Paul Renner Archives - Florida Politics

$50K+ September spend for Paul Renner PAC; Richard Corcoran benefits

House Speaker-in-waiting Paul Renner‘s PAC, “Florida Foundation for Liberty,” exited September with less cash on hand than it had at the beginning.

Renner’s committee raised $7,748, while spending $52,032; all told, the committee has roughly $232,000 on hand.

The most interesting — and sizable — spend out of that $52,032 from the Palm Coast Republican’s PAC: $20,000 to the “Watchdog PAC,” which is associated with current House Speaker and all-but-declared GOP Gubernatorial candidate Richard Corcoran.

Jacksonville Republican Rep. Clay Yarborough‘s political committee, “Floridians for Conservative Values,” also came out ahead, with $5,000 of new September money from the Renner PAC.

“Conservatives for a Better Florida,” a new and thus far mysterious political committee based in Coral Gables, received $5,000 more.

Renner’s committee was also refunded $1,000 from the campaign account of Rep. Cord Byrd in September.

At this writing on Monday morning, Renner had yet to file September numbers for his campaign account.

Fundraising there has been modest: at the end of August, Renner had just under $32,000 on hand. But in a safe seat, safely ensconced on the House Leadership track, that’s not a pressing concern.

Northeast Florida candidates’ fundraising in August: Some sizzled, some fizzled

August historically isn’t a hot month for political fundraising, and the Irma aftermath may make some readers forget about politics.

However, politics goes on — and in that context, a look at Northeast Florida fundraising, broken down by candidate category.

Attorney General

Rep. Jay Fant continued to struggle raising funds in August, bringing in just over $15,000 (off the strength of a late-August fundraiser with no host committee) while spending just over $18,000 — a potentially concerning place to be a year out from the primary. Fant has $155,000 in hard money available. His primary opponent, former Hillsborough Judge Ashley Moody, has $730,000 on hand.

Fant will need to make up ground.

Fant’s political committee (“Pledge This Day”) likewise is floundering: a second straight month of no money raised whatsoever, as part of five months in which just $10,000 was brought in. Fant’s committee has $72,000 on hand, which compares unfavorably to the $103,000 “Friends of Ashley Moody” has.

State Senate

Both Democrat Audrey Gibson and Republican Aaron Bean are without serious competition thus far in their re-election bids. Bean is unopposed; Gibson faces a longshot write-in.

Bean raised $10,000 and spent just over $5,000 in August, bringing him over $36,000 on hand. Of that $10,000, $4,000 came from committees associated with insurance agents, and $4,000 more from Florida East Coast Industries and affiliates.

Spending ran the gamut, from $4 for parking and $5.35 for a biscuit at Maple Street to $2,500 to Bascom Communications.

Gibson raked in $13,200 against $1,750 spent in August, giving her just over $69,000 on hand. Her most interesting donations: $4,000 in $1,000 from property companies located at the same Miami address.

State House

Except for one competitive race in House District 15 to replace Rep. Jay Fant, most of these incumbents were originally elected in 2016, and have safely gerrymandered seats and very little drama until their runs for future political offices.

Rep. Cord Byrd brought in $6,000 of new August money in his House District 11 re-election bid, pushing the Jacksonville Beach Republican to just over $18,000 on hand.

Notable: $2,000 of that came from future House Speaker Paul Renner‘s “Florida Foundation for Liberty” political committee. This suggests that whether Byrd supported Renner for Speaker in the past, everything is good with them now.

HD 12’s incumbent Republican, Clay Yarborough, brought in $7,250, giving him over $46,000 on hand. Of that $7,250, the $250 donation from Yarborough’s former Jacksonville City Council colleague Stephen Joost is of most local interest.

Yarborough’s Democratic opponent, Timothy Yost, has yet to report August numbers; at the end of July, he had $2,215 on hand.

Rep. Tracie Davis, the incumbent Democrat in House District 13, took a W in August; she has just over $16,000 on hand.

