Thursday, May 28, 2009

Background on Judge Sonia Sotomayor

From the White House:

Judge Sonia Sotomayor

Sonia Sotomayor has served as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit since October 1998. She has been hailed as "one of the ablest federal judges currently sitting" for her thoughtful opinions,i and as "a role model of aspiration, discipline, commitment, intellectual prowess and integrity"ii for her ascent to the federal bench from an upbringing in a South Bronx housing project.

Her American story and three decade career in nearly every aspect of the law provide Judge Sotomayor with unique qualifications to be the next Supreme Court Justice. She is a distinguished graduate of two of America's leading universities. She has been a big-city prosecutor and a corporate litigator. Before she was promoted to the Second Circuit by President Clinton, she was appointed to the District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H.W. Bush. She replaces Justice Souter as the only Justice with experience as a trial judge.

Judge Sotomayor served 11 years on the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, one of the most demanding circuits in the country, and has handed down decisions on a range of complex legal and constitutional issues. If confirmed, Sotomayor would bring more federal judicial experience to the Supreme Court than any justice in 100 years, and more overall judicial experience than anyone confirmed for the Court in the past 70 years. Judge Richard C. Wesley, a George W. Bush appointee to the Second Circuit, said "Sonia is an outstanding colleague with a keen legal mind. She brings a wealth of knowledge and hard work to all her endeavors on our court. It is both a pleasure and an honor to serve with her."

In addition to her distinguished judicial service, Judge Sotomayor is a Lecturer at Columbia University Law School and was also an adjunct professor at New York University Law School until 2007.

An American Story

Judge Sonia Sotomayor has lived the American dream. Born to a Puerto Rican family, she grew up in a public housing project in the South Bronx. Her parents moved to New York during World War II – her mother served in the Women’s Auxiliary Corps during the war. Her father, a factory worker with a third-grade education, died when Sotomayor was nine years old. Her mother, a nurse, then raised Sotomayor and her younger brother, Juan, now a physician in Syracuse. After her father’s death, Sotomayor turned to books for solace, and it was her new found love of Nancy Drew that inspired a love of reading and learning, a path that ultimately led her to the law.

Most importantly, at an early age, her mother instilled in Sotomayor and her brother a belief in the power of education. Driven by an indefatigable work ethic, and rising to the challenge of managing a diagnosis of juvenile diabetes, Sotomayor excelled in school. Sotomayor graduated as valedictorian of her class at Blessed Sacrament and at Cardinal Spellman High School in New York. She first heard about the Ivy League from her high school debate coach, Ken Moy, who attended Princeton University, and she soon followed in his footsteps after winning a scholarship.

At Princeton, she continued to excel, graduating summa cum laude, and Phi Beta Kappa. She was a co-recipient of the M. Taylor Pyne Prize, the highest honor Princeton awards to an undergraduate. At Yale Law School, Judge Sotomayor served as an editor of the Yale Law Journal and as managing editor of the Yale Studies in World Public Order. One of Sotomayor’s former Yale Law School classmates, Robert Klonoff (now Dean of Lewis & Clark Law School), remembers her intellectual toughness from law school: "She would stand up for herself and not be intimidated by anyone." [Washington Post, 5/7/09]

A Champion of the Law

Over a distinguished career that spans three decades, Judge Sotomayor has worked at almost every level of our judicial system – yielding a depth of experience and a breadth of perspectives that will be invaluable – and is currently not represented -- on our highest court. New York City District Attorney Morgenthau recently praised Sotomayor as an "able champion of the law" who would be "highly qualified for any position in which wisdom, intelligence, collegiality and good character could be assets." [Wall Street Journal, 5/9/09]

A Fearless and Effective Prosecutor

Fresh out of Yale Law School, Judge Sotomayor became an Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan in 1979, where she tried dozens of criminal cases over five years. Spending nearly every day in the court room, her prosecutorial work typically involved "street crimes," such as murders and robberies, as well as child abuse, police misconduct, and fraud cases. Robert Morgenthau, the person who hired Judge Sotomayor, has described her as a "fearless and effective prosecutor." [Wall Street Journal, 5/9/09] She was cocounsel in the "Tarzan Murderer" case, which convicted a murderer to 67 and ½ years to life in prison, and was sole counsel in a multiple-defendant case involving a Manhattan housing project shooting between rival family groups.

A Corporate Litigator

She entered private practice in 1984, becoming a partner in 1988 at the firm Pavia and Harcourt. She was a general civil litigator involved in all facets of commercial work including, real estate, employment, banking, contracts, and agency law. In addition, her practice had a significant concentration in intellectual property law, including trademark, copyright and unfair competition issues. Her typical clients were significant corporations doing international business. The managing partner who hired her, George Pavia, remembers being instantly impressed with the young Sonia Sotomayor when he hired her in 1984, noting that "she was just ideal for us in terms of her background and training." [Washington Post, May 7, 2009]

A Sharp and Fearless Trial Judge

Her judicial service began in October 1992 with her appointment to the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York by President George H.W. Bush. Still in her 30s, she was the youngest member of the court. From 1992 to 1998, she presided over roughly 450 cases. As a trial judge, she earned a reputation as a sharp and fearless jurist who does not let powerful interests bully her into departing from the rule of law. In 1995, for example, she issued an injunction against Major League Baseball owners, effectively ending a baseball strike that had become the longest work stoppage in professional sports history and had caused the cancellation of the World Series the previous fall. She was widely lauded for saving baseball. Claude Lewis of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that by saving the season, Judge Sotomayor joined "the ranks of Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson and Ted Williams."

A Tough, Fair and Thoughtful Jurist

President Clinton appointed Judge Sotomayor to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1998. She is the first Latina to serve on that court, and has participated in over 3000 panel decisions, authoring roughly 400 published opinions. Sitting on the Second Circuit, Judge Sotomayor has tackled a range of questions: from difficult issues of constitutional law, to complex procedural matters, to lawsuits involving complicated business organizations. In this context, Sotomayor is widely admired as a judge with a sophisticated grasp of legal doctrine. "’She appreciates the complexity of issues,’ said Stephen L. Carter, a Yale professor who teaches some of her opinions in his classes. Confronted with a tough case, Carter said, ‘she doesn’t leap at its throat but reasons to get to the bottom of issues.’" For example, in United States v. Quattrone, Judge Sotomayor concluded that the trial judge had erred by forbidding the release of jurors’ names to the press, concluding after carefully weighing the competing concerns that the trial judge’s concerns for a speedy and orderly trial must give way to the constitutional freedoms of speech and the press.

Sotomayor also has keen awareness of the law’s impact on everyday life. Active in oral arguments, she works tirelessly to probe both the factual details and the legal doctrines in the cases before her and to arrive at decisions that are faithful to both. She understands that upholding the rule of law means going beyond legal theory to ensure consistent, fair, common-sense application of the law to real-world facts. For example, In United States v. Reimer, Judge Sotomayor wrote an opinion revoking the US citizenship for a man charged with working for the Nazis in World War II Poland, guarding concentration camps and helping empty the Jewish ghettos. And in Lin v. Gonzales and a series of similar cases, she ordered renewed consideration of the asylum claims of Chinese women who experienced or were threatened with forced birth control, evincing in her opinions a keen awareness of those women’s plights.

Judge Sotomayor’s appreciation of the real-world implications of judicial rulings is paralleled by her sensible practicality in evaluating the actions of law enforcement officers. For example, in United States v. Falso, the defendant was convicted of possessing child pornography after FBI agents searched his home with a warrant. The warrant should not have been issued, but the agents did not know that, and Judge Sotomayor wrote for the court that the officers’ good faith justified using the evidence they found. Similarly in United States v. Santa, Judge Sotomayor ruled that when police search a suspect based on a mistaken belief that there is a valid arrest warrant out on him, evidence found during the search should not be suppressed. Ten years later, in Herring v. United States, the Supreme Court reached the same conclusion. In her 1997 confirmation hearing, Sotomayor spoke of her judicial philosophy, saying" I don’t believe we should bend the Constitution under any circumstance. It says what it says. We should do honor to it." Her record on the Second Circuit holds true to that statement. For example, in Hankins v. Lyght, she argued in dissent that the federal government risks "an unconstitutional trespass" if it attempts to dictate to religious organizations who they can or cannot hire or dismiss as spiritual leaders. Since joining the Second Circuit, Sotomayor has honored the Constitution, the rule of law, and justice, often forging consensus and winning conservative colleagues to her point of view.

