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Sunburn for 11.27.19 — Happy Thanksgiving

There is quite a bit to be thankful for in 2019. Particularly in Florida.

First and foremost — Let me wish each reader a very happy Thanksgiving. All of us who work to produce Sunburn are enormously grateful for your readership.

As many of you know, it has been a trying year for our family with the passing of our beloved Papa Ben. I cannot fully express how thankful Michelle and I are for those of you in The Process who have helped, in ways small and large, deal with that loss.

Of course, Michelle and I are as ever grateful for:

Ella Joyce Schorsch, Thanksgiving 2019.

Programming note — Sunburn will be off Thursday and Friday to celebrate the holiday with our families. We’ll see you bright and early next Monday.


Sunburn readers share what they’re thankful for:

Gov. Ron DeSantis — “I am thankful for my beautiful wife Casey, who shares my passion for public service, and who is a great mother to Madison and Mason, and soon a third. I am also thankful for the trust Floridians have placed in me to lead our state. Finally, I am grateful to live in the United States of America and for the men and women who selflessly serve our nation. Wishing all a Happy Thanksgiving!”

Jon Adrabi, Partner, LSN Partners — “I’m thankful for my great friends and amazing family. But mostly, I am happy for the wine that helps me make it through the [Donald] Trump administration.”

Danielle Alvarez, Senior Vice President, Mercury — “This Thanksgiving my husband, Mike Ryder, and are celebrating four years of marriage. I am incredibly grateful to celebrate with him and our family.”

Nicholas Alvarez, Director of Legislative and Cabinet Affairs, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity — “I am grateful for Chi Chi’s Cuban Bakery. Reading Sunburn and typing this up as I eat my regular breakfast at Chi Chi’s.“

Dave Aronberg, State Attorney, Palm Beach County — “I’m thankful for the trust of the people of my community, who allow me to work toward justice and fairness every day in my role as State Attorney. I am especially thankful for my family, which includes Cookie the Basset Hound of Justice, who always reminds me that true happiness is only a belly rub or meatball away.”

Allison Aubuchon, Owner, Allison Aubuchon Communications — “I am thankful for fulfilling work in the state I love. I am grateful for Josh Aubuchon and this sweet time in life with our young boys, and all we get to experience through their eyes. I am thankful for the health we’ve enjoyed this past year, and I am thankful that, in addition to pain in life, there exists hope and healing. What a gift it is to be alive.”

Erin Daly Ballas, Associate, Public Affairs Consultants — “This year, I am thankful for my family and our newest addition. I am thankful for Jack and Keyna Cory and their willingness to employ another Ballas Baby at the firm. I’m thankful for all our friends and family who have helped us adjust to being a family of four. And I’m thankful I can have Champagne at Thanksgiving dinner this year!”

Bruce Benidt, owner, Bruce Benidt Consulting — “I’m grateful for journalists like you who help us understand what our elected reps and the rest of government are doing for and to us. Now more than ever, professional journalism is the bulwark of democracy. And I’m grateful, living in this most fragile and beautiful state, that Rick Scott can do less damage to our environment from Washington than Tallahassee.”

Louis Betz, Founder, Louis Betz & Associates — “The two lungs I received last year and the generosity of the donor family.”

Lydia Brooks, fundraiser — “I may be too late, but I’m grateful for all the good dogs and Dolly Parton.”

Taylor Patrick Biehl, Capitol Alliance Group — I’m most thankful for my wife and rock, Mackenzie, and daughter, Harper. I’m excited for the upcoming arrival of our nephew in December and our second child (boy) in May. I’m also thankful for the continued good health of my parents, Christine and Carl; parents-in-law, Leslie and Josh; and sisters-in-law, Alexa, Carly and Sarah. And, of course, I’m always grateful for our clients who Jeff Sharkey and I are privileged to represent.”

Wilbur Brewton, Brewton Plante, “I am grateful for my 2 daughters and 4 grandkids and my wife of 56years. Could not ask for much more.”

Donovan Brown, Vice President, Suskey Consulting — “I’m extremely thankful for my entire family (especially my incredible kids), friends, and health. I’m grateful I get to wake up every day and work with a group of friends to help amazing clients. And — I’m thankful I get to start my morning with sunburn every morning to keep me informed! (Except when it’s coming from the deck of a Disney cruise, then I’m thankful and envious).”

Bob Buckhorn, former Tampa Mayor — “Profoundly grateful that my 92-year-old mother will be joining us for Thanksgiving as well as my daughter, who is home from her first semester of college. In addition, I remain ever grateful for the opportunity to have served as the Mayor of Tampa for the last eight years. It was the greatest honor of my life.”

State Sen. Jeff Brandes, Senate District 24 — “I am grateful for a beautiful wife and four amazing children that allow me the privilege to go to Tallahassee to work with my dedicated colleagues in the Legislature to shape the future of Florida.”

Dominic Calabro, President and CEO, Florida TaxWatch — “I am deeply grateful for my bright and loving wife of 40+ years, my wonderful four adult children, my faith, the Founders/Officers/Board of Florida/and highly dedicated and smart professional staff of Florida TaxWatch the past 40 incredible years and simply for living in one of the greatest nations of all times despite our tremendous challenges. And I am truly thankful for the extraordinary opportunity to serve all the taxpaying citizens of the Sunshine State and to do so with continued good health and enthusiasm for years to come.”

Dean Cannon, Managing Partner, GrayRobinson — “I’m grateful for the entire team at GrayRobinson, and the privilege to work with people I both like and respect.”

Reggie Cardozo, President of The Public Square — “I’m thankful for an amazing year, a year that brought us our adorable baby boy Sutton James; a year I married the most amazing woman on earth. I’m grateful for our two beautiful little girls, our family, and the most amazing friends we could ever ask for. Happy Thanksgiving from the Cardozo Family!”

Joyce Carta, Vice President, Committee to Protect Dogs/YES on 13 — “I am so very thankful for brave young people who are determined to improve our State. Cynthia Dela Rosa is a perfect example, running for Florida House, District 23 (and I think that’s also her age!). Good luck and Godspeed, Cynthia.”

Tasha Carter, Florida’s Insurance Consumer Advocate — “I am grateful for many things: the opportunity to serve and advocate for Florida’s insurance consumers every day; the joy of helping others; the pleasure of being part of something meaningful and purposeful; the blessings that I see around me every day; the resiliency of our state; and the health and love of friends and family.”

State Rep. Mike Caruso, House District 89 — “I would like to start this by wishing you and your family a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving. I am very grateful to have the opportunity to represent you and all of District 89 in the Florida House of Representatives. I hope you have a great holiday filled with good food and your loved ones.”

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor — “There is a lot to be grateful for in Tampa Bay during Thanksgiving week with family and friends.  We are fortunate to have so many caring community partners and small businesses who are doing remarkable work to give families a boost during this holiday season. Just this week, I witnessed Feeding Tampa Bay in action to ensure all of our neighbors have food on the table, Covering Florida working to guarantee families have access to affordable health care, CDC of Tampa connecting neighbors to good-paying jobs, and St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital along with FPIRG and Florida Consumer Action Network on the lookout for safe toys for kids. Don’t forget to support our small businesses during the holidays and all year long.  Happy Thanksgiving!”

Kevin Cate, Founder, CATECOMM — “I’m very thankful for my wife, family, and the privilege of being able to spend all my time and attention on what I care about most during the Thanksgiving holiday.”

Steve Cona, President, Associated Builders and Contractors Florida Gulf Coast Chapter — “As I prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family and thanking God for his many blessings, I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all of the teachers, administrators and support professionals who tirelessly dedicate their lives to ensure our students are prepared for life!”

Gus Corbella, Senior Director, Greenberg Traurig — “A holiday based on gratitude. How wonderful is that? No wonder Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. As always, I am grateful for my family and my friends who are part of my family, grateful for the love and support of people I care for, grateful for our general health and happiness. On this Thanksgiving, I am especially grateful to be in Barcelona celebrating with my Spanish family (although I’m sure they’d much prefer I say Catalan). To everyone back home, a joyous and restful Thanksgiving to you all.”

Michael Corcoran, Founding Partner and Lobbyist, Corcoran Partners — “Truly thankful for Jessie and our children, Sean, Josie, Ty and Bobby, who continually remind me each and every day what is important in life. My faith, family, friends and good health.”

Courtney Cox, Associate Director, Moore Consulting — “I’m especially thankful for my family, pups, friends, and my work family at Moore. We get to work on important issues that make positive impacts on people’s lives and still take time to enjoy family over the Thanksgiving holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!”

Keyna Cory, President, Public Affairs Consultants — “I am grateful for a wonderful expanded family! I have a spunky father, Kenny, who at 85 still works, bowls & plays golf. A little brother who is 6’5 that always has my back. Great husband Jack & furkids Bear & Rusty. Godson Jackson, who is the smartest & most creative kid I know. Wonderful friends Jeff & Cyndie Kottkamp. And of course, Senior Intern Dayton, her new assistant Junior Intern Jett, best associate anyone could have Erin & her husband, James. Life is good! Happy Thanksgiving!”