HD 14’s incumbent Democrat, Rep. Kim Daniels, raised her first $1,000 of her re-election campaign in August, via Nextera Energy. Daniels, who believes Hurricane Irma was anticipated by “prophets,” certainly is an interesting choice for the Florida Power and Light subsidiary to offer a maximum contribution to.

HD 15 Republican Wyman Duggan brought in $53,000 to kick off his campaign to replace Jay Fant, as we reported previously. Duggan will face Democrat Tracye Polson, who filed to run this month and has yet to report fundraising.

HD 16 incumbent Republican Jason Fischer brought in $13,000 from 15 August contributions and spent over $8,000 of it, giving him roughly $58,000 on hand.

HD 17 Republican Cyndi Stevenson raised $1,500 in August and spent $1,000 for consulting with Data Targeting; Stevenson, an incumbent representing St. Johns County, has roughly $42,000 on hand.

Clay County’s Travis Cummings, the Republican incumbent in HD 18, likewise had a quiet month: $3,000 of new money, with $2,452 spent. Cummings, who beat a Libertarian candidate handily in last year’s general election, has just over $51,000 on hand.

Palatka’s Bobby Payne, a Republican representing HD 19, brought in $6,500 from seven contributions — all of which came from the usual suspects in the Jacksonville donor class. This brings him near $23,000 on hand.

Payne has opposition on the ballot, including a primary challenger (Green Cove’s Boyce Royal) who has $500 banked. If Payne clears that challenge, he gets a Libertarian opponent in the general election.

Palm Coast’s Paul Renner, who will hold the Speaker’s gavel soon enough, brought in $4,000 in hard money, giving him over $31,000 on hand.

The action for Renner, however, was in his “Florida Foundation for Liberty” political committee, which brought in $56,500 and spent $28,215 in August.

Florida Blue donated $15,000 to Renner, making it the top donor.

Many of the expenditures from Renner’s committee were to House colleagues’ campaigns: Amber MarianoJayer WilliamsonChuck Clemons, and Joe Gruters are just a few of the names that got $1,000 checks in August.

The committee now has nearly $300,000 on hand.

One of the other major legislative committee in northeast Florida is “Working for Florida’s Families”, the committee of Sen. Rob Bradley.

Bradley, who isn’t up for re-election in 2018, brought in $44,000 — $25,000 of it from tobacco company RAI.

Bradley’s committee poured $60,000 into the Florida Republican Senatorial Committee in August also, and has roughly $425,000 on hand.

Fundraisers set for three GOP special election candidates

Florida’s top Republican lawmakers are lending a helping hand to the GOP nominees in three special elections going down this fall, according to fundraising invitations sent out Friday.

A fundraiser benefitting Republican Rep. Jose Felix Diaz’s Senate bid is set for Sept. 14. Senate President Joe Negron and the two Senators in line to succeed him in that role, Bill Galvano and Wilton Simpson, will host the event in Tampa at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse.

Joining them for the 6 p.m. fundraiser are Sens. Jeff Brandes, Tom Lee and Dana Young. In addition giving Diaz a boost, the fundraiser is also being put on for Senate Majority 2018.

Diaz is running to take over for disgraced former Sen. Frank Artiles in SD 40. He beat Alex Diaz de la Portilla in the special Republican Primary for the seat, and now faces Democrat Annette Taddeo, who scored her first win at the polls in five tries – once for Miami-Dade County Commission, then as Charlie Crist’s lieutenant governor pick, and twice for Congress.

The general election is set for Sept. 26.

Danny Perez, who won the GOP nomination to succeed Diaz in HD 116, and Robert “Bobby O” Olzewski, the Republican nominee to replace former Rep. Eric Eisnaugle in HD 44, have a joint fundraiser set for Sept. 13 in Tallahassee.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran is top billed on the host committee, and like Negron his successors will be in tow: Jose OlivaChris Sprowls, and Paul Renner.

The fundraiser kicks off at 5 p.m. at the Florida Realtors building on South Monroe Street.

Perez is running against Democrat Gabriela Mayudon who has less than $100 in her campaign account, while Bobby O is facing Democrat Paul Chandler, who is near open warfare with the Florida Democratic Party.

