Sam Killebrew Archives - Florida Politics

Ben Diamond files for re-election in 2020

Gulf Breeze Republican Alex Andrade and St. Petersburg Democratic Rep. Ben Diamond filed paperwork this week to seek re-election to the Florida House in 2020.

Andrade is the soon-to-be Representative for House District 2, which covers parts of Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. He defeated late entrant Greg Merk by 20 points in the Republican primary for the seat two weeks ago.

Since there are no other candidates for the seat, he’s primed to replace Republican Rep. Frank White, who gave up the seat for an unsuccessful bid in the Republican primary for Attorney General. He is the third person to hold HD 2 in as many election cycles.

Nearly two years out from the 2020 primary elections, Andrade is the only candidate in the race. He had about $15,000 left in his 2018 campaign account as of Aug. 23.

Diamond put in his paperwork for another term on Tuesday. He was one of 25 incumbent lawmakers who were re-elected without opposition when the qualifying period for state offices ended in late June.

Diamond was first elected to represent Pinellas County-based House District 68 in 2016, when he defeated Republican nominee Joseph Bensmihen by 12 points. As of June 22, Diamond had about $98,750 in unspent funds in his campaign account for the 2018 cycle.

Andrade and Diamond make for a dozen candidates who have filed to run for a state House seat in 2020. The only other incumbents to take that step are Winter Haven Republican Rep. Sam Killebrew and Placida Republican Rep. Michael Grant.

Denise Grimsley scores 32 endorsements from current and former lawmakers

Agriculture Commissioner candidate Denise Grimsley got the nod from a large contingency of her colleagues in the Florida Legislature Monday, adding another 32 backers just days after she announced three dozen endorsements from local elected officials from all corners of the Sunshine State.

Grimsley, a Sebring Republican, has been a member of the state Legislature since 2004, first as a member of the Florida House and, since 2012, as a member of the Florida Senate. She currently represents District 26, which covers all of DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands and Okeechobee counties as well as parts of Charlotte, Lee and Polk counties.

The bulk nod included a baker’s dozen of backers who are currently serving alongside Grimsley: Sens. Dennis Baxley, Aaron Bean, Anitere Flores, George Gainer, Rene Garcia, Dorothy Hukill, Debbie Mayfield, David Simmons, Kelli Stargel and Reps. Sam Killebrew, Cary Pigman, Elizabeth Porter and Charlie Stone

The nine current senators announced today join incoming Senate President Bill Galvano and Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson, making for half of the Republican Senators not named “Grimsley” backing her campaign. Grimsley’s chief rival in the Republican primary, Lehigh Acres Rep. Matt Caldwell, has landed loads of support from his House colleagues, but has only earned one endorsement from a sitting Republican Senator: St. Pete Sen. Jeff Brandes.

Also adding their names to the pile were 19 former lawmakers, all but five of whom served alongside Grimsley for at least a couple years of her tenure in Tallahassee, including former House Speakers Allan Bense, Dean Cannon, Larry Cretul, H. Lee Moffitt; former Sens. Ellyn Bogdanoff, Charlie Dean, Pat Neal and Miguel Diaz de la Portilla; as well as former Reps. Kim Berfield, Marti Coley, Faye Culp, Frank Farkas, Mark Flanagan, James Frishe, Kurt Kelly, Dick Kravitz, Dave Murzin, Mark Ogles and Joseph Spratt.

“During my time in the Florida Senate and Florida House of Representatives, I have met or worked with many of these Senators and Representatives while serving our Sunshine State,” Grimsley said. “We have worked together to make this the best state in the nation to live, work and play; and, I am grateful for their support of my campaign.

“With my diverse background raising cattle, growing citrus, helping people, running a business and managing a budget, paired with my dedication to solving problems that face Florida, I know I am the most qualified and best candidate in this race; and, I look forward to the opportunity to continue my work serving Floridians as their Commissioner of Agriculture,” she said.

Grimsley has surged in endorsements over the past several weeks. Outside of the 66 endorsements she’s announced since Friday, she has the support of 36 current county sheriffs — seven Democratic and 29 Republican — as well as numerous statewide organizations, including the Fraternal Order of Police, Florida Professional Firefighter, Florida Realtors and the Florida Medical Association, among many others.

Caldwell and Grimsley are running alongside retired U.S. Army Col. Mike McCalister and former Winter Haven Rep. Baxter Troutman in the Republican primary.