A Commitment to Community

Judge Sotomayor is deeply committed to her family, to her co-workers, and to her community. Judge Sotomayor is a doting aunt to her brother Juan’s three children and an attentive godmother to five more. She still speaks to her mother, who now lives in Florida, every day. At the courthouse, Judge Sotomayor helped found the collegiality committee to foster stronger personal relationships among members of the court. Seizing an opportunity to lead others on the path to success, she recruited judges to join her in inviting young women to the courthouse on Take Your Daughter to Work Day, and mentors young students from troubled neighborhoods Her favorite project, however, is the Development School for Youth program, which sponsors workshops for inner city high school students. Every semester, approximately 70 students attend 16 weekly workshops that are designed to teach them how to function in a work setting. The workshop leaders include investment bankers, corporate executives and Judge Sotomayor, who conducts a workshop on the law for 25 to 35 students. She uses as her vehicle the trial of Goldilocks and recruits six lawyers to help her. The students play various roles, including the parts of the prosecutor, the defense attorney, Goldilocks and the jurors, and in the process they get to experience openings, closings, direct and cross-examinations. In addition to the workshop experience, each student is offered a summer job by one of the corporate sponsors. The experience is rewarding for the lawyers and exciting for the students, commented Judge Sotomayor, as "it opens up possibilities that the students never dreamed of before." [Federal Bar Council News, Sept./Oct./Nov. 2005, p.20] This is one of many ways that Judge Sotomayor gives back to her community and inspires young people to achieve their dreams.

She has served as a member of the Second Circuit Task Force on Gender, Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts and was formerly on the Boards of Directors of the New York Mortgage Agency, the New York City Campaign Finance Board, and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.

i American Philosophical Society, Biographical Essays of Moderators, Speakers, Inductees and Award Recipients, Annual General Meeting, April 2003, at 36.

ii Honorary Degree Citation, Pace University School of Law, 2003 Commencement.

Statement of U.S. Rep. Kendrick B. Meek on Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s Nomination to the Supreme Court

"Today, President Obama nominated Judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace retired Justice David Souter to the Supreme Court. Judge Sotomayor is a first rate jurist possessing a deep understanding of the Constitution, and yet she is intimately aware with how judicial rulings impact the lives of ordinary Americans. As with President Obama, her life story, as a Latina who rose from a public housing upbringing to being nominated for the highest court in the land, is inspiring and she too is an extraordinary American. Her passion for the law, ability to seek consensus and work with fellow jurists across the ideological spectrum makes Judge Sotomayor a well suited addition to the Supreme Court, once confirmed. President Obama has asked for and Judge Sotomayor deserves a civil and timely confirmation process. I urge the U.S. Senate to carry out its constitutional duty and hold thorough and substantive confirmation hearings on her nomination."

Thurman Praises President Obama's Selection of Sonia Sotomayor As His Nominee to the Supreme Court

From the FDP:

Florida Democratic Party Chair Karen Thurman issued the following statement after President Obama announced his selection of Sonia Sotomayor as his nominee to the United States Supreme Court. When confirmed, Sotomayor will be the third woman to serve and the Court's first Hispanic justice:

"Nominating a justice to the Supreme Court of the United States is one of a President's most serious and consequential responsibilities. President Obama pledged to select a nominee with a rigorous intellect, a mastery of the law and a commitment to impartial justice. He promised to select someone who has a broader perspective on how the world works and has a commonsense understanding of how the law affects the daily realities of every day life.

"Today President Obama delivered on his promise with the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor. Sotomayor's stirring life story and outstanding career - at nearly every level of our judicial system - makes her uniquely qualified to serve as America's next Supreme Court Justice. Throughout her career on the bench, she has been lauded as a fearless jurist, with a sharp and independent mind and a deep commitment to the rule of law and our constitutional traditions. I commend President Obama on his outstanding choice and congratulate Judge Sotomayor on her nomination."

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek Endorsed for U.S. Senate by Gainesville Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan

"Mayor Hanrahan has welcomed me to her city on my two recent visits to Gainesville. This community is fortunate to be led by one of the best - a mayor who is leading today by creating a green infrastructure for Gainesville's future. Pegeen is a forward thinker and under her leadership, Gainesville will be a model city for energy innovation and conservation,” said Congressman Kendrick Meek. “I look forward to spending many days on the campaign trail with the number one Gator fan in Gainesville."

“Congressman Kendrick Meek is passionate about people and that is the essence of public service. He is a leader in Congress who sits on the powerful Ways and Means Committee and issues that affect Gainesville, from climate change to the creation of an economy producing green collar jobs, are subjects Kendrick tackles on a daily basis,” said Mayor Hanrahan. “He has visited Gainesville twice already indicating to me that Kendrick will be a statewide candidate who will compete in every city and county no matter its size or geographic location. I strongly endorse Kendrick Meek for U.S. Senate and look forward to campaigning with him in Gainesville and throughout Gator Country.”

Last week, Congressman Meek was endorsed by Broward County Mayor Stacy Ritter, West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel and Tallahassee Mayor John Marks.


From the House Dems:

Governor Charlie Crist signed into law today a $66.5 billion budget that raises new taxes and fees, cuts vital programs for seniors, and will force layoffs of teachers and law enforcement officers throughout the state.

The governor’s veto of a proposed state pay cut for certain state workers prevents potential pain for some hard-working individuals, but his budget fails to address the needs of many other Floridians.

“I fear that real harm may come to some families,” said House Democratic Leader Franklin Sands (D-Weston). “I’m saddened that this budget cuts important programs and raises $2 billion in taxes and fees on middle-class Floridians and working families. Who’s looking out for small businesses and families? Not Republicans.

“The budget puts to use new federal economic stimulus dollars championed by Democrats, but it does far too little to meaningfully stimulate the economy or create jobs and is built on the backs of smokers, gamblers and motorists.”

In the simplest of terms, the budget offers short-sighted, short-term solutions for long-term problems, such as Florida’s inequitable tax structure. Once more, the wealthy and big businesses will fare far better than working families and small enterprises under this budget.

Florida farmers, small business owners and various industry leaders will endure significant new costs of doing business in Florida under a wide array of new motor vehicle fees and other charges.

Among other highlights:

· The budget offers short-sighted, short-term solutions for long-term problems, such as Florida’s inequitable tax structure. Once more, the wealthy and big businesses will fare far better than working families and small enterprises under this budget.

· Florida’s per capita state education funding is among the lowest in the nation. This budget doesn’t significantly fix years of sharp reductions in state spending for schools.

· Thousands of seniors and people with developmental disabilities will remain on waiting lists for services under this budget. Additionally, key programs that provide meals, home-care services and important assistance to Florida seniors will be severely curtailed under this budget.

· Thousands of people who potentially could have received extended unemployment compensation benefits will not get the help they need because of Republican House members’ refusal to accept $444 million in federal economic recovery monies for the unemployed.


From the Senate Dems:

"I applaud the governor's decision to strike from the new budget a provision that would have harmed a select group of state employees, many of whom have dedicated years of their professional lives serving the people of Florida. These weren't nameless bureaucrats in dull grey government buildings. These were the first responders in natural disasters, the front line guardians of our state's highways and children in crisis, and the ones struggling to keep up with the demand of the thousands of unemployed desperately needing emergency help, to name just a few.

"The proposal to slash these salaries was misguided from the beginning, and underscored the critical need for a more balanced approach in raising and spending tax dollars by the leadership of this state. Too many lucrative loopholes that have favored well-healed special interests remain protected while fees and fines are increased on the little guy. Salaries of certain state workers were targeted for cuts while a blind eye continues to be turned to private contractors receiving automatic pay raises with the blessings of the Legislature. While Florida's economy continues to sputter, our call for a probe of these un-monitored raises and how much it costs taxpayers annually, remains unanswered.

"It is my hope that this veto serves as a reminder that we can't keep foisting the economic burden onto the shoulders of those already carrying more than their fair share. And it is my hope that this veto is the first step in recognizing that tax fairness is long overdue for the people of Florida."

Capitol Offense: Draft Taddeo for Florida's CFO

Last week, 2008 congressional challenger Annette Taddeo suggested she might be interested in a possible run for CFO. This would be a very good idea.

If you already know about Annette and agree, go sign the petition and encourage her to jump into the race.

Taddeo ran a strong campaign against Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen in Florida's 18th District. Despite widespread support and much excitement generated by her candidacy, she was unable to overcome the popularity of the incubment, who had the vast resources of her office and long career in politics to hold off the newcomer. Taddeo did establish herself as a progressive politician to keep an eye on, though.

Upon hearing that she might consider running to replace Alex Sink as Florida's chief financial officer, several bloggers, Fried Gator and myself included, decided that this was something we really wanted to see happen. So, we've launched a new blog Draft Annette Taddeo for CFO and a petition to convince that this is the best way that Annette can serve the state and this is her best career option right now. Since she has expressed openness to running for CFO, we want her to know that she has the support of the people. Maybe that will convince her to take the plunge and join the race.

And this is the year to do it. It looks like the Republicans will offer up a slate of old white guys for Florida's state-wide offices. And not just any old white guys, the same old white guys that got us in the mess we are in now. Democrats, on the other hand, are looking to field a diverse group of candidates for office -- women, African-Americans, Jewish candidates. Wouldn't it be great to add another woman -- a Colombian woman -- to that field? And wouldn't it be great to see a cabinet with a gender make-up that reflected our actual population.

