Posts Tagged ‘Stephanie Murphy’

Val Demings, Darren Soto, Stephanie Murphy submit transportation list

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Orlando’s three Democratic members of Congress, U.S. Reps. Val Demings, Darren Soto and Stephanie Murphy, have sent the White House a wish list of transportation projects that include I-4, Sunrail and the Orlando International Airport.
The trio sent the list Wednesday urging the administration of President Donald Trump to push the Central Florida package because of what they described as Orlando’s unique position.
“Central Florida – in particular the greater Orlando metropolitan area – is home to numerous high-profile destinations, venues and institutions, and therefore requires a world-class transportation infrastructure network to support the safe and efficient movement of residents and visitors,” the three lawmakers wrote.
The list they provided is essentially the consensus of local political, civic and transportation planning leaders in the Orlando area, though not all of the projects have universal backing. Among them:
– The Phase 2 expansion of the SunRail regional commuter train from DeBary to DeLand in Volusia County. This expansion is in the district of Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis of Port Orange, who is opposed to it.
– Phase 3 expansion of SunRail running east-and west between Meadow Woods and Orlando International Airport. This would connect the now entirely-north-south railroad to the airport’s Orlando Intermodal Transportation Facility, a multi-level train station now under construction.
– The I-4 “Ultimate Improvement Project,” now underway through most of Orlando and Seminole County, expanding that freeway out to its maximum capacity.
– Orlando Intermodal Transportation Facility at the airport.
– The planned second major terminal at Orlando International Airport, which would largely serve international flights. That facility is to be built next to the train station.
“The president has called on Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion infrastructure investment. We look forward working with the administration on this initiative, and we hope that these priority transportation infrastructure projects in our region will be

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Florida Dems in Congress blast GOP health care plan after budget report

Monday, March 13th, 2017

As expected, the scoring of the Republican health care plan in Congress affirmed many of Democrats’ biggest warnings, and, as expected, many of Florida’s delegation wasted no time Monday attacking the “American Health Care Act” as “wrong,” “inhumane,” “alarming,” and “ruthless and cruel.”
No word yet from any of Florida’s 17 Republican members of Congress on how they feel about the Congressional Budget Office legislative analysis of the bill Republicans introduced last week. Its aim is to replace “ObamaCare,” the Affordable Care Act President Barack Obama and Democrats pushed through in 2010.
Democrats loaded up Monday at several of the CBO findings of the bill being dubbed both “RyanCare” for House Speaker Paul Ryan and “TrumpCare,” for President Donald Trump. The CBO reported that 14 million people would drop from being insured in the first year, and that a total of 24 million now covered would be without health insurance in a decade. The CBO also projected rapidly increasing premiums for the first couple of years, that it would cut $880 million from Medicaid, and increase costs for seniors on Medicare. And it reported that cuts to Planned Parenthood would mainly affect low-income women.
Almost all 12 Florida Democrats decried all those findings, through press releases, social media posts and statements on their websites. Among the responses:
“It is wrong to take away health insurance for 24 million people, as well as increase the cost to seniors,” wrote U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.
“This legislation is terrible for those in their golden years, our seniors. And most distressing is how this bill treats the poor and the disabled of our society,” wrote U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist of St. Petersburg, representing Florida’s 13th Congressional District. “The Gospel of Matthew teaches us that we will be judged by how we treat the ‘least of these.’ But this bill treats the least among

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Stephanie Murphy declares support for Puerto Rico to become state

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy declared on the floor of Congress Thursday morning that she would like to see Puerto Rico become America’s 51st state.
The Democrat from Winter Park represents a district, Florida’s 7th Congressional District, with a large Puerto Rican population.
In her speech, the freshman congresswoman said the decision ultimately needs to be up to the resident of the island territory, but that she hopes they chose statehood. Residents there will get that chance in a referendum scheduled for this June.
Her remarks came on the 100th anniversary of when Puerto Rican residents were granted U.S. Citizenship. However, it is a limited citizenship.
Here is the text of Murphy’s remarks:
“A century ago today, a federal law granted U.S. citizenship to individuals born in Puerto Rico.
“Island residents have made countless contributions to this country in times of peace and war, serving with exceptional valor in our armed forces.
“The bonds between Puerto Rico and Florida are unbreakable. The state is home to over one million Puerto Ricans, with most living in central Florida.
“Puerto Rico is going through difficult times, and I am determined to help the island get back on its feet.
“The main reason Puerto Rico is struggling is because, as a territory, it is treated unequally under federal law.
“I support equal treatment for Puerto Rico because I oppose second-class citizenship.
“Ultimately, I believe Puerto Rico should discard its territory status and become a state or a sovereign nation.
“The choice lies with the people of Puerto Rico.
“My personal hope is that they will choose statehood, so they have full voting rights and full equality.
“Puerto Ricans have earned the right to become first-class citizens of the nation they have served with honor. “
The post Stephanie Murphy declares support for Puerto Rico to become state appeared first on Florida Politics.

