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Florida Democratic Party News Clips — April 2, 2013

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GWEN GRAHAM, DAUGHTER OF FORMER GOVERNOR AND SENATOR BOB GRAHAM, DECLARES CANDIDACY FOR CONGRESS

Former Governor’s Daughter Files for Office [News Herald] "Gwen Graham, daughter of former Democratic Gov. Bob Graham, has filed to challenge Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Panama City, for his Second Congressional District seat in 2014. Graham, a Democrat from Tallahassee, said she is running to 'be part of the solution, not part of the problem.' She is touting herself as an 'independent' voice who can work with both Republicans and Democrats in Washington. She also said she’ll push to keep taxes low and protect Medicare and Social Security. Graham, a practicing attorney, also has worked in the Leon County school administration."

 

Graham's Daughter to Run for Congress [Tallahassee Democrat] "The daughter of former governor and senator Bob Graham has announced she’ll run for Congress in 2014. Gwen Graham, 50, said she’ll seek to challenge Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, who won his second term in Florida’s Congressional District 2 last November. Graham said Capitol Hill needs the same leadership that earned her Democrat father two terms as governor and 18 years as a U.S. senator. 'I want to be a different type of representative to find a common ground with Democrats and Republicans,' said Graham, who will seek the Democratic nomination. 'That’s the kind of leader my dad was.' Gwen Graham was born in Miami but moved into the Governor’s Mansion when her father, a former member of the state House and Senate, won the statewide seat in 1978. She graduated from Leon High School in 1980 and went on to earn her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina and her law degree from American University. She came back to Tallahassee to practice law and raise her three children, who also graduated from Leon High."

 

Former Fla. Gov.'s Daughter Running for Congress [WTXL] "The daughter of a former Florida governor is eying a congressional seat. Gwen Graham, the daughter of Bob Graham, has filed to run for Congress in Florida's Second Congressional District, which runs across North Florida...Graham says that she decided to run because she wants to give the people of North Florida an independent voice in Congress – not one beholden to special interests or party politics...She adds that she plans to use her influence to work across party lines to 'create jobs, invest in education and balance our budget -with a plan that stands up for the middle class, keeps taxes low and protects Medicare and Social Security.' 'I am ready to serve in Congress and be part of the solution, not more of the problem,' Graham said."

 

MEANWHILE GRAHAM'S OPPONENT, WHO SAID HE'D CHANGE WASHINGTON, HAS GONE WASHINGTON

U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, Critical of Government Spending, Doled Out Staff Bonuses [Florida Center for Investigative Reporting] "U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, a Republican from Panama City, in January complained that the profligate spending in Washington was at the heart of the country’s financial woes. 'We have a mountain of deficit and debt and we are spending money we don’t have,' the Republican lawmaker said in an interview with The News Herald in Panama City. What he didn’t mention was that just weeks before, he had doled out $26,000 in taxpayer money for bonuses to 16 of his staffers, records show. The funds were given in allotments of between $1,000 and $2,500 and reported on Southerland’s fourth quarter financial filings...His campaign platform advocated fiscal restraint in Washington, D.C., in line with his party colleagues."

 

RUBIO SHOWING 'COWARDICE', PLAYING POLITICS WITH IMMIGRATION REFORM

Rubio’s Immigration Cowardice [The Daily Beast] "[...] So [Rubio's] trying to do two things here at the same time, things that are completely at odds with each other. On the one hand he wants to be seen as the leader, or at least as the Republican leader, on immigration reform. He wants the spotlight in a big way...On the other hand, he wants to try to protect himself from being damaged too badly if reform collapses. He still isn’t sure, no one is sure, whether the hard-shell elements in the GOP are going to rise up against reform when crunch time hits. No one really knows what the Tea Party view will be (and Rubio of course comes from those swamps). No one yet knows how this border security as a prerequisite or 'trigger' for a path to citizenship is going to look, or whether this trigger will even be in the final legislation, and this could be an immense sticking point, turning Limbaugh and the base against reform. So just in case there’s an eruption, Rubio wants to be able to say he was against it from the start."

 

Rubio May Want to Read Up On What Gallup Says About the GOP and ‘Compromise’ [MSNBC] "Sen. Marco Rubio doesn’t want anyone who’s not him spiking the ball on comprehensive immigration reform—even as Gallup says that the biggest 'brand' problem for the GOP is a failure to compromise. People were genuinely happy with word senators had resolved 'every major policy issue' on comprehensive immigration reform. And then Rubio rained on everyone’s parade, saying 'Reports that the bipartisan group of eight senators have agreed on legislative proposal are premature.'"