The invitations to the events are below:

 

Bobby Olszewski HD 44 fundraiser packed with Republican leaders

The Republican primary for House District 44 may have deeply split support from top Republicans but now that Bobby Olszewski has won he’s bringing much of that together behind his special election campaign.

Olszewski’s campaign announced a fundraiser set for the evening of Aug. 30 that will feature the current speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, the next three most-likley speakers, several past speakers, plus scores of other Republican leaders, including quite a few who had supported Olszewski’s opponents in last week’s primary.

The fundraiser is set for the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, with contributions of up to $1,000 per person.

Olszewski won the Aug. 15 Republican primary and now faces Democrat Paul Chandler in an Oct. 10 special election to fill the vacant seat representing southwest Orange County.

Among those set to attend the fundraiser are Florida Speaker Richard Corcoran and speaker designates Jose Oliva, Chris Sprowls, and Paul Renner, along with special guest U.S. Rep. Daniel Webster, a longtime Olszewski supporter who also is a former speaker of the Florida House. Other past Florida House speakers Steve Crisafulli, Tom Feeney, Mike Haridopolos, and Will Weatherford also are among the named guests.

The supporters listed for the fundraiser also include Bruno Portigliatti and Usha Jain, two of the Republican candidates whom Olszewski defeated in the Aug. 15 primary. The fourth in that primary, John Newstreet, is not included, but a number of his former backers are, including state Reps. Jason Brodeur, Bob Cortes, Mike La Rosa, Mike Miller, and Rene Plasencia.

 

Richard Corcoran releases new committee assignments

House Speaker Richard Corcoran released his committee assignments for the 2018 Legislative Session Thursday with just a few changes from 2017, notably some freshmen getting vice chairmanships and new chairs for the Ways and Means and Commerce Committees.

Corcoran’s changes in committees look more like mid-term adjustments for the two-year term, rather than the wholesale reshuffling that Senate President Joe Negron announced earlier this week for that chamber’s committees.

“Your preference requests were accommodated to the extent possible, including the recommendations of (Democratic) Leader (Janet) Cruz,” the Land O’ Lakes Republican wrote in a memo to members.

“One notable change addresses the status of the Public Integrity & Ethics Committee, which because of workload and the nature of the work, will be treated as a procedural committee, much like Rules & Policy,” he added. “In order to ensure all members have at least one substantive committee, we increased the size of the Education, Judiciary, Health & Human Services, and Ways & Means committees to accommodate freshmen members from Public Integrity & Ethics.”

With the departure of former Commerce Committee chairman Jose Felix Diaz, who is running in a special election for the Senate, state Rep. Jim Boyd of Bradenton will slide over from chairing the House Ways and Means Committee to chair Commerce, with Paul Renner of Palm Coast taking the chair of Ways and Means.

Otherwise, the committee assignments reward a handful of freshmen with new vice chairmanships of committees and subcommittees, and give Rep. James Grant of Tampa with a chairmanship, that of the Health Quality Subcommittee of the House Health & Human Services Committee.

Among freshmen getting vice chairs:

Randy Fine of Brevard County, Careers & Competition Subcommittee of the Commerce Committee.

Jason Fischer of Jacksonville, PreK-12 Innovation Subcommittee of the Education Committee.

Erin Grall of Vero Beach, Civil Justice & Claims Subcommittee of the Judiciary Committee.

Michael Grant of Port Charlotte, Transportation and Tourism Appropriations Subcommittee.

Twenty-one of the 27 freshmen lawmakers now have vice chairs.

Corcoran also opened bill filing for House members: “The bill request submission deadline for all bills (substantive and Appropriations Project bills) is now on the same day, Nov. 14. The filing deadline for your first two bills is Nov. 21.

“The filing deadline for remaining bills is the first day of Session, Jan. 9,” he said.

For the full list, go here.

Richard Corcoran, Paul Renner support tax amendment

House Speaker Richard Corcoran says he supports Gov. Rick Scott‘s call for a “constitutional amendment requiring super majorities to pass any future tax increases.”

