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Tampa Bay Legislative Delegation attempts to find answers for regional transportation fix

Tampa Bay’s Legislative Delegation, with state lawmakers representing the area’s eight counties, spent two hours Wednesday in Clearwater discussing how to begin addressing the region’s myriad transportation issues.

According to a new white paper prepared by the D.C.-based Enos Center for Transportation for the Tampa Bay Partnership, a regional structure for transportation planning, operations and decision-making is paramount to the development of a regional transport network.

That conclusion might make an interested observer ask — isn’t that what TBARTA was supposed to be?

A decade ago, the Florida Legislature created the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority to develop and implement a regional transportation master plan of the seven-county West Central Florida region. As Manatee County GOP Senator Bill Galvano recounted Wednesday, it was produced without a funding mechanism, after then-Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed the $8 million in appropriations set for its conception.

“That was  a shock to all of us,” Galvano said, adding: “I don’t think he (Crist) realized the connection and it fell through the cracks.”

Whether TBARTA can ultimately become that vehicle as intended was only mentioned toward the end of the meeting held at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

Lawmakers also heard from Tampa Bay Lightning owner and Channelside developer Jeff Vinik and Barry Shevlin, co-chairs from the transportation group working with the Tampa Bay Partnership. The group also worked with the Enos Center to produce the white paper.

Vinik’s comments were more general. Waiting for another five to ten years to develop a master plan, he said, will constrain the growth of the Tampa Bay area. Vinik said all options for transportation improvements — roadway expansion, BRT lines, light rail, commuter rail, etc. — all were on the table.

“I know it’s critical that we reach consensus in a direction that we want to head,” he said.

Shevlin delved more into specifics.

“We’re a top twenty metro area, but we’re acting like a collection of municipalities and counties and not a region,” he stated, adding that there was obviously no regional structure for transportation planning or decision-making in general happening in the area.

And twice during his public comments, Shevlin lamented the fact that as of last Saturday, there were 14 different buses moving from Dover in Eastern Hillsborough County to downtown Tampa, yet there wasn’t a single vehicle going from Tampa to Clearwater or St. Petersburg.

Shevlin outlined four priorities the Partnership believes need to happen.

One is to create a multicounty Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). The second plan is to support a regional center for transit operations. Shevlin said HART and PSTA, the two biggest transit agencies in the Bay area, should have a “closer relationship,” but left it open as to how that happens.

Clearwater Republican Senator Jack Latvala called for a consolidation of the two agencies more than four years ago. After conducting two different studies, that merger never happened, though the agencies are poised to sign an interlocal agreement which will necessitate more joint efforts.

Shevlin also called for a uniform regulatory law in the state regarding ride share, which Tampa Republican Representative Jamie Grant later assured would happen in this year’s session. And the fourth priority is the regional transit study being conducted right now by the Florida Dept. of Transportation which involves the very controversial Tampa Bay Express project.

TBX was almost an afterthought in the discussions, even though the multibillion-dollar plan was hailed as a much-needed congestion relief package. Democrats Sean Shaw and Darryl Rouson, who represented the neighborhoods slated to be deleteriously affected by the TBX proposal, both counseled FDOT to double down on its efforts to communicate with the local community. “As it relates to TBX, my constituents don’t feel that they’ve been heard,” Shaw said.

Senator Galvano said that there had been too much parochialism in the past when it comes to local governments wanted to help out other governments in the 2.9 million universe that is the Tampa Bay area.

“I don’t know if we can get there,” he admitted. “It’s a real challenge, getting the mindset that you may have to ante up in your community for a regional plan that’s not going to impact your community for maybe one, two, three or maybe four years.”

As to whether TBARTA could ever become that agency?

“They are operating on a shoestring budget, cobbled together on donations from local governments,” said Shawn Harrison, who served on the TBARTA board after its creation.

“If we can take that vision and expand, I really do think we do have at our disposal a vehicle that can plan and put assets on the road,” added Harrison, a Republican who now represents House District 63.

