Posts Tagged ‘Jeb Bush’

Cuban exile museum touts booster’s lawyerly credentials despite Bar suspension

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

By Francisco Alvarado
FloridaBulldog.org
Amid the brouhaha over a controversial effort to place a $77-million museum honoring Cuban exiles on a swath of public waterfront land, some troubling details about one of the museum’s primary boosters has surfaced.
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Senate committee recommends Glenn Sutphin for Veteran Affairs director

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

The Senate Committee on Military and Veteran’s Affairs, Space and Domestic Security recommended Glenn W. Sutphin, Jr. as the executive director of Florida’s Department of Veteran’s Affairs Tuesday.
Sutphin, a retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. and an appointee of Gov. Rick Scott and a retired, was voted to his post unanimously by the committee.
He joined the military June 6, 1969, serving 30 years in the U.S. Army. His family has history of military service. Having served under Gov. Jeb Bush, he helped to foster an environment in Florida for veterans to be welcome, he said at the committee hearing.
“One of my jobs was to get units ready, get them out the door, the wounded back and unfortunately those who we had lost – try to get them back to their families, and get them taken care of,” he told the committee Tuesday. “All my life I’ve either lead troops, trained troops or cared for their families.”
His ethos in his military service, he said, consisted of these three things:  No mission was to be refused; no was not an answer; and failure was not an option.
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Potential CFO candidate Jeremy Ring tells his story in Tampa

Friday, March 10th, 2017

Broward County Democrat Jeremy Ring isn’t an official candidate for Chief Financial Officer in 2018 yet, but he talked the part in one of his first ever appearances in Tampa on Friday morning.
Speaking at the Oxford Exchange as part of the Cafe Con Tampa weekly event, the former Yahoo executive introduced himself to the audience by humble bragging about his private sector background, describing himself as the first salesman for the internet search engine company when he started there as a 24-year-old (he’s 46 now).
But when he self deprecating about his lack of knowledge about politics when he first decided to run for state Senate in 2006,
“I had never been to Tallahassee,” he says. “I barely knew that Jeb Bush was governor of Florida. When I lived in Silicon Valley, Nancy Pelosi was my Congresswoman – I never heard of her (actually, Pelosi represents San Francisco, an hour north of Silicon Valley, which is located in Santa Clara County). All true. I was the least experienced candidate in the history of the state of Florida. ”
The meat of his message is on making Florida an innovative economy, a theme he campaigned on during his first run for office a decade ago. And he’s produced results.
In 2008, he helped create the Florida Growth Fund, which invests state and local pension funds in technology and high-growth businesses with a significant presence in the state, and the Florida Opportunity Fund, a multimillion-dollar program that directs investments to high- performing funds committed to seed and early stage businesses.
Ring says that Florida has one of the most  complete innovation “ecosystems” in the country, not that it’s something that many lawmakers know or understand.
“Most elected officials in Tallahassee will inspire you instead of becoming the next Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, they’ll inspire you to be the next homebuilder or

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Federal judges’ lifetime tenure for good reason; Tallahassee should take note

Saturday, February 11th, 2017

There is a profound reason why the Founders gave life tenure to federal judges, subject only to impeachment for bad behavior. As Alexander Hamilton explained it in The Federalist No. 78:
“In a monarchy, it is an excellent barrier to the despotism of the prince; in a Republic, it is a no less excellent barrier to the encroachments and oppressions of the representative body…”
Judges subject to the whims of a president or the Congress to keep their jobs would be worthless. So would the Constitution.
The founding wisdom has been confirmed time and again, most famously when the Supreme Court ruled that Richard Nixon was not above the law, and most recently Thursday, when the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that Donald Trump is not above it either.
Although the effect is only that Trump’s immigration decree remains on hold while the court fully considers his appeal of the District Judge’s order suspending it, the three-judge appellate panel made an enormously important point.
Trump’s lawyers had argued, as the court put it, that his “decisions about immigration policy, particularly when motivated by national security concerns, are unreviewable, even if those actions potentially contravene constitutional rights and protections.” The regime had also claimed, the court said, that “it violates separation of powers for the judiciary to entertain a constitutional challenge to executive actions such as this one.” (Emphasis supplied)
A president in office less than three weeks was asserting the powers of a dictator.
“There is no precedent to support this claimed unreviewability, which runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy,” the court said.
I hope they’re paying attention in Tallahassee, where some legislators seem to think they too are above the constitution and are trying to take down the state courts that sometimes disagree.
The current attack is led by House Speaker Richard

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Rick Scott heading to Argentina for trade mission

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is heading off to Argentina for another trade mission.
Scott is scheduled to take a five-day trip in late April to Buenos Aires.
This is Scott’s 13th trip abroad since he became governor in January 2011. Former Gov. Jeb Bush took 16 trade missions during his eight years in office.
Scott has defended the trips as a way to open doors for Florida-based companies seeking business abroad. The Republican governor has made job creation the main focus during his time in office.
He has taken previous economic development trips to the South American countries of Brazil, Colombia and Chile, as well as Japan, Israel, England, France, Spain, Canada and Panama.
Republished with permission of The Associated Press.
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Teachers’ union: “Who can challenge the Legislature on voucher program?”