“For almost seven years we’ve worked alongside our Governor to bring common sense back to governing. We cut taxes. We cut regulations. We cut fees. Now we need to make sure the taxpayers’ pocketbooks are protected,” the Land O’ Lakes Republican said in a Monday statement.

“Requiring in the Constitution a super majority to raise any tax or fee will do this,” he added. “It’s pro-family, pro-future, pro-worker, and pro-taxpayer. It’s anti-government waste, anti-politician, and anti-pork barrel spending. I’m proud to offer my support to Gov. Scott on this bold initiative and will do all I can to see that it is successful.”

Scott, a Naples Republican considered to be planning a run for the U.S. Senate next year, has not yet exactly outlined what would be covered by the proposal or how large a supermajority would be needed. He wants the measure to go before voters on the 2018 statewide ballot.

If the amendment is passed by 60 percent, state legislators could not pass any future taxes or fees without a supermajority legislative vote. Several other states, including California, have similar restrictions.

Scott wants the Florida Legislature to place the amendment on the ballot. But the governor said he may also ask the Constitution Revision Commission to consider the proposal.

House Ways and Means Committee chair Paul Renner, a Palm Coast Republican slated to take over the Speakership in 2022-24, also supports the plan.

“I look forward to working with the Speaker and my colleagues to provide Floridians the opportunity to vote on this much-needed amendment,” he said. “Florida is a place of prosperity and opportunity because we have put our trust in free people and free markets … This amendment, along with our requirement to balance the budget, will help protect Florida’s long-term economic future.”

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

Quiet July on finance front for Paul Renner committees

July was the first month of fundraising for future State House Speaker Paul Renner‘s political committees since he won the honor in late June.

Some observers may have anticipated an avalanche of activity, but in reality the committees had modest contributions and spends.

“Florida Foundation for Liberty,” Renner’s primary committee, brought in just $25,500 in July (spending $20,383 of that), pushing the committee just over $240,000 on hand.

Donations came in from political committees, including the Realtors, Surgi-PAC, and the Florida Credit Union’s political action committee.

The biggest donation: $10,000 from MHK of Volusia County.

Of the over $20,000 spend, $4,000 went to Ballard Consulting, $2,685 went to Renner’s campaign account for reimbursements, $10,000 went to another Renner committee, “Conservatives for Principled Leadership.”

Meanwhile, there were just two external donations, and both were in the Jacksonville metro area.

The committee gave $1,000 to Clay Yarborough‘s campaign, and $2,500 to “A Safe Jacksonville,” the political committee of Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams.

The aforementioned “Conservatives for Principled Leadership,” meanwhile, has just under $18,000 on hand after a $12,500 July.

Beyond the $10,000 from Renner’s other committee, the other $2,500 came from the interesting “Florida Prosperity Fund” committee.

Jacksonville Bold for 7.28.17 — Institutional knowledge

If this week’s issue of Bold has a unifying theme, it’s “institutional knowledge.”

What that phrase means, in a political sense: knowing your milieu, learning what you can and can’t do in office. “Passing the torch,” so to speak.

For our area’s congressmen, you will see below how the power of knowing one’s way around Capitol Hill translates into a smoother path to re-election than to the first election.

For Jacksonville’s mayor, it means knowing that whatever blowback might be received in the press for an early-week junket with the city’s leading businessman may be worth the benefit.

And for the folks on Jacksonville’s City Council, the phrase is a double-edged sword.

There are some who believe institutional knowledge is conferred via osmosis … or title. Not the case.

The phrase comes down to being able to manipulate the levers of power — whether one has the title or not.

Institutions, by necessity, function best with stable, merit-based hierarchy. When that hierarchy is subverted, things get interesting.

Al Lawson, John Rutherford pack war chests

First-year Jacksonville-area Congressmen Rutherford and Lawson may have different party labels.

But they both have strong fundraising in the latest campaign finance report, suggesting that either will be tough outs in primaries.

Speaker Paul Ryan backs Rep. John Rutherford, as proven by the most recent campaign finance filings.

Rutherford hauled in over $155,000 off 69 total contributions from January to June 2017; Lawson brought in over $158,000 off 118 total contributions, doing even better than Rutherford.

