Gwen Graham Archives - Page 6 of 42 - Florida Politics

John Morgan for governor? Still might happen, he says

When asked Thursday whether he was still contemplating a run for governor, John Morgan told reporters about his warning to his pal, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran.

“I told Richard Corcoran, the worst thing you could do to boost me is to limit smoke,” he said in Tallahassee, shortly after suing the state because it doesn’t allow medical marijuana to be lit and inhaled.

Morgan, the Orlando-based attorney and entrepreneur, backed the medical marijuana constitutional amendment that was OK’d by 71 percent of voters last year on the statewide ballot.

“I never thought I’d be the main bankroller of it all,” he said. “… I think it’s crazy what the Legislature has done to give me this platform … I’m going to take this wherever it leads me.”

Assuming he runs as a Democrat, he’d face former Tallahassee Congresswoman Gwen Graham, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, and Orlando businessman Chris King. Morgan has said it’d be “easy” for him to self-finance a campaign—at least at first.

One reporter questioned his reported interest in investing in a medical marijuana dispensary, asking about criticisms that he’s just trying to “cash in.”

“I wake up every day in a 100-percent effort to make money, and lots of it,” he said. “I’m never going to apologize for that. I’m leaving here to fly to my office in Brooklyn to make money. I’ll leave Brooklyn and fly to Atlanta to make money. And I’m going to start an insurance company in Florida this year to make money. And I’m going to build a new attraction in Branson, Missouri, to make money.”

He’s not “Mother Teresa” or “Pope Francis,” he added.

Can you make money as governor? he was asked. “I don’t think you can,” he said.

So what’s the plan for a Morgan in the Governor’s Mansion?

“Some days, hot. Some days, cold,” he said, mentioning he’s heading to New Hampshire for vacation soon. “I’m going to think about it. Like when you wanted to ask somebody on a date, you kind of knew whether they were going to say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ If I feel that way, maybe I will.

“I see no advantage in me announcing today or close to today,” he added. “I would hate to have to be holding coffee klatches or bullsh–ting people, telling everybody what they want to hear … and raising money.

“I have an advantage in that I (already) have name ID, for better or worse … I’m going to let the race take off, come all the way round, and I don’t have to make a decision until the horses are all coming down the stretch.”

Kamia Brown endorses Andrew Gillum for governor

Orlando Democratic State Rep. Kamia Brown has thrown her support Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in the Democratic governor’s race.

“I have watched with great pride as Mayor Andrew Gillum has campaigned all over this state for governor,” Brown stated in a news release issued by Gillum’s campaign. “He is connecting with Floridians from every walk of life and every corner of Florida. I am proud to endorse him for governor, because I know he will be a champion for Orlando, for women, and for all those who need a voice against the special interests. I look forward to knocking doors with him in Orlando and beyond, to take back our state in 2018.”

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

Brown’s endorsement adds his list that includes those of state Sens. Jeff ClemensPerry Thurston, and Bobby Powell; and state Reps. Joseph AbruzzoLoranne Ausley, Ramon Alexander, Shevrin Jones, Al Jacquet, and Patrick Henry.

“I’m honored to have Rep. Kamia Brown’s endorsement in this campaign,” Gillum stated in the release. “She’s brought passion and energy to her work in the Legislature, and I can’t wait to work with her as governor. She is going to help us bring our message to Orlando and all across the I-4 Corridor, and I’m excited to be on the trail with her.”

Bill Nelson calls Kris Kobach’s voter roll data request ‘ridiculous’

Add Bill Nelson to the growing list of Democratic and Republican Party officials who don’t think much of the request from President Donald Trump‘s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to hand over “publicly available voter roll data.”

“This is the most ridiculous mandate back on the states that I’ve ever heard,” the Florida Democrat told reporters Monday afternoon.

Nelson had just concluded a meeting with residents urging him to continue to fight to preserve the Affordable Care Act.