This is particularly true when the Colombian woman in question is so well-qualified for the job. She's got great experience to serve as CFO. She is the founder and CEO of LanguageSpeak, a company with many huge clients across the nation. LanguageSpeak isn't just any corporation, either, it's a company with the goal of bettering society built right in to its mission. They provide language services including translations, interpretors and tutoring in over 100 languages. Taddeo is working on bring the world closer together through better communication. Sounds to me like the type of person I want running our government.

During the 2008 campaign, Annette consistantly came down on the right side of the issues. She endorsed the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq. She opposed the Defense of Marriage Act and the Bush global gag rule on abortion. She supported reporductive rights, domestic partnerships, renewable energy and the expansion of early childhood education.

If this sounds like the type of person you want in Tallahassee, sign the petition.

It was stances like those above that helped garner Annette widespread support from Florida bloggers. Florida Progressive Coalition endorsed her and she was frequently supported by blogs like and Miami-Dade Dems, among others.

Many of the best organizations on the left supported her candidacy last time around, showing that it wasn't just Florida bloggers who liked her. She was endorsed by Feminist Majority, NOW, EMILY’s List, Florida AFL-CIO, People for the American Way, Planned Parenthood, DFA, Women's Campaign Forum, Congressional Hispanic Caucus' BOLD PAC, Russ Feingold's Patriot Corps and Red to Blue.

Another thing I love about Taddeo is that she's very plugged in to the Netroots and is supportive of bloggers and online activists. She appeared on a "Future Leaders" panel at Netroost Nation last year and her campain brought in attention from national blogs such as Daily Kos, Open Left, firedoglake, Swing State Project, Huffington Post, AMERICAblog, MyDD and many others. She raised more than $80 thousand on Act Blue last time around, putting her far ahead of most Florida congressional candidates.

Is that enough to convince you to sign the petition.

If you want to see for yourself how great she is, check Annette out in action at Netroots Nation in 2008:

You can also learn more from her Blue America chat or by watching her memorable Pea Pod ad from last year's campaign:

Did I mention you should sign the petition?

I'm Kenneth Quinnell and I approve this message.

Read more on Florida politics at the Florida Progressive Coalition blog ( and the Florida Progressive Coalition Wiki (

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rep. Grayson and Economists: How Do You Know When It's Too Big to Fail?

Statement of U.S. Rep. Kendrick B. Meek (D-FL) Honoring Our Veterans on Memorial Day

Today, U.S. Rep. Kendrick B. Meek released the following statement ahead of Memorial Day, this Monday, May 25, 2009:

"This Memorial Day, our country will come together to honor the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. While we can never fully say thank you to our veterans and honor the memory of those who served, we can always try and days like Memorial Day serve as a reminder that within all of our communities, we are surrounded by brave individuals who have fought for our freedom.

“This year, our nation is still at war. We pause and pay tribute to the courageous men and women who are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. My effort is focused on working with our military commanders and allies from NATO to defeat the Taliban and their allies in Afghanistan to bring about a lasting peace for the people of that war ravaged nation.

“I also pause to honor the memory of my uncle, King George Pittman, a Purple Heart recipient who fought in World War Two and in the Korean War and is now buried at Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place for our men and women of valor.

“Veterans know that my door is always open to them and whether it be the Military Order of the Purple Heart from Daytona Beach, or the Jewish War Veterans from throughout Florida, they have a friend in the U.S. Congress.

“On this Memorial Day, let’s all remember that caring for those who bear the brunt of war and are currently deployed overseas is our moral obligation.”

Details on JJ (Including Blogger Credential Info)

From the FDP:

The Florida Democratic Party will hold our annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on May 30, 2009 at the newly renovated Fontainebleau hotel on Miami Beach with featured speakers: VA Governor Tim Kaine (Democratic National Committee Chairman), U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, Florida CFO Alex Sink, Chairwoman Karen Thurman and other Florida Democratic Party leaders.

Florida Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson Dinner

VA Governor Tim Kaine, Democratic National Committee Chairman
U.S. Senator Bill Nelson
CFO Alex Sink
Chairwoman Karen Thurman
Other Florida Democratic Party Leaders

4441 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33140

Saturday, May 30, 2009
Press Pre-set at 5:00 PM
Dinner begins at 6:00 PM

All media MUST be pre-confirmed for credentials by emailing Eric Jotkoff, with name, media outlet, mobile phone and email address. Media (including bloggers) not properly credentialed will not be admitted to the dinner.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sen. Dave Aronberg: 13-Months and $3 Million Later, FDOT left at the Privatization Altar‏

From the Senate Dems:

A controversial plan that wasted almost $3 million dollars over a 13-month period dramatically underscores the need for tough legislation protecting taxpayers from similar privatization follies, Senator Dave Aronberg (D-Greenacres) said Thursday.

“This idea was ill-conceived from the very beginning. The Department of Transportation sped through the process and taxpayer dollars with minimal public input, and it deserves to be dead and buried forever,” said Aronberg, a long-time consumer advocate and government privatization watchdog.

At issue is the State’s costly and futile attempt to lease Alligator Alley to foreign-owned corporations for 50 to 75 years. The 84 mile roadway, built almost 50 years ago with public funds, largely traverses the Everglades, connecting Southwest and Southeast Florida.

Deeply concerned that privatization could not only threaten Florida’s security by allowing a foreign-owned corporation to take control of the highway, but that the state would be powerless to stop toll hikes or deceased maintenance, Aronberg attempted to pass legislation this year preventing both.

Aronberg’s bills would have barred foreign-owned companies from bidding on Alligator Alley or similar highway projects, and imposed a two-year moratorium on any deal to turn over control of state roads to private companies.

Although the legislature failed to pass Aronberg’s measures, the Greenacres Democrat was successful in passing an amendment through the Senate that would increase oversight of such deals. The implications of the amendment drew increased scrutiny on FDOT’s high stakes privatization gamble.

Having spent $2.9 million over the course of 13 months on consultants and attorneys, the agency was left empty-handed. Despite earlier signals from interested corporations, including foreign-owned ones, and two bidding extensions, no bids were received by FDOT’s Monday deadline.

“The lack of bids doesn’t mean there is a lack of interest,” Aronberg said. “Unfortunately, throughout this entire ordeal, we’ve seen the details often surface after the fact, and the public becomes the last to know where their money has been spent and what they get from the deal.

“Having spent nearly $3 million in public funds with nothing to show for it, I believe the agency needs to learn the lessons from this costly gamble. And the people of Florida have gained 3 million new reasons to embrace the bills I intend to file once again.”

Join Me and Alex Sink‏

From Karen Thurman:

Dear Kenneth,

Last week, Alex Sink made history and announced that she is running for Governor.

I know that she will provide a new and different kind of leadership and help Florida solve the challenges facing all of us. With Alex Sink leading the ticket we have amazing opportunities to build on our success in 2008 and elect fresh leaders like Alex who can bring change to Tallahassee.

For the first time in decades, every statewide office and dozens of legislative races are up grabs across the state. Floridians are ready for a change and deserve leadership that will fight for them.

And in just a few weeks Alex Sink and Democrats from all over the state are gathering together for an amazing night: our annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner. While tickets are already sold out, I am giving you a chance to join us.

We will select one grassroots donor, and invite them and their guest to join me, Alex, many other leaders and energized Democrats at this exciting event. You will also get the opportunity to meet with Alex in person and share you thoughts and ideas about the future of Florida with her.

Make a contribution to the Florida Democratic Party in the next seven days and you could be selected to join us at our annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner in Miami on May 30th.

But as we gather for our Jefferson-Jackson Dinner and prepare to bring a different kind of leadership - many are working just as hard to make sure that the same old politics remains in Tallahassee. The Republican Party leaders and powerful special interests are working hard to ensure that Tallahassee doesn't look much different after the 2010 election.

What they aren't counting on is you. You helped us make history in 2008 by helping elect President Barack Obama, and bringing change to our country. Now we need to do it again to change Florida.

Contribute now and you and a guest could be selected to join us in Miami for the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, speak with Alex Sink and see the change we can make in the state.

With your help, we can build a grassroots campaign that will change Florida for generations to come. Now that Alex Sink is running for Governor, we can finally have a businesswoman and working mom leading our state. And with the U.S. Senate seat, every Cabinet seat, and 31 open Republican held legislative seats up for grabs, we have the opportunity and the challenge to make this historic change a reality.

Thank you for all your support and I look forward to your excitement and energy in the months ahead!




Congresswoman Karen L. Thurman
Chair, Florida Democratic Party

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek Endorsed for U.S. Senate by City of West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Miami) was endorsed by City of West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel today, the first mayor in Palm Beach County to endorse Kendrick Meek.