Hayden Dempsey, Shareholder, Greenberg Traurig — “As Americans, we are all very blessed to live in a country that cherishes individual freedom and affords us all endless opportunity. For that, I am eternally grateful and appreciate that we, as a nation, take a day to give thanks. I am particularly grateful for a family that is beautiful in all the ways that matter.”

Jennings DePriest, Co-Founder and CEO, RallyWise — “This Thanksgiving I’m grateful to finally be a dad.”

Commissioner Pepe Diaz, Miami-Dade County — “This Thanksgiving I am grateful for Florida Man. We live in the most interesting state in the country, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Ryan Duffy, Director of Corporate Communications, U.S. Sugar — “This year, I am especially thankful for my family. Over the years, distance has kept me away from spending Thanksgiving with my siblings and parents. But this year, I’m spending Thanksgiving with my parents, my wife’s parents, and both of my siblings and nieces and nephews.”

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer — “I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve our residents and businesses every day and to be part of a dynamic City on the rise. I am also thankful that we have active and caring citizens who are involved in our community and city employees, who work hard every day to provide Orlando with superior services and amenities.”

State Rep. Dane Eagle, House District 77 — “I am thankful for my wife for putting up with me, for our majority caucus for passing sound conservative legislation, for our President for our thriving economy, and a Gator victory this Saturday!”

Mike Fasano, Pasco County Tax Collector, “I am thankful to be given the great opportunity to continue to serve the residents of Pasco. As a public servant I am thankful to work with hard working dedicated people. I am truly blessed.”

Cesar Fernandez, Senior Government Affairs Adviser, Converge Government Affairs — “I’m thankful for the things we often take for granted in life: In Florida, we live in the developed world, filled with promise and opportunity. We don’t worry for a second about clean water, sanitation, mobility, healthy food, access to reliable health care, and a stable economy. Every resource that we need is at our fingertips. I’m grateful that relative to areas in the less developed world, we have all we need. It is important to start every day with that reminder.”

Mark Ferrulo, Progress Florida executive director — “I’m thankful for the advocates, activists, electeds, and journalists who toil against greed and corruption and hold power accountable. I give thanks to those who, by way of their vocation or volunteerism, capabilities or charity, embody the truism that we all do better, when all do better.”

State Rep. Jason Fischer, House District 16 — “I am truly grateful to represent the people of Jacksonville and to stand up for the values that make Florida and America great. I’m also thankful for my family and for those heroes serving overseas who may not get to be with their families this Thanksgiving, like my little sister Katie.”

State Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, House District 78 — “I am thankful that God has blessed me with a wonderful family and two beautiful children. I am also thankful for the triumphs and defeats he has bestowed upon me to strengthen my outlook on this amazing journey called life. I am blessed to have an abundance of amazing friends who lift me up daily. I am thankful for the opportunities our Lord provides me to help others every day; helping is the richest reward in life. Lastly, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of Florida in the House of Representatives. Serving has been an honor I will always cherish. As we embark on the holidays, I remain hopeful and thankful that God will give me his direction and remind me of what is important. Happy Thanksgiving!”

Chris Flack, Director of Public Affairs, Duke Energy — “I’m thankful for everything in my life, and particularly for my wonderful family and friends.”

State Sen. Anitere Flores, Senate District 39 — “I’m thankful for family, friends, FIU, an amazing 16 years of service, and that it is not mandatory to give a goodbye speech on the floor.”

Towson Fraser, President, Fraser Solutions — “I’m grateful to live in a state and country where, according to some, our biggest problem is too many people want to come here and enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities with which we are blessed.”

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried — “This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my family, friends, my incredible team, and all of the amazing progress we have made on so many important issues, including building Florida’s hemp program from scratch. It’s been the busiest year of my life, and I am thankful every day to Floridians for the opportunity to be on this journey.”

Senate President Bill Galvano — “As I enter the second year of my term as Senate President, I’m especially grateful for my Senate family, and the relationships we have built over the years. It is a tremendous honor to work alongside such a tremendous group of public servants. I’m thankful for the time and energy my fellow Senators, Republican and Democrat alike, spend away from their families and their full-time careers to serve their constituents and all Floridians. Likewise, I’m thankful for the hard work of all of our staff and mindful of the sacrifices they make to support our Senators in serving the people of our great state.”

Reginald Garcia, Florida clemency attorney — “The health and safety of our five ‘kids’ ages 24-29, and for our 4-year-old grandson.”

Jennifer Green, President and Owner, Liberty Partners of Tallahassee — “I am very thankful for my team at Liberty Partners. I couldn’t be more proud of these professionals I also call friends.”

Jeff Hartley, Vice President, Smith, Bryan & Myers — “As always, thankful for healthy Family, Friends and Colleagues! Prayers to those who are overseas defending our country who cannot be with their families. Never take our blessings for granted, Happy Thanksgiving to all! “

Robert Hawken, consultant, FCCI Insurance Group — “Most of all, freedom. So blessed to be born and raised in the land of opportunity with my family and health all intact. Freedom. Family. Health. Opportunity.”

Fred Hawkins, candidate, Florida House District 42 — “Of course, I am thankful for those the serve to give us freedom both past and present. I do not think it’s a coincidence that Veterans Day and Thanksgiving are in the same month. Something to think about and be thankful for … If you have a working refrigerator with food in it, you are better off than 88% of the rest of the world. If you own two pairs of shoes, you are better off than 80% of the world. If you have change in your pocket, you are better off than 75% of the world. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.”

Brecht Heuchan, Owner and President, Contribution Link — “I’m grateful for my God who sent his son to save me, my wife who puts up with all kinds of crap, my kids who make me proud every single day, my buddies whose loyalty knows no bounds. I could go on and on about people in and out of the Capitol who touch my life in positive ways, but it’s easy to sum it all up; I have failed many times in my life, and continue to do so, disappointed the people I most care for, and yet they love and support me anyway. For this, I am most thankful.”

Justin Hollis, Beer Industry of Florida — “Thankful for family, friends, and deliciously ice-cold brewskis.”

Chris Hudson, Vice President of State Government Affairs, American for Prosperity — “Having worked in many other states this year, I can say unequivocally that we are blessed to live and work in Florida. For those of us that work in The Process, we should all be thankful for the opportunity to work in a state that challenges the status quo regularly. Oh, and we have Disney World.”

State Sen. Travis Hutson, Senate District 7 — “I am grateful for my family. My wife and kids are always so supportive when I am both home and away.”

David Johnson, a Republican consultant and Founder, David Johnson Group — “David Johnson: As we celebrate our 25th Thanksgiving together, I am always thankful for each day I get with my Christina.”

Jeff Johnston, consultant and lobbyist — “I am thankful for my wife and two daughters who inspire me every day, and I’m thankful for the unconditional friendship and overwhelming support that has been shown to me this year.”

Jon Johnson, Managing Partner, Johnson & Blanton — “A week ago today We celebrated 30 years of marriage. I am thankful for my wife.”

Rob Johnson, Consultant, The Mayernick Group — “I’m grateful for my wonderfully talented wife Alia and my entire family. I’m also grateful for the talented people I get to work with every day. Truly blessed.”

State Rep. Shevrin Jones, House District 101 — “I’m grateful for a loving and caring family that is constantly supporting and praying for me.”

Mark Kaplan, Vice President for Government and Community Relations, University of Florida — “Sherry and I are most thankful for four healthy and happy kids — two of whom celebrated weddings in the past year or so, one who is shipping out to the USS Ronald Reagan next month, and the youngest who will graduate from UF in the spring (Go Gators).”

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman — Thankful for family, always. And for the opportunity to govern America’s Sunshine City.”

State Rep. Chip LaMarca, House District 93 — “I am thankful for my wife Eileen, my partner in everything, and my support system in politics. With her, everything is possible. I am blessed on this day and every day to have her by my side.”

State Rep. Chris Latvala, House District 67 — “I am thankful for a great family, friends, and the opportunity to serve wonderful constituents in the Florida House.”

Jack Levine, advocate and founder, 4 Generations Institute — “My gratitude extends to all first responders whose 24-7-12-365 commitment to the health and safety of our families and neighbors is a source of sincere appreciation.”

Amy Maguire, Principal, Shumaker Advisors Florida — “Truly — thankful for a one-stop to get all my news — between Sunday Brunch, Sunburn, etc., need to look no further. I am thankful for kindness, respect, friendship, and smiles! Let’s all do more of it.”

Steve Marin, lobbyist and campaign consultant — Thankful to be able to work with a great team in Gus Cabrera, Cice Falls, Oscar Gonzalez, Alex Dominguez. Thankful for the opportunity to represent Florida’s future leaders. Specially thankful to have two amazing sons in Steven Michael and Tristen.”

Joe Marino – “I am grateful to God for family, friends, health, and our freedoms for which so many fought.”