“Give us your personally identifiable voters information that is not public, and we’re going to put it in a centrally registered point that is unsecured?” Nelson said in disgust. “It’s just an open invitation to North Korea, the Russians, China and non-state actors to come in and get that information.”

Democratic governors and elected officials nationwide pushed back hard last week, saying they wouldn’t comply with the commission’s request, asking each state for its set of voter data: Names, addresses, dates of birth, voting history, party registration, military service and the last four digits of Social Security numbers.

Neither Florida Gov. Rick Scott nor Secretary of State Ken Detzner has publicly commented on the request.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who serves as vice chair of Trump’s new voter integrity commission, says the information he seeks is basic, publicly available information.

“It’s idiotic,” Kobach recently told The Washington Times. “These states make the information available to the public, but they don’t want a presidential commission to take a serious look at it? That makes no sense at all.”

Charles Stewart III, an MIT political scientist, wrote Monday in POLITICO that the commission’s requests have opened up a whole series of questions: How will the database be housed and protected? Will the resulting national voter file be subject to federal FOIA requests? Will those requests be granted based on state or federal laws? Will the match lists that are produced be public documents?

Nelson said that the U.S. and the rest of the world already have enough to contend with concerning the integrity of the vote, particularly when it comes to Russian interference.

“We’ve got enough trouble with the Russians for what they did to us, what they’re planning to do to us in ’18 and again in 2020 in a presidential election, what they did in France, what they’ve done in Ukraine, what they are now doing to do in the German election,” he said.

Three Democrats running for Florida governor in 2018 — Gwen Graham, Andrew Gillum and Chris King — have each condemned the request.

“While states certainly should not tolerate voter fraud, Kobach’s request for voters’ personal information isn’t based on any confirmed reports of such fraud,” King said in a statement. “Of the more than 130 million votes cast during the 2016 presidential election, there were only four documented cases of voter fraud. Kobach’s request for voter information is a waste of taxpayer money and an attempt to purge voter rolls and suppress voter turnout where no problem of vote fraud exists.”

“Kobach’s request for voter information is a waste of taxpayer money and an attempt to purge voter rolls and suppress voter turnout where no problem of vote fraud exists.”

An official with the Scott administration said on Monday that they are still considering the proposal.

“We have received the letter. We are reviewing it,” Director of Communications Sarah Revell told CNN.

Nelson also answered questions about Scott, the Republican he may face next year when he runs for another six-year Senate term, his fourth since being elected in 2000.

“I like the contrast because there’s a lot of contrast between his positions and mine and even our styles,” Nelson said.

Scott has yet to formally announce his candidacy, and said he’s in no hurry to make an announcement about his future. With seemingly unlimited financial resources and solid name recognition, Scott is probably one politician who can afford to wait.

While Nelson conceded he won’t be able to match Scott in fundraising, he is eliciting more campaign contributions from social media and online requests than ever before. Nelson also sounded extremely confident in his chances.

“The American people and especially Floridians are very smart, and they can usually sniff out who is the one who is really dedicated and has a heart for public service. and that’s why they have rewarded me election after election for many years,” he said. “And I’m very grateful for that.”

“And I suspect in November of 2018 it’s going to turn out that same way.”

Gwen Graham to Rick Scott: Keep voter data out of Donald Trump’s hands

It remains to be seen what pull Gwen Graham has with Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who finally has a “partner in the White House” in President Donald Trump.

However, when it comes to witholding Florida voter data from what she sees as a sham investigation into “non-existent” voter fraud, the Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate wants Scott to just say no to Trump.

The perceived need for the data by Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity — data which includes partial Social Security numbers — nettles Graham.

“This commission is designed to prove something that has already been established as demonstratively false: President Trump’s ludicrous claim that 3-5 million Americans voted illegally in the last election,” Graham asserts in her letter to Scott.

Graham throws some heat at the Governor also: “As your administration learned after its costly, partisan attempt to purge our state’s voter rolls, there is no evidence of significant voter fraud in Florida. With these facts in mind, it would be irresponsible to send sensitive data on Florida voters to President Trump’s phony commission.”