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Joe Negron, Pulse mother and doctor, a DREAMer, among Trump address to Congress guests

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

As is traditional, Florida’s congressional delegation is using its invite tickets to President Donald Trump‘s first address to a joint session of Congress mostly to make points, although U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is maybe making his points with his wife.
Each member of Congress gets one SOTU invitation to pass out. Democrat Nelson’s goes to his wife of 44 years, Grace Nelson.
Republican U.S. Sen Marco Rubio‘s bringing Florida Sen. President Joe Negron, who is in Washington this week for meetings with Rubio and other state legislators regarding federal-state issues.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings of Orlando is bringing Christine Leinonen, mother of Christopher Leinonen, who was one of the 49 victims killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. Leinonen has been sharply critical of Trump for using the June 12, 2016, Pulse shooting to justify an immigration crackdown, particularly on Muslims.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park is bringing Dr. Marc Levy, Orlando Regional Medical Center surgeon who saved the lives of victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting last summer. Levy has called for more scientific and medical research on gun violence – from root causes to improved medical treatment.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Darren Soto of Orlando is bringing a potential DREAMer, a recent graduate of the University of Florida named Jose who migrated from Honduras to the United States at the age of 11 with his parents. Jose is seeking to avoid deportation through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policies of former President Barack Obama, which Trump stated he intends to rescind.
No word yet on what Republican U.S. Reps. Ron DeSantis, Bill Posey and Daniel Webster intend to do with their tickets.
 
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Stephanie Murphy unites 150+ Congress members calling for response on Jewish centers threats

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy called Wednesday for federal authorities to respond swiftly and strongly to threats made to Jewish centers throughout the nation and got more than 150 of her colleagues to sign on.
Murphy and U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley, a New York Democrat who chairs the House Democratic Conference, sent the letter to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey expressing “deep concern regarding the recent spate of anonymous bomb threats made via telephone against Jewish Community Centers” and urged them to swiftly assess the situation and advise Congress about what is going on.
She also called for prosecutions and efforts to deter threats and to assist centers to enhance security.
“This is not an idle concern, given that there have been at least three casualty-causing attacks at JCCs or other Jewish institutions in the last two decades,” she added, referring to the shootings in Kansas, Seattle and California. “This is a national problem and, as such, it requires a national solution.”
The letter makes no explicit reference to rising concerns about a new wave of anti-Semitism in America, nor does it make any criticism of President Donald Trump for not explicitly condemning anti-Semitism, as many of her colleagues have charged.
It notes there have been at least 68 incidents targeting 53 Jewish centers in 26 states, according to the JCC Association of North America.
That includes the Roth Family JCC of Greater Orlando, which is one of several centers to have received multiple threats.
Among the signatories are U.S. Reps. Val Demings, Darren Soto, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Alcee Hastings, Charlie Crist, Ted Deutch, Frederica Wilson, Lois Frankel, Mario Diaz-Balart, Gus Bilirakis, and Kathy Castor of the Florida delegation. The vast majority in a list of the first 116 signatories, provided with an accompanying press release, are Democrats, though

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Charlie Crist, Stephanie Murphy among top GOP targets for 2018

Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

National Republicans, in an effort to boost their majority for the midterms, are targeting top House Democrats over the next two years – including Florida’s Charlie Crist and Stephanie Murphy.
POLITICO first reported on the list of 36 lawmakers coming from the National Republican Congressional Committee, with a particular focus on “blue-collar parts of the country where President Donald Trump is popular.”
Nearly one-third of the districts on the NRCC spreadsheet were taken by President Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton and won by a Democratic House member. Many of those are heavily blue-collar districts in the Midwest, a region Republicans believe see as winnable territory in the Trump era.
Florida’s 13th Congressional District, the district Democrat Crist won in November over incumbent Republican David Jolly, covers much of Pinellas County, which also elected Trump by a single percentage point.
POLITICO notes that there are two Democrats who were not key GOP targets in 2016: Reps. Dave Loebsack of Iowa and Ron Kind from Wisconsin. In 2016, Kind ran unopposed in the West Central Wisconsin district that Trump by more than four points.
“The success of our government depends on Republicans maintaining a strong majority in the House,” NRCC chair Steve Stivers said in a news release. “We owe the American people assurance that the agenda we were elected on — health care reform, a stronger national defense, and more good-paying jobs – is fulfilled.”
Democrats have issued their own list of 59 Republicans, released last month by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Democrats need a gain of 24 seats in 2018 to take back the House.
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Florida congressional delegation asks Donald Trump to support Everglades restoration

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

Congressman Francis Rooney is calling on Donald Trump to support Everglades restoration, with a letter to the president saying that Everglades restoration “has far-ranging impacts to the entire state of Florida and the rest of the country.”
Signed by the entire Florida delegation, the two-page letter was dated Friday.
The letter asks that Trump prepares his fiscal 2018 budget, the “strong support Everglades restoration projects, especially those within the Central Everglades Restoration Program (CERP).”
It also notes the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016 Act authorized two projects that now needs further action from the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Interior.
The projects include the Central Everglades Planning Project (CEEP) and additional authorizations to complete the Picayune Strand project, both which are important to achieving “optimal water flow.”
“The Everglades deserve your attention and support, and we ask that you provide the necessary resources to restore the region,” the delegation wrote.
During a stop in Collier County in October, Trump called attention to the issue, saying he would work to protect the Everglades.
A Naples Republican, Rooney was elected in November, replacing Rep. Curt Clawson, a Bonita Springs Republican. While Clawson served just one term in Congress, he made water quality, Everglades restoration and the environment a priority during his time in office.
Rooney, who served as the ambassador to the Holy See and was a top Republican donor before running for Congress, also said he’ll make the environment a top priority. He joined the Congressional Everglades Caucus, a bipartisan group aimed at restoring the Everglades, often talking about environmental issues while on the campaign trail.
“The Everglades have a far-ranging impact to the entire state of Florida and to the country,” Rooney said in a statement. “Our economy has been decimated. Businesses have closed. We all have a vested interest in the Everglades.”
The entire

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Bob Cortes ‘exploring’ possible congressional run in CD 7