Beth Matuga, Consultant, Florida Democratic Party — “I’m thankful that national Democrats and donors are finally starting to pay attention to state legislatures.”

James Miller, Communications Manager, Florida League of Cities — “What I’m thankful for … Thankful to be two years cancer-free!”

Ed Moore, President, Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida — “What’s not to be grateful for? We live in the greatest state in the greatest country in the world. We have open — albeit too partisan and rancorous — debate about the direction of our nation. We elected an outstanding Governor in Ron DeSantis who continues to blaze a forward trail keeping his detractors off balance and his supporters engaged. But mostly I’m grateful for a family I love dearly and many friends I live as well. I am truly blessed.”

Rhett ODoski, Senior Vice President for State Government Relations, McGuireWoods Consulting — “Thankful to God for my life, my wife and children who bring us such love and light. And moms — moms love us unconditionally. Very thankful for that!”

Rosemary O’Hara, Editorial Page Editor, South Florida Sun-Sentinel — “I’m grateful for having gotten to work in the glory days of newspapers. I just wish I’d known they were the glory days. ‘Stop the presses’ once signaled something big was happening. Today it too often heralds a newspaper’s last run. A source recently asked me about a reporter named Sandy, whom he’d disliked because she asked tough questions. Today, he asks longingly: “Where’s Sandy?” This Thanksgiving, I would be most grateful if someone in this group of Florida influencers could help figure out a new business model for local journalism.”

Florida House Speaker José Oliva — “Thankful to be alive at a time when the world’s people enjoy the most equality, the most freedom and the most prosperity in human existence. There is so much still to do for those who remain under oppression, but I am thankful for this time in history.”

Edie Ousley, Vice President of Public Affairs, Florida Chamber of Commerce — “I’m grateful for good health, my loving husband Johnny, my children, and that, each day, I have the opportunity to support Florida’s job creators that help keep our economy running. Happy Thanksgiving!”

State Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, Senate District 28 — “Each and every day throughout the year there is something to be thankful for … The glory of the Gulf at sunset or the mists rising over the Everglades at sunrise … For the blessings of good health … For my clients and my constituents who give me the opportunity to serve this incredible state … for my Senate family who are like brothers and sisters to me … and most of all for my wonderful husband of 40 years, my three bright and amazing daughters, my two inquisitive and engaging grandsons and being able to celebrate Thanksgiving this year with my 90-something parents. Nothing could be better than this.”

Ron Pierce, President and CEO, RSA Consulting Group — “I am thankful for being part of a team that is passionate, hardworking, sincere, and above all is a true family. I am truly blessed to be part of Team RSA and so incredibly honored to be able to work with Natalie, Edward, Kaitlyn and Krista to advocate for issues that are significant to our community and those we represent while positively impacting the quality of life of the place we call home!”

Evan Power, Leon County Republican Party Chair — “I am lucky to get to spend Thanksgiving with my family in Tallahassee. I am grateful to have a great fiancé, wonderful parents, and an extraordinary 101-year-old grandmother (straight off her Hallmark movie debut) to celebrate with. I am also thankful to live in a great state and a great nation that give us the opportunity to live our dreams.”

Scott Ross, Partner, Capital City Consulting — “I am thankful for my beautiful wife, healthy children, our two dogs, and the opportunity to live and work in the greatest country on earth.”

Ron Sachs, Founder and CEO, Sachs Media Group — “Any differences among any of us professionally, politically, or personally properly melt away in the observance of Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday always, because each of us and all of us have so much for which to be grateful. We are blessed to have loving families, friends who are families of choice, real love in our lives, meaningful jobs, respected colleagues, and the daily presence of God and nature all around us. We are blessed to live in a state and nation that allow us to pursue our dreams and play a role in helping others reach for theirs, too. There is so much more to unite us than to divide us — and let this holiday season sprinkle us all with that goodwill to last every day of every year.”

Scott Shalley, President and CEO, Florida Retail Federation — “For the one in five jobs in Florida tied to the retail industry. Shop early and often this holiday to support Florida retailers!”

Jeff Sharkey, President and CEO, Capitol Alliance Group — “Grateful for the unconditional love of family and friends that withstands the test of time and the vagaries of fortune.”

State Sen. Wilton Simpson, Florida Senate President-Designate — “There is nothing like sitting around the table and enjoying a good meal and the genuine love of family. I am thankful to experience these blessings in a country that still values liberty. I am deeply thankful for those who gave their lives to make it possible for us to live free.”

State Rep. Chris Sprowls, Florida House Speaker-Designate — ““I am grateful for the many blessings of Almighty God. The love of my beautiful wife and sons.  The support of my caring family.  The honor to serve my community in the Florida House.  The opportunity to work with outstanding men and women to help improve our state.  The freedom we enjoy living in the greatest nation in the world and for the brave men and women who stand on the front lines in defense of that freedom.”

William Stander, Principal, WHISPER — “I’m thankful for loving family and loyal friends, and that coming up on my 32nd Regular Session, they still let me in the building.”

Shannon Stepp, Executive Director, Florida Department of Citrus — “I am thankful for 20 wonderful years of marriage to Dave Shepp, who still remembers the little things that make me smile, and the privilege to work in a position of service to Florida’s legendary citrus industry.”

Amanda Stewart, consultant and lobbyist — “I am always thankful for my incredible husband and children and our family and friends. This year especially, I am so grateful for clients and people in this industry who are like family and make me happy to go to work every day. And I’m thankful for online shopping.”

Robert Stuart, GrayRobinson — “Thankful for my three beautiful daughters, an amazing wife, a wonderful family, and a great career that is both fulfilling and provides for us. Also, for the Big Green Egg within which the turkey will be smoked tomorrow. And bourbon. Always thankful for bourbon.”

Alan Suskey, president and CEO, Suskey Consulting — “This year, I am most thankful to celebrate my first anniversary with my smoking hot wife, Sarah. She’s the best friend, partner, and confidant I could ask for, and I thank God daily for bringing her into our lives. I am also thankful for our family’s good health, a growing professional practice I love, the best friends a guy could ask for, and the service and sacrifice of my brothers in sisters in arms who won’t be home to enjoy this holiday with their families. Their sacrifice, and especially that of their families, continues to inspire me daily to do all that I can with the time I’m given.”

Brad Swanson, President and CEO, Florida Internet & Television — “I am thankful for my faith in God and for all the family and close friends who are constant blessings every day in my life! and the internet, Instagram and Facebook …”

Nancy Texeira, Managing Director, Converge GPS — “I’m grateful for getting older. Life has taught me so many hard lessons, but it also has taught me about what is most important in life. I appreciate people more and cherish my friendships, family, and supportive colleagues above anything else. Investing in those relationships has been the best investment I have ever made.”

State Rep. Jackie Toledo — “I want to thank God for getting me through the most difficult year of my life. I am grateful for my friends and family for their support, especially my amazing, resilient children.  Special shout out to the best legislative aide/friend in the Fl. House, Clay Clemens. I am honored to represent the continents of District 60.”

Screven Watson, President and CEO, Screven Watson & Associates — “I am thankful for the inseparable bond that is family. Not necessarily defined as family by blood. Rather those who are simply ‘your family.’ I love and am grateful for you!”

Michael Wickersheim, Director of Legislative Affairs, Florida Department of Children and Families — “I am thankful to work for a Governor and Secretary whose bold leadership, combined with the First Lady’s advocacy, is bringing forward real solutions to change the lives of Florida vulnerable children and adults.”

Susie Wiles, Republican strategist — “I’m thankful for my family and for every second I get to spend with them. I’m thankful that our nation and our state are on the right track. And, because of this, we will all have even more to be thankful for in the years to come!”

State Rep. Matt Willhite, House District 86 — “I’m just thankful that I will be spending the day with my family. Although I don’t have as many family members left to spend time with, it is a day we have always spent together watching the Detroit Lions and sharing a wonderful meal. I will continue sharing this tradition and family time with my two young sons.”

Michael Williams, Director, Florida Prosperity Initiative for the Florida Chamber Foundation — “2019 has taught me a lot about faith. Faith in God, faith in humanity, and faith in myself. I’m thankful I have a job I love, a healthy (and growing) family, safety and security. This year threw a lot of curveballs, but in the end, everything worked out the way it was supposed to. Here’s to whatever 2020 throws our way.”

Rick Wilson, author and Republican consultant — “I am thankful for the privilege of watching our children Eleanor and Andrew blossom into fantastic young leaders with quick wits, curious minds and big hearts.”

Skylar Zander, State Director, Americans for Prosperity Florida — “I’m thankful because every day I get to get up and fight to break barriers for everyday Floridians. I’m thankful that my wife and I get to introduce our beautiful baby girl Emma to turkey and all the fixins for the first time, and for strong Florida leaders who continue to move Florida in the right direction.”