“We do have a shoestring budget,” echoed Ray Chiaramonte, TBARTA’s executive director. He did say that every local government except for Sarasota funded the agency last year.

Galvano appreciated the work of the Tampa Bay Partnership, but said looking at his colleagues from counties as diverse as Sarasota to Polk: “It’s not about the Tampa Bay Partnership, it’s about us, and it’s going to take some effort.”

Poll shows Charlie Crist would beat David Jolly if a rematch is in the cards

Even though there are more than 20 months before Election Day 2018, a week does not go by without a mention — or several — in the media about a possible rematch between Charlie Crist and David Jolly in Florida’s 13th Congressional District.

In a new StPetePolls survey of CD 13 voters, Crist would edge out Jolly by about eight points if such a rematch were held today. Crist would get nearly 49 percent, compared to Jolly, who gets just under 41 percent. Nearly 11 percent of respondents were undecided.

As the incumbent, Crist received the support of almost 72 percent of Democrats, along with nearly 24 percent of Republicans. Those numbers are significantly better than his Republican predecessor; Jolly wins only 69 percent support from voters of his own party, while getting 18 percent of Democrats. Chris also has better numbers with independents (49 percent to 34 percent for Jolly).

Crist also does slightly better among white voters (46 percent to 45 percent for Jolly) and considerably better with black voters (66 percent to 20 percent for Jolly). The former Republican governor also fares well in every age bracket – except with voters over the age of 70, who prefer Jolly 48 percent to Crist’s 42 percent.

The poll was conducted Jan. 30 for FloridaPolitics.com using an automated phone call system with a sample size of 1,289. Results were weighted to account for proportional differences in demographics and that of the active voter population of CD13 as of Dec. 6, 2016. Demographics included political party, race, age and gender. The results have a 2.7 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level.

Charlie Crist says Trump administration needs to rethink its executive order on refugees

It took awhile, but Charlie Crist is finally weighing in on Donald Trump’s controversial executive order temporarily placing a ban on refugees entering the U.S.

While nearly every member of the Florida congressional delegation, and certainly every Democrat was eager over the weekend or on Monday to express their opinion, the St. Petersburg Democrat was quiet. Until now.

Although he does not believe it to be a de facto ban on Muslims, Crist says that the idea of a religious test of any kind “is unconstitutional,” adding that the administration needs to rethink the strategy “immediately.”

Here is the statement in full:

“Our number one priority is to keep America safe. But we must also ensure that America continues to be the beacon of light and hope to the world. These policies are not mutually exclusive. We can and should take steps to improve our vetting processes, while also allowing refugees fleeing persecution to seek a better life in the U.S.

“The confusion and fear created by the lack of coordination around this Executive Order is shocking and deeply troubling. It also appears the so-called religious test it would implement is unconstitutional. The administration needs to rethink this strategy immediately.”

Charlie Crist says tariff for border wall will hurt American consumers

Congressman Charlie Crist is blasting a proposal by President Donald Trump to pay for a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border with a 20 percent tax on goods imported from Mexico.

Many expect the tariff to be part of a comprehensive tax reform package hammered out between Congress and the White House. Despite much fanfare on the announcement, several questions remain about Trump’s plan. White House officials clarified Trump’s words by saying the import tax will be only one of several options that could be used to finance the wall.

Crist, representing Florida’s 13th Congressional District, said a 20 percent tariff on Mexican goods would only result in American consumers paying more for goods from south of the border.

“The merits of building a contiguous physical wall along our southern border are highly questionable – questioned by elected officials on both sides of the aisle. But what’s even more concerning is the idea that it could be paid for by taxing imports from Mexico by an additional 20 percent,” the St. Petersburg Democrat said in a statement. “That’s essentially asking the American people and American businesses to pay for the wall, through higher costs on the products we import from Mexico every day, from clothes to cars. I hope the administration abandons this misguided proposal.”

Charlie Crist serves up grab bag of issues: Seniors, Head Start and pipeline protest

It’s been a busy week for Charlie Crist.

The freshman Democratic congressman from St. Petersburg served up a medley of issues Friday, both local and national.

