Nov 21 2011

Cannon likes idea of settling Brody case

Senate Rules Chairman John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, implored attorneys last week to reach agreement about compensation for Eric Brody, who suffered debilitating injuries in a 1998 car accident with a Broward County sheriff’s deputy.

With a lobbying battle looming about a Brody claims bill,  House Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, indicated Monday he also would like to see the issue settled.

“I think Sen. Thrasher’s a very wise man, and that’s good advice,” said Cannon, when asked about Thrasher’s comments.

Senate President Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, has made a priority of passing a claims bill that could lead to Brody receiving more than $15 million. But an insurer for the Broward sheriff’s office has successfully lobbied against such bills in the past and says it has offered to settle the matter for $8.5 million — an amount that the Brody family says will not be adequate to care for Eric Brody.

A Brody bill failed in the House during the chaotic final hours of the 2011 session. The Legislature will have to focus during the 2012 session on passing a budget and redistricting plans. But Cannon also noted that some House members philosophically oppose claims bills, which effectively waive sovereign-immunity protections for government agencies.

The News Service of Florida

Nov 21 2011

Rasmussen: Connie Mack leads Bill Nelson

A Rasmussen poll of likely voters in Florida shows U.S. Rep. Connie Mack edging ahead of U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, though the difference between the two is right around the margin of error for the poll. More from Rasmussen is here

The News Service of Florida

Nov 20 2011

Will Aronberg create ‘heartbreaking’ primary?

The possibility that former Sen. Dave Aronberg will challenge incumbent State Attorney Michael McAuliffe is raising concerns about what the Palm Beach County Democratic chairman calls a “heartbreaking” primary battle.

The Palm Beach Post reports that Aronberg, a Greenacres Democrat, said he has not made a decision about running. But the prospect worries party leaders — many of whom have lined up behind McAuliffe.

Here is a link to the Post story, which also includes information about former Senate President Ken Pruitt working as a consultant.

The News Service of Florida

Nov 18 2011

UNF poll: Obama and Romney in toss-up in Jax

A University of North Florida poll shows President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney essentially tied among voters in the Jacksonville area, each preferred by about 40 percent of respondents. Obama beats Rick Perry or Herman Cain in the Jacksonville poll. The details are here

The News Service of Florida

Nov 18 2011

Alvin Brown: Jobs will satisfy protesters

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown said he sympathizes in some ways with the Occupy protesters, but wants to make sure they have work, so they won’t have a need to protest. “They can express themselves but I really I want to make sure that they have a job so that they can pay their college loan off, have a good quality of life, but literally go get a job,” Brown, a Democrat, said, according to WOKV Radio in Jacksonville.

The News Service of Florida

Nov 17 2011

Is Wasserman Schultz’s voter suppression argument ironic?

Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz blasted Republicans on Wednesday for passing election laws that include restrictions such as new limits on early voting.

Wasserman Schultz, who also is chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, accused Republicans of trying to limit Democratic turnout and likened the restrictions to the “modern day equivalent of poll taxes and literacy tests,” according to a report in The Hill.

But U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, fired back at Wasserman Schultz and raised questions about Florida’s controversial election history.

“I find it a bit ironic that I’m watching the representatives from Florida, New York and Texas speak to the speaker pro temp… about the election situation,” The Hill quoted King as saying. “I’m thinking about the 2000 election when it was reported… that as many as 25,000 people from New York voted both in New York and in Florida either for a president from Texas or one from Tennessee.”

Here is a link to The Hill story.

The News Service of Florida

Nov 17 2011

Nick Loeb to skip Senate race

Delray Beach businessman Nick Loeb said today he won’t run for the U.S. Senate. At a Miami Beach news conference, Loeb told reporters that his health still isn’t up to par following an accident last year in which he was hit by a car and broke his pelvis. Loeb, has run in the past for a state Senate seat but dropped out. According to several news reports, Loeb said he remains interested in political service but that he doesn’t have the physical ability to do it right now. Loeb is also known as the fiance of acrtress Sofia Vergara.

