Rick Scott Archives - Page 7 of 224 - Florida Politics

Keith Perry files bill to create 10-day back-to-school sales tax holiday

Sen. Keith Perry has filed a bill calling for a 10-day back-to-school tax holiday in August.

Under the proposed legislation (SB 490), certain school supplies would be tax exempt from Aug. 4 through 14.

“As I talk to folks across north central Florida, I hear the same thing over and over – people are working hard to do right by their children,” he said in a statement Thursday. “Any steps we can take legislatively to lessen the burden on Florida’s families is a step in the right direction.”

The proposal would include clothing, backpack and sneakers that cost $100 or less; pens, pencils, notebooks, markers, calculators, and lunchboxes that cost $15 or less; and laptops or desktop computers that cost $1,000 or less.

Perry’s decision to file the legislation coincided with Gov. Rick Scott’s announcement that he is proposed $618 million in tax cuts. The governor made his announcement in Jacksonville on Wednesday morning, kicking off a multi-city swing to promote his proposal.

Scott’s proposal includes a 10-day back-to-school sales tax holiday, which he estimates would save Floridians $72 million.

In 2016, the annual back-to-school sales tax holiday ran from Aug. 5 through Aug. 7. It was scaled back from the previous year, when lawmakers approved a 10-day holiday.

“For Florida’s hardworking families, every dollar counts at back-to-school time,” said Perry. “I am proud to sponsor this common sense plan to put money back in the pockets of parents across the state.”

 

Proposed plan to buy farmland south of Lake Okeechobee off to slow start in Florida Senate

So far, 2017 has been unkind to proponents of buying land south of Lake Okeechobee. That’s the takeaway from two January Senate committee meetings that have been held on the issue.

In the titanic legislative battle pitting landowners, minority residents from the Glades and state and water management district officials against Senate President Joe Negron and environmental groups, the Senate committee looking into the issue has heard testimony largely in favor of sticking the historic Everglades restoration plans first started in 1999.

For the proponents of buying land, you might say things have not gone as planned. Outside of Everglades Foundation scientist Tom Van Lent, the committee has yet to hear from a credible third-party expert making the case for buying up more land. Instead, they have heard speakers such as South Florida Water Management District Director (SFWMD) Pete Antonacci, DEP Deputy Secretary for Water Policy and Ecosystem Restoration Drew Bartlett, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lt. Colonel Jennifer Reynolds acknowledge that the state has plenty of land to build the reservoir Negron is proposing.

Even some of Negron’s constituents aren’t having any of it. According to the Stuart News, earlier this week, minority residents from Pahokee expressed concern about his plans to buy 60,000 acres of farmland, which they say would devastate their community. On Wednesday, those residents were front and center in a meeting in Tallahassee. Representatives of the “Guardians of the Glades” included former Pahokee Deputy City Manager Tammy Jackson-Moore and pastor Robert Rease from Belle Glade.

After the meeting, Senator Rob Bradley, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources, seemed conciliatory on a land buy, telling reporters, “Everyone said that … storage south of the lake must occur.”

Senate leadership has insisted the process will be driven by science. And it turns out that the science used by the Everglades Foundation may not be as solid as previously thought. Earlier this month, SFWMD Hydrology and Hydraulics Bureau Chief Akintunde O. Owosina wrote a scathing letter to Everglades Foundation scientist Van Lent, alleging that among other things, “the assumptions you made in the model input were obviously selected to reduce northern storage and create an outcome in favor of southern storage.” The letter set off several rounds of exchanges between the Everglades Foundation and the water management district – a sideshow environmental groups and Negron simply can’t afford.

In a statement released by the SFWMD Wednesday, the district once again challenged Van Lent’s assertion that buying land is necessary for fixing the problems in the east and west coast estuaries. In response to Van Lent’s presentation, the district noted that its scientists found Van Lent’s claim that storage south of the lake is preferable to storage north of the lake “misleading” and “the product of an agenda-driven academic exercise.”

The district also provided a quote from University of Florida scientist Dr. Wendy Graham from her Jan. 11 appearance before Bradley’s committee indicating the benefits of storing land south of the lake versus north of the lake are about the same. According to Dr. Graham, “”If you want to protect the estuaries, it’s pretty equal north or south of the Lake.” Except the fact that according to Negron, storage south of the lake will cost more, requiring $2.4 billion for land AND a reservoir.

In the early round, credit goes to Antonacci and Gov. Rick Scott. While not known for punching hard in the policy arena, it’s clear the Governor’s Office came to play hardball early on in this debate. By highlighting the Everglades Foundation’s questionable modeling, it puts the science behind Negron’s plan in doubt even before the bill sees the light of day.