Through Aug. 3, Grimsley leads in true fundraising with $2.65 million in outside cash raised since she entered the race in February 2017. She also currently holds the cash lead with more than $1.1 million in the bank between her campaign account and two political committees, Saving Florida’s Heartland and Let’s Grow Florida.

Caldwell, meanwhile, has also broken the $2 million mark since entering the race in April 2017 and had a little over $1 million in the bank at last check-in.

Troutman, however, has pumped $3 million into his campaign fund and raised about $500,000, though his high burn rate has left him with just $322,500 on hand as of Aug. 3. McCalister, for his part, has raised just $22,604, including nearly $19,000 in candidate loans.

The winner of the Aug. 28 Republican primary will move on to November when they’ll face one of three Democrats: Nikki FriedJeffrey Porter or Roy David Walker.

25 state lawmakers re-elected without opposition

A noon Friday deadline to make the ballot for a state legislative seat has come and gone, and 25 incumbent lawmakers (and two fresh faces) have already punched their tickets to Tallahassee.

Of the 27 races that are now officially over, Republicans won a half-dozen. Most notable among that crowd is incoming House Speaker Jose Oliva who avoided another four months on the campaign trail after would-be Democratic challenger Duysevi Miyar failed to qualify.

The other five GOP lawmakers skating into another term were Reps. Halsey Beshears, Travis Cummings, Brad Drake, Michael Grant and Sam Killebrew.

The remaining 21 seats decided Friday went to Democrats. Those victors included incoming Senate Democratic Leader Audrey Gibson and Plantation Sen. Lauren Book along with Reps. Ramon Alexander, Loranne Ausley, Kamia Brown, John Cortes, Tracie Davis, Ben Diamond, Bobby DuBose, Joe Geller, Evan Jenne, Al Jacquet, Shevrin Jones, Kionne McGhee, Sharon Pritchett, Emily Slosberg, Richard Stark, Barbara Watson and Clovis Watson.

The other two candidates earning go-ahead victories weren’t incumbents.

Boynton Beach Democrat Joseph Casello will take over the House District 90 seat vacated by Lori Berman, who won a special election for Senate District 31 earlier this year.

In House District 95, Lauderdale Lakes Democrat Anika Omphroy has beaten incumbent Democratic Rep. Barry Russell without lifting a finger. Russell did not qualify for re-election according to the Division of Elections even though he turned in paperwork as recently as 9:37 am Friday.

Omphroy, a Broward County native, had raised just $1,005 for her apparently successful campaign.

Her fundraising total was by far the smallest the 27 candidates who won Friday. Overall those six Republicans and 21 Democrats raised a combined $1.84 million for their campaigns, with Book, Cummings, Diamond, Gibson and Oliva each breaking the six-figure mark for their campaign accounts.

In addition to the elections decided Friday, another five incumbent lawmakers are set to cruise into another term with their only challenge coming from unaffiliated, third-party or write-in candidates.

Those lawmakers are Ocoee Democratic Rep. Bruce Antone, Zephyrhills Republican Rep. Danny Burgess, Saint Johns Republican Rep. Cyndi Stevenson and Panama City Republican Rep. Jay Trumbull.

The remaining 115 legislative seats up for grabs — including the special elections to replace Senate President Joe Negron and Sarasota Republican Sen. Greg Steube — feature at least two qualified major-party candidates.

Polk County delegation piles on the campaign cash in May

The five lawmakers representing a piece of Polk County in the Florida House continued cruising toward Election Day with more than $90,000 in combined campaign fundraising.

Winter Haven Republican Rep. Sam Killebrew had the strongest May fundraising report of the five members of the Polk delegation, all of whom are Republicans.

The House District 41 lawmaker added $35,525 in contributions and spent just $2,395, leaving him with $80,790 in the bank as he runs for a second term against Democratic challengers Carmelo Garcia and Alex Perkins.

Garcia, who filed May 26, posted a waiver for the brief period he was a candidate last month, while Perkins hasn’t reported raising a dime since filing for the Republican stronghold in February.

Over in House District 56, term-limited Wauchula Rep. Ben Albritton showed $24,450 in new money for his campaign to succeed exiting Republican Sen. Denise Grimsley, who is running for Agriculture Commissioner in the fall.

The report, his best since October, brings his fundraising total to $172,050 with $105,646 banked. His opponent in the Senate District 26 race, Democrat Catherine Price, had raised just under $17,000 for her campaign through the end of April and had $14,263 on hand.