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

State Rep. Bob Cortes said Friday morning he is “exploring” the possibility of running for Congress in Florida’s 7th Congressional District for a seat the Republicans had held for generations before U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy won it in November.
Cortes confirmed reports that he was in Washington D.C. for a couple of days early this week talking to officials at the National Republican Congressional Committee and others about a possible run in CD 7 in 2018.
“I’ve been asked,” to consider such a run, he told FloridaPolitics.com Friday morning.
“I have not made a decision, yes or no,” he added.
Cortes is a two-term state representative and a former Longwood city commissioner who won re-election in November over Democratic attorney Ryan Yadav.
CD 7 was held by Republican U.S. Rep. John Mica for 24 years. But evolving demographics and redistricting made it a younger, more diverse, more partisan balanced district, now covering virtually all of Seminole County and a much bigger chunk of Orange County, including Maitland, Winter Park, north and central Orlando, and east Orlando including the University of Central Florida region. The young Murphy, who is Vietnamese-American, toppled Mica by appealing to the new mix of voters there.
Republicans vowed to take it back and there has been talk of several candidates, including state Sen. Dave Simmons, emerging to challenge Murphy in 2018.
Cortes would be able to appeal to much of the coalition Murphy built. He is of Puerto Rican background, and the district now has 80,000 Hispanics, the vast majority of whom are Puerto Rican. He also has shown to be more of a moderate on social issues of interest to the district’s young base. After the Pulse nightclub shooting, Cortes was among the more passionate of Republicans in speaking out for the LGBT community hurting from that tragedy.
“The (CD 7) District itself

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Stephanie Murphy bill would make sure National Security Council is protected from partisan politics

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy‘s first act of legislation in Congress would protect the National Security Council from partisan politics, in the wake of President Donald Trump‘s appointment of his chief strategist Steve Bannon to the council over the weekend.
In doing that, Trump also downgraded the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Murphy’s bill would have two provisions – to ensure that no individual whose primary responsibility is political in nature is on the council or allowed to attend meetings, and to make sure the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should have a “standing invitation to attend Principal Committee meetings.”
Murphy, who is a former national security specialist with the Department of Defense and current member of the House Armed Services Committee, had strong words about the importance of keeping the National Security Council bipartisan.
“The security of the American people should be more important than partisan politics,” said Murphy. “It is reasonable and commonplace for presidents to decide who attends security meetings, but I strongly believe the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff should have a standing invitation to attend all Principals Committee meetings given their importance to national security and expertise. My bill will help depoliticize national security so that we never jeopardize the safety and security of the American people.”
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Floridians head to D.C. for Donald Trump inauguration

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

A hush has fallen on the state capital.
Sure, there’s plenty of work to do before the start of the 2017 Legislative Session. But some Florida politicos are using this week to flee Florida and head to Washington, D.C., for President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration.
Gov. Rick Scott will be there. An ardent supporter of the New York Republican, Scott was the chairman of the super PAC that backed Trump’s presidential bid. He was expected to head to D.C. on Tuesday, one day before the Florida Sunshine Ball, hosted by Scott and his wife, First Lady Ann Scott.
But don’t think the Naples Republican (and possible 2018 U.S. Senate hopeful) spent the day in his tuxedo and dancing shoes. According to his official schedule, Scott was scheduled to meet with General John Kelly, the incoming Secretary of Homeland Security; Republican Reps. Francis Rooney and Neal Dunn; and Mauricio Claver-Carone, a Trump transition official.
Susie Wiles, the Jacksonville political guru who helped lead Trump’s Florida campaign, traveled to D.C. on Wednesday. She’ll be on hand for all of the festivities; as will uber lobbyist Brian Ballard, the chairman of Trump’s Florida finance committee.
And it should come as no surprise that state Rep. Joe Gruters and his wife, Sydney, will be in town for the event. Gruters was one of the first big name Floridians to back Trump, and never wavered in his support throughout the campaign. The couple plans to head up to D.C. on Thursday, and plan to attend the swearing in and go to the Liberty Ball.
Former House Speaker Steve Crisafulli — joined by fundraisers Trey McCarley and Kris Money —will be there too. Crisafulli was another top Trump supporter, and played a key role in getting him to the Space Coast for rallies throughout the campaign. His name was floated as one of

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David Simmons weighing Florida attorney general, congressional runs

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

While giving his blessing to state Rep. Jason Brodeur to run for his current post, state Sen. David Simmons says he’s weighing his own options to go after the Florida attorney general’s post, the Florida’s 7th Congressional District seat that Democrats just flipped, or staying full-time with his growing law firm.
The attorney general option could come sooner rather than later, as Attorney General Pam Bondi is widely reported to be in the running for a position in president-elect Donald Trump‘s administration.
If Bondi leaves, Gov. Rick Scott would be appointing a successor. If she stays, she’ll be term-limited out in 2018, the same year that U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy comes up for her first re-election bid in CD 7, a seat Republicans had held for generations before her arrival. Simmons declined to say if he has spoken to Scott about the prospect of being appointed as attorney general.
One way or the other, Simmons, a Longwood Republican,  leaves by 2020, when he is term-limted out. That’s the year for which Brodeur, a Sanford Republican, announced he was filing to run to succeed Simmons in Florida Senate District 9, which covers Seminole County.
“I am looking at my options,” Simmons told FloridaPolitics.com.
“I know that in 2018 the attorney general position will be open, and maybe earlier. And so at this point in time we’ll see what happens,” Simmons said. “And then of course, with the events that occurred in Nov. 2016, I believe that there is a need to have a Republican who represents Congressional District 7. And so I’ll look at option as well.
When it gets to be 2020, or 2018 – you know how politics is volatile that we don’t’ know what’s going to happen, and who is going to be running for what positions –
predicitng what is going on is a very  difficult thing.”
Becoming