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

The Florida Education Association (FEA) vented its “frustration” Wednesday after the Florida Supreme Court declined to take up a suit challenging the constitutionality of what’s been called “the nation’s largest private school choice program.”
The court decided not to hear a challenge to the Tax Credit Scholarship Program, created in 2001, though – as one former judge noted – its order “doesn’t say (it) lacks jurisdiction.” (Main story here.)
That had Joanne McCall, the statewide teachers’ union’s president and the lead plaintiff in the case, asking, Who can pursue a case? A trial court and the 1st District Court of Appeal had previously ruled the matter could not go forward.
“This ruling, and the decisions by the lower court, doesn’t answer that question,” she said in a statement. “We still believe that the tax credit vouchers are unconstitutional, but we haven’t had the opportunity to argue our case in court.”
Though the Supreme Court put an end to this case, first filed in 2014, the challenge now for voucher opponents is to find one or more plaintiffs who do have the legal standing to successfully press a complaint.
At issue was money going toward religious schools, and whether “taxpayers,” like McCall, could challenge “indirect state subsidies” paying for parochial school tuitions.
The program works by companies ponying up money for private-school scholarships for disadvantaged students, then they get tax credits equal to their donations. 
“We’re baffled that the courts would deny taxpayers the right to question state expenditures,” McCall added. “This decision has ramifications beyond this challenge to a voucher program.”
It “relies on private, voluntary donations—not public dollars,” the state’s brief on the jurisdictional question said. “And the program provides tax credits to donors—not schools or students.”
But the FEA and others have argued it’s led to a “parallel system of education that is separate and unequal.”
Its defenders, including prominent Republicans such as Gov. Rick Scott and free market advocates, say the program

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Officials, others respond to school vouchers case

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

The Florida Supreme Court’s decision not to take up a contentious school vouchers lawsuit continued to garner reaction throughout Wednesday.
Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump‘s nominee for U.S. Education Secretary, tweeted, “Congrats to the Florida families who have a clear path toward more opportunity due to #SchoolChoice w/ today’s FL Supreme Court decision!”
Florida House Democratic Leader Janet Cruz of Tampa, in a statement, called the move “a blow to our state’s Constitutional promise of  ‘a uniform, efficient, safe, secure, and high quality system of free public schools.’ ”
“We can all agree that the zip code of a child’s birth should not be a determining factor in their access to a high quality public education,” she said. “However, for almost 20 years now, since the passage of Gov. Jeb Bush’s original unconstitutional voucher system, Florida has diverted billions of taxpayer dollars away from our public schools in a misguided attempt at outsourcing our children’s education to for-profit corporations and fly-by-night profiteers.
“Instead, these resources should have been spent improving our neighborhood schools, focusing on options that we know have a proven success rate and a genuine benefit to the public they are meant to serve, such as the community schools model,” she added. “Unfortunately, some continue to view our children as a commodity from which every ounce of profit should be squeezed.
“Even with today’s setback, House Democrats will continue to fight on behalf of the thousands of parents and students who have been failed by legislative leaders more intent on serving an ideology of boundless privatization rather than a commitment to the educational well-being of our children.”
Her counterpart, Republican House Speaker Richard Corcoran, called the court’s order “a great victory for school children, parents, and classroom teachers who want the best for their students.”
“I thank the many organizations, pastors, parents, and children who advocated for fairness and

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Education Secretary Betsy DeVos could mean more Florida charter schools, a lot more

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Betsy DeVos, whose children never attended public schools, may soon lead the nation’s Department of Education. Assuming she is confirmed, care to take a guess what Florida public education will look like four years from now?
Perhaps former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who is DeVos’ biggest cheerleader, can provide some insight. He wrote a stirring endorsement of her in Tuesday’s USA Today, coinciding with her hearing before a U.S. Senate confirmation panel.
“Instead of defending and increasing Washington’s power, Betsy will cut federal red tape and be a passionate advocate for state and local control of schools. More importantly, she will empower parents with greater choices and a stronger voice over their children’s education,” Bush wrote.
“In the two decades that I have been actively involved in education reform, I have worked side-by-side with Betsy to promote school choice and put the interests of students first. I know her commitment to children, especially at-risk kids, is genuine and deep.”
Let’s dissect those words.
First, the biggest federal overreach in education was the No Child Left Behind program signed into law in 2002 by Jeb’s brother, President George W. Bush. It had strong bipartisan support in Congress and from the business community, which argued that U.S. public school students were falling behind those from other nations in math and science.
In the name of “accountability” for schools, NCLB mandated a battery of standardized tests for students. It also allowed students from poor-performing schools to transfer to ones with better overall test results.
There were other federal demands on local school districts, including offering free tutoring to students in need. Of course, the money that was supposed to pay for that never quite materialized in the federal budget, and many schools still struggle to provide that service today.
“Accountability” testing has become a raw spot for teachers, who can face

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Debbie Wasserman Schultz says Betsy DeVos will take U.S. schools down a path of failure ‘Florida knows all too well’