“When I think of West Palm Beach, the first person that comes to my mind is Mayor Frankel,” said Congressman Kendrick Meek. “Lois is a fierce advocate for her community, always providing the very best leadership for her constituents. For too many years so-called leaders in Tallahassee and Washington, DC have made her job increasingly difficult and the people of West Palm Beach deserve to benefit from the leadership that Mayor Frankel offers on a daily basis. I look forward to working hand in hand with Lois throughout this campaign in West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County and beyond.”

“My home community of West Palm Beach needs a fighter in the U.S. Senate like Kendrick Meek who is a recognized leader that understands the needs of our cities,” said Mayor Frankel. “As a former Trooper with a law enforcement background, Kendrick knows that in a challenged economy, giving mayors the option to choose between cutting police officers or firefighters in order to balance budgets is unacceptable. The City of West Palm Beach needs a champion in the U.S. Senate and that person is Kendrick Meek."

Yesterday Meek received the endorsement of Broward County Mayor Stacy Ritter.

Head of Senate Republican Campaign Committee "Proud" To Have Dick Cheney Campaign For Crist & Rubio In Florida

From the FDP:

Today, as the head of National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, Chairman John Cornyn declared that he would be "proud" for his Senate candidates to campaign with former Vice-President Dick Cheney, the Florida Democratic Party has challenged both Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio to answer if they would appear with Cheney over the course of the campaign.

According to the POLITICO newspaper, at a breakfast, Cornyn was asked if Cheney should campaign for Republican Senate candidates in 2010. Cornyn said, "I'd be proud to appear with the vice president anywhere, anytime." Cornyn - the Senate's top Republican strategist - praised Cheney's growing role as the Republican's chief spokesman. Cornyn went on to say he's very open to Cheney barnstorming the country in support of Senate candidates in 2010. Cornyn proclaimed "I appreciate the vice president speaking out."

In the wake of Cornyn's comments, the Florida Democratic Party is calling on Charlie Crist and Marco Rubio to answer the simple question, "Will you welcome Dick Cheney to Florida to campaign on your behalf?"

"John Cornyn's wholehearted praise of Dick Cheney begs the question, will either Charlie Crist or Marco Rubio welcome Cheney to Florida to campaign on for them?," said Florida Democratic Party spokesman Eric Jotkoff. "Presumably Crist and Rubio share the NRSC Chairman's views and will welcome Cheney with open arms - if they disagree they should let the people of Florida know right now."

Despite his lofty status as one of the Republican's chief spokesmen, Cheney continues to be stunningly unpopular. According to the Washington Post, the last four personal favorability ratings for Cheney: 37 percent, 18 percent, 19 percent and 30 percent. Despite Cheney's unpopularity, Cornyn and the NRSC are poised to unleash him in battleground states across the country in 2010.

Cornyn Said He Would be "Proud" to Have Cheney Campaign With GOP Senate Candidates. At a breakfast Cornyn was asked if Cheney should campaign for Republican Senate candidates in 2010. Cornyn said, "I'd be proud to appear with the vice president anywhere, anytime." [Politico, 5/21/09]

Florida Democratic Party On Credit Card Reform Legislation Signed by President Obama

From the FDP:

Today, President Barack Obama signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act, a bill that protects consumers by cracking down on arbitrary rate increases, misleading terms and excessive fees while also enhancing monitoring and enforcement tools. The legislation passed with wide bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate.

Florida Democratic Party Vice Chair Rhett Bullard released the following statement commending President Obama for enacting such important legislation:

"In signing the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act today, President Obama took an important step in creating strong, reliable, protections for credit card consumers. The bill will require fairness and transparency and will put a stop to practices which have unfairly hit Florida's credit card holders for too long.

"Thanks to the strong leadership of Senator Chris Dodd, the bill won overwhelming bipartisan support. It's because of Senator Dodd's unwavering commitment to protecting American families and consumers that this bill includes such strong protections.

"While we expect consumers to live within their means and pay their bills on time, we also expect credit card companies to be reasonable and fair. Yet in recent years, too many companies have been making outsized profits by imposing unfair rate hikes, penalties, and fees.

"Today I join President Obama and Senator Dodd in saying 'enough is enough.'

"I congratulate the Democratic Congress and President Obama for their leadership on this critical issue and for acting so quickly. These reforms will provide strong protections for Florida's credit card holders by finally cleaning up the fine print and holding companies accountable for misleading practices."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Representative Steinberg Calls on Governor to Veto Condo Trust Fund Sweep

From the House Dems:

Dear Governor Crist:

I write to urge you to veto the sweep of more than $7 million from the Division of Florida Condominiums, Timeshares, and Mobile Homes Trust Fund to the General Revenue Fund.

The Condominium Trust Fund is funded by a $4 per unit annual fee on every condominium and cooperative unit in the state. These funds provide vital regulation, mediation, and education services for the residents of more than 20,000 condominium and cooperative associations throughout Florida.

Further, there is bipartisan support to use these funds to provide incentives to condominium owners to harden their coastal condominiums to better withstand hurricanes. For instance, House Bill 359 and Senate Bill 1344 would have authorized condominium owners to apply for My Safe Florida Home program grants to retrofit their properties for storm preparedness.

During these difficult economic times, Floridians must be able to protect their financial investment and get the information they need about the financial issues facing condominium associations. Condominium and cooperative should not be asked to shoulder a disproportionate and unfair share of the tax burden to balance Florida’s budget.

Diverting funds from the Condominium Trust Fund will hurt more than 1.3 million condominium and cooperative owners who deserve protection, not a disproportionate tax burden. Therefore, I urge you to veto this unconscionable sweep.

Additionally, because budget proviso language demands that the Florida Education Finance Program be tapped to exercise this veto, I also recommend that you ask the Legislature to identify another source of funding for the FEFP.

Richard L. Steinberg
State Representative
District 106

Senator Arthenia Joyner Selected To Join Global Women Leaders

From the Senate Dems:

The numbers are staggering. According to the U. S. Department of State, roughly 800,000 men, women and children are trafficked across international borders each year, held captive in the international sex trade or forced labor situations throughout the world.

Now, one of Florida’s foremost advocates for stronger sanctions against human traffickers and better protections for their victims has been selected to join top policy makers from around the world in an upcoming summit on the issue.

Senator Arthenia Joyner (D-Tampa) is one of just three female state lawmakers tapped from the United States by the Center for Women Policy Studies to participate in the 2009 GlobalPOWER® program later this spring in Washington, D.C.

GlobalPOWER is an internationally recognized program that supports a network of powerful women policy makers from around the world who are committed to using their influence to advance women’s human rights.

“The Center for Women Policy Studies launched GlobalPOWER in 2006 to create new and sustainable partnerships among women leaders that will persist -- across borders and over time – to combat violations of women’s human rights,” said Dr. Leslie R. Wolfe, President of the Center for Women Policy Studies. “We are proud to welcome Senator Joyner to the GlobalPOWER 2009 session.”

In addition to Senator Joyner, GlobalPOWER 2009 participants include Members of Parliament from Bahrain, Burundi, Dominica, Kenya, Namibia, Pakistan, Uganda and Zambia and state legislators from Maryland and Utah. During their week together, GlobalPOWER participants will meet with policy experts representing international organizations, United Nations officials and with key members of the United States Congress and top officials at the United States Department of State. Senator Joyner and the GlobalPOWER participants will work together to develop creative policy options to respond to the international trafficking of women and girls as a global women’s human rights crisis.

“Trafficking of women and girls knows no boundaries,” noted Senator Joyner. “It robs thousands of women and children of their human rights and their freedom. I am looking forward to working closely with my GlobalPOWER colleagues to address this crisis together and to bring my new knowledge home to Florida.”

During the 2009 Legislative Session, Senator Joyner successfully sponsored Senate Bill 168, creating within the Department of Children and Family Services, the Florida Statewide Task Force on Human Trafficking. The group’s membership will consist of the attorney general, chief financial officer, surgeon general, and designated law enforcement, among others. Its mission is to examine the problem of human trafficking and recommend strategies and actions for reducing or eliminating the unlawful trafficking of men, women, and children into this state. Endorsed by the full Legislature, the bill now awaits the governor’s signature.

Firefighters Memorial Flag Legislation Reaches Governor's Desk

From the House Dems:

Legislation sponsored by State Representative Bill Heller (D-St. Petersburg) to honor firefighters who risk or lose their lives in the line of duty has reached the governor’s desk for his signature.

To ensure that firefighters protecting Floridians are never forgotten, Representative Heller sponsored House Bill 171 that creates the Florida Fallen Firefighters Memorial Flag, which pays tribute to the sacrifices of these brave men and women.

“This bill creates the official Florida Fallen Firefighters Memorial Flag honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their communities,” said Representative Heller. “This flag is very special and is a tribute to the 144 brave men and women who have given their lives protecting Florida’s citizens.”

The flag will be displayed throughout the state, including memorial sites, funeral services for firefighters who have died in the line of duty, fire stations, and at the Florida State Fire College in Ocala.