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More committee assignments for Val Demings, Darren Soto and Stephanie Murphy

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Additional congressional committee assignments are rolling out and Orlando’s new representatives are getting seats to oversee natural resources, small businesses and the oversight and government reform.
U.S. Rep. Val Demings, an Orlando Democrat, has been chosen to be on the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, a powerful panel that Congress has used to investigate and various federal agencies and officials, including last year’s email investigation of Hillary Clinton. It’s chaired by Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz.
Citing her own background in law enforcement, the retired Orlando police chief Demings declared in a press release, ““The integrity of our government is of the utmost importance. In a time when Oversight is needed more than ever in our federal government I promise to be a strong voice in the check and balance on our government, and a strong voice for the people of Central Florida.”
U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, an Orlando Democrat representing Florida’s 9th Congressional District, has been selected as a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Utah Rob Bishop.
The committee represents one of Soto’s strongest interests while he served as a member of both the Florida House of Representatives and the Florida Senate, where he was active in crafting and promoting legislation to protect the state’s water resources.
U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, a Winter Park Democrat, has been given a seat on the House Small Business Committee, chaired by Ohio Republican Steve Chabot.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy – employing more than 3.1 million people across our state. In fact, more than 40 percent of workers in Florida are employed by a small business,” said Murphy. “As someone who has worked in the private sector advising and counseling entrepreneurs and small businesses, I am eager to get to work on the Small Business Committee to reduce the regulatory burdens

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Stephanie Murphy sets listening tour in her new district

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Newly-sworn in U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy is coming back to Central Florida to ask constituents for their guidance.
The Democrat from Winter Park, who entered Congress last week after defeating the district’s 12-term incumbent U.S. Rep. John Mica in November, announced Wednesday she is setting up three town hall-style listening meetings next week, in Orlando, Sanford and Altamonte Springs.
“U.S. representative is more than just a title; it’s a job description,” she stated in a news release. “If you’re truly going to represent people, you’ve got to listen to them. I’m hosting these listening sessions so that my constituents may come share their ideas, thoughts and concerns as the new Congress begins. I’ll take the information from these sessions and use it to set my priorities and guide my work fighting for central Florida in our nation’s capital. I encourage anyone who lives in Florida’s Seventh District to join us and make their voices heard.”
Murphy represents Florida’s Seventh Congressional District, which includes all of Seminole County and much of northern Orange County, including downtown Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, and the University of Central Florida.
The sessions will be held next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Boone High School in Orlando; Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Westside Community Center in Sanford; and Jan. 19 at the Eastmonte Civic Center in Altamonte Springs. All are open to the public, but anyone wishing to speak will be asked to fill out comment cards. Constituents who cannot attend are advised to send their thoughts to her office at StephanieMurphy.house.gov or by calling 1-888-205-5421.
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Freshmen Congress members from Orlando get top choices for committee seats

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

Central Florida’s three freshmen in Congress all got top-choice A-list committee assignments Tuesday, with Val Demings of Orlando serving on the Homeland Security Committee, Darren Soto of Orlando on the Agriculture Committee, and Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park on the Armed Services Committee.
Congressional leaders announced their choices for freshmen and others to fill spots on the top committees Tuesday. More committee assignments are likely late this week and early next week. While “top choice” often is something like appropriations, which is rarely if ever available to freshmen, incoming members of Congress also have their top realistic choices.
For Demings, a former Orlando police chief who was part of much of the post 9-11 Homeland Security planning and implementation for Orlando, that was the Committee on Homeland Security, according to her office.
The same is true for Murphy, who spent several years as a strategy analyst in the U.S. Department of Defense.
And Soto’s top pick was agriculture according to his office, given that his district includes the huge cattle ranches of Osceola County and many of the huge citrus groves of Polk County.
Murphy’s appointment also gives her a close look at federal spending available for the military’s modeling and simulation centers in Orlando, as well as for the state’s large military presence.
“Florida is home to numerous military installations and hundreds of thousands of military personnel, veterans, and their families. I’ll use my previous experience at the Department of Defense and my position on the Armed Services Committee to support our men and women in uniform and strengthen our national security,” she stated in a news release. “From cybersecurity to terrorism, we must ensure our service members have the resources and training they need to adapt to rapidly-evolving threats, and I will work with both Democrats and Republicans to help keep our country safe.”
The

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Val Demings, Florida members, lead moment in Congress to remember Orlando’s fallen officers

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

With a bipartisan gathering of other Florida congressional members, Orlando’s former police chief Val Demings, now a congresswoman from Orlando, led the House of Representatives in a moment to remember and honor Orlando’s fallen officers Monday night.
“I rise today to honor the lives of Master Sgt. Debra Clayton of the Orlando Police Department and Deputy Norm Lewis of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office,” Demings declared in the house chamber. As the former Orlando police chief I had the honor of knowing both Sgt. Clayton and Deputy Lewis. Sgt. Clayton was violently murdered while responding to a call this morning. Deputy Lewis was killed responding to the scene during a search for the suspect.
“As we recognize law enforcement appreciation day, we mourn the deaths of these two public servants. Sgt. Clayton was a fine officer, wife, mother, 42 years young, and had just celebrated her first anniversary with her husband. Deputy Lewis was deeply admired by all of his colleagues. He loved helping people and it showed in his work. He was just 35,” Demings continued. “Mr. Speaker, I respectfully ask that all members join me in honoring and remembering these heroes during this difficult time.”
A moment of silence followed. In the well of the house, Demings was surrounded by her fellow Orlando Democratic U.S. Reps. Darren Soto and Stephanie Murphy; as well as U.S. Reps. John Rutherford, Ted Yoho, Matt Gaetz and Brian Mast, all Republicans; and U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Charlie Crist, Lois Frankel, Ted Deutch and Al Lawson, all Democrats.
 