Such rhetoric isn’t likely to sway Gov. Scott, of course; however, the press release from the Graham camp spotlights her plan for reform — also included in the letter.

It is full of familiar Democratic tropes: universal voter registration; re-enfranchisement of reformed felons; expanded early voting; and greater facilitation of voting on college campuses.

As the Andrew Gillum campaign becomes mired in one news cycle morass after another, Graham here makes a calculated play to progressives, delivering the partisan fire that it will take to get her through the primary with an energized base.

Gwen Graham draws more endorsements: Steelworkers, Mark Pafford, Katie Edwards, John Cortes

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham has drawn more endorsements including former Florida House Minority Leader Mark Pafford and state Reps. Katie Edwards and John Cortes

The endorsements announced by her campaign Thursday also included Duval County Soil and Water District Chair Shannon Blankenship, and Jacksonville City Councilman Tommy Hazouri.

Her campaign also announced the first major labor endorsement of the season, from the United Steelworkers.

“This isn’t just about the next election. After almost twenty years of Republican rule, we are out of time. Our future and our very way of life are at stake,” Graham stated in a news release issued by her campaign. “I’m proud to have the support of these elected officials. Together, we will renew our promise to public schools, protect our environment and build an economy that works for everyone.”

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

“Gwen Graham is clearly the best choice to represent the interests of all Floridians,” USW International President Leo W. Gerard stated in a news release. “In Congress, she fought for policies to lift workers and our families, including her support for new laws to ensure fair pay and protections from workplace discrimination.”

“I have dedicated my career in public service fighting against the Republican status quo in Tallahassee. After years of one-party rule, we can not afford to lose another election. I’m supporting Gwen Graham because she’s offering real progressive solutions to the challenges we face,” stated Pafford,  who represented Palm Beach County in the House of Representatives and now is an administrative officer in the Orange County Tax Collector’s Office.

“As governor, Gwen will end Tallahassee’s education industry and put a stop to high-stakes testing by ending the destructive school-grading system and trusting teachers to do what they are trained and hired to do. She will protect our environment by banning fracking and oil drilling off our beaches. And she’s working to build an economy that works for every Floridian,” he added.

Cortes of Kissimmee, stated, “Gwen’s momentum in Central Florida is growing as fast as our region’s population. From fighting for our environment to working in public education, Gwen Graham has dedicated her life to the issues we care most about. I look forward to working with her as our next governor.”

 Hazouri added, “From the first week of her campaign, Gwen Graham has shown she understands how important Jacksonville is towinning back our state. From her commitment to human rights to her passion for protecting our natural resources and environment, Gwen Graham is focused on issues that matter to Democrats, the City of Jacksonville and the entire state of Florida. For these reasons, among many more, I’m proud to support and help Gwen win Jacksonville and win the governor’s race in November 2018.”


Tommy Hazouri endorses Gwen Graham for Governor

Former Jacksonville Mayor and current City Councilman Tommy Hazouri endorsed Gwen Graham for Governor Thursday.

“From the first week of her campaign, Gwen Graham has shown she understands how important Jacksonville is to winning back our state. From her commitment to human rights to her passion for protecting our natural resources and environment,” Hazouri said, “Gwen Graham is focused on issues that matter to Democrats, the City of Jacksonville and the entire state of Florida. For these reasons, among many more, I’m proud to support and help Gwen win Jacksonville and win the governor’s race in November 2018.”

Graham also rolled out another Jacksonville endorsement Thursday: Soil and Water Board Chair Shannon Blankinship.

Chris King picks up Nick Duran’s endorsement in Democrats’ governor race

Chris King’s performance in the Democratic candidates’ gubernatorial forum earlier this month in Fort Lauderdale apparently won him the backing of at least one South Florida lawmaker, state Rep. Nicholas Duran of Miami.

Duran, a freshman who emerged in this year’s Legislative Session as a leading voice for the Democrats on health care policy and anti-addition policy, announced his endorsement of King Wednesday morning, through King’s campaign.