Rutherford’s committee has over $132,000 on hand, a number offset by nearly $96,000 in debts.

Lawson, still without that Jacksonville challenger, has over $148,000 on hand — a number offset by nearly $79,000 in debts and loans.

Most compelling donor? The political committee of House Speaker Paul Ryan, giving to Rutherford.

Lawson talks ‘blue collar’ outreach

The Tallahassee Democrat was on hand for Lawson’s recent comments at the North Florida Democratic Club’s summer picnic.

Lawson, a Democrat representing Congressional District 5, worries that the party has forgotten its core message.

Al Lawson’s take on where Dems have gone wrong is worth noting.

“Fourteen percent of African-American men voted for Donald Trump. Fifty-three percent of white women voted for Donald Trump,” Lawson said.

“This, we can’t let happen anymore in America. We are the ones who have fought for Social Security, fought for equal pay for women, fought for Medicaid. They are the ones who want to cut,” Lawson added.

Lawson cited the party’s enthusiasm gap with the “blue collar worker,” urging those on hand to reach out to groups that help to consolidate the base.

Mike Williams, Melissa Nelson show up for Ashley Moody

Tuesday was not a great day for the campaign of Rep. Jay Fant for Attorney General — as his GOP primary opponent, Ashley Moody, held a fundraiser in his backyard.

Among the significant attendees are two of the biggest names in #jaxpol: Sheriff Williams, who helmed the host committee; and 4th Circuit State Attorney Nelson — who is not endorsing in this one, but is pictured with the candidate below.

All smiles with Ashley Moody and Melissa Nelson. Picture from Moody’s campaign page.

On the host committee: Gary Chartrand, the charter school impresario, and Nelson supporter; Hank Coxe, one of the leading defense attorneys in the state, and Nelson supporter; Buddy Schulz, another key Nelson ally.

We weren’t on hand, alas … but we did have eyes in the room, and here’s what those eyes saw.

Attendees comprised a “who’s who of Ortega and Avondale” — the heart of Fant’s House district, and a short walk from where he kicked off his own AG money campaign.

Worth watching: how much money Moody harvests from Jacksonville donors, as reflected on her next campaign finance report.

Already, the money race is uglier than 5 p.m. on the Fuller-Warren bridge.

Lenny Curry flies the friendly skies, Shad Khan style

An early-week trip by Jacksonville Mayor Curry and Chief Administrative Officer Sam Mousa caught the eye of the Florida Times-Union Tuesday … as it was on Jags’ owner Khan’s corporate jet.

Lenny Curry finds the skies to be friendly when flying in Shad Khan’s jet

Described as “a two-day trip to St. Louis and Baltimore to take care of official and political work,” T-U scribe Nate Monroe asserted multiple purposes for the trip, including a discussion of “downtown development.”

“What compelled Curry to take the trip, or who he is meeting with to discuss downtown development ideas or his political career, is not clear,” Monroe writes.

Whether clear or not, Curry and Mousa — in an email exchange — extolled the virtues of the trip so far.

Curry to Mousa: “Let’s debrief quickly after today’s St. Louis trip and tomorrow’s Baltimore on downtown development. We need to discuss design, finance, infrastructure.”

Mousa’s reply?

“Yes, sir. Interesting and creative matters we learned today.”

Likewise opaque: who is paying for the trip.

As it could be another in a series of Khan-tributions to Curry’s “Build Something That Lasts” political committee, the finance report for the committee will be worth watching to see precise valuations and itemizations of Curry’s junket.

Paul Renner to take over Ways and Means

To the victor goes the spoils. Rep. Renner of Palm Coast — fresh off winning the Speaker’s race for 2022 — will get some gavel practice by helming the Florida House Ways and Means Committee.

Paul Renner: a rising star in the Florida GOP, and a future House Speaker.

This role will give Renner some practice with the purse strings, and said practice will be during an interesting year — a watershed election on the state level, with all constitutional offices in play.

Renner, though representing Palm Coast, is very much a Jacksonville guy — a local lawyer who came within two votes of representing Jacksonville itself in the Florida House in 2014.