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

In an interview last week with FloridaPolitics.com, Randi Weingarten, head of the American Federation of Teachers, blasted Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s nominee for Education Secretary.
Weingarten compared DeVos’ zeal for school-choice vouchers on par with what former Gov. Jeb Bush was all about during his reign in Florida.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz agrees.
Hours before DeVos is scheduled to appear before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, the South Florida congresswoman lashed out at DeVos, saying in a statement that “based on her long record of activism, she will take our nation’s schools back down a path of proven failure that Florida knows all too well.”
Critics like Weingarten have accused Trump of effectively campaigning on a pledge to dismantle public education as we know it, referencing his (little known) campaign vow to spend $20 million on school choice, which would come from “reprioritizing federal dollars.”
“President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for Education Secretary has displayed one consistent value: an open hostility toward public schools and teachers,” Wasserman Schultz said Tuesday. “Betsy DeVos champions ‘reforms’ that basically defund, undercut and privatize public education, with a goal of turning it over to loosely-regulated, for-profit charter schools. She’s spent millions of dollars and decades pushing this cause, the same one that’s failed in Florida.
“Former Gov. Jeb Bush touted the same voucher-happy, test-crazed ‘reforms,’ and they have largely been abandoned,” the past DNC Chair adds. “The billionaire Republican fundraiser that Trump wants to lead our nation’s education system has been one of the biggest proponents of these ‘accountability’ reforms in her home state of Michigan, saddling public schools with burdensome mandates that private schools are mostly free to ignore.”
Bush has been effusive in his praise for DeVos, saying she was an “outstanding pick” by the president-elect.
 
The post Debbie Wasserman Schultz says Betsy DeVos will take U.S. schools down a path of

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Jeb Bush unlikely to run for office again

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose bid for the presidency was derailed by businessman and eventual winner Donald Trump, says it’s unlikely he’ll ever run for office again.
Bush, who is spending two weeks at a Texas A&M University teaching a course on the role of governors, said Thursday that he’s focused on building up his business again and working with the foundation he created to push for changes in education policy.
“I unraveled everything I was doing to prepare for this – you don’t do that lightly,” said Bush. “I just think this was my chance. The conditions of this election weren’t tailor-made for me and I lost. But I’m not in therapy. I’m not in the fetal position. Life goes on.”
Bush, who was Florida’s governor from 1999 to 2007, is also dismissive of a return to the governor’s mansion. Under Florida’s Constitution Bush could run again for that office.
“It’s the best job in the world, but look, I’m not inclined to do it,” Bush said.
When Bush, the son of former president George H.W. Bush and brother of former president George W. Bush, jumped into the race for the Republican nomination in 2015, he was initially viewed as the front-runner. He quickly raised millions of dollars. But he encountered stiff resistance winning over GOP voters ready to embrace a political outsider like Trump. He ended his bid for the White House after a disappointing finish in the South Carolina primary.
Since his defeat, Bush has rejoined the foundation he created to push for changes in education policy that often drawn opposition from teacher unions and Democrats. Last month, the Pittsburgh-based law firm of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney announced that Bush will act as a strategic consultant to the firm and its clients. Bush’s consulting firm Jeb Bush & Associates will focus primarily

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Jeb Bush embrace of Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary isn’t shared by Randi Weingarten

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

Though education was rarely discussed by Donald Trump on the campaign trail, at the top of his list of priorities was to spend $20 million on school choice, which would come from “reprioritizing federal dollars.” In picking Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos to serve as his Education Secretary, he made it clear that intended to make school choice and voucher plans for low-income families a focal point of his education agenda.
And Jeb Bush has been effusive in praising the selection every step of the way.
In November, the former Florida Governor described DeVos as an “outstanding pick” for to lead the Department of Education.  In December, he said he was “so excited” when talking about her at the National Summit on Education Reform, sponsored by the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which he founded and chairs and on which DeVos serves as a board member.
Now, just before her confirmation hearing was set to take place (its since been postponed until next week), Bush is back again, penning a letter to the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, where DeVos will appear next week. In the letter, he praises her as a “champion of families, not institutions.”
“For her, local control of education decisions means local control,” he wrote. “She trusts parents to choose what is in their unique child’s best interests, and she believes in providing every parent with the resources to pursue those decisions.”
DeVos is a leader in the movement to privatize the U.S. public-education system, but has quickly become a lightning rod in the education world since her nomination by the president-elect.
One of her biggest critics is Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation for Teachers, the one million member-plus union that endorsed Hillary Clinton in November’s presidential election. She says that DeVos simply doesn’t believe in public education.
“These are the schools that 90 percent of children go to,”

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Will Gary Fineout leave reporting for academia?

Monday, January 9th, 2017

…Well probably not, but he is going to guest lecture for former Gov. Jeb Bush.
Fineout
Fineout, a Capitol Press Corps fixture, posted Monday on his Facebook page he was heading to Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas later this week.
That’s where he’ll be “a guest speaker” at the university’s Bush School of Government and Public Service.
“I’m going to help with a segment on Crisis Management and Media Relations that is part of a course being taught (by Bush) on gubernatorial leadership,” he wrote.
“I am excited about the prospect of discussing how different governors have dealt with the press, especially how they have dealt with hard-hitting coverage, access and transparency.”

Fineout is “a veteran political and policy reporter who has worked at The Miami Herald, the N.Y. Times Regional Newspaper Group and other newspapers,” including the Tallahassee Democrat, his official bio says.
He’s covered four governors: Lawton Chiles, Bush, Charlie Crist and Rick Scott. Fineout now works for The Associated Press.

