currently waiting for benefits, and they’ll wait longer because of the freeze.

In addition, he said veterans seeking jobs will also have a harder time finding them. So he asks Trump to reconsider the freeze and lighten restrictions on veterans.

Nelson spoke to reporters prior to Demings’ swearing-in about a number of other issues – including the infrastructure plan Democrats have proposed after Trump himself expressed a desire for a $1 trillion infrastructure plan on the campaign trail.

“I hope he supports this plan,” Nelson said. “It will be a trillion over 10 years for infrastructure – for the airport, for Port Canaveral, to build roads, to widen roads, rehabilitate bridges with structural deficiencies. We’re taking him at his word.”

On the environment, Nelson, Demings and Pelosi were in agreement against Trump’s actions to silence news from environmental outlets and climate scientists earlier this week.

“Florida is ground zero for sea level rise,” Nelson said. “Records show the sea has risen five to eight inches. The streets of Miami Beach are flooded. How people can say we don’t have climate change mystifies me. We need to listen to our scientists, not listen to the orders to muzzle them.”

Pelosi said the responsibility in the age of Trump would fall to the media to distribute the correct facts.

“In the press, be ever-vigilant,” she said. “What they’re not saying is suppressing any expression of science, evidence, data, facts. That is a very dangerous thing to a democracy. I believe you all are the guardians of democracy. Freedom of the press, freedom to report on those things, and what they’re doing is very bad.”

She also criticized Trump’s false claims that millions of people illegally voted in the election for Hillary Clinton, calling it a deliberate attempt to “destroy the confidence in our system and lay the groundwork for further voter suppression.”

“The first thing the president said was he won the popular vote, that three to five million voted illegally,” she said. “It’s not true. There is no evidence to support that. What’s dangerous about it is, they’re going to use that false three to five million, alternative fact, to repress the vote in our country.”

All three of them also spoke out against Trump and the Republicans’ efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act – especially with no current plan to replace it.

“Mr. Trump telegraphed very strongly what he intended to do if elected, and we all thought it was just political jargon,” Demings said. “To take something away from hundreds of thousands people that depend on it – it’s mind-boggling that that would be his first order of business as president of the United States. This is the greatest country on Earth – to me that means every person should have access, quality affordable health care.”

Demings said in spite of the Democrats losing the election, and in the face of opposition from Trump and the Republicans, her own priorities remained the same.

“My priorities have not changed. My presidential candidate did not win, but my priority has not changed. I still intend to fight for equal protection under the law. There are people in Mr. Trump’s own party who don’t understand what he’s going to do, or how he’s going to do it, or where he’s going to get the funding from. We’re going to hold him accountable.”

She said she had also been working with Republican colleagues to make plans that would “not be in our own personal best interest, but in that of the American people.”

Rick Scott cannot condone Cuba’s ‘oppressive behavior.’ What about China’s?

Gov. Rick Scott threatened Florida ports with sanctions if they do business with Cuba. He underscored it with a pair of tweets, the first in Spanish: “No podemos tolerar una dictadura brutal en Cuba.”

Translation: We cannot tolerate a brutal dictatorship in Cuba.

In another tweet, channeling his inner Donald Trump, Gov. Scott noted, “We cannot condone Raul Castro’s oppressive behavior. Serious security/human rights concerns.”

He has vowed to withhold state money from ports ink trade agreements with that island nation.

Well, OK. Let’s think this through. If Cuba is off limits, I guess China should be too.

According to a 2016 report by Human Rights Watch: “China remains an authoritarian state, one that systematically curtails a wide range of fundamental human rights, including freedom of expression, association, assembly and religion … the trend for human rights under President Xi Jinping continued in a decidedly negative direction.”

Well, shucks. That sounds suspiciously like, to use the governor’s words, “serious security/human rights concerns.”

A report from Enterprise Florida shows our state did more than $28 billion (with a B) in merchandise trade with that totalitarian nation from 2013-15. The Miami Herald reported that China ranks behind only Brazil and Colombia as trading partners with South Florida.

But, if we’re going to make a stand …

We also sent about $2 billion in exports to Saudi Arabia from 2013-15. Of that nation, Human Rights Watch notes: “Detainees, including children, commonly face systematic violations of due process and fair trial rights, including arbitrary arrest. Judges routinely sentence defendants to floggings of hundreds of lashes.”