 

 

ANOTHER COMPANY LURED BY RICK SCOTT'S ECONOMIC INCENTIVES PROGRAM FAILS

Brevard Clerk Files Lawsuit Against Company Lured to Florida with Economic Incentives [Tampa Bay Times] "A company that was hailed by Enterprise Florida and Gov. Rick Scott when it decided to move to Floridalast year has wasted no time getting into legal trouble. The company, BlueWare Inc., is being sued by the Brevard County Clerk of Court after a $8.6 million contract has gone sour. The company is supposed to digitize millions of pages of records for the clerk’s office under a five-year, $8.6 million contract. But recently elected Clerk of Court Scott Ellis slammed the contract as corrupt and filed a lawsuit last week to recoup millions of dollars. 'The entire bidding, selection and negotiation process regarding the (Invitation to Negotiate) was fundamentally flawed and against public policy because BlueGEM was intricately involved in the preparation of the ITN itself and essentially drafted the same,' the lawsuit reads. Ellis put it more plainly in a recent interview: 'It was a sham bid.'...It’s yet another example of an economic incentives project that has led to problems, causing many lawmakers to question if paying companies money to come to Florida is good public policy. Companies like Digital Domain, Banah International and Redpine have all gone bust after getting economic incentives from taxpayers."

 

SEN. SOBEL'S DOMESTIC PARTNERSHIP BILL PASSES COMMITTEE

Senate Domestic Partnership Bill Passes Committee 5-4 [Orlando Sentinel] "Just a week after the Supreme Court heard arguments on the legality of gay marriage, a panel of Florida Senators  approved the state’s first ever domestic partner registry. Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, said that the committee had 'made history.' 'We look forward to making this reality eventually in the state of Florida because it’s really about fundamental fairness,' she said. The measure, by Sobel, created the registry, and laid out specific rights that partners would have in Florida, such as the right to hospital visitation or prison visitation. It also guarantees that a domestic partner would have the right to participate in end-of-life care and funeral arrangements."

 

PUBLIC SCHOOL PARENTS SAY NO TO PARENT TRIGGER

Guest Opinion: Public School Parents Solidly Reject 'Parent Trigger' Legislation [News Press] "Despite a bruising defeat in the 2012 Florida Legislative session, Parent Trigger is something proponents are too stubborn to drop. Anointed 2013 sponsors, Rep. Carlos Trujillo and Sen. Kelli Stargel, struggling to re-position their brand say, 'We want to give parents  a seat at the table.' Thanks, but no thanks. Parent Trigger uses parents like a stack of cheap dinner napkins. It “empowers” us to do the grunt work then mutes our voice. Parents are expected to blindly pull the trigger without any guarantees and transfer a valuable public asset to for-profit charter chain investors – the very folks who funded the creation of Parent Trigger in the first place."

 

LEGISLATURE, RICK SCOTT FAILING TO FIX FLORIDA'S SPRINGS DESPITE LEADERSHIP FROM SEN. SOTO

Plans to Fix State's Springs Languish in Legislature [Tampa Bay Times] "U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson rode around on a glass-bottom boat in Silver Springs last week to highlight how he's concerned about the state's springs. But he's not sure what he can do about it. Gov. Rick Scott boasted to the Tampa Bay Times editorial board about how much money he's spending on the problem — but it's far less than what state water officials have said would fix the problems. Meanwhile, a pair of bills filed in the state House and Senate calling for developing plans to fix the springs are, halfway through the session, languishing without having had a committee hearing. 'I knew it was going to be heavy lifting to pass that,' said Sen. Darren Soto, D-Kissimmee, who's sponsoring SB 978, the Springs Revival Act. The reason is simple, Soto said: 'The majority of the Legislature doesn't have an appetite to have a real aggressive spring rehabilitation program, because of the expense.'"

 

Editorial: No Time to Waste in Springs' Restoration [TB Times] "The legislative session is nearly half-finished and still there is no serious movement toward repairing Florida's springs. With $4 billion in new revenue from a rebounding economy, there is enough money for lawmakers to make a serious down payment on restoration that is critical to the environment, public health and the economy."