The gulf in fundraising between Albritton in Price is even wider when committee money is included in the tally —Albritton has another $175,000 on hand in Advancing Florida Agriculture, including $11,000 raised in May.

Taking the No. 3 spot on the Polk delegation list was Lakeland Republican Rep. Colleen Burton, who received $19,150 in campaign contributions for her House District 40 re-election bid.

Burton, currently in her second term, has now raised nearly $135,000 for the 2018 election cycle. After $7,666 in May spending, she has $88,080 banked.

Her lone opponent is Democrat Shandale Terrell, who showed $250 raised in May. Since filing for the seat in November 2016, Terrell has raised about $3,200 and had $2,330 in the bank heading into June.

St. Cloud Rep. Mike La Rosa, who represents a piece of western Polk, was $50 shy of the $10,000 mark in his May report. The third-term HD 42 lawmaker’s $9,950 in fundraising was almost completely wiped out by $9,843 in spending, leaving him with $66,765 in his campaign account on May 31.

His main opponent, Democrat Barbary Cady, hasn’t posted her May numbers yet, though she had raised a not insignificant $32,000 through the end of April with $20,175 on hand.

Also running are Republican Bienvenido Valentin and unaffiliated candidate Lonzell Ivory, neither of whom have gained traction in the money race.

The final member of the Polk delegation is also the newest member of the Florida House: Polk City Rep. Josie Tomkow.

In her first campaign finance report since winning the special election to replace former Rep. Neil Combee in House District 39, Tomkow showed $2,220 in contributions.

The small haul isn’t anything to worry about — no other candidates have filed for the seat and it’s unlikely another Republican files to challenge her before the end of the candidate qualifying period on June 22. If a Democratic candidate were to enter the fray HD 39 already proven to be a safe fortress to ride out “blue wave.”

Republican lawmakers earn high grades on Associated Industries’ report card

The Associated Industries of Florida on Tuesday released a report measuring how closely Florida lawmakers’ votes aligned with its interests.

The conservative business group’s 2018 Voting Records report found a slight uptick in lawmaker support for AIF-backed legislation, with 78 percent of the Senate and 91 percent of the House voting in favor of its priorities.

AIF also recognized five lawmakers – three in the Senate and two in the House – with “non-voting” awards for going above and beyond during the 2018 Legislative Session.

“Our team goes to great lengths to ensure legislators are aware of AIF’s positions on issues of great importance to Florida’s business community. And, after every session, AIF compiles a record of success with our Voting Records” said Tom Feeney, president and CEO of AIF.

“We are proud to honor elected officials as Champions for Business – those lawmakers who take risks for his or her beliefs in the free-enterprise system, who defy the status quo when it’s harmful to our state’s competitive climate and who face down opponents to grow prosperity for Floridians.”

Though lawmakers scored higher marks in 2018 than years prior, the scorecard results don’t paint a complete picture of the session according to Brewster Bevis, senior vice president of state and federal affairs for AIF.

He explained that the focus shift brought about by the February mass shooting in Parkland “resulted in a slowed legislative process and fewer bills making it through to the end – the lowest number of bills passed since 2001.

“So while AIF’s Voting Records show more favorable outcomes for the business community compared to last year, it is important to note the political environment and the impact it had on the legislative process this year.”

The AIF report, now in its 43rd year, is a compilation of voting records based on committee, amendment and floor votes cast.

“Votes provide tangible evidence of whether a legislator supports the ability of Florida companies to prosper and operate free of overly burdensome state regulation and taxation,” Feeney said.

He went on to name AIF’s five 2018 Champions for Business: Republican Sens. Rob Bradley, Kathleen Passidomo and Dana Young, and Republican Reps. Joe Gruters and Mike Miller.

“Whether they proposed an important bill, authored a key amendment or toiled behind the scenes, these legislators are the ones who made a difference during the 2018 Legislative Session,” Feeney said.

Only Dana Young, who represents Tampa-based Senate District 18, has received the Champion designation in the past. AIF will present the Champions for Business awards to the lawmakers at its annual conference, to be held Sept. 12 through 14 in Orlando.

AIF also recognized another 33 members of the Florida House for achieving a 100 percent voting record for the 2018 Legislative Session.