All signs point to the plan being unveiled as early as this week. From there, it will likely head to Senate subcommittees, where members will have to answer questions on whether the same modeling questioned by the SFWMD is part of the Senate’s plan.

In an era where Republicans are leading the charge against “fake science,” will Senate Republicans have the courage to defend the plan under those circumstances?

Bill Nelson and Bob Buckhorn call on Donald Trump to back up plans on infrastructure spending

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn is calling on President Donald Trump to stand by his campaign pledge to spend up to a trillion dollars to improve the nation’s infrastructure needs.

“If there ever was an opportunity for us to potentially find common ground with the new president, it would be over infrastructure,” Buckhorn said at a press conference held in Senator Bill Nelson’s Tampa district office on Wednesday. “Because for us, infrastructure is the lifeblood of what we do. We can’t grow this country’s economy, I can’t grow this city’s economy without adequate roads, bridges water and sewage systems.”

You don’t need a weatherman to know if you’ve lived in the Tampa Bay area over the past two summers that both Tampa and St. Petersburg need hundreds of millions of dollars to improve their stormwater systems, after they were overwhelmed by major floods in 2015 and 2016.

“I am basically dealing with 100-year-old pipes, trying to push 2017 growth patters through 100-year-old pipes. It doesn’t work,” complained Buckhorn. “We haven’t had an infusion of capital in our infrastructure system for decades. And so for us, the ability to fix what we have, and then to grow and add additional capacity, for what we need…is absolutely critical. This should not be a partisan issue.”

It may not be.

On Tuesday, Nelson joined Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Senate Democrats in calling for a $1 trillion proposal that would potentially create 15 million jobs over 10 years. It includes $210 billion for road and bridge repair, $110 billion for water and sewer programs, $180 billion for rail and bus systems, $200 billion for new projects deemed as vital, $75 billion to rebuild schools, $70 billion for ports and $100 billion for energy grid upgrades. Democrats say they want to use taxpayers money to pay for the package, but Republicans have floated a plan to give tax credits out to private industry to help in the building.

“The question is: how is this going to be funded?” Nelson asked on Wednesday.  He said that’s where his GOP colleagues “are just in a war” about how they will figure that question out in the coming months.

Nelson said that there are over 200 bridges that the Florida Dept. of Transportation has ruled to be “structurally deficient,” including the 22nd Street Bridge in Ybor City near Ikea that crosses over the CSX rail line that takes over 25,000 cars a day; the 9th Street Bridge over Brooker Creek in Pinellas County, and the bridge at State Road 684 into Bradenton Beach.

Nelson dismissed the notion of public-private partnerships to pay for all of the nation’s infrastructure needs (as the Trump team has floated), saying that won’t help add broadband to underserved areas of the country.

Regarding possible funding for transit, Nelson bemoaned Rick Scott’s veto of the billions of dollars he single-handedly rejected for high speed rail between Tampa and Orlando back in 2011.

Buckhorn said federal funds could help Tampa with a much desired transit system.

Meanwhile, Nelson says the consequences of President Trump’s announcement earlier this week that he will impose a federal freeze on all government jobs is potentially “terrifying.”

Trump announced on Monday that he was imposing a freeze on all sectors of the federal government, with the exception for the military and other positions affected national security and public safety.

But Nelson says there’s already a shortage of air traffic controllers,  and says a lack of sufficiently trained new staffers in that department “could really harm our nation’s safety.”

Speaking in Tampa, Nelson also says that while the Pentagon is exempt under the new policy, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs is not, which he says makes little sense, alluding to the much reported on problems with that federal agency in recent years. “Not only do they need people working in the hospitals, but they desperately need people to do the administragive things to get the veterans the appointments that they need. That’s where we’ve had so much fo the problems over time that you’ve read about it,” he said.

Over 2,000 previously untested sexual assault kits have been analyzed by the FDLE

The Senate Subcommittee on Civil and Criminal Justice heard an update Wednesday on the number of sexual assault kits that were previously untested and are now no longer, learning that over 2,000 cases had now been analyzed.

The issue with sexual assault kits is that, for many years, a lot of them were put into an endless backlog and not tested, thereby not bringing closure for the victims in cases of sexual assault.

Last year, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill, SB 636, that required sexual assault kits to be tested within 120 days of submission to a state crime lab.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement had completed 2,156 of the cases that were previously untested as of January.

1,228 were completed in-house and 928 by a private vendor.