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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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Will Weatherford’s decision enhances, not removes, future options

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

I think Will Weatherford’s just-announced decision not to run for governor in 2018 merely delays the inevitable. I believe he will be Florida’s governor eventually, and that will be a good thing.
Weatherford, the Land O’Lakes Republican, is a smart, articulate, center-right conservative in the Jeb Bush tradition. He has a strong legislative resume, including a turn as House Speaker. At age 37, he also is young enough that he can afford to wait eight years, which is another way of saying “Merry Christmas, Adam Putnam.”
The sea certainly does seem to be parting among Republicans for Putnam to make his move on the governor’s mansion. Florida CFO Jeff Atwater has shown no appetite for the job. Attorney General Pam Bondi is more likely targeted for a job in Washington.
Weatherford would have been a formidable challenger, but says his top concern right now is family.
He has four children – the oldest is 8, the youngest is 2. Last year he and his brothers Drew and Sam launched Weatherford Partners, a venture capital group, and serves as managing partner. Tellingly, he did not fall into the Republican conga line in the presidential race. He said he did not vote for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
His decision to sit out the governor’s race this time removes a lot of drama, for sure. Weatherford and Putnam are pals, but so were Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio and we saw how that went.
If Weatherford had gotten into the race, it could have gotten bloody for Republicans. Having two candidates as strong and well-known as Putnam and Weatherford could have split the party, but what this does is increase the likelihood of a Putnam coronation for the nomination.
It allows Putnam to stay low-key for the next year or so, stockpiling cash and support while waiting for the

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Mitch Perry Report for 12.8.16 – Al Gore gets punk’d

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

For the #NeverTrumper Republicans out there, this Trump presidency might work out pretty well, after all.
Jeb Bush was seen doing cartwheels after Trump selected Betty DeVos to become his Secretary of Education.
“I’m so excited,” Bush said last week at the National Summit on Education Reform, sponsored by the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which Bush founded and chairs and on which DeVos serves as a board member.
“President-elect Trump made an extraordinary choice with Betsy DeVos,” he added.
Similar hosannas are being thrown out today from the business community and Jim Inhofe’s of the world regarding The Donald’s choice of noted climate change denialist Scott Pruitt to serve as his EPA secretary.
Pruitt, the Attorney General of Oklahoma, wrote in National Review in May that “the debate is far from settled” over whether human activity has contributed to the warming of the earth.

I’m wondering how Al Gore is feeling today about that?
On Monday, the former Vice President traveled to Trump Tower to discuss climate change with Ivanka Trump, but instead got face time with the soon to be most powerful man in the world.
“I had a lengthy and very productive session with the president-elect,” he told reporters afterward, describing the meeting as “a sincere search for areas of common ground.
“I found it an extremely interesting conversation, and to be continued. And I’m just going to leave it at that,” he added.
He didn’t quite leave it at that, going on MSNBC later today that Ivanka “is very committed to having a climate policy that makes sense for our country and for our world, and that was certainly evident in the conversation that I had with her.”
There have been other clues that Trump’s team will lean closer towards Pruitt’s view of the world that Ivanka’s.
The head of his EPA transition team is Myron Ebell, who has never believed in the idea of global warming.
Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Bernie Sanders are talking tough about Pruitt when it comes to his confirmation

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Jeb Bush to align with Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney law firm as strategic consultant

Monday, December 5th, 2016

Jeb Bush is bringing his star power to the law firm of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney in a strategic affiliation through his firm Jeb Bush & Associates.
The two-term Florida governor and former presidential candidate will be providing expertise as a consultant to the firm and its clients, according to a statement by the firm first shared with FloridaPolitics.com.
“This move adds to our firm’s distinguished reputation as a leader in providing strategic advice on government, regulatory and business matters,” said Buchanan CEO Joseph Dougherty. “There are very few people that have the breadth of experience that Governor Bush has both in the public and private sector. We believe his insight will be a tremendous asset to our attorneys and clients.”
“Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney is an outstanding adviser to its clients, and I look forward to collaborating with them,” Bush said. “We live in a complex business and political environment, and I believe that putting my knowledge and experience together with Buchanan’s professional acumen will help Buchanan’s clients grow and prosper.”
In his new role, Bush — who will not be lobbying — will focus primarily on guidance for issues concerning Florida, the state he led as governor from 1999 to 2007.
“Those of us who have had the pleasure of working with the Governor in the past now have the opportunity to do so again, and those who haven’t can look forward to a truly rewarding experience. This is an exciting development for the firm and for our clients,” said longtime Bush friend and adviser John “Mac” Stipanovich, who chairs Buchanan’s Florida Government Relations practice.
In a way, the new partnership is somewhat of a homecoming for Bush.
Bush was a key surrogate when Stipanovich served as Florida’s executive director for the Reagan-Bush 1984 campaign. He was also Secretary of Commerce when Stipanovich was working as chief of staff. In a friendship that

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Martin Dyckman: On Jeb Bush’s relevance