TaxWatch 40th Annual Meeting — 5; Florida Chamber’s Transportation, Growth and Infrastructure Summit — 8; Florida GOP Statesmen Dinner — 10; UK votes on Brexit — 15; Sixth Democratic debate — 22; “The Rise of Skywalker” premiers — 23; College Football National Championship — 47; 2020 Session begins — 48; Florida TaxWatch State of the TaxPayer Dinner in Tallahassee — 49; New Brexit deadline — 65; Super Bowl LIV in Miami — 67; Great American Realtors Day — 68; Iowa Caucuses — 68; New Hampshire Primaries — 76; Nevada caucuses — 87; Last day of 2020 Session (maybe) — 107; Florida’s presidential primary — 111; “Black Panther 2” debuts — 161; 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo begin — 238; Florida primaries for 2020 state legislative/congressional races — 272; First Vice Presidential debate at the University of Utah — 315; First Presidential Debate scheduled at the University of Michigan — 323; Second presidential debate at Belmont — 330; 2020 General Election — 342.


President Trump signed a new law providing harsh penalties for animal cruelty. The prime sponsors of the bipartisan bill are Florida men Ted Deutch and Vern Buchanan.

Also, on today’s Sunrise:

— A new audit says the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is doing a bad job accounting for the people they fly around the state. But FDLE says that doesn’t really matter, they’re not doing anything improper.

Andrew Gillum, who narrowly lost the Governor’s race in 2018, is donating $150,000 to the Florida Democratic Party in an attempt to flip some House seats in districts he carried last year.

— A Miami lawmaker is filing the Florida Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, to have businesses make reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees.

— Sunrise bids adios to the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season. While it was the fourth worst on record, Florida dodged a bullet this year.

 — Two Florida women sue a strip club for discrimination after they were refused admission — because they were not with a man.

To listen, click on the image below:


At Florida ‘homecoming rally, Trump builds his case against impeachment” via Nancy Cook and Matthew Choi of POLITICO — President Donald Trump on Tuesday spent much of his “homecoming rally” here building his case against impeachment before thousands of enthusiastic supporters. He cast the Democrats’ inquiry as a desperate effort to win back the White House in 2020. He went so far as to call the impeachment proceedings “bullshit,” prompting a new audience chant containing the expletive. And he put those proceedings in the same category as the Mueller investigation, labeling all of it a “scam” and a “hoax.” “They’re attacking me because I’m exposing a rigged system that enriched itself at your expense and I’m restoring government of, by and for the people,” he told the crowd at the BB&T Center.

Facebook status of the day:


Passenger records lacking for state flights” via News Service of Florida — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement failed to report the names of passengers flying on state-operated aircraft and the purposes of their travels to show all transportation was for official state business, according to a new audit. State auditors examined a sample of flight records kept by the law-enforcement agency between January 2019 and June 2019 to determine whether it properly charged people for transportation costs. The records showed 1,311 passengers had flown on 310 state-operated flights, and none of them were subject to travel charges, according to the report by the Florida Auditor General released last week.

Annette Taddeo, Juan Fernandez-Barquin push for parental consent for corporal punishment in schools” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — A pair of companion bills from Democratic Sen. Taddeo and GOP Rep. Fernandez-Barquin would force public schools to obtain parental consent before administering corporal punishment to a student. Florida is one of nearly 20 states that still allow corporal punishment in schools. According to a report from the Florida Phoenix, 19 of Florida’s 67 districts utilized the practice during the 2017-18 school year. But the bipartisan measure from Taddeo (SB 1058) and Fernandez-Barquin (HB 781) would also require a written notice to go out before the punishment is administered. It also bars teachers from carrying out the punishment going forward. That authority would rest solely with a principal.

Annette Taddeo is filing a bill that would require parental notification before administering any corporal punishment to a student.

Nikki Fried tells drivers to look out for card skimmers — Thanksgiving ensures the roads will be packed this weekend, and that means a larger pool of potential victims for card skimming schemes. Agriculture Commissioner Fried has some tips for travelers that can help them avoid identity theft during their holiday road trips. “During the busy holiday travel season, criminals will be working hard to scam you at the gas pump — it’s crucial that people are aware of exactly what to look out for, because each skimmer can defraud consumers up to a million dollars,” Fried said. First, give every gas pump a once over and pay special attention to the security tape — if it’s broken, walk away. Second, pay with a credit card, not a debit card. If a credit card number is skimmed, it’s not as damaging. Third, pick pumps close to buildings. Most crooks aren’t bold enough to install skimmers within a convenience store’s sightline. Even safer: pay inside.


At the first national Thanksgiving, the Civil War raged” via Ted Widmer of The Washington Post — As the Civil War raged in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln and his secretary of state, William H. Seward, issued a proclamation on Oct. 3 calling for a national holiday to be observed on “the last Thursday of November.” That proclamation might do good service again in a nation that could use words of healing. The Civil War is never that distant; in troubling ways, it has resurfaced in recent months as an implied threat of a conflict that may reignite someday. Even in the worst months of the fighting, with violence all around them, they saw a better day coming, when Americans would return to the same table, in the “full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.”

Abraham Lincoln proclaimed two special days: The last Thursday of April 1863 as a National Day of Prayer and Fasting, and the last Thursday of November as a National Day of Thanksgiving to God.

Why Thanksgiving still wins, in one paragraph via Michael Schaffer of The New Republic — “It’s a holiday to be proud of: Humble without being morose, generous without being opulent, old without being irrelevant, intimate but also all about community. At a time of income inequality, the feast that is its central organizing event is made of ingredients that are democratic. In an era of suspicion, it celebrates immigrants. During a period of polarization, it’s something we all agree on. It can be religious if you want, but it doesn’t have to be: Thank the Almighty, thank your friends, thank your lucky stars — it’s all good.”

Thanksgiving tips to keep everyone happy and sane at your holiday gathering” via Becky Krystal of The Washington Post — Make as much as you can in advance. Don’t give up if you wait until the last minute. Ask for help. Clear your fridge. Set out some snacks before the meal. Learn how to make the best use of your oven. Not everything has to be hot or even warm. Have containers to send leftovers home with your guests.

Five myths about turkey” via Tamar Haspel of The Washington Post — 1. Ben Franklin almost made the turkey the national bird. In a 1784 satirical letter to his daughter, he maligned the eagle’s “bad moral character.” The turkey is a “more respectable bird, and withal a true original native of America,” Franklin wrote. 2. Stuffing turkey is a recipe for food poisoning. Yes, it’s important to take precautions when cooking poultry, but you can safely stuff a turkey — generations of Americans wouldn’t have risked death for the sake of a more flavorful side dish. 3. Basting is better. Not so fast, says Meathead Goldwyn, the force behind and the author of “Meathead: The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling.” The problem is that basting prolongs cooking times. “Think of it like sweat after a long workout,” Goldwyn told me via email, “it cools you off.” And basting may moisten the bird, “but not a lot,” says Goldwyn. 4. Thanksgiving turkey makes you sleepy. Tryptophan doesn’t necessarily induce sleep, and it’s doubtful that turkey’s the culprit for your post-Thanksgiving-dinner nap. 5. Turkey was Thanksgiving’s first entree. Kathleen Wall, a culinarian at Plimouth Plantation, a history museum that re-creates the original Plymouth colony, told Smithsonian, “Wildfowl was there … venison was there,” water birds like goose or duck were likely candidates, and passenger pigeons were a plentiful game at the time. But turkey probably wasn’t the featured dish.

The rise and fall of turkey brining” via Kim Severson of The New York Times — Like the length of a trouser leg, turkey fashion shifts. Interviews with the big players in food media over the past few weeks suggest that the wet, salty turkey has lost its appeal among many of the people who once did the most to promote it. “I’m so over it,” said Alex Guarnaschelli, the New York chef and television personality. Never mind that her turkey-brining recipe — thick with honey, molasses and soy — is still prominently displayed on the Food Network website. “I’m not afraid to admit evolution has occurred with my cooking, and I’ll go on record as someone who has a great brine recipe,” she said. “But right now I am in a no-brining phase.” Why the change of heart on brining? “It’s enormous. It’s wonky. It’s ambitious,” she said. “And I don’t always love the texture.”


Thanksgiving forecast: Good for us, not so for the rest of the country” via Kimberly Miller of The Palm Beach Post — A double-dose of winter will plague holiday travelers this week, threatening snow delays at airports in the west, treacherous frozen roads in the plains and balloon-grounding winds in New York City. Florida is mostly out of reach of the plunging jet stream doling out the chill, with clear skies forecast for Thanksgiving Day from Pensacola to Key West, and temperatures slightly above normal. That means highs near 80 degrees in West Palm Beach through at least Saturday with overnight lows in the upper 60s. “We’ve got high pressure dominating that will keep our weather pretty pleasant and dry,” said Paxton Fell of the National Weather Service in Miami. “There’s really no rain over much of South Florida into Sunday.”