That sounds, oh … what’s the word I’m looking for?

Brutal.

Thanks, governor.

I think we know what’s going on here. Republicans from Washington to Tallahassee have used Cuba as a political piñata for decades. They stepped it up after President Obama made several moves toward normalizing relations between the U.S. and Cuba.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio has been particularly outspoken on that subject, but after his poodle-like yapping against the business relationship between incoming secretary of state Rex Tillerson has with Russia didn’t result in a vote against his confirmation, we can tune that out.

By the way, Florida has a lot of trade with Russia too.

It is assumed Scott has his eye on Bill Nelson’s Senate seat in 2018, and the game plan for any serious GOP candidate involves cutting into Democrats’ traditional support in south Florida by pandering to those who hate the Castro family.

Scott’s actions look to me like a ready-made campaign ad for future ambitions. Meanwhile, Cuba will just keep doing business with the rest of the world. Nothing changes.

 

Bill Nelson sounds off on what he calls Donald Trump’s “rocky” first week in office

Although U.S. Senator Bill Nelson’s press conference on Wednesday in Tampa was ostensibly to discuss President Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to spend up to one trillion dollars improving the nation’s infrastructurehe spent considerable time discussing – and criticizing- some of the moves that the newly-inaugurated president has made in his first week in office.

Nelson has voted against Jeff Sessions for Attorney General and Mike Pompeo for CIA Director, and he says he’ll oppose Rex Tillerson when the former ExxonMobil CEO’s name comes up for a confirmation vote for Secretary of State. When asked why at a press conference in Tampa, Nelson said just two words.

“Vladimir Putin.”

When asked to elaborate, Nelson simply said he didn’t feel comfortable with Tillerson’s past relationships with the Russian leader.

In his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this month, Florida’s other U.S. Senator, Marco Rubio, was remarkably aggressive in questioning Tillerson, asking him at one point if he thought Putin was a war criminal. But Rubio ultimately voted for Tillerson in committee earlier this week.

Regarding Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s choice as Treasury Secretary, Nelson said he has not made up his mind, even after speaking with him personally.

“There are a number of things that trouble me about him,” he said about the former partner of Goldman Sachs and hedge fund manager. “He’s got some tax issues. But the main thing is it’s kind of an attitude that – ‘I know better than you’ – and for a Treasury Secretary who has the tremendous responsibility to keep our economy on an even keel, that concerns me.”

Mnuchin initially failed to disclose $100 million in assets last week, which he called an “unintentional” oversight.

Meanwhile, Democrats have accused a potential conflict of interest for Tom Price, Trump’s selection at HHS, saying he held more than $100,000 in stock in companies that could have benefited from legislation he promoted.

In 2009, former Democratic Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle withdrew  his nomination by Barack Obama to become Health and Human Services secretary, amidst a scandal involving unpaid taxes. When asked if there had been a lowering of standards in vetting cabinet selections, Nelson said they had not been lowered in terms of how he votes.

Meanwhile, Trump repeated his false claim on Wednesday hat at least three million illegal immigrants cast ballots for Hillary Clinton, calling for an investigation into voter fraud, even though his own legal team has previously argued that no such fraud occurred.

Nelson said it “well documented” how little voter fraud there actually is in the U.S., and told the reporter who asked that it was “illustrative of our times that you have to ask that question.”

He grew quite passionate, however, in claiming that there’s been voter suppression in Florida and around the nation, and spent several minutes discussing specific examples in and outside of Florida.

Nelson also was dismissive of Trump’s call on Wednesday to begin plans to construct a border security fence on the Mexican border, saying that a “multiplicity of things” can be done to  protect our borders.

“This, unfortunately has gotten into a political issue,” he said, “and one particular demographic group is being singled out and I think unfairly,” referring to Mexicans.

When asked to describe Trump’s first week in office, Nelson described it simply as “rocky.”

Florida scientists “encouraged” by Wilbur Ross’ letter to Bill Nelson regarding climate change — with one exception

Wilbur Ross, Donald Trump’s selection to be the country’s next Commerce Secretary, told U.S. Senator Bill Nelson earlier this week that after he’s confirmed by the U.S. Senate, one of the first things he’ll do is meet with scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). That’s the agency that controls the National Weather Service and conducts research on matters such as the rising sea level that scientists blame on global warming.