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

Aiming to regain some relevance in the Republican Party, Jeb Bush argues that it should show voters that it stands “for a few a big ideas” rather than only for things to vote against.
Regrettably, four specific ideas that he proposed in a Nov. 24 Wall Street Journal op-ed are not simply big but bad.
“Republicans should support convening a constitutional convention to pass term limits, a balanced budget amendment and restraints on the Commerce Clause, which has given the federal government far more regulatory powers than the Founders intended,” he wrote.
By far the worst is the notion of calling a constitutional convention to pass anything. The Constitution obliges the Congress to call one upon the request of 34 states, but it says nothing about how delegates would be chosen or whether the agenda could be limited to any one issue or set of issues. The uncertainties are so potentially dangerous that this method of amendment has never gone far.
A convention could call for scrapping the entire Constitution, replacing it with we know not what.
The Constitution itself is the product of a convention that was called to revise, not replace, the feeble Articles of Confederation.
That was progress. In the current sour national mood, would a convention respect what’s good about the Constitution — the Bill of Rights, the separation of powers, the independence of the judiciary? Or would it reward the authoritarian instincts of an incoming president who has no respect for any of that?
Just this week, our budding dictator called for revoking the citizenship of people who burn the flag. Never mind that it’s the approved method for disposing of one that’s tattered or soiled.
Could a convention abolish the Electoral College? No, because there are not 38 states that would ratify such an amendment.
Would convention delegates be elected or appointed by

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Supreme Court candidates are all about conservatism

Monday, November 28th, 2016

The first three candidates to be interviewed for state Supreme Court justice burnished their conservative credentials Monday afternoon.
The Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission began interviewing the 11 applicants to replace retiring Justice James E.C. Perry, who departs the bench Dec. 30.
The nominating panel will forward six names by Dec. 13 to Gov. Rick Scott, who will then name Perry’s replacement.
This is Scott’s first chance to pick a state Supreme Court justice, and thus the first opportunity to expand the high court’s reliably conservative voting bloc, now only two justices: Charles Canady and Ricky Polston.
“I generally care about two things,” Scott has said about judicial appointees. “Are they going to be humble in the process, and are they going to uphold the law?” The governor, like the conservative GOP House majority, is a believer in judicial restraint.
First up on Monday were Wendy W. Berger, a judge on the 5th District Court of Appeal; Alice L. Blackwell, a circuit judge in Orange County; and Roberta J. Bodnar, an assistant U.S. attorney in Ocala.
The judiciary’s job is to “apply the law, to interpret the law, but not to make it,” Berger told the panel.
She may have the most experience in death penalty cases, which now makes up roughly half of the Supreme Court’s caseload.
As an assistant general counsel, Berger was Gov. Jeb Bush’s point person on death sentences, helping him determine which cases were ripe for death warrants.
A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, based on a Florida case, requires unanimous jury recommendations before a judge can impose a death sentence.
But Berger told commissioners she doesn’t believe the Hurst ruling should be retroactive: “That would open a large amount of floodgates we don’t need to see.”
Asked about professionalism, she said dissenting from a majority opinion should

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Florida school choice advocates praise selection of Betsy DeVos as education secretary

Monday, November 28th, 2016

Florida leaders praised Donald Trump’s choice of education secretary, calling Betsy DeVos an excellent pick.
The president-elect announced Wednesday he tapped DeVos, 58, to lead the federal agency. The choice reinforces his pledge to make school choice an education priority. In September, he pledged to funnel $20 billion in existing federal dollars into scholarships for low-income students, an idea that would require congressional approval.
“Students, parents, and education reformers across the United States should be thrilled by the selection of Betsy DeVos to serve as Secretary of Education.  Betsy is a tireless, fearless, and intelligent national leader in high quality education,” said House Speaker Richard Corcoran in a statement. “I can think of no one better to break down bureaucratic barriers, eliminate the institutional intransigence on school choice, and reduce federal costs and interference in the state and local decision-making process.”
A supporter of school choice, Corcoran railed against the state’s largest teacher’s union in his fist remarks as Florida House Speaker. The Land O’Lakes Republican said the Florida Education was “fixated on halting innovation and competition,” according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Corcoran pointed to the ongoing fight over the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program as an example. The program helps low-income children attend private schools. The teacher’s union has been fighting the program in the courts for years, saying it diverts money from traditional public education.
The Associated Press reported that DeVos’ support of school choice goes back more than 20 years. She was politically involved in the passage of Michigan’s charter school bill in 1993 and worked on an unsuccessful effort to change Michigan’s state constitution to allow tax-credit scholarships or vouchers. She has described that loss as her biggest setback.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush also praised Trump’s decision, saying she “is an outstanding pick for Secretary of Education.”
“She has a long and distinguished

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Personnel note: Dave Murzin joins Liberty Partners of Tallahassee as NW Florida director