The idea for the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Flag was originally brought to State Senator Charlie Justice by Oldsmar Fire Rescue Chief, Scott McGuff. A statewide call for designs generated hundreds of ideas. The official design was created by Firefighter Rick Weschler of the Palm Harbor Fire Rescue.

House Bill 171, which passed the House unanimously, was presented to Governor Charlie Crist on Friday, May 15. The governor has until May 30 to act on the legislation.

“The creation of this flag is a small measure of our appreciation to the firefighters who unselfishly put themselves in fatal situations for the wellbeing of our citizens,” said Representative Heller. “I am humbled to be a part of this effort to give recognition where it is due.”

Thurman: Floridians Going To Send Atwater Into Retirement Coming 2010

From the FDP:

Reacting to Jeff Atwater's announcement that he will run for CFO, Florida Democratic Party Chair Karen Thurman released the following statement:

"When Jeff Atwater's lips are moving during the campaign season, Atwater's nose must be growing since Atwater has made a career of saying one thing on the campaign trail, while doing the opposite in office.

"While Floridians are suffering during these hard times, people across the Sunshine State expected bold leadership to get our state back on track, yet one only has to look at Atwater's time as Senate President to see why Floridians are going to send him into retirement come 2010.

"As Senate President, Atwater broke his promise when he led the Senate to raising taxes and fees by over $2 billion, including hiking Floridians property taxes by over $300 million. Atwater helped craft a fiscally irresponsible budget that taxed Florida's hunters and fishers, as well as forced layoffs of teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other first responders. Rather than cutting government waste in the Senate, Atwater cut off opportunities to Florida's children by cutting funding to our schools.

"Atwater's Republicans obstructed President Obama's efforts to jumpstart Florida's economy by rejecting $444 million from the President's recovery plan and made it harder for working families to send their children to college by diminishing the Bright Futures Scholarship program.

"Even Republicans were calling Atwater's back room dealings 'embarrassing,' when Atwater's failure of leadership forced the Republican Legislature to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to go into overtime.

"During campaign seasons Atwater spends millions of dollars from the special interests that have bankrolled his career to rail against everything he does as an elected official.

"Last fall, Atwater spent over $5 million to convince the voters of his district he would lower insurance rates, after voting in 2006 to raise rates by at least 71.5%.

"Atwater is against restoring the civil rights of Floridians who have paid the price for their sins, yet he voted to cut probation officers who supervise truly dangerous criminals.

"At a time when Florida's Republicans are desperately fighting to give Floridians more of the same in 2010, Democrats are organized and energized to elect proven leaders to bring change to Florida."

Thurman Lauds President Obama's Agreement With Car Company Executives and State Leaders on Fuel and Emissions Standards

From the FDP:

The Obama Administration announced today a new national standard for fuel efficiency for cars and light trucks and the first ever greenhouse gas pollution standards for cars. The new standard will set a limit for both tailpipe emissions and fuel economy requirements. The new rule will resolve an on-going conflict between state governments and the auto industry - who have been locked in a costly legal battle over states' efforts to adopt more stringent standards than the current federal standards - by creating more protective requirements and setting a reliable and achievable timeline on which the new national standard will be implemented.

By 2016, the American fleet of cars and light trucks will be almost 40 percent cleaner and more fuel-efficient than it is today, with an average of 35 miles per gallon. The new rules, which will be written jointly by the Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency, will begin in model year 2012. The program is projected to save 1.8 billion barrels of oil and will achieve greenhouse gas reductions equivalent of taking 177 million cars off the road.

Florida Democratic Party Chair Karen Thurman issued the following statement after the announcement at the White House:

"Foreign and domestic auto industry executives, state governors and other officials joined President Obama today to announce a new national standard that for the first time ever combines fuel efficiency requirements with limits on greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles.

"Because of this new program, by 2016, the American fleet will be remarkably cleaner and more efficient. The Obama Administration's new plan will go a long way toward reducing our dependence on foreign oil, lowering energy costs for Florida's families at the pump, and reducing harmful air pollution and global warming emissions from our cars' tailpipes.

"It's no secret that the American auto industry is fighting for its survival. Today's announcement marks an historic agreement between the Administration, the states and the very companies who once vehemently opposed increases in fuel efficiency and downplayed or flat-out ignored the danger of greenhouse gas emissions.

"Considering the failure of the last administration to take any action to address climate change or to even identify carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions as dangerous, this new standard is a sea change in public policy. It will breathe new life into the industry by creating a strong, reliable market for fuel efficient cars, will drive technological innovation, and as gas prices rise, greater fuel efficiency will save Floridians money at the pump. In this single action, President Obama has reiterated his commitment to addressing the climate crisis and reviving America's auto industry by ensuring that the next generation of clean, efficient vehicles is manufactured right here in the United States.

"We have a long way to go to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, halt the effects of climate change, and fully restore the American auto industry. But today's announcement is an important step forward. For the second time in as many weeks, today's news - as was the historic agreement reached between the Administration and health care industry leaders last week - is a testament to President Obama's visionary leadership and his outstanding ability to bring people together to develop pragmatic solutions to address our most serious challenges."

Senator Arthenia Joyner Welcomes Governor's Decision To Reject Moving State's Minority Health Initiative Into Sprawling Agency Bureaucracy

From the Senate Dems:

State Senator Arthenia Joyner (D-Tampa) on Tuesday welcomed reassurances from the governor’s office that a move to transfer the innovative Office of Minority Health into a sprawling division within the Florida Department of Health would be rejected.

The decision came less than 24-hours after the Tampa Democrat sent a letter to Governor Charlie Crist, urging him to rethink his agency’s pending action.

“The Office of Minority Health is currently on the cutting edge with regard to research, cultural competency and health equity policy,” Joyner wrote. “This momentum must be continued. Moving this office into a large department division will most certainly diminish the capability of the office to continue developing and implementing direly needed policies and strategies essential to eliminating health disparities among racial and ethnic populations.

"It is my deepest fear that the focus and progress of the program will be lost by swallowing this mission within an immense bureaucracy.”

At issue was an abrupt decision by DOH to transfer the highly effective Office of Minority Health into the agency’s sprawling Division of Family Health Services.

Established by the Legislature five years ago, the Office of Minority Health was launched by the former governor as a way to close the widening gap in health care for minority and ethnic residents by providing community medical outreach services, among other programs.

Since then, the group has made significant headway in rolling back not only the disparity in health services available to such groups, but the high costs taxpayers shoulder due to over-reliance on indigent emergency room care.

This has been accomplished at little cost to the state. Staffed by five including the director, only three full time members of the unit are paid by the state; the other two are funded through federal grant money.

“Since its inception, the Office of Minority Health has been extremely effective, already touching 50,000 lives throughout Florida and saving taxpayers potentially millions of dollars,” said Sen. Joyner. “The medical treatment this office spearheads costs on average about $100. Compare that to the typical emergency room visit costing taxpayers roughly $1600. That’s a huge savings.”

Cut this last legislative session by $1 million, the office has been struggling to complete a series of innovative initiatives, among them an agency-wide strategic and operational plan, along with a county-by-county database so that private health care organizations and residents can track community needs and progress.

The sudden decision to absorb into a larger, more cumbersome bureaucracy such a dynamic office noted as much for saving lives as for saving money made little sense, particularly in light of the economic conditions the state currently confronts, according to Joyner.

“Nationwide, our state comes in 45th in health care rankings, much of it due to the lack of health insurance and health care options for a large group of our diverse population. The worsening economy is only compounding matters.”

The Senator said she was heartened to hear that the governor pledged to protect the group’s independence, while continuing to report to the agency’s deputy surgeon general.



TAKE BACK YOUR TIME is pleased to announce that Congressman Alan Grayson (D-FL) will introduce the Paid Vacation Act of 2009 at a news conference on the Cannon House Office Building Terrace in Washington DC at 11 a.m., Thursday, May 21, 2009.


* Requires one week of paid vacation for employees of companies with at least 100 employees. Three years after passage, the bill extends this requirement to companies with at least 50 employees, and requires two weeks for companies with 100 employees.

* Covers workers after one year on the job. Part-timers must work 25 or more hours a week and 1250 hours per year to be covered.

TAKE BACK YOUR TIME Executive Director John de Graaf and board members Bill Doherty and Joe Robinson will join Congressman Grayson and other speakers, including physician Arnold Pallay, economist John Schmitt, and simple living advocate Wanda Urbanska, at the news conference, which is open to the public.

“We hope that if you live in the Washington DC area, you’ll come to the news conference and show your support for this bill,” says de Graaf. “Family vacations are an important source of family bonding and memories,” observes Doherty, a family therapy professor at the University of Minnesota. “Yet a third fewer families take them than a generation ago.” “Vacations have been shown to increase productivity and profitability,” adds Robinson, a business consultant.

