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Florida Democratic Party News Clips - May 14, 2013

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AFTER SCANDAL RIDDEN TENURE OF FIRST LT. GOV., NOW SCOTT WANTS TO DOUBLE DOWN

Scott: Allen West would make great Lt. Gov. [WFLA] "Governor Rick Scott hasn't picked a new Lieutenant Governor, and it's not clear whether he will, but he says at least one Florida politician would make a superb choice. On AM Tampa Bay, the governor responded to a question by saying West 'is a great American and a great patriot... he'd be a great Lieutenant Governor.' Scott has said he would wait until the end of the session before working on finding someone to replace Jennifer Carroll, who resigned earlier this year after being questioned about an indicted charity that ran internet cafes. Her resignation was soon followed by the passage of a law banning those businesses in Florida."

 

HOUSE GOP PAYS $8.34 A MONTH FOR HEALTH INSURANCE, REFUSES TO EXPAND ACCESS TO 1.2 MILLION WORKING FLORIDIANS 

House members say yes to cheap health insurance — for themselves [Tampa Bay Times] "Florida House Republicans last month loudly and proudly rejected billions of dollars in federal money that would have provided health insurance to 1 million poor Floridians. Quietly, they kept their own health insurance premiums staggeringly low. House members will pay just $8.34 a month for state-subsidized health care next year, or $30 a month to cover their entire family. That's one-sixth of what state senators and most state employees will pay, and one-tenth of the cost to the average private-sector worker, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. It's also less than the $25 a month House Republicans wanted to charge poor Floridians for basic coverage such as a limited number of doctor visits or preventative care. House Republicans, including Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, would not say why the House did not raise its premiums to match the Senate. The premium increase was also part of Gov. Rick Scott's proposed budget. In a statement Monday, Weatherford said: 'We are aware of the differences in what House members pay compared to other state employees for health insurance and are looking forward to addressing it next session.' The discrepancy, even if it's addressed, doesn't diminish the awkwardness of House lawmakers accepting cheap, subsidized health insurance for themselves while effectively saying no to health care for others."

 

CITING "CULTURE OF INTOLERANCE," RNC'S FL HISPANIC OUTREACH DIRECTOR ABANDONS GOP, JOINS DEMOCRATIC PARTY [WHERE ALL ARE WELCOME!]

Fed up, RNC's Fla Hispanic outreach director becomes Democrat [Tampa Bay Times] "Presumably few Republican operatives have a better handle on the national Repubublican party's efforts to court Hispanic voters than Pablo Pantoja, a native of Puerto Rico, and Florida State University alum appointed by the Republican National Committee to oversee Hispanic outreach in Florida last year. He also worked as a field director in the 2010 midterm elections. Now - amid another debate over immigration reform and a widely touted Heritage foundation study on immigrants touted by a fellow who used to argue that Hispanics have a lower IQ than non-Hispanic immigrants - Pantojo has decided he's more comfortable joining the Democratic party. Here's an email he sent today: '[...] It doesn't take much to see the culture of intolerance surrounding the Republican Party today. I have wondered before about the seemingly harsh undertones about immigrants and others. Look no further; a well-known organization recently confirms the intolerance of that which seems different or strange to them.'"

Former Florida GOP Hispanic outreach director switches to Democrat [Miami Herald] "The DNC tonight circulated this note from Pablo Pantoja, who was at one time employed as the RNC's Hispanic outreach director in Florida but has not switched to Democrat, citing 'the culture of intolerance surrounding the Republican Party today.' The change was reported on Kevin Cate's blog. As we reported last August, Pantoja quit his RNC post, apparently frustrated with the outreach effort."

 

SEN. NELSON LEADING THE FIGHT TO PROTECT AMERICAN TOURISTS FROM FRAUD ABROAD

Florida Senator continues to demand answers after Americans’ arrest in Turks and Caicos [Miami Herald] "Florida Sen. Bill Nelson said Monday he has learned of another case of an American tourist arrested in the Caribbean on charges of having a bullet in his luggage. Now, Nelson is stepping up pressure on the U. S. State Department for more information on similar incidents. Nelson’s office released information on the two-year-old incident, which involved a U.S. citizen arrested in Freeport, Bahamas. The man, from Liberty, Kansas spent three days in a Bahamian jail after a bullet was found in his fanny pack at the airport. 'This raises further questions about whether there’s been a shakedown of some American tourists – and about how long this might have been happening,' Nelson wrote Monday in a letter to Ambassador Janice Jacobs, the assistant secretary of state for U.S. consular affairs. Last week, Nelson raised concerns about two Americans, vacationing in the Turks and Caicos Islands, arrested last month in separate incidents after one bullet was found in their luggage."