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Charlie Crist, Brian Mast among The Hill’s ’10 freshman to watch’ in Congress

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

Three Florida freshman are among the “freshmen to watch” in the 115th Congress.
On Monday, The Hill unveiled its list of “10 freshmen to watch in the new Congress.” According to The Hill, seven new senators and 55 new House members — including 10 from Florida — will take the oath of office on Jan. 3.
Newly elected Reps. Charlie Crist, Brian Mast and Stephanie Murphy were among the new members The Hill singled out.
Crist, a St. Petersburg Democrat, unseated Republican Rep. David Jolly in Florida’s 13th Congressional District. According to The Hill, the former Republican governor “is making a political comeback.”
Mast filled the state’ vacated by former Rep. Patrick Murphy, defeating Democrat Randy Perkins in Florida’s 18th Congressional District. The former combat veteran will be “one of the youngest members of Congress when he takes the oath of office in January,” according to the website.
Mast, according to The Hill, is one of three Republican “pickups in a year where they were playing defense.”
Murphy toppled Republican Rep. John Mica, the chairman of the transportation committee and a 24-year veteran member of Congress. Her win, according to The Hill, offered the Democratic Party “one of its few bright spots.” Her victory makes her the first Vietnamese-American woman to serve in Congress.
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Stephanie Murphy joining Blue Dogs, New Democrats

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

U.S. Congresswoman-elect Stephanie Murphy announced Tuesday she intends to join the two moderate-Democrat organizations in Congress, the Blue Dog Coalition and the New Democrat Coalition.
Murphy said the coalitions – the New Democrats promote small business, the Blue Dogs, fiscal conservatism – “align with her goals of strengthening Central Florida’s growing entrepreneurial and small business sectors, keeping our nation secure, and ensuring fiscal discipline in Congress.”
Murphy, of Winter Park, was elected Nov. 8 in an upset victory over 12-term U.S. Rep. John Mica, also of Winter Park, in Florida’s 7th Congressional District. The district, which includes north-central and Orange County and all of the largely-suburban Seminole County, had been a Republican stronghold for decades until redistricting and an evolving electorate changed it to purple this year.
“When I take office on January 3, I want to hit the ground running to help strengthen our economy, keep our nation safe, and bring fiscal discipline back to Congress,” Murphy stated in a news release. “I campaigned on a new approach – on working with both Democrats and Republicans to get things done. Both the New Dems and the Blue Dogs have strong reputations for reaching across the aisle and putting good public policy over partisan politics. That’s exactly what I’ll do in Congress.”
The combined membership of the New Democrat Coalition and the Blue Dog Coalition represents more than one-third of the Democratic caucus.
Both coalitions have strong bipartisan reputations and a history of working with Republicans. Murphy said she will work with her New Dem colleagues to advocate legislation that strengthens our nation’s middle class and will work with her Blue Dog colleagues to help introduce No Budget, No Pay, which says Members of Congress must pass a budget and appropriations bills on time or they don’t get paid.
“There is a lot of uncertainty facing

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‘The girl rescued at sea’ Stephanie Murphy rides that humanitarian service into Congress

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

An event in Congresswoman-elect Stephanie Murphy‘s infancy keeps redirecting her life, a life that has the 38-year-old business professor heading to Washington to represent Orlando and Central Florida as the first Vietnamese-American woman in Congress.
When she was six months old, her family fled Vietnam on a refugee boat. Stephanie, her mother, father, brother, and dozens of mostly strangers, all yearning for freedom and better lives, went adrift when their boat ran out of fuel. Supplies were running low. This was on the South China Sea, in thousands of square miles of open water.
Along came her hero, the U.S. Navy, which intercepted their little boat, provided fuel, food, water and other supplies, and helped them make the crossing to Malaysia. The Lutheran Church took it from there, getting them from a Malaysian refugee camp to America, where her family settled in Virginia.
‘The girl rescued at sea,” as a congressional campaign flyer dubbed her, will not forget the humanitarian assistance the sailors provided. Nor does she want to disappoint them.
Fast forward 22 years and Stephanie Dang was a young strategy consultant at Deloitte Consulting in Washington D.C. when the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks occurred. Through her parents, that South China Sea rescue had driven into her a deep sense of wanting to help others, to serve the public, she said, and the 9/11 attacks awakened that desire. She quit her job and went to graduate school at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. And when she got out she was hired at the U.S. Department of Defense as an analyst.
She worked on a Navy service budget staff, and with the combatant command and the Pacific command. Eventually she moved up to the secretary of defense’s office as a policy analyst, and was chief of staff to a global strategic guidance planning effort that won her a Defense Department Medal for Exception

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Orlando’s cornucopia of thanks runneth over for area leaders

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

As Orlandoans gather round dinner tables with family and close friends, let us start by being thankful that those of us who can be are there to gather.
Let’s give thanks for a community that found comfort, faith, and strength in each others arms during the dawn following our darkest day, and for the commitment that we all meant what we said when we pledged unity.
This year, 2016, has been one to test our strength and faith and it’s not over. Pulse. The rash of shootings and senseless murders on Orlando’s west side. Zika. The continued demise of Puerto Rico. The gator attack on the little boy at Walt Disney World. The heroin epidemic. The murder of Christina Grimmie. The harsh, divisive election campaigns.
So it’s a mixed cornucopia we see on the table this year, filled with abominations, but also with blessings. Central Florida’s political leaders will see the same, as they sort out who or what to really be thankful for.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer should give thanks to both the city’s rich and powerful and the un-rich and un-powerful advocates who do so much good through passionate determination, and all the close relationships he’s built with all of them over the years. With those bonds he was able to leverage a beyond-expectation community response to the Pulse nightclub tragedy; and put the focus on the proper aspects, law enforcement, fire fighters and paramedics, medical professionals, service providers, healers, hope. The more tedious road to longterm recover lays ahead, so he’s got to continue leveraging those ties. Meanwhile, he must give thanks for the increasing coolness of central Orlando and big projects going forward like Creative Village, the Lake Nona sports centers, and the airport expansion.
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs should give thanks that she and this community share a heart