Research by economist John Schmitt of the Center for Economic and Policy Research found that the United States is alone among industrial countries in not mandating paid vacation time. More than 147 countries now have paid vacation laws. All European nations require at least four weeks of paid vacation. Dr. Pallay points out that health studies have shown that regular vacations can reduce the rates of heart disease and depression by nearly half. Wanda Urbanska, who travels throughout the US for her PBS series, SIMPLE LIVING WITH WANDA URBANSKA, says she sees a hunger in the country for new, less materialistic values centered around time for family and health.

“This is a very modest bill,” says de Graaf. “But we support it wholeheartedly and congratulate Congressman Grayson for introducing it and helping open a dialogue about why vacations matter, how deprived Americans are when it comes to paid time off, and why we must act now to improve the situation.” He points out that a poll conducted last year by TAKE BACK YOUR TIME found that half of all Americans took less than one week of vacation last year. A quarter of all workers receive no paid vacation time at all and the average is less than two weeks. Meanwhile, the number of U.S. companies that offer paid vacation time has actually dropped in the past year.

The poll found that 69% of American voters would support a paid vacation law, including 75% of women, 83% of voters under 30, and 89% of African-Americans. “Without any question, there is widespread grassroots support for this,” says Robinson, who has been working on the issue for a decade.

TAKE BACK YOUR TIME is seeking endorsements of the Paid Vacation Act of 2009 from private companies, citizen action organizations, and other groups and institutions. Please email your endorsement to: John de Graaf

Media inquiries regarding the specifics of the bill and the news conference should be made directly to Congressman Grayson’s press secretary, Todd Jurkowski:

Todd Jurkowski, Press Secretary
Congressman Alan Grayson (Dist. 8, Florida)
202.503.5964 (cell)
202.225.2176 (office)

Alan Grayson on Large Financial Institutions: Who will say 'enough is enough'?

U.S. Rep. Kendrick B. Meek Regarding Cuban Independence Day -- Mensaje del Representante Kendrick B. Meek con motivo del Día de la Independencia de Cu

Today, U.S. Rep. Kendrick B. Meek (D-FL) released the following statement regarding Cuban Independence Day:

"Today many people in my home community of South Florida will mark the rich cultural heritage and deep-rooted traditions of Cuban Independence Day. What was once a day of festivity and joy has become a day of nostalgia for a Cuba that once was free, but also of hope that it will soon regain its freedom.

“As we continue to see political prisoners jailed in Cuba for peacefully expressing their rights and freedoms, we must remember that May 20, 1902, stood as a day of freedom and liberty after years of struggle and hardship.

“Political prisoners today such as Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet and dissidents like Jorge Luis Garcia Perez "Antunez" hold strong unto their forefathers’ passion for liberty and desire to live in a free and transparent democracy. While Dr. Biscet currently serves a 25-year prison sentence in Cuba, even from behind bars, he continues to promote democracy, social justice and liberty for all Cuban people.

"Close friends, neighbors and many others who I grew up with are Cuban-Americans who have come to this country with little else beyond the clothes on their back and are now living the American Dream. I stand alongside these patriotic individuals as they mark May 20th in our State. They are men and women who love their adopted homeland, but long for their native land to allow them the freedoms they enjoy here. I offer them my solidarity on this special day."


Con motivo del Día de la Independencia de Cuba, el Representante Kendrick B. Meek, emitió el siguiente mensaje:

“Hoy miles de personas en mi comunidad del sur de Florida conmemorarán la rica herencia cultural y la tradición profundamente enraizada del Día de la Independencia de Cuba. Lo que, una vez, fue un día de celebración y alegría, hoy es en un día de nostalgia por una Cuba que una vez fue libre, pero también de esperanza para que ese país pronto recuperare su libertad.

“En la medida en que existan prisioneros políticos, encarcelados en Cuba por manifestarse pacíficamente a favor de sus derechos y libertades, debemos recordar que el 20 de mayo de 1902 sigue siendo un día en el que el pueblo cubano obtuvo su libertad, después de años de luchas e infortunios.

“Prisioneros políticos como el Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet y opositores como Jorge Luis García Pérez “Antunez”, mantienen en alto la pasión por la libertad de sus antepasados y su deseo de vivir en una democracia libre y transparente. El Dr. Biscet cumple una sentencia de prisión de 25 años en Cuba y aún así, tras las rejas, sigue promoviendo la democracia, la justicia social y la libertad para todo el pueblo cubano.

"MIs amigos cercanos, mis vecinos y muchas otras personas con las que convivo son cubano-americanos que vinieron a este país desposeídos de todos sus bienes y encontraron aquí el sueño americano. Me uno a estos patriotas en conmemorar el 20 de Mayo en nuestro estado, hombres y mujeres que aman su tierra de adopción pero que anhelan encontrar en su tierra natal la libertad que disfrutan aquí. Me solidarizo con ellos en este día tan especial.”

Representative Alan Williams' legislation To Extend Access to Health Care In Rural Communities Signed Into Law

From the House Dems:

State Representative Alan Williams (D-Tallahassee) today applauded Governor Charlie Crist for signing into law House Bill 873 to enhance access to health care in rural communities.

The legislation, sponsored by Representative Williams, extends the deadline for proposed hospitals to complete preparations for an active hospital license from 18 months to three years. The bill also enables rural hospitals, including Gadsden County Hospital, with an inactive license for at least 20 months to receive an additional year to meet licensing requirements.

Representative Williams said that, without an extension, Gadsden County Hospital would have lost its license to operate on June 30.

“Gadsden County needs its hospital and the county and community have worked diligently to reopen it, including approving a half-cent sales tax last fall for the purpose of funding the hospital,” said Representative Williams, who made reopening the hospital a priority of his election campaign for the House of Representatives.

“This is a great day for Gadsden County and the many citizens that receive healthcare services from the county,” said Representative Williams. “I am confident that the extension of the inactive license for Gadsden County Hospital ensures the community the hospital will reopen.”

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek Joins President Barack Obama at White House Bill Signing Ceremony for the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act‏

Today, Congressman Kendrick Meek and other congressional leaders joined President Barack Obama at a White House bill signing ceremony for the Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act which passed the U.S. House of Representatives on May 18th by a vote of 338 to 52.

Included in the Bill is Congressman Meek’s National Mortgage Fraud Task Force Act of 2009, which was first introduced by Meek in the last Congress.

“Foreclosures in Florida have gone from a problem to an epidemic,” said Congressman Kendrick Meek. “Evidence points that there is a direct correlation between foreclosures and mortgage fraud, either in a fraud for profit or fraud for property scheme. This legislation works to put those who perpetrate these crimes exactly where they should be – behind bars.”

From 2006 to 2007, there was a 168% increase in Florida in the number of real estate foreclosures. In 2008, the trend continued upward and Florida ranked second in the United States in foreclosure filings. In response, Miami-Dade County created a Mortgage Fraud Task Force. Over 100 arrests have been made of individuals causing over $40 million in mortgage fraud.

Rep. Meek’s legislation will create a Nationwide Mortgage Fraud Task Force to provide a nationwide response to end this disturbing trend in mortgage fraud offenses. The bill will provide a tool to prevent the victimization of individuals and businesses through effective education, legislation, regulation, law enforcement, and prosecution.

The Attorney General shall provide the Task Force with the appropriate staff and appoint one staff member to serve as Executive Director of the Task Force. The Task Force shall establish and oversee branches in each of the ten states determined by the Attorney General to have the highest concentration of mortgage fraud. The Task Force’s functions shall include organizing initiatives to investigate mortgage fraud, including initiatives to enforce state mortgage fraud laws, and provide related training to Federal, State, and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies.

Mortgage fraud is one of the fastest growing white collar crimes in the United States. According to FBI statistics, the number of suspicious activity reports from financial institutions more than tripled from 17,127 in 2004 to 62,494 as of September 2008. The FBI reports that the dollar amount of mortgage fraud is well into the billions.

In 2006, 2007, and again in 2008, Florida ranked first in the United States for mortgage loans that contained alleged fraud against the lenders, according to the Mortgage Asset Research Institute.

DFAM Endorses Bonnie Schwartzbaum

As of May 20th, Democracy for America Miami-Dade is proud to announce the endorsement of Democrat Bonnie Schwartzbaum for North Miami Beach Commission District 2. Bonnie is a wonderful progressive who registered as a Republican to campaign against Ronald Reagan in the Republican primary and has since gone home to the Democratic Party. She has been endorsed by one of her former opponents, Claudio Sanchez. She is seeking to bring back transparency and financial sensibility to an area that has not had it for far too long.

She wants to open after school programs for children to help keep them off the streets, something she will fight hard for since her own daughter teaches at a middle school in the community. She won't give herself healthcare for life and multiple salary raises. She will however, put a human face back on local government.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Lifelong Politician Bill McCollum -- 32 Years Running for Office, 14 Campaigns‏

From the FDP:

You'd think after 32 years as a professional politician, Bill McCollum's 14th campaign kick-off would be greeted with a collective yawn.

Well...not so fast.

It seems there is excitement coming from some quarters -- namely, the narrow special interests and career politicians who want to keep Tallahassee just the way it is. Apparently, they're welcoming their colleague Bill McCollum to the race for governor, as evidenced by the message we intercepted below.