“Indeed, if confirmed, one of my first orders of business will be to begin meeting with NOAA scientists to become fully briefed on what they are seeing with respect to weather and climate information and how the Department can ensure that the National Weather Service continues to make advances to improve the timeliness and accuracy of weather forecasting,” Ross wrote to Nelson on Monday. “I also look forward to meeting with scientists from the National Marine Fisheries Service to learn how changes in ocean temperature patterns are affecting fishery stocks and allocation decisions. In addition, I look forward to learning about NOAA’s ongoing efforts to assist coastal communities in coping with changes in sea level rise and storm intensity.

The response came after Nelson penned his own “Dear Wilbur”letter following Ross’ appearance before the Senate Commerce Committee last week (that committee approved Ross’ nomination on Tuesday). In that letter, the Florida Senator told Ross (who lives part-time in Palm Beach County) that he wanted a “clear commitment”  that he wants him to “continue to support the continuation of climate research and monitoring programs programs under your jurisdiction.”

Ross also said that he that believes that “science should be left so scientists.”

“If confirmed, I intend to see that the Department provides the public with as much factual and accurate data as we have available,” he added.

However, Ross also wrote that “we put aside for now the question of what is causing these changes, and agree to focus on addressing the impacts of those changes.”

That particular line irked a group of scientists who wrote to Ross last week, telling him that he should support and defend Florida’s coastline, “as it could save your own home.”

The scientists say they found much of his response to be “encouraging,” but took exception to that line.

“…it is also imperative to address mitigation: reducing carbon emissions,” the Florida scientists wrote. ” Humans are causing the climate to change and we must respond to that. The science is settled.”

The letter was signed by many of the same group of scientists who were able to get an audience with Florida Governor Rick Scott in 2014, when he was running for reelection. They were not as successful in attempting to reach out to Trump last fall.

Here is their letter:

We were pleased to see the exchange between Senator Bill Nelson and Wilbur Ross regarding the impact of sea level and ocean temperature changes in Florida.  We agree with Senator Nelson that climate change poses a grave risk to the economy and the environment of Florida and the nation.

We find Ross’s statement that “science should be left to scientists” encouraging.  We are pleased with his commitment to provide the public with accurate and peer-reviewed scientific research.

One point in Ross’s letter gave us pause.  He said:

“Let me preface the following by suggesting that we put aside for now the question of what is causing these changes, and agree to focus on addressing the impacts of those changes.”

We agree that focusing on the immediate impacts of rising seas, especially in communities like Miami Beach makes sense.  In the near-term we should focus on how to respond to the climate changes that we’ve already committed to – something we call adaptation.

However it is also imperative to address mitigation: reducing carbon emissions.  Humans are causing the climate to change and we must respond to that. The science is settled.

We noticed that Ross would receive briefings from NOAA and National Marine Fisheries scientists.   We are also happy to talk with him in more detail about the causes of climate change.

We look forward to working with Wilbur Ross and the Commerce Department and stand ready to provide a scientific perspective to further good public policy.

Jeff Chanton, Professor

The John Widmer Winchester Professor of Oceanography

Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science

Florida State University

 

Ben Kirtman, Professor

Department of Atmospheric Science

Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Sciences

University of Miami

David Hastings, Professor

Marine Science and Chemistry

Eckerd College

 

Barry Heimlich, Vice Chair

Climate Change Task Force

Broward County

 

Dr. Marguerite Koch, Professor

Department of Biological Sciences, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Florida Atlantic University

 

John H. Parker, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry and Environmental Science

Department of Earth and Environment

Florida International University

 

Randall W. Parkinson, Ph.D., P.G., Research Faculty Affiliate

Institute for Water and Environment

Florida International University

 

Harold R. Wanless, Professor and Chair

Department of Geological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences

University of Miami

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of their respective organization.

 

 

Bill Nelson, Democrats, unveil their $1 trillion infrastructure plan

If President Donald Trump wants to spend big on America’s infrastructure, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and other Democratic leaders are offering their plan: $1 trillion, with money included possibly for Florida rail, seaports, highways and Everglades restoration.