Since July 1, 2016 when Scott signed the bill into law, the FDLE had received 1,132 sexual assault kit cases, and had completed 559 of them. They were 99.7 percent in compliance with the 120 day requirement, with a 77-day average analysis time.

Civil and Criminal Justice Subcommittee Chair Aaron Bean was pleased that the FDLE had presented the numbers to them on Wednesday.

“They’re making an extraordinary effort to attack the backlog,” Bean said. “Everyone wants it done, but it takes a while. They’re going as fast as they can. They’ve made great strides.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here is their letter:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeff Chanton, Professor

The John Widmer Winchester Professor of Oceanography

Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science

Florida State University

 

Ben Kirtman, Professor

Department of Atmospheric Science

Rosenstiel School for Marine and Atmospheric Sciences

University of Miami

David Hastings, Professor

Marine Science and Chemistry

Eckerd College

 

Barry Heimlich, Vice Chair

Climate Change Task Force

Broward County

 

Dr. Marguerite Koch, Professor

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

Florida Atlantic University

 

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

Department of Earth and Environment

Florida International University

 

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

Institute for Water and Environment

Florida International University

 

Harold R. Wanless, Professor and Chair

Department of Geological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences

University of Miami

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

 

 

Rick Scott taps Ryan Matthews as interim DEP chief

Ryan Matthews will serve as the interim Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection.

Gov. Rick Scott announced Matthews appointment Tuesday, just days after FloridaPolitics.com first reported DEP Secretary Jon Steverson was resigning. Steverson’s last day is Feb. 3.

Matthews joined the DEP in 2015, serving as the Director of Office of Water Policy and most recently, serving as the deputy secretary of regulatory programs. Before joining the state agency, he was an associate legislative affairs director for the Florida League of Cities.

“Ryan’s hard work and dedication to protecting Florida’s environment have led the way to improved water quality and stronger environmental policies for Florida,” said Scott in a statement Tuesday. “I am confident that he will continue to fight to protect Florida’s pristine environment as Interim Secretary.”

According to guidelines adopted by the governor and the Cabinet, Scott is required to name an interim appointee to temporarily fill the vacancy, subject to the approval of interim appointments by the Cabinet. Scott and the Cabinet are expected to meet via phone next week to discuss the interim appointment.

The process of making a permanent appointment will also be governed by the Cabinet Governance Guidelines.

Rick Scott: Donald Trump presidency will be ‘really good for our state’

Gov. Rick Scott said attending his first presidential inauguration was an exciting event, but is ready to get back to work on issues important to Floridians.

“I think it’s going to be really good for our state,” said Scott after a jobs announcement in Naples on Monday. “I’m going to do whatever I can to make sure this is the state that everyone wants to live in, make you you can get a good job, get your kids a good education and be safe.”

Scott was one of dozens of Floridians who attended President Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday. A longtime friend of the New York Republican, Scott penned an editorial early in Trump’s campaign lauding Trump. He endorsed him immediately after the Florida’s presidential primary, and went on to become the chairman of a super PAC backing Trump’s presidential bid.

The Naples Republican spent much of last week in Washington, D.C., meeting with Trump transition officials and congressional Republicans. Scott and his wife, First Lady Ann Scott, even hosted an inaugural ball.

“It was exciting. This was the first presidential inauguration I ever attended,” said Scott, who is believed to be considering a 2018 U.S. Senate bid. “Trump has been a friend for 20 years; Mike Pence has been a very good friend.”

An ardent supporter of the new president, Scott said he thinks Trump “is going to do what we’ve done” when it comes to jobs and the economy. He said he looks forward to working with the Trump administration to “repeal and replace Obamacare.”

And while Scott might not have agreed with the thousands upon thousands of people across the country who marched in opposition of Trump and his policies on Saturday, he did say he thought it was “important people express their views.”

“That’s what’s great about our country, and they can do it in a non-violent manner,” he said. “I think it’s exciting people have the opportunity to go and let people know what they believe. It doesn’t matter what political party you are, get involved. Run for office, help people get elected. I think it’s important to be active, it’s important for our country.”

CareerSource Florida narrows in on new president

CareerSource Florida, the corporation that serves as the state’s workforce preparation and placement agency, interviewed three finalists Friday to replace Chris Hart as president, including the agency’s current vice president of policy, Michelle Dennard.

Dennard, Mikkel Dixon, the executive director of Florida Career College in Margate; and Kyla Gutierrez-Guyette, the project director of ResCare Workforce Services in Orlando; all were interviewed by a committee of the CareerSource Board of Directors Friday. The committee members will submit their scoresheets to the agency’s chairman Britt Sikes Monday, and he will recommend the selection to Gov. Rick Scott.