Happy 14th Run-for-Office, Bill McCollum

No matter what anyone else says, your career as a professional politician and lobbyist looks 32-years-young to us.

As you announce your 14th run for office (the decades just fly by, don't they?), we're remembering just some of the times you were there to put the "special" in special-interests.

McCollum has been in professional politics for 32 years, and -- with today's announcement -- has run for office a whopping 14 times. McCollum's serial campaigning includes two failed statewide bids for U.S. Senate.

"Without any apparent sense of irony, U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum, R-Fla., has been advocating congressional term limits ever since he was elected to the House in 1980." (St. Petersburg Times, 2/7/97)

By the time he left his seat in the US House, McCollum had built a twenty-year record of support in Congress for a 12-year term-limit.

In his failed 2000 U.S. Senate campaign, McCollum touted his close friendship with Enron's CEO Ken Lay. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, McCollum's biggest single donor in the 2000 election cycle was the Enron Corporation, a Texas-based energy conglomerate. McCollum said he'd been friends with Enron CEO Ken Lay for 20 years, from when Lay lived in Florida. "We've known each other since I ran for Congress and he supported me then," McCollum said. "This time, he went out and raised early money for me from individual contributions." (Miami Herald, 11/3/00)

Soon after leaving Congress in 2001, having spent 20 years in Washington, McCollum became a special-interest lobbyist. McCollum earned hundreds-of-thousands of dollars lobbying for corporate special interests. Lobbyists interviewed by The Hill newspaper said that McCollum was "considered one of the biggest prizes" of the 2000 retiring class of congressmen. (The Hill, 11/29/00)

McCollum: Ex-Politicians Lobby Because "We're Familiar with Washington." Ex-Rep. McCollum, said many ex-politicians go into lobbying because they know the business from the inside. "We're familiar with Washington," he said. (Orlando Sentinel, 7/17/01)

St. Petersburg Times Editorial: McCollum Indulgent Toward Special Interests. "He (McCollum) has been conspicuously indulgent toward special interests," said a St. Petersburg Times editorial in 2000.

Bill McCollum: Here's to many more years practicing politics-as-usual and preserving the status quo in Tallahassee!


Your Friends Who Like Tallahassee Just the Way It Is

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Pervasive Doubt About Bill McCollum On Eve Of His 14th Campaign Kick-off

From the FDP:

On the eve of Bill McCollum kicking off his 14th campaign, many have doubts before he enters the race. While Republicans are wondering if the lifelong politician and former lobbyist can win, most Floridians are scratching their heads wondering how someone first elected when Jimmy Carter was President can give anything but more of the same at a time when Tallahassee desperately needs change. Read more about these doubts in today's Sarasota Herald Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, and Tampa Tribune:

Sarasota Herald Tribune: In race for governor, McCollum is a gamble for GOP
By Jeremy Wallace

Published: Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 1:00 a.m.

When Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum announces his candidacy for governor Monday in Orlando, publicly it will be met with the typical fanfare from Republican Party leaders.

They will applaud him as an experienced public servant who has shown principled leadership during his two years as attorney general. Party leaders are even working to make sure McCollum does not face a Republican primary challenge.

But behind the scenes, and usually off the record, there are serious concerns in party circles that the party is putting too much stock in McCollum's chances against Democratic candidate Alex Sink, a charismatic former banker with Republican appeal who could be the state's first female governor.

Demographically, McCollum presents voters with everything that the Republican Party is struggling with these days, said David Johnson, a Republican political consultant based in Atlanta.

McCollum, who will be 65 in July, is an older white politician who could struggle to win over independent women, young voters and minorities, who make up key voting groups along the pivotal Interstate 4 corridor where so many Florida races are decided.

"He's not very exciting," said Johnson. "He's not your charismatic rising star. He's more of your solid party man."

And while he will campaign on his career as a public servant, at the same time it will be difficult for him to campaign against big government when he has been a part of government for most of the last 30 years, said Chris Ingram, a Republican campaign consultant based in Tampa.

McCollum was first elected to Congress in 1980, when Jimmy Carter was still president, and held office for 20 years. During that time he helped lead the effort to impeach President Bill Clinton.

After two losing bids for the U.S. Senate, he was elected attorney general in 2006. In that post he has focused on fighting cybercrime on the Internet.

"He's a very smart guy who has been in the business for a long time," said Tramm Hudson, former chairman of the Sarasota County Republican Party. "He's a known quantity."

But that may not be a good thing in an anti-politician and anti-establishment election cycle, Johnson said. McCollum could easily look like a career politician compared with Sink.

Sink, 60, has been in office for two years after a long career in banking.

Though her banking background is not as good an asset as it was before the bank bailouts, it still gives her outside experience that McCollum lacks, Ingram said.

"If we nominate Bill McCollum, it's over," said Ingram, the Republican consultant.

Florida Agriculture commissioner Charles Bronson is the only other big-name Republican considering a run for governor after Gov. Charlie Crist announced he would run for the U.S. Senate in 2010.

Because McCollum is familiar to Republican bosses and top fundraisers, he is gaining their support despite electability concerns, said a veteran Republican political consultant who asked not to be identified.

The party bosses are supporting a known candidate who has paid his dues, rather than seeking out candidates who may have the best chance to beat Sink.

And the early McCollum supporters are doing what they can to keep it that way.

"I think he will win the nomination," said Brian Ballard, a Tallahassee Republican fundraiser working with McCollum. "We're going to take care of that."

That effort already has dissuaded potential Republican challengers, such as U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, from challenging McCollum for the nomination. Both seriously considered getting in the race before last week.

"What made Vern Buchanan a good candidate is that he was a businessman first and a politician second," said Jamie Miller, a former Florida Republican Party official who works in Sarasota. Miller lobbied party leaders to get behind Buchanan for governor.

Baker could have been a fresh face for the party, said Adam Goodman, a Republican political consultant based in Tampa who was pushing Baker to enter the race.

Though mostly unknown outside Tampa Bay, Baker could have been appealing because he has executive experience, but it is outside of Washington and Tallahassee.

Both Buchanan and Baker said last week they would not run.

Goodman admits that at first glance, McCollum appears to lack the excitement that surrounds Sink or the other Republicans who had been mentioned as gubernatorial candidates. But over the course of the campaign voters will learn a lot about Sink that could change the race, he says.

That could position McCollum to win the race as "the un-cola," Goodman said.

Goodman said if McCollum's camp embraces his not-so-exciting image in the right way, it can be a benefit.

Before winning the attorney general's race in 2006, McCollum lost statewide races in 2000 and 2004. In 2000, Democrat Bill Nelson beat McCollum to win his first term in the Senate. In 2004, McCollum lost a U.S. Senate primary to Republican Mel Martinez.


Read the entire Sarasota Herald Tribune analysis here:

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Orlando Sentinel: Can McCollum count on his old home turf?

Aaron Deslatte

Capitol View

May 17, 2009

Winning elections in Florida has never been more about the battle for the state's waistline, the Interstate 4 corridor.

And when Attorney General Bill McCollum jumps into the 2010 governor's race in downtown Orlando on Monday morning, Republicans could question whether the Brooksville native - and 10-term congressman from Longwood - can hold his Central Florida home turf in a general election.

Democrats were giddy when Alex Sink, a longtime Tampa Bay resident with moderate stripes, dove into the governor's race after Gov. Charlie Crist's decision to forgo re-election.

The chatter for months has been about voter "realignment" - whether the changes in racial makeup, registration and participation of younger voters seen in the 2008 presidential election suggest the pivotal I-4 region from Daytona through Orlando to Tampa Bay is shifting solidly into the Democratic column.

It's a question that won't get answered anytime soon. But the answer is crucial to campaign planners, because the I-4 corridor historically decides state elections. And right now, Democrats are riding high.

For example, in the 2004 presidential race, Orange County delivered a measly 815-vote advantage to Democrat John Kerry. Last year, Barack Obama carried the county by 86,100 votes over Republican John McCain - the largest shift in vote totals in Florida. And through April, Democrats had built a 274,000-to-192,000 advantage in registered voters in Orange.

"Orange County is not a swing county anymore," said University of Central Florida political scientist Aubrey Jewett. "That genie is out of the bottle as far as Republicans are concerned ... If that happens on a larger scale, it would change politics in Florida."

But Jewett and other political scientists say it's too soon to know whether there has been a realignment along the larger I-4 corridor. "Both sides are seeing what they want to see."

In a broad swath of 22 counties, from Flagler on the northeast to Charlotte on the southwest, Democratic "performance" - Obama's margins against McCain, compared to Kerry's against George W. Bush - improved by 340,000 votes in 2008. The Tampa-St. Petersburg and Orlando media markets showed the largest voter shift toward the Democrat of any of the state's metro areas.