Nelson and the Democrats unveiled their “A Blueprint to Rebuild America’s Infrastructure” Tuesday afternoon, proposing $1 trillion in spending over the next ten years.

Nelson, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee and a key sponsor of the proposal, said in a news release issued by his office that, if approved, the plan would likely fund several important projects in Florida.

Specifically, Nelson said the plan includes $180 billion to improve and expand bus and rail systems, which could be used to restore Amtrak service along Florida’s Gulf Coast and extend SunRail service in Orlando. It also includes $10 billion to modernize ports and waterways, which could be used to speed up repairs being made to the Herbert Hoover Dike needed for Everglades restoration, and deepen the seaports in Jacksonville and Ft. Lauderdale to accommodate the new mega ships coming through the expanded Panama Canal, and $210 billion to fix crumbling roads and bridges.

The plan also provides, among other things, $30 billion for airport improvements, $10 billion to construct new U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs facilities and $75 billion to modernize public schools.

“Florida is growing at a rate of nearly 1,000 people per day,” Nelson stated in the release. “You can imagine the toll that’s taking on our state’s infrastructure. This is our chance to make some much-needed repairs and create millions of new jobs in the process.”

He and the Democrats also claim their plan would spur 15 million jobs in construction, and they call for specific protections for American workers and goods, with recommendations that the program have:

–  “Buy America” provisions to use American products.

–  Strong protections for workers, including Davis-Bacon prevailing wages.

–  Strengthened participation of minority- and women-owned businesses.

–  Accelerated project delivery while adhering to important environmental protections.

It also calls for “closing tax loopholes used by corporations and super- wealthy individuals to offset associated costs.”

The plan would set aside $100 billion for reconstruction of roads and bridges; $100 billion for revitalizing Main Street; $10 billion for expanding the TIGER local transportation grants program; $110 billion for rehabilitating water and sewer infrastructure; $50 billion to modernize rail; $130 billion to repair and expand transit; $200 billion for “vital infrastructure;’ $75 billion for public schools; $30 billion for airports; $10 billion for seaports and waterways; $25 billion to build “resilient communities;” $100 billion for “21st century energy infrastructure;” $10 billion to expand broadband; $20 billion for public lands and tribal infrastructure; $10 billion for  VA hospitals; and $10 billion to provide innovative financing tools.

Floridians head to D.C. for Donald Trump inauguration

A hush has fallen on the state capital.

Sure, there’s plenty of work to do before the start of the 2017 Legislative Session. But some Florida politicos are using this week to flee Florida and head to Washington, D.C., for President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.

Gov. Rick Scott will be there. An ardent supporter of the New York Republican, Scott was the chairman of the super PAC that backed Trump’s presidential bid. He was expected to head to D.C. on Tuesday, one day before the Florida Sunshine Ball, hosted by Scott and his wife, First Lady Ann Scott.

But don’t think the Naples Republican (and possible 2018 U.S. Senate hopeful) spent the day in his tuxedo and dancing shoes. According to his official schedule, Scott was scheduled to meet with General John Kelly, the incoming Secretary of Homeland Security; Republican Reps. Francis Rooney and Neal Dunn; and Mauricio Claver-Carone, a Trump transition official.

Susie Wiles, the Jacksonville political guru who helped lead Trump’s Florida campaign, traveled to D.C. on Wednesday. She’ll be on hand for all of the festivities; as will uber lobbyist Brian Ballard, the chairman of Trump’s Florida finance committee.

And it should come as no surprise that state Rep. Joe Gruters and his wife, Sydney, will be in town for the event. Gruters was one of the first big name Floridians to back Trump, and never wavered in his support throughout the campaign. The couple plans to head up to D.C. on Thursday, and plan to attend the swearing in and go to the Liberty Ball.

Christian Ziegler, a Sarasota County GOP state committeeman, also has a full dance card. He planned to attend several events hosted by the governor, as well as an event hosted by Rep. Vern Buchanan.

“With Florida being Trump’s second home, Washington, D.C., feels like it’s been invaded by the Great State of Florida,” he said in an email. “Incredibly excited to experience this event as one of just 304 Electors to have cast the votes necessary for him to become our next President.”