The trio aims to replace Hart, who left at the beginning of this month to become the new chief executive officer of Enterprise Florida, the state-chartered corporation that acts as the state’s commerce agency.

Hart had been at CareerSource for nine years and when he left he commanded a salary of $260,000. The next president and chief executive officer of the organization will not come close to that, at least not anytime soon. The job was advertised as paying between $100,000 and $120,000 a year.

Dennard is a lawyer trained at Florida State University, with a background of having worked for both the Republican Party of Florida and in the governor’s office under both Charlie Crist and Scott. Under the governors’ office, she was a senior attorney with the Office of Tourism, Trade & Economic Development. She’s since been director of strategic business opportunity for Scott’s Department of Economic Opportunity, general counsel for Thinkspot, and, since 2014, vice president of policy and senior policy director for CareerSource.

Dixon, who holds a master’s degree in business management from West Texas A&M University, has been with private, for-profit career schools since 2009. That included tenures as a school executive for Keiser University in Fort Lauderdale and GlobalHealth Education in West Palm Beach, before moving on to Florida Career College. With that company, owned by International Education Corp. he has served in executive roles at campuses in Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale Lakes and, since 2015, in Margate. Last year the company ranked him its #1 executive in Florida for the first quarter of 2016.

Gutierrez-Guyette, who studied law at the University of Mississippi and completed a master’s degree in history from the University of South Alabama, was director of the Gulfport, Mississippi, Chamber of Commerce in the early years of the last decade. She has since held management and executive positions in workforce development agencies and private and nonprofit workforce development and management companies in Hawaii, Tennessee, and Florida. She’s been with ResCare in Orlando since 2013.

CareerSource Florida is the statewide workforce policy and investment board charged with guiding workforce development for the state of Florida. CareerSource Florida provides oversight and policy direction for talent development programs administered by the Department of Economic Opportunity, Florida’s 24 local workforce development boards and their 100 career centers. Together, the CareerSource Florida network connects employers with qualified, skilled talent and Floridians with employment and career development opportunities to achieve economic prosperity.

Florida unemployment rate holds steady at 4.9% in December

Florida’s unemployment rate remained unchanged in December, holding steady at 4.9 percent for the second month in a row.

State officials, however, touted gains made in 2016, boasting Florida businesses created 237,300 private sector jobs in 2016.

“Over the last six years, we’ve worked each day to make it easier for job creators to invest and create new opportunities in our state, and we will continue to do everything we can to help Florida out compete other locations as the best place for jobs,” said Gov. Rick Scott in a statement.

Scott typically makes the monthly jobs announcement during a press conference, but the Naples Republican was in Washington, D.C. on Friday for the inauguration of Donald Trump.

“Today, as we proudly welcome a new president who will make job creation a top priority across our nation, we stand ready to fight for another great year of economic growth in Florida,” he said.

According to the Department of Economic Opportunity, Florida’s job growth has exceeded the nation’s rate since 2012. The agency reported December was the 77th consecutive month with “positive over-the-year growth.”

The leisure and hospitality industry continues to make the most gains, growing by 4.6 percent year-over-year.

“With more than 250,000 job openings across the state and more than 1.25 million new private-sector jobs created in the last six years, it’s clear Florida is a great place to find a good job,” said Cissy Proctor, the executive director of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, in a statement. “Our low unemployment rate and strong record of job creation prove Florida is a great state to do business.”

The majority of the state’s 24 metro areas saw gains in December compared to the same time in 2015. The Orlando metropolitan area once again led the state in private sector job growth, adding 48,300 new private sector jobs in 2016.

The Orlando area’s leisure and hospitality industry saw the largest job growth over the year, adding 16,000 new jobs over the year; followed by education and health services with 10,200 new jobs; and construction with 9,7000 new jobs.

The Orlando area, according to the Governor’s Office, had the second-highest job demand of all the metro areas in December. It also had the second highest demand for high-skill, high-wage jobs.

“As job creators continue to grow in Central Florida and all across our state, we are seeing more and more families find the opportunities they need to succeed,” said Scott in a statement. “We will keep working to build on this success and make Florida first for jobs.”

The Tampa area added 29,100 new private sector jobs in 2016, and had an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent in December. The construction industry saw the most growth over the year, adding 8,400 new jobs; followed by professional and business services with 6,700 new jobs; and trade, transportation and utilities with 4,900 new jobs. The Tampa area led the state in demand for high-skill, high-wage STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) occupations in December.

Meanwhile, Jacksonville added 22,800 private sector jobs in 2016 and had a unemployment rate of 4.4 percent in December.

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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