Sep 2 2015

Weatherford Backs Dunn in Congressional Bid

It probably shouldn’t be any surprise. After all, former House Speaker Will Weatherford is the son-in-law of former House Speaker Allan Bense.

But Weatherford on Wednesday endorsed Panama City Republican Neal Dunn in the 2016 race in Northwest Florida’s Congressional District 2.

Bense was an early backer of Dunn, a physician who hopes to unseat U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, D-Fla. Also backing Dunn is state Sen. Don Gaetz, a Niceville Republican who served as Senate president when Weatherford was House speaker.

“I truly believe Neal embodies the conservative principles that North Florida possesses and is the voice that Congressional District 2 needs serving as their representative in Washington; and, I am happy to lend him my support,” Weatherford, who does not live in the district, said in a prepared statement issued by the Dunn campaign.

Also running for the Republican nomination in the district is Tallahassee attorney Mary Thomas.


The News Service of Florida

Sep 2 2015

Pitbull to be Florida ‘Ambassador’

Miami rapper Armando Christian Perez, better known as Pitbull, has teamed with Florida’s tourism-promotion arm to market the Sunshine State.

Visit Florida announced this week the partnership, which is expected to integrate the state’s travel brand into the international music scene through Pitbull, who also has the moniker of “Mr. 305.”

“Florida is home, and I’m excited to be working with Visit Florida to share what I love about the Sunshine State with my fans around the world,” Pitbull said in a release from Visit Florida.

Through the deal, Visit Florida will help promote Pitbull’s New Year’s Eve event, while Pitbull will feature the Visit Florida #LoveFL hastag on his concert video screens, which will include the New Year’s Eve show broadcast from Miami.

Financial terms were not included in the release.

“Pitbull is certainly ‘Mr. Worldwide,’ but he’s also a native Floridian with a true passion for the Sunshine State,” Paul Phipps, Visit Florida’s chief marketing officer, said in a release. “Aligning our two brands not only allows us to have a Florida ambassador who can help tell the authentic story of the state’s diverse travel experiences, but provides us a platform to reach a new generation of travelers through his global fan base.”

The deal includes Pitbull making promotional appearances on behalf of Visit Florida, concert “meet and greets,” efforts to drive social media to Visit Florida’s Facebook page and the use of Florida locales in future music videos.

In January, while attending his 34th birthday party at his charter school called SLAM (Sports Leadership and Management) in Little Havana, Pitbull was named Florida Ambassador of the Arts by attendee Gov. Rick Scott.

The News Service of Florida

Sep 2 2015

On Tap Update: Scott, CLC Together Again

The governor’s office sent out a daily schedule after the News Service’s On Tap feature hit subscribers’ inboxes Wednesday morning. So here’s an update.

Gov. Rick Scott and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera will join up to talk about jobs, jobs, jobs. They are scheduled to attend a 2:15 p.m. jobs event at Pratt & Whitney’s Engine Production Center in Palm Beach County. Also, at 9:30 a.m., Scott was scheduled to attend an Interstate 75 interchange-groundbreaking ceremony in Bradenton.



The News Service of Florida

Sep 1 2015

Bilirakis Backs Jolly Senate Bid

As he runs for the U.S. Senate, Pinellas County Congressman David Jolly is nailing down support from some of his neighbors.

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, whose district is just north of Jolly’s home base, endorsed Jolly on Tuesday. Jolly has received endorsements from three fellow Republican congressmen in the east-central part of Florida — Bilirakis, Dennis Ross and Richard Nugent.

“As a Tampa Bay native, David is keenly aware of the issues facing Floridians at both the local and national levels,” Bilirakis said in a statement released by the Jolly campaign. “His command of the legislative process and institutional knowledge will no doubt serve as a benefit to the people of Florida, especially our veterans.”

The News Service of Florida

Sep 1 2015

On Tap Update: FSU Police Hold News Conference

The governor’s office and Florida State University released schedule-related information after the News Service’s On Tap feature hit subscribers’ inboxes Tuesday morning. So here’s an update.

David Perry, Florida State’s assistant vice president for safety and chief of police, will hold a noon news conference at FSU police headquarters to discuss an arrest Monday stemming from an attempted abduction.

Gov. Rick Scott is spending Tuesday in Northeast Florida, with a Cabinet meeting that started at 9 a.m. in St. Augustine and a 3 p.m. jobs event at Anheuser-Busch in Jacksonville.  Sandwiched in between is staff and call time.

Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera has staff and call time scheduled at 2 p.m. That is the only listing on his daily schedule.



The News Service of Florida

Sep 1 2015

Sobel Delays Decision on Mayoral Bid

Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Chairwoman Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, can’t run again in 2016 for her Broward County Senate seat. But she’s also not ready to decide whether to run for Hollywood mayor, according to a statement sent to reporters late Monday.

Here is the statement:

“I have been receiving a number of inquiries about this (mayoral) seat.  Given my love for Hollywood, my years of service to this community and the fact that I am term-limited from the State Senate, I certainly understand the inquiries.

However, given my work as a Chair of a vital Senate committee and the critical nature of the upcoming special session, I am forestalling any decision until after the legislative session is completed in March.”




The News Service of Florida

Aug 31 2015

On Tap Update: Scott Schedule Dissipates

The governor’s office released a daily schedule after the News Service’s On Tap feature landed in subscribers’ inboxes Monday morning. So here’s an update (sort of).

Gov. Rick Scott made a series of appearances late last week as  Tropical Storm Erika threatened the state. But then Erika dissipated.

So Scott appears ready to have a low-key Monday. His schedule includes only staff and call time from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, meanwhile, doesn’t have anything on his official schedule.


The News Service of Florida

Aug 31 2015

TaxWatch Leads Cheers for College Football

Just in time for the start of the college football season …

Florida TaxWatch released a commentary Monday that says good college-football teams improve the academic competitiveness of universities. The reason: Increased university exposure helps attract more students.

“Given these positive impacts, rooting for Florida universities’ athletic programs may just be rooting for Florida’s academic system,” the commentary said. Here’s a link to the commentary.

The News Service of Florida

Aug 30 2015

Curry Ships Out Former Clinton Ambassador

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, a former state Republican chairman, is remaking the board that runs the city’s economically vital port.

And the latest casualty is Nancy Soderberg, who served as an ambassador in former President Bill Clinton’s administration and was a Democratic candidate for state Senate in 2012, according to a story in The Florida Times-Union. Soderberg was a JaxPort board appointee of former Democratic Mayor Alvin Brown. Here is a link to the Times-Union story.

The News Service of Florida

Aug 28 2015

Scott Storms to Tampa

After declaring a state of emergency Friday morning and getting briefed in Miami, Gov. Rick Scott is headed to Tampa to talk about Tropical Storm Erika.

Scott’s office says he will hold a news conference at 5 p.m. today at the Hillsborough County Emergency Operations Center, 2711 East Hanna Ave. in Tampa.


The News Service of Florida