Monday, November 21st, 2016

Former state Rep. Dave Murzin has joined Liberty Partners of Tallahassee as the firm’s Northwest Florida Director.
“We are honored to have Dave join forces with the Liberty Partners team.” said firm President and owner Jennifer Green in a statement. “This strategic partnership gives us the opportunity to continue to work with a longtime friend and colleague in a region of the state where we all have a strong connection.”
A former state legislator and longtime legislative staffer, Murzin has experience in both the public and private sector. Murzin served in the Florida House from 2002 until 2010.
While in the House, Murzin was appointed by former House Speaker Larry Cretul to the Florida Council on Military Base and Mission Support.
He also served on the Florida Public Service Commission Nominating Council, was appointed by former Gov. Jeb Bush to both the Joint Select Committee on Hurricane Insurance and the Property Tax Reform Committee, was appointed by former House Speaker and current U.S. Senator Marco Rubio to the Joint Property Tax Reform Committee, and served on the Escambia County Utilities Authority Administrative Advisory Committee.
Before serving in the Florida House, he served as a top staffer to Jeff Miller, a former congressman and member of the Florida House, and former House Majority Leader Jerry Maygarden.
“I appreciate the opportunity to join the Liberty Partners team,” said Murzin in a statement. “This team and their clients represent the conservative philosophies and policies that I have supported my entire legislative career. I look forward to working on issues important to the Northwest Florida area and especially my hometown of Pensacola.”
Murzin and his son, Benjamin, live in Pensacola.
The post Personnel note: Dave Murzin joins Liberty Partners of Tallahassee as NW Florida director appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Super Tuesday: Sally Bradshaw opens Midtown Reader in Tallahassee

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Sally Bradshaw has the perfect distraction for this crazy election cycle: Books.
For the past few months, she has been neck deep in bestsellers, up to her eyeballs in thrillers and focused on Florida favorites. She’s asked everyone she knows for a recommendation, and has been fixated on creating the perfect spot for literary lovers in the capital city.
All of that work will pay off Tuesday, when Bradshaw opens Midtown Reader, her independent bookstore in the heart of Tallahassee’s midtown neighborhood.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” said Bradshaw, a longtime advisor to former Gov. Jeb Bush.
The Havana resident announced her plans to open the store earlier this year. In the months since, she’s traveled the country meeting with booksellers and shop owners to get a feel for the industry. When she wasn’t in meetings, she was at the shop, making sure every detail was just right.
The result? A cozy, 1,500-square-foot store filled to the brim with books. An estimated 10,000 books will fill the shelves when the doors open this week, and Bradshaw said she hopes the “eclectic mix” will attract readers from throughout Tallahassee.
“Tallahassee is a well-read town,” she said. “Regardless of who you speak to, everyone is reading something different.”
She’s hoping the bookstore will become a destination for book lovers across the region, a place where readers can stop by, browse the shelves and chat about their favorite piece of prose.
“There’s a lot of advantages to the social media world we live, but the experience that’s missing on the Internet is it’s very difficult to browse,” she said. “There’s value in being able to go into an independent bookstore and being able to browse. We’re really attentive to building a community of readers.”
That means spending a full day spent writing the staff recommendations that line the shelves, building a team “that

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Super Tuesday: Sally Bradshaw opens Midtown Reader in Tallahassee

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Sally Bradshaw has the perfect distraction for this crazy election cycle: Books.
For the past few months, she has been neck deep in bestsellers, up to her eyeballs in thrillers and focused on Florida favorites. She’s asked everyone she knows for a recommendation, and has been fixated on creating the perfect spot for literary lovers in the capital city.
All of that work will pay off Tuesday, when Bradshaw opens Midtown Reader, her independent bookstore in the heart of Tallahassee’s midtown neighborhood.
“It’s been a whirlwind,” said Bradshaw, a longtime advisor to former Gov. Jeb Bush.
The Havana resident announced her plans to open the store earlier this year. In the months since, she’s traveled the country meeting with booksellers and shop owners to get a feel for the industry. When she wasn’t in meetings, she was at the shop, making sure every detail was just right.
The result? A cozy, 1,500-square-foot store filled to the brim with books. An estimated 10,000 books will fill the shelves when the doors open this week, and Bradshaw said she hopes the “eclectic mix” will attract readers from throughout Tallahassee.
“Tallahassee is a well-read town,” she said. “Regardless of who you speak to, everyone is reading something different.”
She’s hoping the bookstore will become a destination for book lovers across the region, a place where readers can stop by, browse the shelves and chat about their favorite piece of prose.
“There’s a lot of advantages to the social media world we live, but the experience that’s missing on the Internet is it’s very difficult to browse,” she said. “There’s value in being able to go into an independent bookstore and being able to browse. We’re really attentive to building a community of readers.”
That means spending a full day spent writing the staff recommendations that line the shelves, building a team “that

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Despite end of formal fundraising, Donald Trump to hold breakfast event at Doral Wednesday

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

Donald Trump may have said he was scaling back on high-dollar fundraising — ending with a Las Vegas luncheon held last week – it didn’t mean he wasn’t quite done raising money.
The Republican nominee, joined by Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus and former ambassador Mel Sembler, among others, returns to Florida for a breakfast event Wednesday at the Trump National Doral Miami resort.
Proceeds will go to boost Trump Victory, an organization Trump established with the RNC to help pay for staff and other ground operations supporting Trump and other down-ballot Republicans. Sembler, a former Republican National Committee finance chairman and board member of Jeb Bush’s Right to Rise PAC, became vice chair in May.
Listed on the invite is a host committee that includes Priebus, Sembler, Trump Victory Finance Chairs Louis Eisenberg and Brian Ballard, as well as Steven Mnuchin, who chairs the Donald J. Trump for President committee.
Last week, Mnuchin told The Washington Post that Trump Victory’s last formal fundraiser was held Oct. 19.
The invite provided no information on the upcoming fundraiser, saying supporters will get further details upon RSVP.
The campaign also announced his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, will be visiting Utah Wednesday, a formerly solid Republican state where polling shows Trump’s chances are at risk.
The post Despite end of formal fundraising, Donald Trump to hold breakfast event at Doral Wednesday appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Old-guard money pouring in for John Mica in CD 7