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Barack Obama goes below .500 in his picks for Florida House and Senate seats

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

With his legacy on the line, Barack Obama went all out during this just-concluded election season to not only get Hillary Clinton elected, but also more than 150 down ballot races for state Senate and House in states across the country, including 13 Democrats on the ballot in Florida.
With one House race so close there is a recount going on, the president’s record on those picks in Florida stands at 5-7.
Though a former state senator himself in Illinois, Obama had never previously endorsed in state Legislature races as president before this year. His first batch of any state legislative endorsements came in Florida on Oct. 21, and he actually cut an ad for state Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez, who ultimately ended up defeating GOP incumbent Miguel Diaz de la Portilla in Senate District 37.
Another Obama pick, former state representative Linda Stewart, defeated Republican Dean Ascher in the newly created Senate District 13 seat.
However, Obama’s other three Senate picks went down to defeat: Rod Smith to Keith Perry in the newly drawn SD 8 district; Debbie Mucarsel-Powell to GOP incumbent Anitere Flores in HD 39; and Bob Buesing, who lost by seven percentage points to House District 60 Rep. Dana Young in the newly created SD 18 seat in Hillsborough County.
In the House, Obama has a chance of going .500 in his eight picks, if Democrat Robert Asencio can continue to hold onto his narrow lead over Republican David Rivera in the House District 118 recount going on this week inside the Miami-Dade County Supervisor of Elections office.
Other Democrats backed  by Obama who won last week were Ben Diamond in Pinellas County’s House District 68; Nick Duran in HD 112; and U.S. Army veteran Daisy Baez over Republican John Courier in a close matchup in the HD 114, 51 percent to 49 percent.
The four Democrats who lost

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John Mica being talked about as Donald Trump’s U.S. Secretary of Transportation

Friday, November 11th, 2016

Outgoing Winter Park Republican U.S. Rep. John Mica is being talked about as a possible secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation in President-elect Donald Trump‘s administration.
Mica, who lost Tuesday’s election, ending his 24-year congressional career, has made his mark both nationally and in Central Florida primarily through programs involving trains, planes, ship ports, and highways. And Orlando area officials are excited about the prospect.
Sources told FloridaPolitics.com that Mica’s name is being floated by Trump’s transition team, and that the congressman is interested in the job, but has not heard anything definitive.
Mica declined Friday to comment to FloridaPolitics.com about the prospect.
Orange County Republican Chairman Lew Oliver said he spoke directly to Mica about it and said the congressman indicated he had heard indirectly – but not directly – that he was on a Trump list for the post, and that he is interested.
But Oliver added, “I am certain no one knows for sure.”
“You’d struggle to find anyone more qualified,” Oliver said. And he added, “It would be a God-send for Central Florida.”
The Orlando area’s chief transportation planner, Harry Barley, executive director of MetroPlan Orlando, agreed. He said he had no knowledge of whether Trump is considering Mica, but said if it’s true, it would be a good idea for Central Florida.
Mica has spent much of his congressional career dealing in transportation issues.
He is a former chair of the House Transportation Committee. He’s currently chairman of the House Committee for Government Oversight and Reform’s Subcommittee on Transportation and Public Assets, and is a member of the Transportation Committee and its subcommittees for aviation, for highways and transit, and for railroads, pipelines and hazardous materials.
Mica is widely credited as being key to bringing federal support and money to Florida for transportation infrastructure including SunRail, the I-4 expansion, high-tech street and highway traffic control systems,

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$8 million spent by outside groups in CD 7, mostly to help Stephanie Murphy upset John Mica

Friday, November 11th, 2016

Outside groups spent $8 million in Florida’s 7th Congressional District, mostly to help Democrat Stephanie Murphy oust Republican U.S. Rep. John Mica.
Updated campaign finance documents filed with the Federal Election Commission this week show outside groups such as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democrats’ House Majority PAC combined to spend nearly $6.3 million on advertising either supporting Murphy or attacking Mica. And that does not include spending by the Florida Democratic Party, which paid for several mailers down the stretch that still havn’t shown up in posted campaign finance documents.
Mica got some help from Washington too, but not nearly as much and not nearly as soon. The National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Affairs combined to spend just over $1.6 million to support Mica or bash Murphy.
Murphy won 51-49, and Mica blamed the “massive amount of money” spent against him as one of the reasons his failed re-election campaign was “difficult and challenging.”
The outside money went a long way toward defining the campaign. Neither Mica, a 12-term incumbent, nor Murphy, a newcomer, had anywhere close to that kind of money in their official campaign funds, though the most recent filings for total contributions run only through Oct. 19, so do not include anything the candidates were able to raise or spend in the last three weeks. Mica had raised $1.2 million by that time, and Murphy about $600,000.
Murphy’s outside help came early and stayed relentless for nearly two months heading into the election, paying for independent television commercials, internet advertising, and mailers. The first to arrive was the House Majority PAC, which spent $430,000 on Sept. 22 on internet and TV advertising introducing Murphy. Before it was done, that Democratic organization spent about $1.1 million.
But her big benefactor was the DCCC, which spent