Jason Fischer: Audit the School Board!

On Monday, State Rep. Fischer proposed a state financial audit of the Duval County School Board on which he served until last year.

Fischer’s take: the district is more concerned about potentially suing over the controversial “Schools of Hope” bill he advocated than it is with getting its “financial house in order,” after recent revelations of spending $21M beyond its budget.

Jason Fischer wants a tighter rein on School Board spending.

Fischer has a backup on the board: fellow Republican Scott Shine, who already has amassed $30,000 for his own re-election bid to the body, “welcomes” such an audit.

In an open letter released Tuesday, Shine wrote that he is “not concerned with the possibility of a Legislative Audit.”

“As I suggested to the board [July 18, we need to institute additional peer review and a Legislative audit can be a part of that review process,” Shine wrote.

Shine also noted that the CFO responsible for the budget imbalance was “removed,” in light of the “considerable mistake” made by the budget office.

Garrett Dennis: More cops, please!

Jacksonville progressives are pushing back against Mayor Curry’s proposal to hire more cops. But City Council Finance Chair Dennis is riding with the Mayor on this one.

Garrett Dennis’ positions meet with the approval of the local police union.

Dennis, who attends roughly a dozen community meetings a month, has “yet to hear that we have too many police officers.”

“I understand their concerns,” Dennis said regarding the JPC position, “but I have yet to hear that at any neighborhood association meeting.”

Many in Dennis’ District 9 experience a certain type of more aggressive policing than do those in neighboring District 14.

Dennis’ take?

“Look at the crime stats, and see what crimes are committed” in each district.

Dennis notes that the crimes that predominate in District 9 are of a certain type: “aggravated assault, drugs, violent crime.”

In District 14, meanwhile, the crimes are of a different type, such as “break-ins and auto thefts.”

“The tactics are going to be different based on the crime,” Dennis said.

Term limits bill on ice

When in doubt, defer.

That was the conclusion drawn by the Jacksonville City Council, which opted to defer action on a controversial bill that, if passed, would allow an almost-certain-to-fail referendum to extend term limits for Jacksonville elected officials, allowing three consecutive terms for all offices but the Mayor.

The bill sailed through committees but stalled out in the full Council — with marginalized Council vets John Crescimbeni, Bill Gulliford, and Tommy Hazouri (all of whom got shafted in committee assignments, and missed out on the debate) cooling enthusiasm among many colleagues.

While bill sponsor Matt Schellenberg got help from Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown, Tuesday’s exercise was a reminder of political reality.

While it may be possible to shunt Gulliford, Hazouri, and Crescimbeni to the side, if the three of them are aligned, they make a formidable dissident bloc … one that could make budget deliberations in August and September really interesting for a Council President who got installed via a loose coalition that may have only been viable for the leadership vote.

Jags reach out to region

The Jacksonville Jaguars are redoubling (or re-tripling at this point?) its efforts to build a regional fan base, the Florida Times-Union reports.

The problem, as it’s been historically: the bulk of tickets are sold in Duval, Clay and St. Johns counties. Baker and Nassau: negligible factors. And beyond that? Gets perilously close to Bucs/Falcons/Dolphins country.

Some say only winning will fill the oft-empty seats at EverBank Field.

But they’ve got to keep choppin’ wood, with Gainesville, Tallahassee, Brunswick and even Orlando suburbs in the mix.

People travel to Jacksonville for single games, but as anyone who has been to a Jags game knows, they are often there to cheer the road team on.

The Jags’ goal: to become the Green Bay Packers of the South. Easier to do that with more 11-5 years than 5-11 letdowns.

Opioid Watch

Northwest Florida continues to attempt a response to the opioid crisis crushing the nation.

Action News Jax reports that Baker County Commissioner Cathy Rhoden has a daughter addicted to heroin, and Rhoden hopes to parlay that personal experience into community education.

The addiction crisis knows no borders.

Rhoden’s goal: to start a task force, similar to that already in the county for meth.

Meanwhile, Jacksonville saw a conference of people on the front lines of the battle in the region, and First Coast News was on hand.