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

The old guard of Orlando-Winter Park Republican politics is coming to the aid of U.S. Rep. John Mica in his hard-fought re-election battle, with tens of thousands of dollars pouring in the past few days for the 12-term incumbent in Florida’s 7th Congressional District.
The donations include one from Garry Jones, president of Full Sail University, the for-profit school to which Republican Mica’s Democratic opponent Stephanie Murphy has close ties.
Jones had previously contributed $2,700 to Mica in February, but that was long before his business partner’s daughter-in-law, Murphy, entered the race in late June. On Thursday Jones donated another $2,700 to Mica’s campaign, demonstrating a point Murphy had once made, that Full Sail’s leadership, long politically active and generous in Central Florida politics, is also bipartisan. Jones’ wife and Full Sail’s chief information officer, Isis Jones, also donated $2,700 to Mica on Thursday, adding to the $2,700 she donated to him in February.
They weren’t alone.
According to 48-hour notices the campaigns now must post with the Federal Elections Commission, since last Thursday Mica’s campaign pulled in $2,000 from Marcos Marchena; $1,000 from Frank Kruppenbacher; $1,500 from Robert Saltsman; $5,400 apiece from Orlando Magic Owner Richard DeVos, his wife Helen DeVos and at least $2,700 each from seven other members of the DeVos family; and $2,700 from Orlando timeshare mogul David Siegel;, all prominent Republicans in the Orlando community. Mica also got $5,000 from the JEB PAC of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
All totaled, Mica’s campaign attracted $44,400 since last Thursday, according to two 48-hour notices his campaign has filed.
Murphy’s campaign has filed only one 48-hour notice so far. It showed $13,800 in donations, including $1,000 from former Florida Sen. Daryl Jones and $5,400 from the Service Employees International Union Committee On Political Education.
The post Old-guard money pouring in for John Mica in CD 7 appeared first on Florida

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CBS poll shows dead heat between Patrick Murphy, Marco Rubio

Sunday, October 23rd, 2016

The Patrick Murphy campaign had more to cheer about Sunday after a CBS News poll showed the first-term congressman within striking distance of incumbent Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.
The poll showed Rubio with 44 percent support among registered Florida voters compared to 42 percent support for Murphy, with 8 percent undecided and 6 percent saying they would vote for a different candidate.
Last week a poll from Opinion Savvy showed the Murphy, a Democrat, tied with Rubio at 46 percent support, and a Quinnipiac University poll showed Rubio ahead by 2 points.
In addition to the head-to-head, the poll also asked voters who they would choose if they could change their vote in the Republican Primary, and Donald Trump came out on top with 21 percent of the vote, followed by John Kasich with 17 percent.
Rubio, who placed second in the Florida Primary back in the spring, was the third place finisher in the with 15 percent support. Another 12 percent said they would have voted for Jeb Bush and 9 percent picked Ted Cruz, while the remaining 26 percent said they would vote for “someone else.”
The poll also showed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton with 46 percent support compared to 43 percent for Trump. Libertarian Gary Johnson polled at 3 percent and Green Party nominee Jill Stein took 2 percent.
The CBS News poll was conducted over the internet Oct. 20 and 21 and received 1,042 responses. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percent.
The post CBS poll shows dead heat between Patrick Murphy, Marco Rubio appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Marco Rubio presidential campaign owes $1.5M in debt

Monday, October 17th, 2016

Marco Rubio might be running for re-election, but his presidential campaign is still more than $1 million in debt.
Campaign finance records filed with the Federal Election Commission show Rubio’s presidential campaign had more than $1.5 million in debt as of Sept. 30. The sum includes the costs of telemarketing services, media production and legal fees.
According to campaign finance records, the presidential campaign owned $570,657 for telemarketing; $315,000 for media production; $167,000 for legal fees; $350,000; and $130,000 for web services.
It may seem like a lot, but the campaign has continued to whittle down its outstanding debt each reporting period. Records show the presidential campaign had more than $1.9 million in debt at the end of March.
Rubio ended his presidential bid in March, after he came in second to Donald Trump in Florida’s presidential preference primary. He announced he was running for re-election in June, just days before the qualifying deadline.
It’s not unusual for presidential campaigns to carry debt well after the race is over. In May, the Wall Street Journal reported former presidential hopefuls owned more than $5.4 million.
Paying down the debt could take years. According to the Wall Street Journal, Hillary Clinton, now the Democratic nominee, didn’t pay off debt for her 2008 presidential campaign until 2012.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is still trying to pay down the debt from his 2012 presidential bid. According to the most recent campaign filing, Gingrich still owned $4.6 million for his 2012 campaign.
Rubio isn’t the only 2016 hopeful whose campaign is still carrying some debt.
Campaign finance records filed with the Federal Election Commission show Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign owed $368,063 through Aug. 31; while Bernie Sanders, a 2016 Democratic presidential hopeful, owed $472,011 at the end of August.
Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign owed $250,000, down from $452,065 at the end of February. Bush