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John Mica pressing hard in last effort to keep his seat

Monday, November 7th, 2016

U.S. Rep. John Mica is working it. He’s working it hard, perhaps like the 12-term Republican congressman has never had to do literally in decades. He’s working it as if, for the first time ever, his political career depends on it.
“We have more people on the ground than anybody. We’ve gone door to door. We’ve telephoned. Whatever we can cost-effectively, to get to folks. Because we’ll be outspent four or give to one,” said Mica, a Republican from Winter Park.
Mica is in a real battle with Democratic nominee Stephanie Murphy, also of Winter Park, in a race that has become a cause for national Democratic groups who’ve backed her will millions of dollars in finances and a long list of impressive Democratic figures.
For the first time, when Mica talks about being an underdog in his district, he might be telling the truth. At the very least, public opinion polling all has the contest in the margin of error. It’s been a decade since a Mica opponent even came within 20 points of him. But CD 7 is different now, redrawn to have a slight Democratic lean and a much younger, more diverse voter base than the ones that have elected or re-elected him 12 times in a row.
On Sunday he and 135 volunteers fanned out across the Goldenrod area of Orange and Seminole counties to knock on doors and press his final argument to stay in Congress. Then he headed out to the Bitho area to do the same. Monday found him in Sanford, working the tables at the Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe and the sidewalks of downtown Sanford.
“We covered thousands of households,” he said of Sunday’s canvassing efforts. “It was the biggest turnout we’ve ever had,” Mica said.
Is there a sense of desperation? Mica sees it more of his

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Democratic leaders rally around Stephanie Murphy to promote LGBT causes before final voting day

Sunday, November 6th, 2016

On the eve of early voting’s end Sunday night, Congressional District 7 hopeful Stephanie Murphy, Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith of House District 49 and Pulse survivor Brandon Wolf, who also works with the Pride Fund to End Gun Violence, came together outside the Florida Coordinated Campaign office on Colonial Drive to promote the election of leaders who will advance LGBT issues and help curb gun violence.
The importance of the election was stressed by many of the speakers, even as they addressed the fact that people say that every time.
“The stakes could not be higher,” Smith opened. “I know we hear that every election. But for real.”
Smith said the LGBT community had seen a lot of progress in 2015 with the legalization of gay marriage, but with that also came backlash and strife as conservative lawmakers pushed back against the decision.
“Around the country, there were so-called “religious freedom” bills, that really just attempted to chip away at the rights of LGBT people,” he said, drawing a comparison to the similar attempts made by some politicians to chip away at women’s reproductive rights.
Because of both of those things as well as the devastation wrought upon the community after the June 12 Pulse nightclub attack, Smith said it was extremely important to send leaders to office who would stand up for their community.
Wolf recounted the nightmare of Pulse, saying the most surreal and gut-wrenching moment early on was the realization that two of his friends would never make it out of the club alive again. He criticized John Mica for accepting a donation from the gun lobby days after the Pulse shooting, and for not representing the LGBT community.
“Stephanie Murphy, unlike John Mica, is a real leader,” Wolf said. “Mica is despicable. All he sees is the dollar signs on the bottom of his checks from

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Women’s groups see Hillary Clinton having skirt-tails to help Stephanie Murphy, other women

Saturday, November 5th, 2016

Is it Hillary Clinton or the whole women’s and feminist movement at the top of the Democrats’ ticket on Tuesday?
A rally in Orlando Saturday – part of a statewide bus tour full of women’s movement and feminist leaders – offered the suggestion that there are such stark differences in attitudes, rhetoric, histories, and policy positions between Clinton and Donald Trump and the Republicans that this is very much a gender-critical election.
The gender gap in voting has never been clearer than polls show in the Clinton-Trump contest for president. But this bus group – including state and national heads of Planned Parenthood, the National Organization For Women and Feminist Majority, along with iconic women elected leaders – is counting on the increasingly defined “women’s bloc” creating skirt-tails to help down-ballot candidates like Orlando congressional candidates Val Demings and Stephanie Murphy.
And Demings and Murphy, Democrats running in Florida’s 10th and 7th Congressional Districts, along with House District 48 Democratic candidate Amy Mercado and House District 49 Democratic candidate Carlos Guillermo Smith, made it clear Saturday that women’s issues driving the gender gap in the presidential race are their issues too.
“We may ask the question, what’s at stake? Well, everything is at stake,” said Demings, who’s opponent in CD 10, Republican nominee Thuy Lowe, is also a woman. “My future, and your future is at stake. The future of our daughters, and our granddaughters and our nieces, and every woman and every person that we love is at stake. A woman’s ability to have equal pay for equal work is at stake. A woman’s right to chose is at stake. Hillary Clinton has had our backs for a long time. My question for you today is, will we have her back?”
Murphy’s campaign and campaigns run on her behalf by national Democratic groups have

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PAC money now flooding into CD 7 race

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

U.S. Rep. John Mica and his Democratic opponent Stephanie Murphy now are getting showered with many tens of thousands of dollars in political action committee money heading into the final days before their showdown in Florida’s 7th Congressional District.
In the past seven reported days, from Oct. 26 through Nov. 1, Mica’s campaign reported receiving 52 checks from political action committees and another 19 from individuals who all contributed at least $1,000 towards his re-election campaign. Total draw during that week of reports on big checks: $138,000.
Murphy had a similar week but only drew about half as much money, partly because she received fewer checks, and partly because hers tended to be smaller than those going to Mica. Her 48-hour reports from Oct. 26 through Nov. 1 filed with the Federal Election Commission showed she collected 43 checks of at least $1,000, and 33 of those came from political action committees. Overall, those checks put $70,400 into her campaign.
Overall, Mica has had and continues to have a big lead over Murphy in official campaign money raised, though the two finished the most recent complete report with about the same amount left in the bank. Through Oct. 19, the last date for which full reports are available, Mica had raised $1.4 million and had $167,000 in the bank. Murphy, who didn’t start her campaign until late June, had raised $777,000 and had $174,000 in the bank on Oct. 19.
Yet that tells only a small and misleading part of the story of who is financing the CD 7 contest.
Both campaigns, especially Murphy’s, are being bolstered by huge sums of money being spent by outside groups trying to influence the race in CD 7, which covers Seminole County and north-central and northeast Orange County. A variety of national Democratic and state Democratic groups had spent more