“These lawmakers showed a commitment to sound policy that supports Florida’s employers and job creators. Not only does this score encompass votes to pass legislation beneficial to businesses, it includes votes to defeat policies that would have a detrimental impact on businesses and their employees.  We applaud all 38 lawmakers highlighted in our Voting Records for helping make Florida the best place to do business,” Feeney said.

The full list of 100 percenters: House Speaker Richard Corcoran, Indialantic Rep. Thad Altman, Hialeah Rep. Bryan Avila, Bradenton Rep. Jim Boyd, Lehigh Acres Rep. Matt Caldwell, Jonesville Rep. Chuck Clemons, Altamonte Springs Rep. Bob Cortes, Orange Park Rep. Travis Cummings, Naples Rep. Bryon Donalds, DeFuniak Springs Rep. Brad Drake, Palm Bay  Rep. Randy Fine, Jacksonville Rep. Jason Fischer, Venice Rep. Julio Gonzalez, Stuart Rep. Gayle Harrell, Spring Hill Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, Winter Haven Rep. Sam Killebrew, St. Cloud Rep. Mike La Rosa, Clearwater Rep. Chris Latvala, Daytona Beach Rep. Tom Leek, Port Richey Rep. Amber Mariano, Beverly Hills Rep. Ralph Massullo, Plant City Rep. Lawrence McClure, St. Petersburg Rep. Kathleen Peters, Sebring Rep. Cary Pigman, Ft. Walton Beach Rep. Mel Ponder, Lake City Rep. Elizabeth Porter, Valrico Rep. Jake Raburn, Palm Coast Rep. Paul Renner, Palm Beach Gardens Rep. Rick Roth, Riverview Rep. Ross Spano, Ocala Rep. Charlie Stone, Royal Palm Beach Rep. Matt Willhite and Pace Rep. Jayer Williamson.

All recognized were Republicans except for Willhite, a Democrat.

Second Democrat challenges Sam Killebrew in HD 41

Democrat Alex Perkins filed paperwork Monday to run for House District 41, the Polk County-based seat currently held by Winter Haven Republican Rep. Sam Killebrew.

Perkins, who lives in Davenport, joins Winter Haven Democrat Carmelo Garcia in the primary race for the seat. The pair are on a level playing field as far as fundraising goes.

Garcia entered the race back in May, and despite the 9-month head start in the race he has yet to report any campaign contributions.

Garcia also carries some baggage – he was arrested on charges of grand theft the same day he filed for HD 41 over accusations he had written bad checks in 2016, though the Osceola County State Attorney’s Office dropped the charges in August.

Killebrew has held the seat since 2016 and is heading toward his term term in the House. Through the end of January, he had raised $42,600 for his re-election bid and had $36,910 on hand.

In past election cycles, HD 41 has had a decidedly Republican tilt.

The district voted plus-5 for Donald Trump in 2016 even though there are 8,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans within the district.

Former Rep. John Wood won the seat in 2012 with a 52-49 victory over Democrat Karen Welzel, followed by a 59-41 drubbing of Democrat Celestyne Williams in 2014. In 2016, Killebrew bested former circuit court judge Bob Doyel 53-47.

Those margins could shift if the so-called “blue wave” hasn’t petered out by November.

Latest on the legislative staffing merry-go-round

With a tip of the hat to LobbyTools, here are the latest movements – both on and off – of the legislative merry-go-round.

On: Amber Moody is a new support analyst for the House Office of Information Technology.

Off: Michael Ellis is no longer a journal writer/editor for the Legislative Process Division.

Off and on: Natasha Sutherland has replaced legislative analyst David Spore has left In the House Democratic Office.

Off: Cheryl Dewees is no longer budget assistant for the House Appropriations Committee.

Off: Sarah deNagy is no longer budget assistant for the House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee.

Off: Nicholas Merlin is no longer attorney for the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee.

On: Timothy Morris is the new legislative assistant for Fort Myers Republican Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto.

On: Kyle Alexandre is no longer legislative assistant for Ocoee Democratic Sen. Randolph Bracy.

On and off: Luisana Perez moved from district secretary to legislative assistant in Miami Democratic Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez.

On and off: Tennille Moore moved from district secretary to legislative assistant for St. Petersburg Democratic Sen. Darryl Rouson.

Off and on: Michele McCloskey has left as administrative lead for the House Commerce Committee to work for Bradenton Republican Rep. Jim Boyd as district secretary.