For Thanksgiving, add old Florida fare to your table of gratitude. Some historians note the 1565 meal at St. Augustine.” via Joy Wallace Dickinson of the Orlando Sentinel — Floridians have spread the word about our “real” first Thanksgiving with recipes for dishes such as garbanzo-bean soup made with chorizo, potatoes and saffron. That’s the sort of fare Spanish soldiers and Florida Indians probably shared back in 1565. For further inspiration for old Florida fare, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ “Cross Creek Cookery” (1942) is always a great place to turn. Earlier this fall Geoff Gates and Donna Wright of the Rawlings Historic State Park in Cross Creek visited the Orlando Public Library’s Cuisine Corner to demonstrate Rawlings recipes, including chicken pilau (pronounced “pur-loo”). “Feeding the masses with almost nothing — that’s the genius of pilau,” Gates noted. “No Florida church supper, no large gathering, is without it,” Rawlings wrote in 1942.

Celebration of the first St. Augustine Mass in the New World, which many consider the first Thanksgiving.

Florida’s unique turkey species gobbles on” via David Flesher of the Orlando Sentinel … An elusive variety of the giant bird will be gobbling, clucking and flying at surprisingly high speed through South Florida’s fields and forests … Osceola turkey, also called the Florida wild turkey … a subspecies unique to the state’s peninsula. Smaller and darker than its Northern cousins, the Osceola can be found at the southeastern end of Everglades National Park, at the far western edge of Broward County, in the forests of northwestern Palm Beach County and throughout the peninsula up to about Jacksonville. The state’s native turkey has turned into an unlikely tourist draw, attracting hunters seeking to complete their “grand slam” of all five North American turkey subspecies. At the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area in northern Palm Beach County, hunters killed 103 turkeys in the last three seasons … Their speed would surprise anyone who thinks of turkeys as waddling blobs of meat and feathers. A wild turkey can run up to 25 miles per hour and briefly achieve a flying speed of 55 miles per hour, according to the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Wild Florida turkeys face headwinds from habitat loss, disease and hunts” via Jim Waymer of FLORIDA TODAY — As we celebrate Thanksgiving, state biologists warn that Florida wild turkeys face a litany of threats and uncertainties in coming decades, some preventable, others not. What’s certain, biologists predict, is that if Florida’s development patterns persist, the iconic bird, once praised by Benjamin Franklin as a more “respectable” bird than the bald eagle, stands to lose more than 2 million acres of habitat by 2060. “Despite factors such as urbanization and habitat fragmentation, wild turkeys are still well distributed across the state,” Tammy Sapp, a spokeswoman with the FWC, said. “Similar downward trends in harvest and annual productivity have been observed recently by many southeastern states. It is unclear what led to this drop.”

Wild Florida turkeys are facing dwindling numbers due to habitat loss, hunting and disease.

If you want to be historically accurate this holiday, serve alligator” via the Jacksonville Historical Society — Fifty-six years before the Pilgrims celebrated their feast, Spanish explorer Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles arrived on the coast of Florida. He came ashore September 8, 1565, naming the land on which he stepped “St. Augustine” in honor of the saint on whose feast day, Aug. 28, the land was sighted. Members of the Timucua tribe, which had occupied the site for more than 4,000 years, greeted Menéndez and his group of some 800 Catholic colonists peacefully. Colonial records indicate that on the date they came ashore, and in gratitude for their safe arrival, the Spanish celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving, the very first Catholic mass on American soil. According to the memoirs of Father Francisco Lopez de Mendoza Grajales, who celebrated the mass, once “the feast day [was] observed … after mass, ‘the Adelantado [Menendez] had the Indians fed and dined himself.”

FSU researchers talk turkey: Native Americans raised classic holiday bird long before first Thanksgiving” via Kathleen Haughney of Florida State University — Native Americans as early as 1200 to 1400 A.D. were managing and raising turkeys. This is the first time scientists have suggested that early Native Americans in the southeastern United States potentially domesticated turkeys. Researchers knew that turkeys had been a part of Native American life long before the first Thanksgiving in 1621. Their feathers were used on arrows, in headdresses and clothing. The meat was used for food. Their bones were used for tools, including scratchers used in ritual ceremonies. There are even representations of turkeys in artifacts from the time. But this new research indicates turkeys were more than just a casual part of life for Native Americans of that era. For one, the groupings researchers worked on had more male turkeys than a typical flock. In a typical flock of turkeys, there are usually more females … But in the flock they examined, they found more remains of males. That would only happen if it were designed that way.


Big companies have lots of Florida customers — but sidestep state income taxes” via Jason Garcia of the Orlando Sentinel — eBay makes a lot of that money from people in Florida. The California company collected nearly $350 million from Florida-based sellers in 2014, according to records filed in a tax dispute between eBay and the Department of Revenue. Yet, when it came time to pay its Florida corporate income taxes, eBay decided that none of those sales happened in Florida — a decision that cut the company’s Florida income tax bill by nearly $2 million. Mastercard Inc. also decided that none of its credit-card processing sales happen in Florida — which allowed the world’s No. 2 credit-card company to slash its Florida tax bill by more than $5 million in a single year, according to separate litigation records.

eBay earned $34M in 2014, paying just over $18K in Florida corporate taxes.

Volunteer Florida announces new round of grants — Volunteer Florida is sending $370,000 in Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) grants to 22 nonprofit and service organizations throughout the state. The VGF program, which is funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service, helps organizations use skills-based volunteers to serve Florida students, families and communities. “Skills-based volunteers are an integral part of many nonprofits as they help extend the reach and capacity of organizations to meet their missions,” Volunteer Florida CEO Clay Ingram said. “Since 2014, Volunteer Florida has been able to empower 50,943 skills-based volunteers to serve 746,487 hours, a value of nearly $17 million to the State of Florida, through the VGF program.” The grants range from $15,000 to $20,000 and are heading to a diverse set of nonprofits, from Girl Scout troops to elder care organizations.


Rising seas mean higher tides, flooding ‘new normal’” via Dinah Voyles Pulver of the Florida Times-Union — More higher-than-normal king tides are forecast to arrive with the new moon this week, a final round in a fall season that flooded coastal areas and reinforced the growing impacts of a rising sea. The East Coast is on pace to see record-breaking tides this year, and tides along the Gulf Coast also are trending higher, said William Sweet, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration oceanographer. “It’s not normal, but unfortunately it’s becoming the new normal,” said Sweet, lead author of NOAA’s annual report on high tide flooding. That’s because rising sea levels are pushing the year’s highest tides even higher, Sweet said.

The new normal? Frequent king tides are making trouble for South Florida.

Dorian’s threat dominated hurricane season” via News Service of Florida — For Florida, the 2019 hurricane season will be remembered for a gigantic, nerve-wracking scare over the Labor Day weekend. After back-to-back years of historic strikes on Florida that continue to require money and attention, the waters of the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico during the hurricane season that ends Saturday were highly active. The 2019 season had 18 named storms, matching 1969 for the fourth most-lively season in the past 150 years. A little more than a month after Dorian, Tropical Storm Nestor briefly kicked up in the Gulf of Mexico. Otherwise, the six-month 2019 hurricane season had the smallest impact on Florida in four years.

Bahamas counting on sports to aid Dorian recovery efforts” via Aaron Beard of The Associated Press — Officials quickly dismiss any concern about whether it was appropriate to be playing sports in the Bahamas while parts of the multi-island nation continue to dig out from devastation following Hurricane Dorian. Bahamians not only want the games, but they’re also counting on them. One of those events is the Thanksgiving-week Battle 4 Atlantis men’s college basketball tournament — during which there will be broadcasts of the islands’ famous beaches and not just shots of the wreckage Dorian left behind. “What has happened is after the storm, the word went out that the Bahamas is devastated,” said Ellison Thompson of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation. “But they were not taking into account that the Bahamas is not one island.”

These cities are still waiting for Irma money. FEMA says invoices are ‘questionable’” via Aaron Leibowitz and Sarah Blaskey of the Miami Herald — On Sept. 24, the tiny village of El Portal passed an operating budget just shy of $2.5 million. That same day, they got a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that questions $2 million the village sorely needs. The letter said FEMA is reviewing “questionable invoices” and other documents submitted by consultants who helped El Portal manage cleanup for Hurricane Irma. A FEMA spokesman, David Mace, said the agency is working on a complete review of documents submitted by El Portal as well as Miami Shores and Florida City. Mace said those were the only municipalities in Florida to get the letters. All three used the same contractor.

More than two years later, El Portal is one of several Florida towns that are still waiting for FEMA funds from Hurricane Irma.

Cats from hurricane-impacted Panhandle are sent to Jacksonville for adoption” via Beth Carvey of the Florida Times-Union — Twenty-seven cats were relocated to the Jacksonville Humane Society this week from a Florida Panhandle shelter still recovering from Hurricane Michael. The cats came from the St. Joseph Bay Humane Society in Gulf County, which serves an area that includes Mexico Beach, a community devastated by the Category 5 storm in October 2018. Gulf County sought help from Jacksonville because not only is the area still rebuilding, but it loses residents in the winter months, which hampers adoptions. “Hurricane Michael still has a lasting impact on our adoption rates, as many families are still unable to care for their own pets,” said Caitlin Godwin, the Gulf County facility’s adoption coordinator. “The cats just need a new audience.”