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Stephanie Murphy gets former Puerto Rico official Kenneth McClintock’s backing

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Despite a significant and growing population of Puerto Rican migrants, Florida’s 7th Congressional District campaigns have largely lacked the Puerto Rican flavor of those in neighboring districts — until now, with Democrat Stephanie Murphy announcing an endorsement Tuesday from Kenneth McClintock.
He is a former lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and senate president of Puerto Rico. He is a member of Puerto Rico’s New Progressive Party, aligned with the stateside Democratic Party.
Murphy is challenging Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. John Mica in CD 7, which covers Seminole County and much of north-central and northeast Orange County. The corridor between State Roads 436 and 417 have growing Hispanic communities, largely dominated by Puerto Rican migrants.
In a news release issued by Murphy’s campaign, McClintock took up the theme she and other Democrats have pressed against Mica, seeking to tie him to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and the GOP right wing.
“While Republican members of Congress have continued supporting Donald Trump’s divisive and bigoted rhetoric against Hispanics, women, war heroes and others, and has empowered the tea party that has taken over the current Republican majority in the House, Stephanie Murphy has been a true friend of Hispanics and of all of us who want a Congress that works,” McClintock stated in the release.
“In particular, Puerto Rican voters in Central Florida will find in Stephanie Murphy a committed public servant who will stand by Puerto Rico, vote to extend equality in the earned income tax credit, child tax credits, and other programs that will help lift Puerto Rico out of its crisis, and focus on the needs of Hispanics nationwide,” he added. “As a Vietnamese-American who came to our country as a refugee fleeing communism, Stephanie already is a champion for minorities and the principle of equality.”
Murphy expressed pride to receive his endorsement.
“Kenneth is a

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Val Demings, Stephanie Murphy condemn Donald Trump visit to Sanford

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

Recalling her childhood growing up in segregated and then racially-volatile Jacksonville, Democratic congressional candidate Val Demings condemned Donald Trump Tuesday on his visit to Sanford, declaring, “his divisive, sexist, and racist rhetoric is not welcome here!”
Demings, a candidate in Florida’s 10th Congressional District, and Democrat Stephanie Murphy, a candidate in Florida’s 7th Congressional District, joined a small rally of a few dozen Hillary Clinton supporters in Sanford early Tuesday afternoon to counter Trump’s rally a few miles away at the Orlando-Sanford International Airport.
“I come to you today, the daughter of a maid and janitor. I stand before you as an African American woman. And I have seen this country, the United States of America, navigate through some very dark days. But it was also during those days that I saw leaders of all races and even of all parties work together to unite and not divide us,” Demings said. “Donald Trump is spiraling out of control.
“And he has demonstrated that he will take anybody with him who is willing to go with him,” she continued. “His divisive, sexist and racist rhetoric is not welcome here! And I know in my heart, a person who has had tremendous opportunity in this country, I know in my heart [that his rhetoric] does not reflect in the majority of people living and working in the Untied States of America.”
Demings and Murphy countered Trump’s rally within Florida’s 7th Congressional District, where Murphy is taking on Republican, 12-term incumbent U.S. Rep. John Mica of Winter Park. The district covers all of Seminole County and much of north-central and northeast Orange County. Demings is taking on Republican nominee Thuy Lowe of Sorrento in CD 10, which is southwest of CD 7, covering west Orange County.
For weeks, Murphy has been trying to link Mica with Trump. Mica

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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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Barack Obama endorses Val Demings, Stephanie Murphy

Monday, October 24th, 2016

President Barack Obama has endorsed the congressional candidacies of Democrats Val Demings and Stephanie Murphy, their campaigns announced Monday.
Murphy, of Winter Park, is running against Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. John Mica, also of Winter Park in Florida’s 7th Congressional District. Demings, a former Orlando police chief, is running against Republican nominee Thuy Lowe of Sorrento in Florida’s 10th Congressional District.
Neither endorsement is a surprise, since Murphy, Demings and Obama are all Democrats, and Obama’s approval and popularity ratings have seen a remarkable bounce this year.
“Chief Demings will be the kind of progressive leader we need to build on all of the progress we’ve made over the last eight years to create a stronger, safer, fairer country for our children,” Obama stated in a news release issued by Demings campaign. “Chief Demings is a fighter for Florida’s working families, and will fight for a level playing field so that everyone has a shot at the American dream. In Congress, I know that Chief Demings will stand up and fight to raise the minimum wage, end the influence of secret money in politics, address the climate change crisis, and enact reforms to end the cycle of senseless gun violence in our country. Orlando families can count on Val Demings to continue to stand up for them, too.”
In Murphy’s campaign press release, Obama stated, “In Congress, I know Stephanie Murphy will put Central Florida families first, and fight to build on all of the progress we’ve made over the last eight years to create a stronger, safer, fairer country for our children. In the wake of the Pulse tragedy, I have been struck by the resilience of the greater Orlando community and how they have come together to reject hate and fear, and to fight to end the cycle of senseless gun violence

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