On: Stephany Montano is now district secretary for Miami Democratic Rep. Robert Asencio.

On: Sadie Haire is now district secretary for Jacksonville Republican Rep. Jason Fischer.

Off: Amy Miller is no longer district secretary for Venice Republican Rep. Julio Gonzalez.

Off: Meagan Hebel is no longer district secretary for Winter Haven Republican Rep. Sam Killebrew.

Off: Coleton Reece is no longer district secretary in Clearwater Republican Rep. Chris Latvala.

Off and on: Rosana Fonseca changed from district secretary to legislative assistant for Orlando Democratic Rep. Amy MercadoMelissa Porcaro has become district secretary.

Off and on: Charles Smith is no longer legislative assistant in Fort Lauderdale Republican Rep. George MoraitisKassie Satterly is now a legislative assistant.

Off: RJ Myers is no longer legislative assistant for South Pasadena Republican Rep. Kathleen Peters.

Off and on: Jannette Nunez is no longer district secretary for Miami Democratic Rep. David Richardson. Roberto Alvarez is replacing her.

Off: Matthew Spritz is no longer legislative assistant for Naples Republican Rep. Bob Rommel.

Off: Deniz Ozaltin is a new district secretary for Boca Raton Democratic Rep. Emily Slosberg.

Off: Dalie Sejour is no longer district secretary for Miami Democratic Rep. Cynthia Stafford.

Off and on: Dennis Ragosta has changed for district secretary to legislative assistant for Ocala Republican Rep. Charlie Stone.

On: Donntay Cooper is the new district secretary for Miami Gardens Democratic Rep. Barbara Watson.

In St. Johns County, an uphill fight to put the genie back in the bottle

Cellphones are here to stay, and so, it seems, are the staggeringly stupid things we do with them.

Facebook fiascos are infinite in variety now that people of limited impulse control have a high-powered computer at their 24/7 command. It’s a problem for people of all ages, and from all walks of life.

Not for the first time this week, a Florida public official is wearing egg on his face for Facebooking While Biased Against Muslims. State Rep. Sam Killebrew offered this jolly joke to his fans and followers: “Liberals are acting like (President-elect Donald) Trump is going to kill all the gays, make slavery legal again, and take away women’s rights. Did he become a Muslim?”

As night follows day, right-thinking people took offense and Killebrew returned to Facebook to issue an “if you were offended” non-apology.

At age 71, Killebrew is probably beyond understanding why not everybody thinks he’s Central Florida’s answer to Mark Twain. But there’s hope for the kids, and St. Johns County is working hard to help them understand that the internet is an unforgiving place with a long and photographic memory.

Seventy-three percent of American teenagers have a smartphone, and 100 percent of them have brains that will not be fully developed until they are well into their 20s. It makes for a lot of heartache and aggravation in St. John’s County, where Sheriff’s Lt. Mike Strausbaugh clocks a lot of hours trying to educate kids about the consequences of uploading while clueless.

Long before Donald Trump cyberbullied his way to the White House, tech-savvy teenage Eddie Haskells were honing their skills at hounding the helpless. Sometimes, the kid who is told to “go kill yourself” really does. After a bit of community soul-searching, parents return to sleeping with their smartphone, and letting their children do the same.

Schools, youth groups, and cop shops everywhere are spending ungodly amounts of time cleaning up the messes caused by young’uns armed with Apples and Androids. The genie is out of the bottle, and all the Lt. Strausbaughs in the world can’t put it back.

Bill Rufty: Will I-4, Polk County go blue?

RuftyTuesday will reveal whether the I-4 corridor is still an important swing corridor or whether it has become an important Democratic Party corridor.

Both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump hit the counties along that stretch of interstate many times as well — and not just the big cities of St. Petersburg, Tampa and Orlando. Smaller cities and towns were targets as well.

Donald Trump held a rally at the Lakeland Linder Airport and Tim Kaine, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s running mate, appeared at a rally at the Lakeland Center.

Polk County, traditionally conservative Republican for two decades, is one of the last pieces of the I-4 corridor Democrats would like to have.

Awakening after 20 years, county party leaders finally succeeded in fielding candidates for all seven legislative races. While no Democratic landslide is in sight and only one likely competitive race this time, the Democrats have taken a page from former Polk County Republican Party Chair Jean Burt.

“I can’t expect people to vote Republican and change their party to Republican unless I give them really good candidates to vote for,” Burt said in 1985 when there was no Republican in office in the county.