The seminar was put on by a Canadian rehab company, Trafalgar Residence.

Clearly dominating the Canadian market, it would appear Trafalgar wants to move south of the border.

Verklempt over Volstead

There’s a tear in A.G. Gancarski’s absinthe cocktail, as his favorite bar — the Volstead — is set to close next month, reports the Florida Times-Union.

The best bar in Jacksonville is about to close, yet another night life casualty Downtown.

The bar has a “farewell affair to remember” Aug. 18, with the final night of operations Aug. 21.

It’s difficult to overstate what Volstead meant downtown. The speak-easy embodied a prohibition era aesthetic, with great drinks and plenty of space to mill.

However, the real utility of Volstead was its proximity to City Hall, as it became the go-to spot for off-the-record conversations between pols and savvy reporters, where the secrets spilled were every bit as delicious as the liquor swilled.

What Aaron Bean is up to in August

On Wednesday, Aug. 2, the Fernandina Beach Republican will speak to the Rotary Club of West Jacksonville for an overview of the 2017 Legislative Session. Event begins 12:30 p.m. at the Florida Yacht Club, 5210 Yacht Club Road in Jacksonville. Then, on Tuesday, Aug. 15, Sen. Bean will also offer another overview for the Rotary Club of San Jose’s meeting, beginning 6 p.m. at the San Jose Country Club, 7529 San Jose Boulevard in Jacksonville.

Save the date: Flagler County GOP election kickoff barbecue

Flagler County’s Republican Club kicks off the 2018 election season with an afternoon of fun, food and fellowship at the Princess place preserve Aug. 19. Special guest is Republican Party of Florida Chair Blaise Ingoglia, who will cut the ribbon on the season at 2 p.m. State Sen. Travis Hutson and Speaker-to-be Renner will be honored for sponsoring the Republican Club Youth Scholarships for 2017-18. Emceeing the event is retired Flagler County Clerk Gail Wadsworth. To order tickets, click here.

Adam Putnam, Renner featured at Florida Chamber veteran summit

Leaders from Florida’s military and defense industry, economic development experts, policymakers and the business community will be at the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Military, Defense & Veterans Opportunities Summit Aug. 8 at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld, 6677 Sea Harbor Dr. in Orlando.

The event’s theme is examining challenges facing Florida veterans throughout the next 15-plus years and identify solutions.

Adam Putnam, Paul Renner will be featured at the Florida Chamber veteran summit Aug. 8.

Among the featured guests are state Rep. Renner, Agriculture Commissioner Putnam (as keynote) and retired Brig. Gen. Michael Fleming, who serves as Jacksonville University’s senior vice president of University Relations and Development. Fleming and Renner will also host a panel entitled “Making Connections: Eliminating Obstacles for Veteran Entrepreneurs.”

More information and reservations are at the Florida Chamber website.

Intuition Ale Works sponsoring cart service for events

Jacksonville Business Journal reports that Intuition Ale Works is one of the sponsors of the passenger cart service EZEventRide, which transports physically impaired people and others who need the service to and from events at Veterans Memorial Arena and EverBank Field.

EZEventRide’s 10 carts – which offer free rides – can take people from parking locations throughout the Jacksonville entertainment district.

Founder Bill Guerrant launched EZEventRide in 2014 after noticing an elderly couple struggling to walk nearly a mile from there parking spots to the stadium. Guerrant began in June 2014 after acquiring some golf carts. The company’s 10 carts – which offer free rides – can take people from parking locations throughout the Jacksonville entertainment district, in between the stadium and places like the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Waterfront, the Omni Jacksonville Hotel, Intuition and Manifest Distillery and others.

JTA CEO honored with leadership award

Nathaniel Ford Sr., CEO of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA) was honored with the Thomas G. Neusom “Founders Award from the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO). This award is the highest honor bestowed by COMTO.

Ford accepted the award July 18 at the 46th National Meeting and Training Conference in Detroit, Michigan.

Nathaniel Ford Sr., CEO of the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA).