In a letter to Ann Linehan, Acting Director of Head Start for the Administration for Children and Families, Crist voiced his support for Lutheran Services Florida’s grant application to expand its “highly successful” Early Head Start Programs in Clearwater, Largo and South St. Petersburg.

All three cities are contained in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, which Crist now represents.

“Lutheran Services Florida is the largest nonprofit Early Head Start Grantee in the Southeast United States, serving over 7,000 children and families as a part of its Head Start programs,” Crist writes. “I am proud to support the important work of Lutheran Services Florida in our community and this effort to expand its valuable programs.”

Crist was also named one of five vice chairs of the House Democratic Caucus Seniors Task Force, which serves to improve and protect the financial security, quality of life, health and well-being of Americans seniors.

In an announcement by Task Force Co-Chairs Doris Matsui, of California and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, Crist will join as vice chair Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard of California, Joyce Beatty of Ohio, Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico, and Debbie Dingell of Michigan.

“Fighting for our seniors – strengthening Social Security and Medicare – is one of my top priorities as a congressman,” Crist said. “I am honored by this opportunity to serve as a leader on the House Democrats’ Seniors Task Force, working to make sure our elders and loved ones are respected, well cared for, and the benefits they’ve earned are protected in the golden years of life.”

Finally, Crist released a statement voicing his opposition to the revived effort by President Donald Trump to accelerate the approval of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines. On Tuesday, Trump signed an executive order seeking to expedite both controversial multibillion-dollar underground pipelines that will cross several states.

Supporters say the pipelines will lessen dependence on foreign oil and create domestic jobs.

Opponents such as Crist, a former Florida Governor, believe such pipelines have excessive environmental costs, and come with the potential for destructive accidents, much like the BP oil spill disaster of April 2010.

 “I witnessed firsthand the devastation an oil spill can cause to the environment and economy when Deepwater Horizon exploded off Florida’s Gulf Coast during my tenure as Governor,” Crist said. “Pipelines such as these put the lands where the oil will be transported at serious risk, without creating significant long-term job or economic growth. The cons outweigh the pros here.

“That is why I was pleased the previous Administration halted construction of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, and am extremely disappointed to see President Trump take action yesterday to advance them. This puts our environment unnecessarily at risk and fails to move us closer to a more sustainable energy future.”

Charlie Crist slams the GOP for ‘extreme measures’ on women’s reproductive rights

Following moves by President Trump and the GOP-led Congress this week on abortion, St. Petersburg Democratic Representative Charlie Crist is blasting D.C. Republicans on the issue of women’s reproductive rights.

“This past weekend, I stood with thousands of my neighbors in St. Petersburg, Florida to demand the protection of women’s health and rights – a message that was echoed by a million others nationwide,” Crist said. “And how did Republicans in Washington respond to this call to action?  By pushing forward several extreme measures attacking women’s healthcare and reproductive rights.  This alone is outrageous.  Even worse, these actions will particularly hurt low-income families, young people, and women of color.”

Among the decisions that Crist was criticizing was a vote on H.R. 7, sponsored by New Jersey Republican Chris Smith. The bill permanently bans the use of federal funds for abortion and prohibits anyone who receives subsidies to buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from purchasing a plan that covers abortion.

On Monday, President Trump signed an executive order banning foreign nongovernmental organizations that receive certain kinds of American aid from counseling health clients about abortion or advocating for abortion law liberalization. Ronald Reagan originally issued the so-called Mexico City policy in 1984. Bill Clinton reversed it when he took office. George W. Bush put it back into play in 2001, and Barack Obama reversed it in 2009.

However, according to Mark Leon Goldberg with UN DispatchTrump’s executive order goes beyond what previous Republican Presidents have done on this issue:

Rather than applying the Global Gag Rule exclusively to US assistance for family planning in the developing world, which amounts to about $575 million per year, the Trump memo applies it to “global health assistance furnished by all department or agencies.” In other words, NGOs that distribute bed nets for malaria, provide childhood vaccines, support early childhood nutrition and brain development, run HIV programs, fight Ebola or Zika, and much more, must now certify their compliance with the Global Gag Rule or risk losing US funds. According to analysis from PAI, a global health NGO, this impacts over $9 billion of U.S. funds, or about 15 times more than the previous iteration of the Global Gag Rule which only impacted reproductive health assistance.