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Mark Wilson: Rising workers’ comp rates hurt businesses

Monday, October 10th, 2016

Mark Wilson
Attention Florida business owners—in case you missed it, you are about to be hit with a workers’ compensation insurance increase that you most likely haven’t planned for, all for the benefit of Florida’s billboard trial lawyers.
This week, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation approved a 14.5 percent workers’ compensation rate increase that takes effect Dec. 1 for new and renewal policies, the fallout from two damaging Florida Supreme Court decisions, Castellanos and Westphal.
A rate increase this big, this sudden, hurts Florida’s competitiveness and employers large and small. Many businesses will be forced to delay hiring – or even cut existing staff – to cover this leap in their workers’ comp premiums.
The increase is also a direct blow to Florida’s business-friendly climate and jeopardizes the 62 consecutive months of private-sector job growth we’ve experienced.
Let’s rewind back to 2003. At that time, Florida had the second-highest workers’ comp rates in the United States. These rates were threatening our state’s competitiveness. In response, the Florida Chamber of Commerce joined with then-Governor Jeb Bush to pass a series of common-sense legislative reforms.
These reforms have become a national success story. Since enactment, Florida’s workers’ comp rates dropped approximately 60 percent, while at the same time injured workers got the care they needed more quickly and were able to return to work an average 10 days sooner than in the past.
But the Supreme Court rulings, issued earlier this year, have jolted job creators and threaten to unravel all the great progress our state has made over the past 13 years.
The most damaging of the two court rulings overturned reasonable attorney fee caps that were established to stop trial lawyers from using often minor workplace injuries as a means for suing businesses in hopes of hitting the jackpot on fee awards.
Florida’s insurance regulators had little choice

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Democrats throughout Florida call on GOP opponents to denounce #TrumpTapes vulgar comments

Saturday, October 8th, 2016

A newly released videotape showing Donald Trump making crude comments about a married woman he tried to seduce is sending shock waves throughout Florida politics.
“I’ve said some foolish things,” the Republican presidential nominee said overnight Friday in a taped apology posted on Facebook. “But there’s a big difference between the words and actions of other people. Bill Clinton has actually abused women.”
But Florida Democratic candidates statewide are not letting Trump off the hook so easily. Nearly all of them are calling for the Republican nominee — as well their opponents who support him — to either clarify their position or withdraw from the race.
U.S. Senate candidate Patrick Murphy released a statement Saturday calling Trump’s comments “disgusting,” blasting his opponent, incumbent Republican Marco Rubio, for giving a tepid response.
“While prominent Republicans like Senators Mike Crapo and Kelly Ayotte have already withdrawn their endorsements,” Murphy writes. “Marco Rubio issued a tweet with empty rhetoric and continues to stand by his choice for President.”
“Donald Trump’s comments are sickening, inexcusable and dangerous,” Murphy said. “They contribute to a culture that devalues women and makes our society unsafe … Trump is an unhinged misogynist who has no place anywhere near our country’s highest office.”
Murphy points out Rubio claims he ran for re-election to serve as a check on the next president, even if that president was Trump.
“But how can he serve as a check on a Trump presidency if he won’t even hold Trump accountable as a candidate?” Murphy concluded. “If Senator Rubio cannot withdraw his endorsement after this latest sickening news, then he should withdraw from the race.”
Randy Perkins, who faces Republican Brian Mast in the race for Florida’s 18th Congressional District, says that his opponent has regularly ignored the regular flow of Trump’s “crude comments about women.”
In a statement, Perkins accuses Mast of continuing to

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Jeb Bush: ‘No apology can excuse’ Donald Trump’s vulgar comments

Saturday, October 8th, 2016

Former Gov. Jeb Bush joined scores of Americans outraged by vulgar comments made by GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump in a 2005 video uncovered this week by The Washington Post.
“As the grandfather of two precious girls, I find that no apology can excuse away Donald Trump’s reprehensible comments degrading women,” the once-presidential candidate tweeted Friday evening.
Talking with Billy Bush, who was then a host of “Access Hollywood,” Trump was heard on the three-minute long video describing attempts to have sex with a married woman and bragging about women letting him kiss and grab them. Billy Bush is Jeb Bush’s cousin.
“When you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything,” he said. “Grab them by the p—-. You can do anything.”
Trump was preparing for a cameo appearance on the daytime soap opera “Days of Our Lives.” According to the New York Times, the video was discovered by “Access Hollywood” producers, scanning archival footage for past interviews with Trump. NBC News, part of the same corporation as “Access Hollywood,” acquired the tape; the Post also obtained a copy to the video.
Trump responded with a statement calling the exchange: “locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course – not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”

As the grandfather of two precious girls, I find that no apology can excuse away Donald Trump’s reprehensible comments degrading women.
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) October 7, 2016

 [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdvtZpJMvxo] The post Jeb Bush: ‘No apology can excuse’ Donald Trump’s vulgar comments appeared first on Florida Politics.

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