The Founders Award honors public and private transportation executives and policymakers responsible for the direction and operation of their agency and who, through their affiliation with COMTO, have made outstanding contributions toward the growth and development of people of color within the transportation industry and have given continued and outstanding service and leadership to the COMTO organization.

“I am honored and grateful to be recognized by COMTO with this prestigious award,” said Ford. “JTA is committed to workplace diversity and it is evident throughout our operation.”

Frontier Airlines adds flights from Jax to Denver, Cincinnati

Flights from Jacksonville International Airport are expanding as Denver-based Frontier Airlines, a low-cost carrier start nonstop flights from Jacksonville to Denver and Cincinnati starting spring 2018, reports First Coast News. Flights will be on Airbus A320 aircraft.

Up, up and away … from Jax to Denver and Cincinnati.

“We are proud to announce the nationwide expansion of our unique brand of Low Fares Done Right which will empower millions more people to afford to fly,” Barry Biffle, president and CEO for Frontier Airlines, said in a statement.

Richard Corcoran announces 2018 leadership in House

In a Tuesday memo, House Speaker Richard Corcoran announced his leadership for the 2018 Legislative Session, including the committee weeks that lead up to the annual session.

Current Majority Whip Dane Eagle keeps that post, but now will be a member of the Republican leadership team.

Rep. Jim Boyd will chair the Commerce Committee, taking over from Jose Felix Diaz, who is running for state Senate.

Replacing Boyd at the helm of the Ways & Means Committee is Paul Renner, recently picked to become Speaker in 2022-24.

Other top positions remain the same, according to the memo. For instance, Jeanette Nuñez and Ray Rodrigues remain Speaker Pro Tempore and Majority Leader, respectively.

Speaker-designate Jose Oliva will continue as head of the Rules & Policy Committee, and Carlos Trujillo will again chair Appropriations for the chamber.

“Updated committee assignments will be made within the next few weeks,” Corcoran wrote. “If you are interested in serving as a subcommittee chair or on a particular committee, I strongly encourage you to speak with the chair of the full committee with jurisdiction over the subcommittee.

“As we did last year, subcommittee chair appointments will be made in collaboration with the full committee chairs,” he added. “I look forward to seeing all of you soon.”

50 Florida lawmakers earn A+ on AFP-FL scorecard

Fifty legislators received top marks from Americans for Prosperity-Florida, the largest number of A+ legislators since the organization began issuing its annual legislative scorecard.

The organization released its 2017 Economic Freedom Scorecard, which graded 5,500 votes on 96 issues, on Tuesday. The scorecard showed 50 legislators — 11 senators and 39 representatives — received an A+. That means legislators scoring an A+ voted with AFP-FL received a score of 100 percent or higher.

“I am thrilled to see that this year, 50 legislators earned an A+ on our Economic Freedom Scorecard,” said Chris Hudson, the state director for AFP-FL, in a statement. “That’s the most A+’s the Florida legislature has earned since we began publishing our annual report. Our activist base is growing, our network is expanding and always finding ways to maximize our impact, but we are far from done. I believe the best days are ahead of us, and we are committed to deliver even more victories in 2018.”

Sen. Greg Steube scored the highest in the Senate, with a score of 140 percent, followed by Sen. Tom Lee at 114.29 percent; Sen. Jeff Brandes with a score of 113.33 percent; Sen. Denise Grimsley with a score of 110.53 percent; and Sen. Dennis Baxley with a score of 106.67 percent.

Over in the House, Rep. Bryan Avila received the highest score with 108.1 percent, followed by Rep. Paul Renner at 106.1 percent; Rep. Jason Fischer at 105.7 percent; Rep. James Grant at 105.4 percent; and Rep. Chris Sprowls at 105.4 percent.

Both Senate President Joe Negron and House Speaker Richard Corcoran received scores of 100 percent, according to the scorecard.

The organizations factors in committee and floor votes, with each vote carrying the same weight regardless of the issue, to calculate the score. This year, the group looked at how lawmakers voted on 96 key bills, including $600 million in tax cuts, school choice, and economic incentives.

“The state of Florida is embracing economic freedom, and our families and businesses will be better off because of it,” said Hudson.

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