“Chris’s performance during the Gubernatorial Forum last week confirmed what I’ve known for months now: that he can go toe-to-toe with the eventual Republican nominee and win the economic debate,” Duran stated in a news release issued by King’s campaign.

Before anyone can face the eventual Republican nominee, King faces former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham of Tallahassee and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum for the Democratic nomination to run for governor in 2018. The trio shared a stage at the Democrats’ Leadership Blue Gala in Fort Lauderdale. Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam is the only major Republican in the race.

“Chris King is the candidate for governor who can bring a truly fresh approach to politics,” Duran continued. “His values and record as a progressive entrepreneur will energize Florida’s economy and create new opportunity for small businesses and workers across the state. I’m proud to announce my endorsement of Chris King for governor. I look forward to working with him and his team in the coming months to move our party and state forward.”

Duran was the lead sponsor of House Bill 557 – The Controlled Substance Prescribing Act. Working with Democratic state Sen. Jeff Clemens, Duran passed the bill with overwhelming support from both chambers to help combat Florida’s opioid epidemic by modernizing the state’s prescription drug monitoring program.

“I’m thrilled to have the support of such an energetic and solutions-oriented leader here in Miami,” King stated in the release. “Rep. Duran has been a strong advocate for some of the most pressing issues facing the community, including health care and prescription drug abuse prevention. I’m looking forward to collaborating with him on these issues and others here in Miami and across the state so we can work together to lift up Florida’s hardworking families.”

Gwen Graham: ‘Health care is a right’

Former Congresswoman and now Democratic candidate for governor Gwen Graham on Tuesday rapped the U.S. Senate’s proposed Obamacare replacement, saying “if you get quality health care, you can have a miracle.”

Graham, speaking to reporters in the state Capitol, was referring to her husband’s recent cancer remission. Steve Hurm was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer last year.

Acknowledging that her family has good insurance coverage, “I want that for everyone,” she said. “No one should be put in a position where they can’t get the health care they deserve.”

Her announcement came shortly after fellow Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum said he was “calling for a constitutional amendment declaring affordable healthcare a fundamental right for all Floridians.”

Graham stood next to a pile of petitions she said opposed Congress’ repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama‘s signature legislative achievement. She planned on delivering the petitions to Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio‘s Tallahassee office after her press conference.

Senate leaders scrambled Tuesday to rescue their health care bill, however, in deepening jeopardy as opposition from rebellious Republicans intensified. The defections proliferated after Congress’ nonpartisan budget referee said the measure would leave 22 million more people uninsured by 2026 than under Obamacare.

Graham, who represented north Florida’s 2nd Congressional District from 2015-17, also said “we should be expanding Medicaid” to cover more poor and working poor Floridians.

Efforts to do so in the Legislature have failed, faced by staunch opposition from House Republican leadership and Gov. Rick Scott, a Naples Republican and former head of a for-profit hospital chain.

“How do (they) sleep at night … knowing that decisions they have made caused people to die?” Graham said. “Where is the humanity? … We want to take care of people; we want to help people.”

She was joined by the mother of a child with the same generic heart disorder that late-night host Jimmy Kimmel‘s son has, and Dr. Louis St. Petery, a Tallahassee pediatric cardiologist who was involved in the controversial 2011 “Docs vs. Glocks” state law that aimed to stop doctors from asking patients about guns in their homes.

“The essential health benefits (of Obamacare) are what all children need,” he said, mentioning “checkups, immunizations and access to hospitalization” when needed.

The Senate bill, on the other hand, “which many people don’t know what’s in it, is heartless,” Graham said. She also opposes Medicaid block grants, which House Speaker Richard Corcoran and others in the Legislature favor.

In response to a question about Gillum’s proposal, she added: “I think health care is a right, but I want to make sure the way we go about it is too.”

(The Associated Press contributed to this post, reprinted with permission.)