Everglade snail kite adapting to Florida’s shrinking wetlands; Can it survive herbicides?” via Ed Killer of Treasure Coast Newspapers — An Everglade snail kite hovers over the water’s edge along a grass island, swoops down and with its talons grasps an apple snail about the size of a golf ball. It’s a scene playing out with more and more frequency in recent years over Central and South Florida’s wetlands and lakes. The snail kite, designated as endangered by federal and state authorities since 1967, has weathered habitat loss caused by development and wetland manipulation by flood control managers. The good news is the bird’s population, and nesting numbers are heading in the right direction. However, some are concerned the state’s program to kill aquatic plants with herbicides may unintentionally affect both the bird and its highly specific food supply.

Holy mackerel: Free fishing holiday on Nov. 30” via Florida Politics — Nov. 30 will be the last day of license-free saltwater fishing. Each year, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission sets eight days where people do not need a fishing license to fish. The days are separated by freshwater and saltwater. The freshwater days are the first Saturday and Sunday in April and the second Saturday and Sunday in June. The saltwater days are on the first Saturday and Sunday in June, the first Saturday in September, and the first Saturday after Thanksgiving. Bag limits, closed areas, and size restrictions also apply on these dates.


DOJ moves to halt judge’s ruling that Don McGahn must testify” via Darren Samuelsohn of POLITICO — The Justice Department asked a federal judge Tuesday to put a temporary pause on her ruling that orders former Trump White House counsel Don McGahn to testify in the House impeachment probe, saying it needs the delay to pursue an appeal. While expected, the move from DOJ means that the primary congressional panel responsible for drafting articles of impeachment against Trump likely won’t hear anytime soon from McGahn, one of the star witnesses in special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report. Also Tuesday, a lawyer representing two other key White House impeachment witnesses said his clients would keep resisting congressional subpoenas, arguing that Monday’s decision didn’t apply to their situation.

Ex-White House lawyer Don McGahn has been ordered to comply with a congressional subpoena; the Department of Justice is fighting the request.

Poll: Public hearings didn’t do much to move the needle on impeachment” via Caitlin Oprysko of POLITICO — Despite three days of explosive testimony in House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into Trump last week, none of the revelations appear to have moved the needle much when it comes to swaying voters, according to the latest POLITICO/Morning Consult poll out Tuesday. In the survey, one of the first to measure public support for the inquiry following the conclusion of public hearings last week, voters backed the investigation by a 5-point margin, 48% to 43%, compared with a 3-point margin the week before. While the percentage of voters who supported the inquiry remained unchanged, opposition to the inquiry dipped by 2 points.

Roger Stone asks for permission to travel to Florida town for last Thanksgiving before prison” via the Washington Times — In a court filing, Stone requested for approval to travel to Orange Park from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1. Orange Park is outside the areas in Florida to where Stone is currently permitted to travel. Neither pretrial services nor prosecutors have objected to the request, according to Stone’s court filing.


President Trump pardons pair of turkeys — the strange truth behind the tradition” via Domenico Montanaro of NPR — First, understand, this event has been sustained by a special interest group — the turkey lobby. The National Turkey Federation, whose website is literally, sponsors the event and has spent almost $3 million on lobbying efforts since 1998. Big Turkey has been giving turkeys to presidents since 1947. But these turkeys were originally meant to be eaten, not pardoned. The first Thanksgiving turkey on record to receive a reprieve was in 1963 when President John F. Kennedy received a 40-pound turkey with a sign around its neck that read, “GOOD EATING, MR. PRESIDENT!” “We’ll just let this one grow,” Kennedy said. A Los Angeles Times article about the event the day before was headlined: “Turkey gets presidential pardon.”

The national Thanksgiving Turkey ‘Bread’ and its alternate ‘Butter.’ Donald Trump used the traditional pardon speech to take a few shots at Adam Schiff. Image via Getty.

Trump tells impeachment jokes at annual turkey pardon event” via The Associated Press — Trump couldn’t resist riffing on the House impeachment inquiry Tuesday as he continued the tradition of pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey, generating holiday-season laughter at the expense of U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, one of his chief antagonists in Congress. Trump joked that the pair of North Carolina-bred turkeys he was about to pardon had been raised to “remain calm under any condition,” a trait that he said will be “very important because they’ve already received subpoenas to appear in Schiff’s basement on Thursday.” Trump’s latest act of clemency benefited Butter, a 47-pound (21-kilogram) turkey granted a “full and complete” pardon by the president. Trump said he was also sparing Butter’s alternate, named Bread, from being served up on a Thanksgiving table.

Trump signs Vern Buchanan, Ted Deutch bill cracking down on animal cruelty” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — A bipartisan animal cruelty bill championed by U.S. Reps. Buchanan and Deutch has been signed into law by Trump. The measure aims to strengthen a 2010 federal ban on animal “crushing” videos signed by President Obama. That law banned creating or sharing videos of animals being “intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury.” Those videos must also impact interstate commerce to grant the federal government the power to regulate them. But that bill did not make the underlying abuse itself illegal at the federal level. The legislation from Buchanan, a Republican, and Deutch, a Democrat — titled the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act — changes that.

Birds may have caused the lockdown at the White House, officials say” via Hayley Fowler and Chacour Koop of the Miami Herald — The White House was on lockdown Wednesday while fighter jets were assembled for an airspace violation that could have been a flock of birds, media outlets report. An evacuation order was also in effect for the U.S. Capitol, WJLA reported. Early reports pointed to a possible small jet craft in the airspace. But NORAD confirmed just before 1 p.m. it was a false alarm. “NORAD responded to an event in the Special Flight Rules Area surrounding Washington D.C. this morning,” the agency tweeted. “NORAD directed @USCG rotary-wing aircraft to investigate, and the event was resolved without incident.”

— 2020 —

Democrats question report on how much Trump campaign will spend in Florida” via Mitch Perry of Bay News 9 — Trump returned to the Sunshine State Tuesday night, a state that is so important to his reelection chances that strategists now say his campaign is committed to spending more than $200 million to win it. That’s according to a report published by Bloomberg this week, which attributes that formidable financial figure to people “familiar with the campaign.” State and national Democratic Party officials are skeptical about the report. They say there’s always a discrepancy between the rhetoric from the Trump administration and the results. “Floridians keep hearing what Trump and Florida Republicans ‘are going to do,'” says FDP executive director Juan Penalosa. “Trump was going to provide FEMA funds to the panhandle.” … “Trump has not kept one promise.”

Biden wins endorsement of top Florida Democrat” via Gary Fineout and Matt Dixon of POLITICO — State Sen. Audrey Gibson, one of the more prominent Democrats in state government, said she is endorsing Vice President Joe Biden, a boost for the candidate in a state that could prove pivotal if the nominating battle lasts into March.

‘There’s no such things as budgetary constraints. Bloomberg spends millions in Florida” via Alex Daugherty of the Miami Herald  — Michael Bloomberg‘s plan to win the 2020 Democratic nomination in some ways resembles a key part of President Trump’s reelection strategy: Focus on Florida. The former New York City mayor and billionaire is using his immense personal wealth to blitz the state with $3.5 million worth of 60-second television ads in every major media market through Dec. 3, with the Miami-Fort Lauderdale media market receiving $1.1 million.”

Elizabeth Warren blows up the ‘war room’” via Alex Thompson and Marc Caputo of POLITICO — Warren has been on the receiving end of an onslaught of jabs, swipes, missives, think-pieces and general bashing from opponents this past week, the likes of which she hasn’t experienced since she jumped into the presidential race. But more surprising than the attacks has been her response. In two words: No comment. The only response of note to the elitist charge was a subtweet the Warren campaign posted Wednesday with a video about her humble upbringing and challenges as a young mother. The campaign’s refusal to engage this week has baffled rival campaigns and some Democratic strategists. But it’s not an outlier. Internally, communications director Kristen Orthman refers to the approach as “blinders and bulletin board.”

While Elizabeth Warren has been on the receiving end of several attacks, her only response of note is ‘no comment.’

What Anne Corcoran is readingMinority voters chafe as Democratic candidates abandon charter schools” via Erica L. Green and Eliza Shapiro of The New York Times — The night before Democratic presidential candidates took to a debate stage here last week, black and Latino charter school parents and supporters gathered in a bland hotel conference room nearby to make signs they hoped would get the politicians’ attention. “Charter schools = self-determination,” one sign read. “Black Democrats want charters!” another blared. At issue is the delicate politics of race and education. For more than two decades, Democrats have largely backed public charter schools as part of a compromise to deliver black and Latino families a way out of failing district schools. But this year, in a major shift, the leading Democratic candidates are backing away from charter schools, and siding with the teachers’ unions that oppose their expansion.