Former House Speaker Steve Crisafulli — joined by fundraisers Trey McCarley and Kris Money —will be there too. Crisafulli was another top Trump supporter, and played a key role in getting him to the Space Coast for rallies throughout the campaign. His name was floated as one of several Floridians who could land a gig within the Trump administration.

He won’t be the only Florida Speaker in attendance. House Speaker Richard Corcoran is will be there, even though he was a slow to warm to Trump. (He backed former Gov. Jeb Bush, then Sen. Marco Rubio, and then Sen. Ted Cruz before somewhat reluctantly backing Trump.) And look for Senate President Joe Negron, who as Republican elector helped Trump officially clinch the presidency, in the crowd.

Reps. Jose Felix Diaz and Carlos Trujillo are expected to be in town; the Miami Herald reported they’re sharing a two-bedroom apartment they snagged on Airbnb. The paper also reported Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez is making the trek north.

You’ll likely see Nick Iarossi and Scott Ross, along with their wives Debbie and Ashley, dancing the night away at one of the parties this week. Both supported Sen. Marco Rubio, but eventually joined Team Trump.

Jim Smith and Monte Stevens, both with Southern Strategy Group, are in D.C. for the inauguration. They’re in town with Ambrosia Treatment Centers, which provides care to people suffering from substance abuse, in hopes of raising awareness about the need to make top-notch care available to as many people who need it as possible.

Their trip isn’t just about business, though. Stevens is planning to tweet about all the action from the firm’s Twitter account, @SoStrategyFlorida.

Hayden Dempsey and Fred Karlinsky with Greenberg Traurig both have jam-packed schedules. Their calendar of events includes the Florida Sunshine Ball; the Republican National Lawyers Association Luncheon, which features a keynote address by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani; and an inaugural reception hosted by the Greenberg Traurig Washington, D.C. office for clients and friends.

Meredith O’Rourke, one of the state’s go-to Republican fundraisers, plans to spend the week in D.C. with “fellow Republicans and strong supporters of our clients, while looking forward to a new day for our country.”

You might spot David and Melissa Ramba, Michael Fischer, Andy Gonzalez, Evan Power (and his wife), Bill Helmich, and Todd Lewis, Nick DiCeglie, Jay Beyrouti, Justin Bean, Bob Fisher, Travis Horn and Matt Lettelleir as you flip through the channels for inauguration coverage.

Robert Hawken is turning the trip into a learning experience for his daughters. They’re planning to take an overnight train from Jacksonville to D.C. for the inauguration. Once there, they planned to attend the Florida ball and check out the parade.

Lake County Property Appraiser (and former state representative and state senator) Carey Baker be in the nation’s capital; so will Richard DeNapoli, the former chairman of the Broward Republican Party.

Even Rep. Charlie Crist, the state’s former Republican governor, will be on hand. The St. Petersburg Democrat said he was looking forward to attending the event.

“I didn’t support Mr. Trump, but I respect the fact that he’s been elected the president of the U.S.” said Crist last week.

He won’t be the only Florida Democrat in the bunch: Democrats Val Demings, Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Al Lawson, Stephanie Murphy, Bill Nelson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz are also planning to attend the inauguration.

Bill Nelson to help lead new Senate panel on cybersecurity

The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee has created a new standing subcommittee on cybersecurity and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson will be the ranking Democrat to help lead it.

Little else is determined at this point. U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, chair of the Armed Service Committee, announced the panel’s creation Wednesday afternoon and appointed U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds, a South Dakota Republican, as chairman. Nelson, Florida’s Democratic senator, was appointed as ranking member.

The rest of the committee will be filled out and its purposes and schedule set as Rounds and Nelson work that out.

Nelson, a former member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, noted, in a news release, that the new subcommittee is being formed in the wake of Russia’s alleged cyber interference in the 2016 presidential campaigns.

In addition to ensuring the proper policies, strategies and resources are in place to defend the country in cyberspace, the new subcommittee will hold the administration accountable if they fail to adequately respond to a future attack,” Nelson stated.

“You can’t just sit on your hands and do nothing,” Nelson said. “If we’re going to deter our enemies from attacking us, we have to make it painfully obvious that the consequences are going to be so severe that they won’t want to do it in the first place.”

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons