Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Gillum’

Report: Gwen Graham transfers $250K to state political committee

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Former Rep. Gwen Graham appears to be laying the framework for a 2018 gubernatorial bid.
POLITICO Florida reported Tuesday that Graham moved $250,000 from her congressional account, Graham for Congress, to Our Florida, a state political committee created on Feb. 2. State records show the money was given to Our Florida on Feb. 3.
Records show the committee’s chairwoman is Stephanie Toothaker, an attorney with Tripp Scott. According to POLITICO Florida, she served as special counsel for former governor and Sen. Bob Graham, the former congresswoman’s father.
The Tallahassee Democrat announced she would not run for re-election after one-term in Congress after her seat was redrawn to favor Republicans. She’s long been listed as one of several likely Democratic gubernatorial candidates, along with Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and attorney John Morgan.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum has already announced his run. So has Chris King, an Orlando area housing investor.
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Miami-Dade Commissioner Barbara Jordan backs Andrew Gillum for governor

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Miami-Dade Commissioner Barbara Jordan has thrown her support behind Andrew Gillum.
Jordan’s endorsement marks the first South Florida endorsement for the Tallahassee Democrat’s 2018 gubernatorial bid. The announcement comes just days after Reps. Ramon Alexander and Loranne Ausley announced they were backing his 2018 run.
“I’m proud to endorse Andrew Gillum as the right choice for Governor in 2018 – not just for my constituents in South Florida but for people all over our state who are struggling to make ends meet. His story of growing up in Miami and his family choosing between which bills to pay mirrors the struggles too many families face today,” said Jordan in a statement. “His people-centric campaign is just what we need to help working Floridians earn better-paying jobs and help more of our students either find a quality career, or go on to college without being crushed by student loan debt. He has walked the walk on issues that lift people up in their everyday lives, and it’s an honor to stand with a champion like Andrew.”
Gillum said he was honored to have Jordan’s endorsement, and said she has been “fighting her entire career for the working-class people like my family.”
Since announcing his run earlier this month, Gillum’s campaign has had a few bumps along the way. Last week, Tallahassee State Attorney Jack Campbell has asked the county sheriff to investigate whether Gillum improperly used city-owned software to send campaign emails.
Gillum has said he was certain there are no grounds for further action, saying he apologized and reimbursed the city for the expense of the software.
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Jacksonville fundraising swing for Andrew Gillum on Sunday

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

Despite an inauspicious launch to his gubernatorial campaign, one which included revelations that city money was used to buy campaign software, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is undeterred from his campaign for the 2018 Democratic nomination.
Sunday finds Gillum in Jacksonville, for what organizers are calling one of “his first round of fundraisers in the First Coast.”
The event will be held March 19 at The Space Gallery (120 E. Forsyth Street), starting at 3 p.m.
Suggested donation levels are as modest as $50, though attendees are urged to splurge, donating up to $3,000 if so moved.
Gillum’s last public appearance in Jacksonville was roughly a month ago, during what can be called the pre-candidacy phase of his effort.
At that appearance, Gillum previewed a strategy: an “18 month view of engagement,” one that would be central to his strategy of going beyond supervoters to reach less frequent voters who lean Democratic.
Gillum described Democratic values being “under attack” in Florida for a long time, framing the 2018 election as a “real pivotal moment not only in the country but in the state.”
“My hope,” Gillum said, “is that after 20 years of turning the state over to the Republican Party,” that Democrats have a “fighting chance.”
To that end, engaging “black and brown” voters was key, Gillum said.
Gillum, during a conversation after his remarks, noted his belief that the race for governor won’t come down to who has the biggest regional base of voters, but “what the candidate is saying” and “energy.”
Energy is key. But so are contributions.
On Sunday, local Gillum partisans will have a chance to determine, with their pocketbooks, how much that energy is worth to them.
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Loranne Ausley endorses Andrew Gillum for governor

Monday, March 13th, 2017

State Rep. Loranne Ausley on Monday announced her support for Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a Democrat, as governor.
“I have worked closely with Andrew since he was FAMU student body president, serving our community together from our respective roles in local and state government,” the Tallahassee Democrat said in a statement. “Andrew doesn’t just talk the talk; he walks the walk.”
Ausley said they “share a passion for children’s issues and during his time in office, he has dedicated himself to ensuring that every child in our community has the chance for success.
“I look forward to being a part of his campaign team going forward and I know that as Andrew travels the state sharing his personal story and his commitment to expanding opportunities for Floridians from all walks of life, they will see the same bold leader I have been proud to work with for 16 years.”
Ausley, an attorney, first served in the Florida House 2000-08 until she was term limited, then was again elected last year to House District 9, representing Leon County. She is now Democratic Ranking Member on the Careers and Competition Subcommittee.
Gillum said he was “thrilled to have the support of a long-time leader in Leon County and Tallahassee in state Rep. Loranne Ausley. She has been a steadfast advocate for children as both a legislator and a mother, and I’m excited that she’s joining our people-powered campaign for governor.”
The nascent campaign of Gillum, who officially announced March 1, already has been marred by news that Tallahassee State Attorney Jack Campbell asked the county sheriff to investigate whether Gillum improperly used city-owned software to send campaign emails.

Gillum previously said he was “certain there are no grounds for further action … I have apologized for the human error and reimbursed the city for the expense of the software. I look forward to bringing this inquiry to

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State attorney: Law enforcement to look into Andrew Gillum’s email

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

The office of State Attorney Jack Campbell in Tallahassee confirmed reports that he has advised Leon County or the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to look into whether Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a newly announced Democratic candidate for governor, illegally used city software to send out campaign email.
“I can confirm there have been allegations; a complaint has been made. And that it has been referred to an investigative agency,” said Assistant State Attorney Eddie Evans of Florida’s 2nd Judicial Circuit.
The matter involves reports that have been breaking in the Tallahassee Democrat, starting last week, which say Gillum had used Tallahassee city property to send campaign email in his just-announced Democratic campaign for governor in 2018.
Campbell received a letter from someone (apparently on the Jefferson County Grand Jury) wanting to know what he would do about it. In a response letter dated Thursday and provided to FloridaPolitics.com through an open records request, Campbell replied:
“I am aware of the complaints concerning Mayor Gillum’s use of an email system and have recently spoken to the Leon County Sheriff and Tallahassee Police Department concerning an investigation of these allegations. I believe that either the Florida Department of Law Enforcement or the Leon County Sheriff will do the investigation and then present their findings to me.”
After the first Tallahassee Democrat reports, Gillum acknowledged he conducted campaign correspondence on city property, called it a mistake, and said he was reimbursing the city for the costs.
Campbell made it clear he knows very little about the facts right now.
In his letter to the complainant — Paul Henry, whose address was redacted, which Campbell’s office cited as an open records exemption — Campbell declared:”I, like you, currently only know what I have learned from the media and the internet and would never base any decisions purely on those reports.”
 
The post

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Andrew Gillum criticizes Rick Scott for not mentioning guns or LGBT in Pulse comments

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the first major Democrat to enter the 2018 gubernatorial race, blasted Gov. Rick Scott‘s State of the State speech Tuesday for not addressing two issues Democrats have tied to last year’s Pulse nightclub massacre: gun law reform and support for the gay community.
“No  mention of common sense gun law reforms, nor the continued discrimination against the LGBTQ community in @FLGovScott’s State of the State,” Gillum tweeted after the speech.
Before the speech, he anticipated that with a pre-buttle statement that said Floridians are looking for someone to champion “the issues and values that matter to us, and sadly Governor Scott will not and cannot rise to that level.”
Scott spent much of the opening minutes of his speech discussing the Pulse shooting, in which madman Omar Mateen, who declared he was inspired by ISIS and who avowed hatred of gays, killed 49 people and wounded 53 in Orlando’s popular gay nightclub last June 12. He spoke of meeting with families in the days that followed, and with police and other first responders, and praised Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings and Orlando Police Chief John Mina.
Yet Scott spoke, as many Republicans do, exclusively of Islamic terrorism behind the attack, not of hatred of gays, which most Democrats refer to first.
Nor did the governor talk of any of the efforts by Orlando Democrats to call for restrictions on the rapid-fire assault rifle or the high-capacity ammunition magazines Mateen used, or address President Donald Trump‘s efforts to stop Muslim immigrants from entering the United States.
“We all join the governor in mourning the tragic mass shooting at Pulse Nightclub, but the governor continues to fail to put forward commonsense gun safety reforms we need to keep our communities safe,” Gillum stated in his prebuttle. “Instead of standing up to President Trump on

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Gubernatorial candidate’s brother owes Jacksonville $500 for illegal carwash

Monday, March 6th, 2017

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum launched his campaign on Saturday, and almost immediately was beset upon by issues with the rollout.
Even as Gillum looks to wriggle free from those issues, which include but aren’t limited to using Tallahassee general fund dollars to buy campaign software, an issue related to an unsatisfied debt his brother has with another Florida city has emerged.
Florida Politics has learned that Charles Gillum, doing business as “C&L Detailing and Landscaping,” owes the city $500 for not having paid a citation.
Gillum operated a manual car wash at 531 W. Union Street, a location where zoning didn’t permit the operation.
Gillum was cited in Oct. 2015. Final judgment was rendered in Mar. 2016.
Meanwhile, the city of Jacksonville still hasn’t seen its money.
So-called “bucket and hose” car washes are the bane of the existence of Jacksonville policy makers, who see linkages between these businesses and other extralegal activities.

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Blake Dowling: The road, fast food and Session — all aboard!

Monday, March 6th, 2017

Session is here in the Capital City, beginning with a Monday bash at Associated Industries to welcome those from all over the state.
The Legislative Session kickoff has been on my calendar for a decade now; it is a great event and a nice chance to reflect on the past year and the one coming just ahead.
Mayor Andrew Gillum wants to run for governor, legal pot is everywhere, POTUS can give a good speech. What else? Charlie Christ switched back to the GOP, got a divorce or something like that. It’s hard to keep tabs on Chuckles.
For those traveling from out of town make sure to stay away from fast food. It is hard on the system, makes you fat and decreases your life span.
Wendy’s is making it hard to avoid fast food, as they are leading the pack with devious innovative ways to get a double cheeseburger in your hand (where are they square, by the way).
What are they doing? Self-service kiosks for one thing. I wrote in an earlier column that the model Amazon’s new cashier less smart self-serve store would be appealing to big business looking to save money from a higher minimum wage. The head burger honchos came to the same conclusion. How do they stay highly profitable? Get rid of employees.
So, those are elected officials that always want to raise taxes and the minimum wage.
Stop. I was talking to John Londot from Greenberg Traurig about a minute ago about AI (we are collaborating on something for Leon County next week), and it’s not just minimum wage workers that should be on alert.
We must all be mindful of what sort of impact AI could have on the world. We could have an autonomous utopia on our hands or a scorched wasteland.
I prefer to think positive on the subject

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Ramon Alexander endorses Andrew Gillum for governor

Friday, March 3rd, 2017

State Rep. Ramon Alexander, a Tallahassee Democrat, has endorsed Mayor Andrew Gillum‘s bid for governor.
The Tallahassee Democrat newspaper reported the endorsement Thursday.
Alexander
Alexander mentioned Gillum’s “grassroots and coalition-building abilities for ‘generating excitement’ for the Democratic base.”
“Mayor Gillum has my full support and I will do everything in my ability to support his candidacy as he moves forward,” he told the paper.
This is Alexander’s first term in the House, representing District 8, which includes parts of Leon County and Gadsden County.
Gillum formally announced his candidacy Wednesday, but FloridaPolitics.com first reported Tuesday that Gillum said he was running in a conference call with supporters.
Gillum is the first person to officially declare his candidacy for governor, followed by Orlando Democrat Chris King on Thursday. No Republican has yet formally announced.
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Email Insights: Adam Putnam political committee brings in more than $2M in February

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

The political committee backing Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says it raised more than $2 million in February, bring total contributions to more than $9 million.
In an email  to supporters from Justin Hollis, the chairman of Florida Grown, said the committee raised more than $2.25 million in February 2017. Hollis said that one-month fundraising haul brought total contributions to the committee, which is expected to fuel Putnam’s 2018 campaign, to more than $9.4 million.
“Support for Adam’s Florida Grown PC is not only evident through fundraising, however, it’s also seen on social media platforms,” wrote Hollis. “More than 170,000 people follow Adam on Facebook, while Phil Levine has just 44,000, Bob Buckhorn has just 17,000, Gwen Graham has just 13,000 followers and the newly announced gubernatorial candidate from the Capital City Andrew Gillum has just under 17,000.”
Gillum formally announced his 2018 bid Wednesday; while Levine and Graham have both indicated they are mulling a bid. Buckhorn is also believed to be considering a run.
Putnam is expected to run in 2018. House Speaker Richard Corcoran and Sen. Jack Latvala are believed to be considering a run.
Hollis went on to say that behind the scenes, the Florida Grown team is “working hard, traveling the state and building relationships.”
 
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Jack Latvala raises nearly $1M in February

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Sen. Jack Latvala’s political committee had one of its strongest fundraising period to date, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in February.
Florida Leadership Committee, Latvala’s political committee, raised at least $870,083 during the one-month fundraising period, according to contribution data posted to the committee’s website. That number is expected to rise to more than $1 million when final numbers are calculated and reported to the state later this month.
That one-month fundraising haul boosts total contributions to the committee to more than $7.7 million.
Top contributors during February included FCCI Services, Altria Client Services, The Voice of Florida Business PAC, Mednax Inc., LEMA Construction & Developers, Broadview Realty, Equestrian Sport Productions, Costa Nursery Farms, and Southeast QSR.
The big fundraising month comes as rumors have been circulating that Latvala is mulling a 2018 gubernatorial bid. The Clearwater Republican can’t run for re-election in 2018 because of term limits, but earlier this month told the Tampa Bay Times he considering a run for governor.
A prolific fundraiser, the February numbers mark one of the biggest fundraising period the committee has reported since 2013. State records show the committee raised $487,625 in February 2015, the next largest haul posted on the state’s campaign finance website.
Latvala is one of several Republicans believed to be considering a run in 2018. Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Richard Corcoran are often mentioned as possible contenders.
On the Democratic side, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum made it official this week, announcing he plans to run for governor. State records show he filed his paperwork Tuesday, and he formally announced his run Wednesday. Gwen Graham, Philip Levine and John Morgan are also considering a run.
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Report: Andrew Gillum apologizes for political emails

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum’s gubernatorial campaign is already facing criticism, despite being barely a day old.
On Tuesday, Tallahassee Reports posted emails to its website that showed the mayor used email software purchased with city tax dollars to send out “an email blast to invite to a Biden/Clinton campaign event.” The site, which is run by Republican activist Steve Stewart, received the emails through a public records request.
According POLITICO Florida, Gillum’s team had denied charges the mayor used inappropriately used the NGP VAN technology. Instead, POLITICO Florida reported, the mayor’s office said it was used for constituent outreach.
The Tallahassee Democrat reported on three emails Tuesday linked to the Mayor’s Office using the NGP VAN system.
The first was sent after the first Tallahassee Forward Summit, and included the mayor’s campaign logo and campaign post office box. A second email was sent in August by Gillum’s wife that discusses his speech at the Democratic National Convention, and included an “unsubscribe” button that takes them to the NGP website. The third is an invite to an event featuring Vice President Joe Bide in Tallahassee.
The Biden email was also posted to Tallahassee Reports website.
In a statement provided to both POLITICO Florida and the Tallahassee Democrat, Gillum said he plans to reimburse the city for “all expenses related to the NGP email system.”
“It is ultimately my responsibility that an official government email system in my office was used to send messages that were not related to government business,” he said in the statement. “It was inadvertent, but that does not make it okay. I’m sorry, and I plan to reimburse the city of Tallahassee for all expenses related to the NGP email system.”
Gillum told supporters on a conference call Tuesday he planned to run for governor in 2018. He officially launched his campaign Wednesday morning, sending

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Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum says he’s running for governor

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a Democrat, Tuesday said he will run for Florida governor in 2018.
In a conference call with supporters, Gillum said he had a “clear and authentic voice to break through … and have an agenda for opportunity” for voters to identify with. He said he will focus on jobs and education.
He said an official announcement would come Wednesday.
“It’s important to get out there and tell our story,” he said. “I am jazzed up … It might be naiveté about what is around the bend.”
Gillum, a 37-year-old, has been the capital’s mayor since 2014. He first was a city commissioner, the youngest person ever elected to that body and is among the youngest people to run for governor.
In the call, Gillum said he has been in New York this week meeting with “a number of prospective donors and supporters.”
“This is an improbable journey but a wholly possible one,” he said. “Early on, the kind of support that makes something like this possible is people willing to say, ‘I believe.’ “
He intends to visit parts of the state “where they haven’t seen Democratic candidates for governor.”
The mayor also warned of hardball politics ahead: “These folks will try to paint me as something I won’t recognize myself.”
His announcement means the jockeying for the 2018 governor’s race has officially begun; current GOP Gov. Rick Scott is term-limited.
On the Democratic side, former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, also of Tallahassee, has announced she is considering running. Other names mentioned include Democratic mayors Bob Buckhorn of Tampa and Philip Levine of Miami Beach.
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam so far is the most likely Republican candidate to announce a run for 2018.
Gillum’s star has been rising steadily, especially after disclosures that his name was on a short list to be running mate to then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
He also flirted with running for the newly redrawn, Democrat-heavy 5th Congressional District that

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Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum says he’s running for governor

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a Democrat, Tuesday said he will run for Florida governor in 2018.
In a conference call with supporters, Gillum said he had a “clear and authentic voice to break through … and have an agenda for opportunity” for voters to identify with. He said he will focus on jobs and education.
He said an official announcement would come Wednesday.
“It’s important to get out there and tell our story,” he said. “I am jazzed up … It might be naiveté about what is around the bend.”
Gillum, a 37-year-old, has been the capital’s mayor since 2014. He first was a city commissioner, the youngest person ever elected to that body and is among the youngest people to run for governor.
In the call, Gillum said he has been in New York this week meeting with “a number of prospective donors and supporters.”
“This is an improbable journey but a wholly possible one,” he said. “Early on, the kind of support that makes something like this possible is people willing to say, ‘I believe.’ “
He intends to visit parts of the state “where they haven’t seen Democratic candidates for governor.”
The mayor also warned of hardball politics ahead: “These folks will try to paint me as something I won’t recognize myself.”
His announcement means the jockeying for the 2018 governor’s race has officially begun; current GOP Gov. Rick Scott is term-limited.
On the Democratic side, former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, also of Tallahassee, has announced she is considering running. Other names mentioned include Democratic mayors Bob Buckhorn of Tampa and Philip Levine of Miami Beach.
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam so far is the most likely Republican candidate to announce a run for 2018.
Gillum’s star has been rising steadily, especially after disclosures that his name was on a short list to be running mate to then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
He also flirted with running for the newly redrawn, Democrat-heavy 5th Congressional District that

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‘Not that he’s running for anything’: Andrew Gillum visits Jacksonville

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum drove east on I-10 for a hastily arranged a Jacksonville roundtable event on Wednesday.
But, as an organizer said, it’s “not that he’s running for anything.”
Of course not.
And Gillum echoed that point.
“I ain’t here to make news today,” Gillum said, about “what comes next.”
Of course not.
Why would anything come next?
****
In all seriousness though, Gillum is traveling like a candidate. Walking like a candidate. And talking like a candidate.
But he’s not a candidate.
And when we asked the 38-year-old Democrat, one who was first elected to office soon after her graduated from FAMU (Go Rattlers!), if he had a timetable for deciding whether or not to throw his hat into a ring that could include Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, and former Tallahassee Rep. Gwen Graham, he said he had “no clue” about when or if he would decide to run.
Gillum has been linked to other bigger-stage candidacies before: there was talk of him getting into the 2016 primary race against Corrine Brown in Florida’s 5th Congressional District, but nothing came of it.
If Gillum is to get into the race for Florida Governor, though, he hinted during his remarks Wednesday to a few dozen Jacksonville Young Democrats what his timetable might be.
Gillum discussed an “18 month view of engagement,” one that would be central to his strategy of going beyond supervoters to reach those voters who may have participated in one out of the last eight election.
We’ve seen this before on the national level.
Former President Barack Obama brought Hope and Change to a set of those voters in 2008.
Current President Donald Trump ran up margins with “silent majority” blue-collar white voters with his own change persona, expanding the voter universe even as Trump’s Democratic, Green, and Libertarian opponents were unable to make their own cases

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Andrew Gillum to discuss ‘vision’ in Jacksonville

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who looks very much like a candidate for Florida Governor in 2018, will be in Jacksonville Wednesday afternoon.
The topic of what is being billed as “intimate roundtables” by local Democratic organizers sounds like what one might hear from a statewide candidate also.
Gillum will discuss his “vision for the great state of Florida,” with “regard to specific issues relevant to young professionals.”
The firsr event runs from 4:30 to 5:30 on Wednesday afternoon at “Spliff’s Gastropub.”
A second “intimate roundtable” follows at 6:00 p.m, at the “Urban Oasis in Historic Springfield.”
Jacksonville is not, in terms of recent history, a major priority for Democratic candidates running statewide.
In 2014, Charlie Crist did very little in Northeast Florida in either the primary or the general elections.
In 2016, while Alan Grayson made plays in the local market, Patrick Murphy‘s visits to Northeast Florida were few and far between both before and after the primary.
The 2018 race for Florida Governor will be different, as Jacksonville is the second-most major market in the state without a potential local favorite.
Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine would seem to have homefield advantage in South Florida. The same holds true for Bob Buckhorn in Tampa.
In this context, getting traction in Northeast Florida can potentially loom large, especially in a primary likely to be crowded with well-funded, qualified candidates.
Gillum has visited Jacksonville before, of course, including remarks in 2015 on topics like restorative justice and the Ban the Box movement.
But every visit going forward necessarily will be viewed in the context of retail politics.

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Andrew Gillum says he stands with Florida teachers in opposing Betsy DeVos

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

Tallahassee Mayor and potential 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum says America’s kids deserve someone better than Betsy DeVos to serve as education secretary.
The U.S. Senate voted early Friday to advance President Trump‘s choice at education to a final confirmation vote, expected Monday. The vote was 52-48 along party lines.
Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson has already announced that he will oppose DeVos, as have Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine. No other Republican Senator has joined them, however.
In his statement, Gillum says “the attack on our teachers must end,” adding that DeVos responses during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Education Committee earlier this month, “fell woefully short of the kind of leadership we need to ensure that all Floridians have a quality education.”
National teachers unions have mounted an aggressive campaign against DeVos, contending that she is an ideological extremist with a record of undermining the public schools her department would oversee.
The Florida Education Association is the state’s largest teacher’s union. It boasts over 140,000 members statewide, and getting their support in a statewide race would be a huge boost for any Democrat.
Here is Gillum’s full statement:
“Public education changed the trajectory of my life. I can still hear my grandmother’s voice telling me to ‘Go to school, mind my teachers, get my lesson, and bring that education home — for my brothers, my baby sister and the kids down the street.’ It was a reminder that if we were going to get anywhere; we would get there together. As a student at Westwood Middle School, I never thought I would excel in challenging courses until a teacher named Ms. Alexandria encouraged me to try my hand at an honors class.
“The attack on our teachers must end, because it hurts the ability of the vast majority of our kids to get an education

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Tale of 2 parties: Florida GOP high, Dems low ahead of 2018

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

The state Republican and Democratic parties met two miles from each other Saturday, their first meetings since Donald Trump carried Florida in November’s election, but the atmosphere and enthusiasm were worlds apart.
As both parties chose their leaders, it was easy to see which has more confidence heading into an election cycle when the governor’s office and all three Cabinet seats will be open. Republicans were aglow in victory after Trump stunned many political observers by winning the state Barack Obama carried in 2008 and 2012. At the same time, Democrats held a contentious election to choose a new chairman with little talk about this past election.
“How good does this feel? We defied the mainstream media, we defied conventional wisdom, defied the pollsters,” Republican Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam told GOP county chairs. “Right across town, Democrats are having their election and they’re not feeling near as good.”
As both parties prepare for 2018, Republicans are focused on how to build off the momentum Trump built with voters who traditionally haven’t been part of the political process while Democrats elected wealthy real estate developer and major party donor Stephen Bittel as chairman in hopes of ending two decades of futility at the polls.
“Donald Trump got a lot of people off of the couch and got them involved. It is our job at the Republican Party of Florida to harness all of that passion, all of that energy, and keep them in the game,” said state GOP Chairman Blaise Ingoglia, who was easily re-elected. “And when we do, and mark my words we will do it, we will cripple the Democrat Party for a generation.”
After the Democrats elected Bittel, a group of protesters stood outside the meeting room holding signs that read, “SHAME,” ”This is not the party of the people” and “People over

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Infamous dates: The moments that shaped Florida politics in 2016

Friday, December 30th, 2016

Everyone expected Florida to play an important role in politics this year.
And why wouldn’t they? Presidential hopefuls hailed from here; the state’s electoral votes were coveted; and its Senate race could have determined control of the U.S. Senate.
But just like many predictions in 2016, some of the prophecies for Florida’s outsized role on the national stage fell flat. Many believed a Sunshine state politico would be a presidential nominee (not quite right) or that the election would hinge on its 29 electoral votes (close but no cigar). And that much anticipated battle for the U.S. Senate? It fizzled out before the first vote was even cast.
Here are the dates that really mattered in Florida politics this year. And some of them might just surprise you.
Jan. 20 — Florida Senate says it won’t appeal redistricting decision — A years-long battle over the state’s political lines came to an end in January, when Senate leadership announced it planned to let the court-ordered maps go into effect. The Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald reported the four-year legal battle cost Florida taxpayers more than $11 million. The new maps threw a wrench in the 2016 election cycle, with all 40 of Florida’s state Senate seats on the ballots. While many believed the new maps could boost Democrats chances in 2016, that didn’t quite pan out.
Feb. 20 — Jeb Bush ends 2016 presidential bid —  All signs pointed to Jeb Bush being the front-runner for the GOP nomination. The son and brother of two presidents, the former Florida governor racked up a massive war chest and plenty of big-name endorsements. But Bush couldn’t make headway in a crowded field of Republican hopefuls and was often on the receiving end of then-candidate Donald Trump’s attacks. After a sixth place finish in Iowa and a fourth place finish in New

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Jim Rosica’s review of top state government stories in 2016

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

From algebra to Zika, 2016 brought a plethora of material to the Capitol Press Corps. Trying to pick the top state government stories is a subjective pursuit, to say the least, but here are the FloridaPolitics.com picks for the passing year. In (kind of) chronological order:
— Kevin McCarty ousted as state Insurance Commissioner, replaced by David Altmaier
McCarty gave himself the ax in early January, saying he was resigning to pursue “other career opportunities.” The then 56-year-old often took the blame for rising insurance rates in the state, especially when homeowners discovered they would have to pay more in premiums. Gov. Rick Scott had had it in for McCarty for a while; he was among a triumvirate of state officials that Scott forced out the door, including FDLE Commissioner Gerry Bailey and Department of Revenue head Marshall Stranburg. Then Scott and CFO Jeff Atwater deadlocked on McCarty’s replacement. (Under state law, Scott and Atwater first have to agree on one candidate.) Scott backed retired insurance executive Jeffrey Bragg, while Atwater was behind Bill Hager, a state representative and former Iowa Insurance Commissioner. The compromise candidate was David Altmaier, then the Office of Insurance Regulation’s deputy commissioner, who once was a high school algebra teacher. Altmaier was appointed in April.
— Pro-school vouchers rally in Tallahassee; school vouchers ruling
Martin Luther King III, the oldest son of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., led a march and rally in downtown Tallahassee during the Legislative Session in February, in support of Florida’s Tax Credit Scholarship, attracting several thousand participants and spectators. Capitol Police director Chris Connell even sent an advisory to state workers that “organizers are busing in people from around the state and are planning for approximately 10,000 people to attend the rally.” The timing was apt: It was the day after the federal holiday memorializing his father, the slain civil-rights leader. Then in August, the 1st District Court of Appeal sided with

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Andrew Gillum is “real deal” for governor, supporters say

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

The push to draft Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum to run for governor has picked up two more supporters.
Mayor Lauren Poe of Gainesville and Mayor Eric Jones of West Park hopped on the bandwagon Thursday.
Gillum, a 37-year-old Democrat, has been the capital’s mayor since 2014. He first was a city commissioner, the youngest person ever elected to that body.
“As mayors from across the state of Florida, we know the importance of having a governor who understands the needs of our cities,” Poe and Jones, both Democrats, said in a joint statement. “We believe that Mayor Andrew Gillum’s nearly 14 years of local government experience will be a huge asset as the next governor of our state.
“We have admired Andrew’s innovative, inspired and forward-looking leadership,” they said. “He created a jobs program to help young people find quality work, and he has developed unique ways to make it easier for entrepreneurs to start businesses.
“Under his leadership, Tallahassee was named one of the top cities nationwide to receive designation as a TechHire community by President Obama’s White House, allowing residents to train for the jobs of tomorrow’s economy,” the mayors added. “In short, Mayor Andrew Gillum is the real deal.”
The jockeying for the 2018 governor’s race already has begun; current GOP Gov. Rick Scott is term-limited.
On the Democratic side, outgoing Congresswoman Gwen Graham, also of Tallahassee, has announced she is considering running. Other names mentioned include Democratic mayors Bob Buckhorn of Tampa and Philip Levine of Miami Beach.
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam so far is the most likely Republican candidate to announce a run for 2018.
Gillum’s star has been rising steadily, especially after disclosures that his name was on a short list to be running mate to then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
He also flirted with running for the newly redrawn, Democrat-heavy 5th Congressional District that stretches from Jacksonville to Gainesville.

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Email Insights: Republican Governors Association takes aim at Gwen Graham

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

The 2018 gubernatorial race has officially begun — even though none of the likely candidates have filed paperwork to run.
In an email Thursday, the Republican Governors Association blasted outgoing Rep. Gwen Graham, one of several Democrats considering a 2018 run. The association said Graham’s office hasn’t responded to Freedom of Information Act requests made by the Republican Governors Association.
According to documents provided by the Republican Governors Association, the organization requested all documents related to Graham Companies, real estate and development projects in Florida, and the “American Dream Project” in Miami. The request was made in October; and in an email Thursday, the RGA said the documents would “give voters valuable insight into how she conducts her congressional office.”
“When it comes to transparency, Gwen Graham says one thing, but does another. Graham says she believes that Florida families deserve full transparency, but as her actions have demonstrated, she only believes in full transparency until it could impact her quest for political power,” said Jon Thompson, the director of communications for the Republican Governors Association, in a statement. “Graham should immediately release her congressional records so that Florida voters know exactly how she was using her influence as a Washington politician to benefit her political ambitions.”
Graham has resigned from the board and said Thursday she has no involvement in the project mentioned in the FOIA request.
“As the RGA probably already knows, I voluntarily resigned from the company’s board when I was elected to Congress, and I have no involvement with this project,” she said in a statement. “We are 23 months away from the Governor’s election in Florida, and there will be plenty of time for the RGA to engage in this petty nonsense and partisan attacks. For the rest of 2016, I’m focused on finishing the job I was elected to

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Joe Biden connects with campus crowd in Tallahassee

Monday, November 7th, 2016

A sunglasses-wearing Vice President Joe Biden wanted a Tallahassee crowd on Monday to “imagine” a world with Donald Trump as president.
It wasn’t pretty.
“We don’t have to make anything up; we just have to say what they want to push,” Biden said during a midday get-out-the-vote rally at Florida A&M University. Several times, he prefaced his comments with, “This is not hyperbole.”
For example, “does anyone think a Trump administration will continue with $300 million in Pell grants,” allowing historically black colleges and universities to grow? he asked.
“Imagine what happens, imagine all the lost opportunities,” he said. If Trump wins, “what message does that send about who we are?”
Biden was on a last-minute swing through the Sunshine State the day before Election Day, stumping for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. He was next scheduled to appear at a rally in St. Petersburg.
The vice president alternated from quiet to shouting, driving home his message of a Trumpian world without hope.
“This is about what kind of life you will be able to live,” Biden said. “This is not a joke. This is about what we value.”
He suggested Trump and incumbent Republican senatorial candidate Marco Rubio had their “thumbs in their ears,” pushing tax cuts for the wealthy “but none for child care.”
Biden finally recalled riding the train with his family to his inauguration in Washington, D.C., when “a black man,” Barack Obama, would become the first African-American president.
“I looked out over the Third Street Bridge, and I said ‘anything is possible,’” he said, firing up the crowd. “This is no time to turn that train around. It’s time to step on it, and with your help, we will own the finish line in the 21st century.”
His wife, Dr. Jill Biden, had introduced him with the warning: “The Obama-Biden legacy is

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Buddy Dyer, Phillip Levine, Bob Buckhorn, others on Mayors for Hillary bus tour

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

What a party bus this will be. A Democratic Party bus, filled with mayors from Florida including Orlando’s Buddy Dyer, Miami Beach’s Phillip Levine, Tampa’s Bob Buckhorn, and St. Petersburg’s Rick Kriseman, has begun a cross-state tour to campaign for Hillary Clinton.
Hillary for America announced Thursday that those four and 19 other mayors and former mayors — some from out-of-state cities like Detroit, Philadelphia and Dallas — are participating in the tour with at least four stops to promote Clinton’s economic plan and urge people to vote early.
The activity actually began Wednesday night with a kick-off debate watch party in Miami, and will roll Friday to Orlando and Gainesville, and Saturday to Tallahassee, with other stops yet to be scheduled or announced.
In addition to Levine — widely discussed as a 2018 gubernatorial candidate — Dyer, Buckhorn and Kriseman, the Florida mayors include Wayne Messam of Miramar, Oliver Gilbert of Miami Gardens, Lauren Poe of Gainesville; Andrew Gillum of Tallahassee, Thomas Masters of Riviera Beach, and former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown.
From out of state, Florida will meet William Bell of Birmingham, Alabama, Jacqueline Goodall of Forest Heights, Maryland, Sly James of Kansas City, Lovely Warren of Rochester New York, Malcolm Clark of Mt. Vernon, New York, Steve Benjamin of Columbia, South Carolina, Bill Bell of Durham, North Carolina, and former mayors Michael Nutter of Philadelphia, Mark Mallory of Cincinnati, Mike Coleman of Columbus, Ohio, Wellington Webb of Denver, Dennis Archer of Detroit, and Ron Kirk of Dallas.
The post Buddy Dyer, Phillip Levine, Bob Buckhorn, others on Mayors for Hillary bus tour appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Leaked email shows Andrew Gillum among those considered for VP

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

It’s no secret Andrew Gillum is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, but his leap to the national political stage could have come sooner than many expected.
A newly released document from the hacked email file of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta shows Gillum, Tallahassee’s mayor, was among a large number of people initially considered as potential running mates for Hillary Clinton.
Podesta floated Gillum as one of 39 people to be considered for vetting to be Clinton’s eventual running mate. According to POLITICO, the email was sent just one day after Clinton swept the March 15 primaries.
Also on the list: HUD Secretary Julian Castro, Labor Secretary Tom Perez, Sen. Tim Kaine, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Sen. Corey Booker, Sen. Claire McKaskill, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Clinton ultimately selected Kaine, announcing her choice during a rally in Miami.
The post Leaked email shows Andrew Gillum among those considered for VP appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Andrew Gillum: ‘Best friends’ with troubled attorney Chris Chestnut

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

It’s good to have friends in high places, and if you’re Florida attorney Christopher Chestnut, you likely need them these days.
The Florida Bar wants Chestnut suspended and disbarred.
Chestnut has already been the subject of nine different bar disciplinary issues, as WJXT reports, including a May complaint charging “egregious conduct involving … lack of competence, candor, diligence, and communication, solicitation, dishonesty, failure to supervise, and excessive fee.”
Chestnut is fighting this, despite repeated warnings that the more he fights this, the worse the consequences could be.
Permanent disbarment is a possibility.
However, Chestnut does have powerful friends to soften the blow, should he be foreclosed from a legal career going forward.
One such powerful friend: Tallahassee mayor Andrew Gillum.
In a sworn affidavit, Marcus Gillum — the mayor’s brother — describes a May meeting with the mayor and his “best friend” Christopher Chestnut in a Chicago hotel, where everyone was attending a meeting of the People for the American Way (an interesting venue for a lawyer accused of ripping off clients).
Gillum’s role? Hosting a conclave of “Young Elected Officials.”
Why was any of this in the affidavit?
During that conversation, Chestnut talked via phone to Matisha Ward, a woman that a Dallas city councilwoman was advocating for.
The woman’s mother had gotten mauled by a pack of wild dogs and died; the daughter was considering legal remedies.
Chestnut talked to Ward, who then claimed that conversation was an attempt to solicit her business, and so the woman sued the councilwoman and the Jacksonville lawyer for half a million dollars.
Chestnut believes he’s blameless, as he told a Dallas TV station, no matter what he might have been recorded saying by the lady on the phone.
Chestnut told Dallas’ News 8 neither he nor Young did anything that met the threshold of solicitation.
“I perceive it as Ms. Young trying to help a constituent who just lost her mom tragically in a horrific death. She was just

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