‘Clean’ constitution proposal tops 400,000 signatures” via News Service of Florida — A proposed ballot measure that would make it harder to amend the Florida Constitution has topped 400,000 petition signatures, as backers continue trying to put it before voters in November 2020. The Keep Our Constitution Clean political committee had submitted 407,805 valid petition signatures to the state Division of Elections as of early Tuesday afternoon, an increase of more than 100,000 signatures over the past month, according to the division website. The committee needs to submit 766,200 valid signatures by a February deadline to be able to get on the 2020 ballot. Also, it requires Florida Supreme Court approval of the proposed ballot wording.

Donna Deegan begins making her case to Northeast Florida voters” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — Deegan knows she faces long odds in her bid to flip Florida’s 4th Congressional District from red to blue. A Monday campaign appearance saw her just outside of her district, at Edward Waters College for a “meet and greet.” Deegan, should she win the primary in 2020, will face well-known incumbent U.S. Rep. John Rutherford in the General Election. GOP voters comprise 286,013 of the district’s 577,173 registered voters, compared to 155,073 Democrats, with independents and third-party registrants making up the balance. Deegan, contrary to what some might think, is acutely aware of the partisan makeup of the district. But she is undeterred, Deegan told a crowd of about 50 Monday night.

Donna Deegan may be facing long odds in her bid against John Rutherford in CD 4, she is still forging ahead.

Loranne Ausley reveals SD 3 campaign team” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics — Democratic Rep. Loranne Ausley announced new hires Tuesday in her bid to represent Tallahassee in the state Senate. The eight senior staffers include local and known names in Democratic Party campaign spheres. Ausley dubbed Jerome Maples, the recently departed district secretary to Senate Democratic Leader Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville, as her campaign manager. CATECOMM founder and ad maker Kevin Cate too joins Ausley’s team. Also on board: Pollster Kevin Atkins, former FDP executive director Scott Arceneaux, Shelbi Warner, Beth Matuga, Ben Sharpe and Dylan Sumner. Ausley hopes to succeed term-limited Democrat Sen. Bill Montford. The representative, who launched her Senate bid last year, was first elected to the state House in 2016.

Victory Fund endorses six openly gay Legislature candidates in Florida” via Scott Powers of Florida Politics — The LGBTQ Victory Fund has announced its endorsements of six openly gay Democrats running for Florida Legislature seats in 2020. The endorsements go to state Rep. Jones, who is running for SD 35; state Reps. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Jennifer Webb, running for reelection in HD 49 and HD 69 respectively; Javier Estevez, who is running for an open seat in HD 105; and Gabriela De Jesus and Ricky Junquera, who are making challenges against Republican incumbents in HD 116 and HD 118, respectively. In a news release announcing the endorsements, the organization said Florida has the most openly gay candidates, six, it has ever had in legislative elections, with three currently in the Florida Legislature.


By Kevin Sweeny

Over the river, around the I-4 construction and through Rock Spring Run woods,

First hand out the pies and then to Aunt Sarah’s house we go;

The Google map knows the way

To skip the political fray

Through the rain and quieting of the legislative show.


Over the river along I-10 and through the Aucilla woods,

Oh, how the Capital does glow!

Thanks to my team and the loyal friends we chose

And Wellesley’s kiss on the nose

Give thanks to those we work with- tell them- they might not know.


Over the river, flying down 95 and through the Matanzas woods,

I’m thankful for Babes, N+P, Dp, the G’s, 1.3%, KIE and the leadership play.

Hear the end of the recounts ring


Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!


Over the river, ripping along Alligator Alley and Big Cypress woods,

Give thanks for what you have and send a prayer for those in Michael’s way.

Give thanks for family and friends we have found,

And for last-minute amendments inbound,

For this is Thanksgiving Day.


Over the river, stuck on 275 and through Terra Ceia woods,

For just one day may our political differences abate.

Stop! Now! Give thanks for all those you know

Donations, bills, Reps, Senators, paywalls and blogs come and go

Our time here’s short — give thanks now- you simply can’t wait.


Over the river sneaking along US 1 and through the Glades woods —

Put down the Twitter, ‘insta and ‘book today to remember why!

I’m thankful I can run!

Is this damn poem done?

I’ll be running for pumpkin pie!


Thanksgiving feast prices remain low, farm study shows” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the average cost of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for 10 is $48.91, just one cent more than the same study found last year. “The average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is essentially unchanged from last year, after three years of decline since 2015,” said AFBF Chief Economist John Newton. The average dinner price includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray and pumpkin pie. The most significant part of the cost comes from the turkey with average prices, not assuming sales, coupons or other incentives, at $20.80 for a 16-pound bird. The analysis found this year’s turkey price the lowest it’s been since 2010.

The cost of Thanksgiving dinner is still at the lowest in a decade.

Washing Thanksgiving turkey could spread germs, say food safety experts” via Candice Choi of The Associated Press — Food say experts say don’t wash the turkey before popping it in the oven. They say that could spread the germs lurking on your turkey in the kitchen sink or nearby food. But it’s a challenge trying to convince cooks to stop rinsing off raw poultry. “If your mother did it and your grandmother did it, and suddenly the (government) says not to wash your turkey, you may take some time to adjust,” said Drusilla Banks, who teaches food sanitation for the University of Illinois Extension. Germs that make people sick are common in the guts of healthy poultry and are legally allowed to be on raw turkey and chicken.

How to Spatchcock a Turkey” via Carla Lalli Music of Bon Appétit — If you’re looking for reasons to spatchcock a turkey this Thanksgiving, ask yourself these simple questions: Do you want the bird actually to taste good? And be juicy? With perfectly browned skin? Of course, you do. This method, which disposes of the backbone so the bird can be flattened and cooked skin side up, is a game-changer. Because the turkey is butterflied, there’s more surface available for even browning, and the high cooking temperature means crackly, crispy skin. Perhaps most seductive of all, a 12-pounder cooks in 90 minutes. Repeat: 90 minutes. That’s half the time of your old-fashioned roast.


No new fraud trial for Katrina Brown, Reggie Brown, judge says” via Steve Patterson of the Florida Times-Union — A federal judge has rejected requests for new fraud trials from former Jacksonville City Council members Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown, convicted last month of dozens of felonies. U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard said in a ruling filed Monday that she couldn’t see a strong reason to set aside the verdicts. ″[H]aving considered the evidence adduced in this case … the court cannot conclude that it preponderates heavily against the jury’s verdicts or that this case is one of those ‘really exceptional cases’ where a new trial should be granted based on the weight of the evidence,” Howard wrote.

Police investigating deadly fall from Hotel Duval” via Karl Etters of the Tallahassee Democrat — Officers responded to the North Monroe Street hotel about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday to find a body in the parking lot. “The evidence on scene and physical injuries were consistent with the subject falling or jumping from the 8th story,” TPD wrote in a news release. “The preliminary results of the investigation revealed there is no threat to the community and the incident did not involve any type of foul play.” Hotel Duval has a rooftop bar, Level 8, with an open patio looking west over the city. No information about the individual found dead has been released. TPD is asking anyone with information to call (850) 891-4200 or CrimeStoppers Anonymously at (850) 574-TIPS.

Tallahassee police are investigating a man who fell from the eighth floor of the Hotel Duval.

Orlando-area newspaper’s circulation decline among steepest for Gannett” via Don Seiffert and Ryan Lynch of the Orlando Business Journal — Of the 200 daily newspapers at the newly merged Gannett Co. that file print circulation numbers publicly, more than 80% are losing circulation at a faster rate than the national average and 10% are declining at twice that rate or more, according to a Business Journal analysis. Among Florida’s largest Gannett-owned publications, The Daytona Beach News-Journal has seen one of the steepest declines, with a two-year circulation drop of 31.5% since 2017, translating to an annualized decline of 17.2%. Its 2019 print circulation dropped from 42,892 in 2017 to 29,401. Gannett is under intense pressure from shareholders to fulfill its vow to cut $300 million in expenses, and it’s likely those cuts will be made at its most underperforming newspapers.

Pasco deputy fired over accidental gun discharge fighting to keep his job” via Molly Chepenik of WUFT — The sheriff’s corporal who dramatically lost his job after his pistol fired in a bustling Florida middle school cafeteria plans to appeal his dismissal, his attorney said. A five-person personnel board would consider the appeal of Cpl. Jonathan Cross of the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. A date for that has not yet been set. Sheriff Chris Nocco abruptly fired Cross after a nearly six-month investigation, concluding partly based on video surveillance that Cross negligently fidgeted with his service pistol and caused it to fire. No one was hurt. Cross, a 14-year veteran of the department, was known as a stoic, businesslike law enforcement officer who said he was trying to become a better public speaker and more approachable for children.

Pensacola City Council picks president, Sherri Myers withdraws name but stands by sexism claims” via Annie Blanks of the Pensacola News Journal — Pensacola has a new City Council president and vice president. Councilwoman Jewel Cannada-Wynn, who represents District 7, was unanimously elected to the council presidency by her peers. Andy Terhaar, the current council president, and Councilwoman Sherri Myers were absent from Tuesday’s meeting. Councilman Jared Moore, who serves District 4, was elected vice president. Noticeably absent from Tuesday morning’s special meeting was Myers, who last week levied allegations of sexism against several former council members. In a memo she filed last week seeking the council president position, Myers wrote that she faced years of sexism and misogyny during her time on the City Council.