Crist says “we will not stop fighting” when it comes to fighting for women’s reproductive rights.

“Women’s rights are human rights, and no matter where you live, what insurance you qualify for, or your income – all women should have equal access to quality, comprehensive healthcare,” he said.

After leaving Charlie Crist for David Jolly, Vito Sheeley says “I’m still a Democrat”

Despite a decision to now work for former Republican Congressman David Jolly, Vito Sheeley says he remains a Democrat.

In one of the more recent (and enigmatic) personnel developments in Tampa Bay area politics, Sheeley announced Monday he was leaving the office of Charlie Crist,  to work for Jolly as a senior adviser.

Crist defeated Jolly in Pinellas County’s 13th Congressional District race last fall.

The move came just days after reports that Sheeley was going to work for St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman‘s office, along with (unreported) rumors Crist had jettisoned Sheeley early last week, and rehired him by week’s end.

In a just-released statement, Sheeley says: “Many have and will continue to question my reason for leaving Congressman Crist. That is an answer that will remain between Charlie Crist and me.”

He then says service to his community “outweighs any political party or title.”

A St. Pete native, Sheeley worked as an outreach coordinator for Tampa area Congresswoman Kathy Castor, whose district used to include parts of South St. Petersburg, before leaving in 2016 for Crist’s congressional campaign.

Sheeley says he will help Jolly continue policy work locally on education, veterans, urban affairs and other Pinellas priorities.

To some, the hiring decision remains perplexing, considering Jolly is no longer a sitting congressman, announcing Monday he has not made a decision about running again in 2018.

However, in hiring Sheeley, he has indeed invited speculation that he intends to run next year.

Sheeley’s statement in full, entitled “I’m Still a Democrat,” is below:

Public service is a part of my DNA. My mother was a social worker, my grandmother was an educator, and my grandfather a pastor. I was raised to believe that serving my community and country is the most important calling one can have. I still believe that today. I have worked in public service as Outreach Coordinator for Congresswoman Kathy Castor, Outreach Director for Charlie Crist’s Congressional Campaign 2016 and, until recently, Congressman Charlie Crist’s District Director.

My passion is to see that others have the same opportunities that I have been given.

Many have and will continue to question my reason for leaving Congressman Crist. That is an answer that will remain between Charlie Crist and me. My service to my community outweighs any political party or title. You see, for me, I don’t see Democrat or Republican, I see people. I see children not receiving a quality education, I see poverty, I see families searching for job security and a better way to provide. I recognize the injustice within our Justice System, I’m appalled at witnessing our voting rights being stripped away to benefit those in power or those who would like to remain in power. These reasons and more are the reason why I fight for a solution. I will be working with David Jolly to continue policy work locally regarding education, veterans, urban affairs and other Pinellas priorities.

I respect David Jolly. I respect his service to his community and country. We both share a common belief, we love this community.

David Jolly respects my Democratic views, and together I believe we can bring balance to our divided country. In these days and times, we as a nation have forgotten what is important. What is important is “Treating others as one would wish to be treated;” this is the Golden Rule. As I continue this journey, I will fight for what I believe is important. That is “You,” the people … of Pinellas County, Democrat or Republican, your voice matters.

We face serious issues together we can overcome.

I would like to thank everyone who supported me in this past week. Your overwhelming encouragement has meant a lot to my family and I.

Florida Democrats to propose “The Helen Gordon Davis Fair Pay Act” aimed at closing gender pay gap

House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz and two of her colleagues have filed the Helen Gordon Davis Fair Pay Act, aimed at closing the gender pay gap in Florida.

Lantana Democrat Lori Berman is co-filing the legislation with Cruz in the House (HB 319), and Orlando Democrat Linda Stewart is filing the bill in the Senate (SB 410).