The News Service of Florida

Nov 17 2011

Leonard Bembry announces challenge to Steve Southerland

State Rep. Leonard Bembry, D-Greenville, announced Thursday that he will challenge freshman Republican Congressman Steve Southerland next year. Bembry filed with the Federal Elections Commission to run in the Second Congressional District, which Southerland won last year as part of the GOP tsunami. It’s not clear how the district will look after the Legislature finishes the once-in-a-decade redistricting process.

“If elected, I will go to Washington as a common-sense, honest, hard-working, conservative problem solver who believes that a dose of north Florida values and ‘can-do’ spirit is what we need to get this country moving again,” Bembry said in a statement announcing his candidacy.

Bembry’s fledgling campaign said the two-term lawmaker, who had the highest score among Democrats on the American Conservative Union’s recently-released report card, is “perhaps the most conservative Democrat in the Florida House.” The district was held by former U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd, a conservative Democrat, for 14 years.

Alvin Peters, longtime chairman of the Bay County Democratic Party, has also said he will challenge Southerland. Former Republican lawmaker Nancy Argenziano, who split with the Republican Party in 2010, has said she will run for the seat as an Independent.

Here’s Bembry’s full press release:

Leonard Bembry to Challenge Steve Southerland for Congress

Conservative Businessman, Farmer, Citizen-Legislator to Focus on Jobs, North Florida Values

Greenville, Florida – State Representative Leonard Bembry (D-North Florida) today announced his candidacy for United States Congress from Florida’s second district.  He has filed the necessary paperwork with the Federal Election Commission and will begin traveling the district and building a campaign immediately.   A formal announcement tour will follow.

“The priorities of this Congress couldn’t be more wrong for north Florida and our nation,” said Bembry.  “While politicians in Washington fight with each other and refuse to address the big issues we face, real people everywhere continue to struggle with a stalled economy and poor job market that need a jolt charge and a runaway budget that needs to be responsibly controlled.  Steve Southerland has not delivered on the political promises he made in 2010 to create jobs, change Washington, DC, and bring practical solutions that will put Floridians back to work and tackle the tough challenges we face.”

Leonard Bembry was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2008 and was re-elected last year.  He is one of the most independent members of the legislature and perhaps the most conservative Democrat in the Florida House.  In the legislature, Bembry quickly earned a reputation as an expert on budget, economic development and agriculture issues.  He believes that creating new and better jobs, supporting small businesses by cutting taxes and regulations, protecting our seniors and Veterans, and preserving traditional values are the biggest issues facing America.

Bembry will energetically and faithfully serve the remainder of his term in the Florida House and looks forward to a busy and productive 2012 legislative session.

“I was a farmer and businessman for almost 40 years before I decided that it was my responsibility to pursue public service.  I am grounded in north Florida because it’s always been my home.  It is where I was raised and where Susan and I have chosen to raise our family.  We love it here,” said Bembry.  “I am concerned about the kind of future we are leaving for our children and grandchildren.  The country is not on the right track and our elected leaders in Washington, DC are failing the test of true citizenship by playing politics instead of solving problems.

“If elected, I will go to Washington as a common-sense, honest, hard-working, conservative problem solver who believes that a dose of north Florida values and ‘can-do’ spirit is what we need to get this country moving again,” said Bembry.

Leonard Bembry and Susan, his wife of 44 years, have 3 children and 9 grandchildren.  The Bembry family spans 4 generations in north Florida.

The News Service of Florida

Nov 17 2011

Hispanic vote may beckon GOP candidates to Miami in Jan

The National Journal’s Beth Reinhard points out the announcement of a January conference in Florida of Hispanic leaders right before the state’s primary, would clearly like to host at least one of the Republican candidate’s for president.

Meanwhile, here is a link to the group’s announcement of the January event, which will feature Jeb Bush and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez.



The News Service of Florida

Nov 17 2011

Sabato: Florida Senate race now a toss-up

With U.S. Rep. Connie Mack now in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate race, national political watcher Larry Sabato says the race for the seat now held by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson can be considered a toss-up and “one of the most competitive Senate races in the country.”

Here’s Sabato’s Website

The News Service of Florida