Miami-Dade stopped prosecuting minor plot charges, but cops keep making arrests anyway” via Jerry Iannelli of the Miami New Times — On August 9, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle sent a memo to the county’s 35 police departments stating her office would no longer be prosecuting low-level marijuana cases until further notice. But according to jail records, Miami-area cops kept arresting people for minor pot possession anyway. From July 1 to November 23, a total of 391 people were arrested for misdemeanor cannabis possession, according to the latest county jail data. Of those, at least 141 defendants were arrested after Rundle’s memo was circulated. While low-level weed arrests have tapered off slightly since August, officers were still hauling people to jail for misdemeanor cannabis possession as recently as last week.

Katherine Fernandez Rundle said her office would not prosecute low-level marijuana crimes, but that hasn’t stopped Miami-area police from arresting users.

Ocala Council election thrown into turmoil over winning candidate’s felony arrests” via Angel Kennedy of WUFT — The outcome of last week’s council election in Ocala was thrown into turmoil Tuesday amid a city investigation into whether the winning candidate is eligible to serve because of felony drug charges filed against him decades ago. Tyrone E. Oliver, 63, acknowledged in an interview that he had been charged with drug felonies in 1986 but said the cases had been “handled” before directing further questions to the city attorney, Pat Gilligan. Under Florida’s constitution, ex-felons generally can’t hold office until they successfully appeal to the state’s clemency board to restore their civil rights or are pardoned. Gilligan said attorneys were reviewing election rules and court records to determine whether Oliver was ever formally convicted.

Nobody noticed an ex-felon in Florida ran for office; Now there are questions whether it was legal” via Angel Kennedy of WUFT — A retired handyman who served 16 months in prison quietly ran for public office earlier this month in a small town, exposing divisions in Florida about whether ex-felons can be elected without going through the governor’s clemency process or receiving a pardon. Samuel David Jones, 66, of McIntosh — a tiny community between Gainesville and Ocala in north-central Florida — lost a town council special election Nov. 5 with 23% of the vote. Jones’ little-noticed political campaign — and the fact that he also had voted in Florida in 2018 — inadvertently pushed the legal limits on Florida’s civil rights debate over freedoms for people who have completed their sentences for felony crimes and want to participate again in American society.

Fate of ex-Hallandale Beach Mayor in jury’s hands as corruption trial closes” via Aaron Leibowitz of the Miami Herald — A jury began deliberations Tuesday afternoon to decide if former Hallandale Beach Mayor Joy Cooper took part in an illegal scheme to accept campaign cash in excess of the legal limit from a lobbyist and undercover FBI agents posing as developers. Following a week of testimony, the Broward state attorney’s office rested its case Friday and Cooper’s legal team didn’t call any of its own witnesses. Cooper told the judge Tuesday morning that she did not want to testify in her defense. During closing arguments, prosecutor Catherine Maus leaned on a series of audio and video recordings taken by the undercover agents to support the argument that Cooper knew precisely how the scheme would play out in 2012.


Making capitalism great again?” via William McGurn of The Wall Street Journal — Marco Rubio posits that shareholder capitalism needs overhauling because it no longer provides Americans with “the dignity that comes from hard work.” The solution, he says, is an economy where politicians make decisions about where capital gets invested, and where businesses and workers cooperate rather than compete for resources. Some of us believe that cooperation is what you get in a market where workers are free to decide to whom they’ll sell their labor. There is no greater security for a worker than the freedom to tell his boss to take his job and shove it, confident there is a good job for him elsewhere. Such confidence can be had only in a growing economy producing those jobs.

My unbreakable bond with the Publix Pilgrim pair” via Doreen Christiansen for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel — I love Thanksgiving and those silly salt and pepper shakers. It’s a time to focus on my family and holiday traditions. My ceramic Pilgrims are part of that ritual. While they are sold at Publix, I couldn’t resist grabbing two sets at a Salvation Army thrift store last month. Apparently, not everyone loves them. A few years ago, a real-life Publix commercial happened in my kitchen, but it didn’t have a happy ending. I dropped Mr. Pilgrim on the kitchen floor. As he lay in a broken pile of rubble and black pepper, I cried. Just like when I watched the commercial. After dinner, I tucked his widow away to spend a sad year alone in her box.


AppointedSteve Berlin to the Pinellas County Court; Sandra Einhorn, Ryan Benson, and Bill Gulliford to the Florida Housing Finance Corporation.

New and renewed lobbying registrations:

Matt Bryan, David Daniel, Thomas Griffin, Jeff Hartley, Lisa Hurley, Jim Naff, Teye Reeves, Smith Bryan & Myers: Greenwich Biosciences

Noe Garcia, Signal Group Consulting: Cognizant Technology Solutions

Fred Karlinsky, Greenberg Traurig: JM Family Enterprises

James McFaddin, The Southern Group: Aware Recovery Care of Florida

Victoria Zepp, One Eighty Consulting: Informatica Corporation

— ALOE —

The 32 rules of Thanksgiving touch football via Florida Politics — A Nerf ball is OK but you should own a leather football … It’s two-hand touch. One-hand touch is for lazy people who buy turkey sandwiches out of vending machines. … Two completions are a first down. Not as simple as it sounds — just ask the 2012 Jacksonville Jaguars. … The ground is probably going to be squishy with cold mud, and someone in your family is going to fall down face-first and ruin his or her Thanksgiving outfit. This is not cause for alarm. This is the highlight of the game … It’s OK to play with kids but don’t baby them. Just because your 7-year-old niece is playing quarterback doesn’t mean you can’t intercept her screen pass and run it back for a touchdown. She’s got to learn sometime not to throw into triple coverage.

Thanksgiving touch football has a lot of rules, many of them unspoken — or should be.

25 more rules of Thanksgiving family touch football” via Jason Gay of The Wall Street Journal — You absolutely do NOT need a football uniform to play Thanksgiving Family Touch Football. Meanwhile, your cousin wearing the game-used Dolphins jersey is going to run into a tree. Just like the 2019 Dolphins. Resist the temptation to play “Parents vs. Children.” It’s a cute idea, but if the children are any good, it always ends up with at least four parents in urgent care. Dad will throw at least one pass that he’ll loudly say reminds him of his “high school glory days.” Mom is the true athlete of the family. Everyone knows this. No, those aren’t infants crying inside the house. Those are Bears and Lions fans, watching the Bears-Lions Thanksgiving game. No Juuling or vaping on the field.

Black Friday shopping guide: How to get the week’s best deals” via Abha Bhattarai of The Washington Post — Here are five strategies for shoppers trying to score the best deals — Have a game plan; shop while the turkey is roasting; make your phone your sidekick — even in-store; analysts say there are certain days to score the best deals — as long as you know what you’re looking for. Adobe Analytics, which analyzed trillions of U.S. transactions at the country’s largest retailers, offers these guidelines: Black Friday, Nov. 29: Shop for appliances (with average markdowns of about 9%) and sporting goods (6%). Sunday, Dec. 1: Toys (2%) and computers (18%). Cyber Monday, Dec. 2: Televisions (19%). Tuesday, Dec. 3: Furniture and bedding (10%), and tools and home improvement (6%). Friday, Dec. 27: Electronics (27%).

 The psychology behind Disney and other theme parks’ fireworks shows” via Sharon Kennedy Wynne of the Tampa Bay Times — It’s all designed to make you forget how annoyed you were when the kids started crying in a 120-minute ride line. And these days, the pros can turn to gee-whiz tools like drones and digital imagery, helping parks keep the wow factor without spending as much on expensive fireworks. “The real intent is to keep the guests in the park longer,” said Duncan Dickson, a former Disney executive and retired professor from the Rosen College of Hospitality Management. “It’s all psychological. You are depending on repeat business, so you’ve got to make it feel worthwhile. Usually, they feel like they paid for the roller coasters and the attractions and the shows. But this kind of feels like something that’s free.”


Best wishes to lobbyist Adam Basford, Halsey BeshearsDanny Burgess‘ better half, Courtney, ace reporter John Kennedy, Beth Nunnally, Ben Pollara of Converge, Ann Orner, Curtis Stokes, Robert Stuart of GrayRobinson, and political consultant Mark Zubaly. Among those celebrating over the Thanksgiving break, Rep. Bob Rommel, former Rep. Keith Fitzgerald, Freddy Balsera, Edward Borrego, Rebecca De La Rosa, Tasi Hogan, our friend Mark Kaplan, Florida Politics’ Jacob Ogles, Joel Searby, Mike Van Sickler, Mitch Wertheimer, and Amy Young.


Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, A.G. Gancarski, Renzo Downey and Drew Wilson.

Written By

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 Orlando Rising and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also 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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Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

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