Peter Schorsch: The Top Five stories from Tallahassee – and more

Is State Sen. Greg Evers becoming the Hamlet of the Florida Panhandle?

Reports first floated last year that the Okaloosa County Republican was toying with the idea of running for Santa Rosa County sheriff, to replace the retiring incumbent there.

He was later mentioned as eyeing the job of Okaloosa County’s property appraiser. And Pensacola political blogger Rick Outzen added a 2018 run for Commissioner of Agriculture to the mix, noting that Evers is a farmer by trade.

Now, Evers has blown his own deadline on whether to enter the race to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller in northwest Florida despite his flying to Washington last month to do “research.”

Because of state Senate redistricting, all senators have to run again this year. If Evers retakes his seat, he wouldn’t be term-limited there until 2020.

But his lack of decisiveness probably contributed to one potential candidate not running for Evers’ Senate district: State Rep. Clay Ingram, a Pensacola Republican, decided to run for one more term in the House instead.

Meanwhile, Evers’ supporters privately fear his “enterprises of great pith and moment,” to quote the Bard, are “los(ing) the name of action.”

Meanwhile, here are my Top Five stories from Tallahassee last week:

1. Want cream with that shouting?

Gov. Rick Scott got an earful when he walked into a Gainesville Starbucks on Tuesday. Cara Jennings, a Lake Worth activist and former city commissioner, was caught on camera scolding Scott and calling him an a**hole for how he’s handled health issues.

The video shows Scott citing job growth, before he and his staff left the coffee shop without even grabbing a much-needed cup of Joe. Scott’s political committee shot back Friday, releasing a 60-second advertisement taking the woman to task, calling her a “latte liberal.”

2. Last bill standing.

The Legislature sent its final bill of the session to Scott on Monday, and boy is it a doozy. The bill (SB 668) changes the way Florida judges can award spousal support, potentially getting rid of so-called “forever alimony.”

Scott vetoed an attempt to modify the law in 2013, saying at the time that it would have been applied retroactively. He has until April 19 to take action on the measure.

3. On the books.

Scott signed dozens of bills laws into law last week, including one that repealed a 148-year-old law that made it illegal for unmarried couples to live together. The prohibition was tough to enforce, especially when there are more than 438,000 unmarried male-female couples living in Florida.

4. Welcome back.

After some time away from Tallahassee, Cheri Vancura is heading back to the capital city. Vancura, the chief deputy of operations for the Martin County Clerk of Courts, will be Senate President Designate Joe Negron’s chief of staff during his two-year term. Vancura is a Tallahassee veteran, working as Negron’s chief legislative assistant, as well as working for CFO Jeff Atwater, both on his 2010 campaign and in the CFO’s office.

5. The rent is too high.

The Florida Department of Health said it won’t charge an outspoken pediatric cardiologist rent. The reversal comes after Christine Sexton of POLITICO Florida reported the agency was going to charge him nearly $1,400 a year to rent space at the Children’s Medical Services clinic. Dr. Louis St. Petery said he received the rental agreement on March 31. St. Petery didn’t sign the contract.

Meanwhile, Interstate 75 will soon have six travel lanes spanning from the Georgia border to Southwest Florida.

Scott last week announced that the state will begin the final segment of I-75 widening construction in 2018. The project will widen I-75 from four lanes to six lanes south of Jones Loop Road to U.S. 17 in Charlotte County.

Finally, Florida’s capital city has been named one of the best cities for-African-Americans in 2016.

Tallahassee was ranked No. 1 on the Livability 10 Best Cities for African-Americans list.

The other cities on the list included Lansing, Michigan (No. 2)North Las Vegas, Nevada (No. 3); York, Pennsylvania (No. 4); and La Vergne, Tennessee (No. 5).

“Our nation’s largest cities, as well as towns in the rural South have traditionally been the go-to centers of African-American life,” said Matt Carmichael, editor and chief trend analyst of Livability. “But I think this list shows that, today, smaller and mid-size cities throughout the U.S. can be great places for African-Americans.”

According to the report, Tallahassee has an African-American population of more than 100,000. The report also said Florida A&M University, a historically black college, provides “economic and cultural opportunities for African-Americans.”


Peter Schorsch is a new media publisher and political consultant based in St. Petersburg, Florida. Column courtesy of Context Florida.   

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


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