Last Call for 10.24.22 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

The Florida Attorney General’s Office and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office have busted a sex trafficking operation in the Tampa Bay area, charging two and saving eight women.

Law enforcement got word of the human smuggling and trafficking operation made a call to a human trafficking help line. According to investigators, the women were forced to work in adult entertainment clubs under the threat of violence to pay off the debts incurred through transportation to the United States. The suspects withheld their IDs and other documents and said they owed $60,000 each.

“These horrific acts of sex trafficking are among the most depraved crimes we have seen in a long time and highlight how criminals are taking advantage of (Joe) Biden’s open border to advance their illicit trade,” Attorney General Ashley Moody said in a news release. “I applaud the swift, courageous actions of Sheriff (Chad) Chronister’s deputies and ensure my Statewide Prosecutors will hold the traffickers accountable in court for what they did to these eight women.”

Maqueira De La Cal and Leonard Garcia are both charged with 47 total counts — including human trafficking charges. The women rescued are receiving counseling and other resources.


Former Gov. Jeb Bush is sounding the alarm over declining reading and math scores in schools nationwide.

In his role as the founder and chair of the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd), the Republican former Governor issued a statement expressing his concern about a decline in those subjects in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NEAP).

“Every child has the God-given ability to reach their full potential, and today’s NAEP scores tell us the system failed our nation’s children,” Bush said. “I am certain the right policy with unflinching resolve can provide a pathway forward.”

The former Governor said he is still optimistic about overcoming the setback.

To promote early literacy, ExcelinEd backs requiring all educators to be trained in phonics and the science of reading, eliminating “failed” lessons like “balanced literacy” and “whole language,” and establishing early literacy tests for students in kindergarten through third grade. And in math, they advocate for preparing all teachers for math instruction in early grades; focusing on whole numbers, fractions, geometry and problem-solving; and providing students with personalized high-impact tutoring two to three times a week if they fall behind.

“Policy changes lives and that begins with parents, which is why I believe we need to expand educational opportunities for all families, followed by every state investing in evidence-based literacy policies and well-informed math policies.

Evening Reads

—“As early voting begins, Florida Democrats hold slight lead in mail ballots” via Gray Rohrer of Florida Politics

—“‘It’s over’: New Miami-Dade poll foreshadows commanding Ron DeSantis win” via Jesse Scheckner of Florida Politics

—“Man wearing Marco Rubio shirt and DeSantis hat ‘brutally attacked’ in Hialeah, Senator says” via Michelle Marchante, Bianca Padró Ocasio and Charles Rabin of the Miami Herald

—“In Florida’s most Hispanic district, Latina politicians spar over immigration and socialism” via Bianca Padró Ocasio of the Miami Herald

—“Rishi Sunak wins vote to become U.K.’s next Prime Minister after Liz Truss resigns” via Max Colchester and Paul Hannon of the Wall Street Journal

—“Senate Democrats announce bus tour through front-line districts” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

—“Democrats hit Corey Simon for community no-shows, defend controversial mailer” via Renzo Downey of Florida Politics

—“LGBT+ Center Orlando cancels drag queen story hour after Nazi threats, director says” via Monivette Cordeiro of the Orlando Sentinel

—“UF to enforce ban on protests inside buildings for Ben Sasse’s next visit” via Divya Kumar of the Tampa Bay Times

—“Tom Brady and DeSantis are said to be on texting terms” via Reid J. Epstein of The New York Times

Quote of the Day

“How are you going to be a Senator for an area and not even show for the huddle?”

— Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book calling out Corey Simon for missing Senate District 3 events.

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One comment

  • Chris Robinson

    October 27, 2022 at 11:44 pm

    How soon we forget.
    A group of people who thought their government was a threat to life and limb. Left their home country for the promise land 90 miles away. In their exodus came robbers, rapists, the mentally disturbed, terrorists, and drug dealers. There were of course those innocents who just wanted to be free. Freedom to live without threats of violence and death at the hands of gangs much like the individuals on the Southern border.

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