Essentially, in each election, she asked well-known people in the community to take one for the party.

The first Republican legislator from Polk since Reconstruction was elected in 1990. A Republican majority was elected in 1996 and there hasn’t been a Democrat elected from Polk since 1998. Now, Democrats seem to be paying attention to Burt’s philosophy.

Two of the bigger names Democrats have fielded are retired Circuit Judge Robert Doyel facing Republican activist Sam Killebrew for House District 41, and former school board member Debra Wright challenging Republican incumbent Kelli Stargel, for Senate District 22.

Doyel amassed a healthy campaign warchest of $92,265, an unusual feat for a Democrat in Polk County. Killebrew finished with $228,699.

Wright raised $26,277 in her Senate campaign, but the incumbent Stargel had received $494,010.

Members of the Florida Legislature receive an annual salary of $29,697.

How About Another Election?

Walk into any voting location in Lakeland and you will be stopped as you come out of the building and asked if you are a resident within the city limits of Lakeland.

“If you answer yes the person behind the desk (placed at the required distance from the polling entrance) will say ‘Well come on over and sign the petition for a strong mayor.’” Lakeland resident Ricky Shira said after casting his ballot in early voting. He didn’t sign.

The petitioners will be out in force Tuesday at the precinct locations too.

Supporters of changing the city charter to create a strong mayor form of government in Lakeland hope to obtain enough signatures to force the issue onto the ballot in 2017.

Most of the people manning the petition tables are paid. But there are volunteers for the group as well. And there are just as many old-time movers and shakers in Lakeland who have formed a group to oppose the strong-mayor proposal.

Currently, while the mayor is elected by the city’s voters for a four-year term, he or she is considered one of the seven members of the commission in the city manager form of government.

Supporters hope to bring the issue to the ballot in November 2017, when city commission elections are held.

Both Tampa and Orlando, on each side of Lakeland, have the strong mayor system of government. Supporters say Lakeland, whose population is now over 110,000, is large enough to have a strong mayor system.

‘Woman’s Work’ …

Don’t tell Dena DeCamp of Lakeland that Donald Trump doesn’t have the support of women. She will read you a litany of women working in his Florida campaign.

“Most of the Republican campaign headquarters across the state are being run by the Florida Federation of Republican women,” said DeCamp of Lakeland, who is the state president.

She insists that statewide women are coming forward and supporting Trump, recalling a 92-year-old woman who had immigrated from Australia decades ago and became a citizen had come in to register to vote for the first time.

“We have had many people well over the age of 21 come into the Lakeland campaign headquarters to register for the first time or to change parties to Republican,” she said.

The forms are then taken to the Polk County Supervisor of Elections office to be recorded.

DeCamp has supported Trump from the day he won the nomination and has often acted as his surrogate in the state, including speaking at his event in Lakeland.

“This is the person we in the early tea party have been waiting for — a businessman who is not a politician,” she said late Monday as she was putting up more campaign signs.

BusinessForce endorses Republican Sam Killebrew in HD 41

Following a comprehensive and deliberate selection process, BusinessForce endorsed a former member of MyRegion.org and current small business owner, Republican Sam Killebrew for Florida House District 41.

BusinessForce is the political action arm of the Central Florida Partnership. Its goal is to affect positive change in Central Florida through regional public policy advocacy and by encouraging and supporting candidates for public office who, as public officials, will embrace free enterprise and sound, responsible business practices in government.

“With over 40 years of experience as a small-business man, Sam Killebrew knows what it takes to start and run a successful business,” said Robert Agrusa, executive director of BusinessForce. “He has hired hundreds of employees and has seen firsthand the impact that excessive regulations and high taxes have on a business, and he will fight tirelessly, through regional collaboration and economic diversification, to grow our economy by creating high-paying jobs for Polk County’s hardworking families.”

“We are confident that our endorsement of Sam will send a strong signal to our region’s business community that he is worthy of the support of the entire business community as he seeks to serve our region in Tallahassee,” said Chris Stewart, director of state government affairs for the American Resort Development Association and chairman of the BusinessForce Legislative Committee.

The HD 41 seat is currently occupied by Rep. John Wood, who is leaving due to term limits.

For more information on Killebrew’s campaign, visit facebook.com/Sam-Killebrew; to find more information on BusinessForce’s endorsed candidates, visit orlando.org/businessforce.

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