Andrew Gillum proposes constitutional amendment declaring affordable health care ‘a fundamental right of all Floridians’

Andrew Gillum is calling for a constitutional amendment declaring affordable healthcare is a fundamental right for all Floridians.

Gillum, one of three Democrats running for governor in 2018, announced Tuesday he was proposing a constitutional amendment to declare affordable health care a “fundamental right of all Floridians.”

The proposed amendment, according to a ballot summary provided by the Gillum campaign, would add “a new section to Article 1 of the Florida Constitution.”

“The following language shall be added to Article 1 of the Florida Constitution,” reads the draft text of the proposed constitutional amendment provided by the Gillum campaign. “Affordable health care is a fundamental right of all Floridians. In weighing priorities and allocating available resources, the Legislature shall afford the highest consideration to securing this right.”

The announcement comes as the U.S. Senate prepares to consider a health care bill that, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, would leave 22 million more people uninsured by 2026 than the current health care law.

The Senate plan would end the tax penalty that law imposes on people who don’t buy insurance, in effect erasing the so-called individual mandate, and on larger businesses that don’t offer coverage to workers.

It would also cut Medicaid, which provides health insurance to over 70 million poor and disabled people, by $772 billion through 2026 by capping its overall spending and phasing out Obama’s expansion of the program. Of the 22 million people losing health coverage, 15 million would be Medicaid recipients.

“It’s time for Florida to finally enshrine healthcare as a right for all,” said Gillum in a statement. “There is a public trust for the government to care for its citizens, and our state can no longer be ambiguous about that moral obligation. When healthcare is under attack in Washington, we’re going to lean into the challenge of healthcare in the Sunshine State and live our values.”

In Florida, amendments can be proposed to the Constitution through an initiative petition process. According to the Division of Elections, in order for a proposed amendment by initiative to get on the 2018 general election ballot, a petition must be signed by 766,200 voters. Signatures must come from at least 14 of Florida’s 27 congressional districts.

Gillum faces Gwen Graham, a former U.S. representative from Tallahassee, and Orlando businessman Chris King.

_The Associated Press contributed to this report, reprinted with permission.

Victor Torres jumps on Gwen Graham bandwagon

Orlando’s Democratic state Sen. Victor Torres has thrown his support behind former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham for governor.

Torres is a first-term senator who spent two terms in the Florida House of Representatives.

“As someone who has lived a full life full of hard work, I can tell you nothing provides more insight into what Floridians need than real life experiences. Raising three children, volunteering in the PTA and working for her local school district, Gwen Graham has the knowledge and common sense solutions to renew Florida’s public schools,” Torres stated in a news release.

Torres’s daughter, state Rep. Amy Mercado, who succeeded him in his house seat, already has endorsed Graham.

“She’s fighting to make sure our children and grandchildren have more opportunities to succeed and that when they graduate — whether it’s from high school or college — they have good paying jobs available right here in Florida. Gwen understands how important education is to our community and to all Floridians,” Torres continued. “This is why I’m proud to enthusiastically endorse Gwen Graham for Florida’s next governor.”

Graham faces Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum and Winter Park affordable housing developer Chris King for the Democratic nomination for governor in the 2018 race.

“For too long Tallahassee politicians have had the wrong priorities for the wrong people. Too many Floridians in our growing state have been ignored. We must put an end to businesses as usual and extinguish the status quo,” Graham stated in the release. “When I’m elected governor, our state will support every community as we renew our promise to public education, expand health care and create good-paying jobs, right here in Florida.”

According to a recent report by the U.S. Census Bureau, Florida’s Hispanic population is growing fastest in Central Florida and the suburbs of Tampa.

“The I-4 Hispanic community is the fastest-growing population in the state. We’re making our voices heard — and Gwen is taking the time to listen,” Torres said. “She’s working on the issues we care about, from protecting public education to building an economy that works for all Floridians. As governor, she will work to raise the minimum wage and institute paid sick leave, invest in technical training and infrastructure, and diversify our economy.”

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