“It is unconscionable that in America today women continue to be paid less for the same amount of work as men,” declared Cruz in a statement issued on Friday. “Our nation was founded on the ideal that all of us are created equal and that ought to hold in all facets of our lives. Paying people fairly for the work they do shouldn’t depend on their gender, but rather on the quality of their work.”

The Democratic lawmakers say the two bills delineate which reasons that employers can use to pay employees differently, such as based on education, skill-set and experience. They say that by clarifying those reasons, employers can avoid litigation and be clear about which attributes are valued.

The bills would also bar employers from inquiring about or screening employees based on their prior salary history, and it would also increase civil penalties for a violation.

“While I feel this legislation should be unnecessary, the reality is that in 2017 women are still not earning the same pay as men in the same position,” said Berman.”Paying women equally is good for the economy and good for business. It is simply a no-brainer and I invite my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to write this into statute once and for all.”

“Those groups most affected by this – the single mother; a family stricken by illness or unemployment or tragedy that relies on a female breadwinner; those Floridians whose gender identity isn’t even recognized anywhere in our state laws; they deserve policies and protections that reflect the reality of their everyday existence. That’s why we need this bill. That’s why we were elected to serve,” said Stewart.

Helen Gordon Davis was a Tampa icon who passed away last May at the age of 88. She was the first woman from Hillsborough County elected to serve in the Florida Legislature back in 1974. She  was reelected for six consecutive terms and, in 1988, was elected to the Florida Senate. Her political career ended in 1992 when she lost that state Senate seat that comprised parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas County to Charlie Crist.

According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW) of Florida, over a lifetime of work (47 years), the total estimated loss of earnings of women compared with men is $700,000 for a high school graduate, $1.2 million for a college graduate and $2 million for a professional school graduate.

The odds of the bill passing in the Legislature would appear to be slim, as Cruz has offered it up in previous sessions without much success.

The three Democrats will speak about their bill next Tuesday at a press conference in Tallahassee.

David Jolly hires Charlie Crist staffer Vito Sheeley as “senior advisor”

David Jolly says that he has not made a decision whether to run for his former congressional seat next year, but that’s the impression he has given by announcing on Monday that he has hired Vito Sheeley to serve as his “senior advisor for the 2018 political cycle.”

Sheeley has been working as district director for Charlie Crist, the man who defeated Jolly last November in the Congressional District 13 race. Sheeley also worked on Crist’s congressional campaign as his campaign outreach director.

“While I have made no decision whether to pursue elective office in 2018, I am committed to continuing our important policy work of the last three years,” Jolly said in a statement.  “As Laura and I consider what is best for our family and our community in 2018, I am thrilled to have Vito Sheeley join our political team. Through my years working with Vito in Pinellas, I know him to be an honorable man, dedicated to our community, and a trusted advisor on how best to represent and serve Pinellas County and the State of Florida.”

“I’m extremely excited to begin my new role with Congressman Jolly,” Sheeley said. “Helping the citizens of Pinellas County has been and will remain the most important priority of my life.  As Senior Advisor to Mr. Jolly, I look forward to continuing to listen to the needs and concerns of Pinellas County.  I thank Congressman Jolly for recognizing my value to him and his team.”

Max Goodman, a spokesman for Jolly, says that Sheeley will be working with Jolly  “to continue policy work locally regarding education, veterans, urban affairs and other Pinellas priorities.” He says he’ll be paid through non candidate committee funds.

The announcement caps a bizarre week in the news for Sheeley, who previously worked for Tampa Democrat Kathy Castor.

There were unconfirmed reports that Crist had fired Sheeley last week, and then rehired him back. FloridaPolitics called Sheeley on Friday to ask him about that report, which he flatly denied, saying that he was still working for Crist at the time.

He also said it was unclear whether he would go on to work for Mayor Rick Kriseman’s re-election campaign, as had been reported by the Tampa Bay Times last week.

“I only wish the best for Vito,” Crist told FloridaPolitics this afternoon. “He did a wonderful job on our campaign, for which I will ever be grateful. I hope for a very bright future for he and his family.”

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.

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