Read the entire Orlando Sentinel analysis here:,0,3970367,print.column

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Tampa Tribune: Race for governor seen as a toss-up


Democrats are giddy over the coming race between Alex Sink and Republican Bill McCollum, their best shot in a decade at winning the governorship and ceasing to be an irrelevant minority in Florida government.

To them and many pundits, Sink seems a clear front-runner - a fresh face who won a statewide race in 2006 in her first try for public office, with the demographic edge of gender plus a business background.

The surge in Democratic voter registration and turnout that helped Barack Obama win the state has Sink backers sensing a win.
"Alex Sink has impressed many pundits, and right now her stock is high," said University of Virginia political scientist Larry Sabato.

Florida Attorney General McCollum, meanwhile, "has not shaken his 'loser' image with the punditocracy," Sabato said.

Nonetheless, he said, "Anyone handicapping the race this early is foolhardy. I'll call it a toss-up."

State Chief Financial Officer Sink announced her candidacy last week, and McCollum is expected to announce Monday morning in Orlando.

No prominent Democrat has expressed interest in challenging Sink in a primary. Republican Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson may challenge the attorney general, but the Republican Party is seeking to persuade him to leave the field clear for McCollum.

Sink is the Democrats' first hope for a dominant candidate in years.

When she won the chief financial officer's job in 2006, Sink handily defeated former state Senate President Tom Lee of Brandon, even as Democrats lost every other statewide race on the ballot - to Gov. Charlie Crist, to McCollum for attorney general and to Charles Bronson for agriculture commissioner.

Her 53.5 percent vote total narrowly surpassed both McCollum and Crist's totals.

She was the first new Democratic statewide officeholder since Bill Nelson won the insurance commissioner's office in 1998. He's now a U.S. senator.

McCollum's career contains some downs along with the ups.

After 20 years in Congress, he lost two straight U.S. Senate races - to Nelson in 2000 and to Mel Martinez in a 2004 primary - before his 2006 win.

"Absolutely we're giddy," said Miami Democratic political consultant Derek Newton. "Democrats I've spoken with believe that she is the frontrunner. She's the party's rising star - it's inconceivable to them that she wouldn't be ahead."

But Newton said he wouldn't call Sink the front-runner, and Sink isn't claiming that either.

"We expect a very difficult race," said her spokeswoman, Tara Klimek. "But that said, she's proven her ability to have Floridians be receptive to her message. She's a dynamic person - even in her first election, Floridians were very excited about her."

University of Central Florida political scientist Aubrey Jewett said Sink's reputation and the political climate may give her an edge.

"In my mind, she'd be a slight favorite at the outset based on Barack Obama's win in 2008 and the huge surge in Democratic registration and turnout," he said.

But he conceded polling doesn't back that up. "It's an educated guess at this point."

Many experts attributed McCollum's losses in his 2000 and 2004 races in part to a reputation for partisanship from his high-profile involvement in the 1999 impeachment of Bill Clinton.

Jewett said McCollum probably still suffers "a little hangover from back then," but that his image has improved.

Read the entire Tampa Tribune analysis here:

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Thurman Statement in Support of President Obama's Agreement With Health Care Industry Groups to Reduce Health Care Costs

From the FDP:

Today, key stakeholders in health care reform joined President Obama at the White House to announce their commitment to achieving a sharp reduction in the nation's health care costs. Their plans to prioritize preventative care, manage chronic illnesses, curtail unnecessary tests and procedures, standardize insurance claim forms and use electronic medical records could save the nation 1.5 percent a year, or $2 trillion over the next 10 years.

Six health care industry groups including executives of the Advanced Medical Technology Association, a lobby for medical device manufacturers; the American Hospital Association; the American Medical Association; the America's Health Insurance Plans, a trade group for insurers; the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America; and the Service Employees International Union met with the President today and presented him a letter pledging to pursue efforts like those outlined above to make significant costs savings in the health care system over the next ten years. These groups represent a coalition of competing interests which have concluded that health care costs are rising at an unsustainable rate and most be curtailed.

Florida Democratic Party Chair Karen Thurman, who played a key role as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee during the last national healthcare debate, issued the following statement after the announcement at the White House and called on Members of the Florida Congressional Delegation to get behind broader health care reform this year:

"Health care industry leaders joined President Obama today to announce their commitment to working with the Administration to sharply reduce national health care spending. By 2014, a family of four could save $2,500 a year. That's a big difference for the working families in Florida who are struggling to make ends meet.

"Today, I applaud President Obama for bringing together a coalition of competing interests to be part of the President's efforts to reform our broken health care system. His announcement is nothing short of historic and will provide the momentum we need to get broader health care reform passed by Congress this year. Skyrocketing health care costs are one of the biggest burdens on Florida's families. Since 2000, health insurance premiums have almost doubled and health care premiums have grown three times faster than wages. Rising costs are crippling businesses and too many Floridians delay or skip medical care all together because it's too expensive. Reforming health care is the key to restoring financial stability and securing our fiscal future.

"We have a long way to go to reform our health care system, but today's announcement is an important step toward comprehensive reform. And it shows President Obama's ability to bring people together and provide the leadership we need to make health care reform a reality.

"The Florida Democratic Party looks forward to working with President Obama and our Congressional leaders to harness the growing momentum for reform and chart a course toward a patient-centered health care system that reduces costs, preserves individual choice and assures quality affordable care for every Floridians. As the President has said time and time again, reform is not a luxury that can be postponed, but a necessity that cannot wait."

U.S. Rep. Kendrick B. Meek Reacts to the U.S. Department of Education Granting Florida an Education Stimulus Waiver

U.S. Rep. Kendrick B. Meek (D-FL) released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Education granted Florida an education stimulus waiver providing the state with nearly $2 billion in federal stimulus dollars.

On April 21, Congressman Meek convened a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on this subject and learned that Florida had delayed submitting the necessary paperwork to receive this waiver. Meek then wrote Governor Charlie Crist, noting: “In order to ensure that Florida receives the full benefit of education funds in the stimulus package, I strongly urge you to direct the Florida Department of Education to immediately begin preparation of Florida's Application for Initial Funding under the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Program. I would also strongly advise that the State accept the Secretary's offer of counsel throughout the application process.”

Congressman Meek’s statement follows:

“With a fiscal crisis hitting the state, Florida was in no position to delay submitting this application, but that’s exactly what occurred. To gamble on the future of Florida’s schools was an ill advised strategy that could have jeopardized our students and teachers. Secretary Duncan and the Department of Education wanted nothing more than to grant Florida these critical stimulus dollars, but could not help Florida until the state chose to act and help itself. Only when pressure was put to bear by fellow Democratic lawmakers in Washington, DC and Tallahassee was action taken. This is a good day for Florida, but it’s a day that needlessly took too long to arrive. I commend Secretary Duncan for his actions and am proud to say that I voted for this recovery package which has helped Florida during this economic recession. Throughout my entire life in public service, I have dedicated myself to helping Florida’s students and teachers, and they will be better off because of this recovery package.”

Charlie Crist runs from Florida‏

From the FDP:

After just 30 months as Governor, Charlie Crist is leaving his job, avoiding responsibility and leaving the hard work of facing Florida’s problems to the next governor.

His decision creates a once in a generation opportunity for change in Florida and ensures that nothing will be the same after 2010.

In the next 20 months, there will be a fight for the Governor’s mansion, a United States Senate seat, three other statewide offices up for grabs, a number of seats in Congress to fight for, and with at least 9 open State Senate seats and 22 open State House seats that are currently held by Republicans, there will be other legislative races across the Sunshine State – and Floridians will cast their ballots and change the face of our state.

This is Florida's time. You’ve stood up with us on issues such as stopping the Republicans’ waste and joined us in calling on the Republican Legislature to pass an open and honest budget. You stood with Alex Sink and other Democratic leaders to fight for Floridians. And now, we are going to need your help every step of the way.

We are ready to win, and we are ready to elect Democratic leaders to bring change to Florida. We need your help to elect a Democratic Governor, a Democratic Cabinet, and to send another good Democrat to Washington to stand with President Obama, Sen. Bill Nelson and our Democratic majorities in Congress:

But, don’t mistake the task in front of us; change doesn’t come easy.

The Republican Party of Florida has already begun to do their best to bring in the special interest money to fund their campaigns – while still refusing to return tainted corrupt money from last year. They are going to do everything they can to win because they are not only fighting each other for the soul of their party but also the power that fuels their lavish, jet-setting lifestyles.

With so many elections and the GOP of Florida still bitter over their loss in 2008 – Democrats need to be organized and energized like we were when we helped elect President Obama.

I know we can do it and we have to, because this is a challenge that we can’t back down from.

Please help us change Tallahassee and help President Obama implement his vision of change in Washington:

The only way we can win any of these races is with your help. That is how we helped President Obama win Florida and that is how we will win in 2010. By bringing together Floridians from every part of the state and every walk of life to vote for change, we can believe in right here in Florida.

Please make a contribution now and help us build a campaign to that will bring change to Tallahassee and send another good Democrat to Washington to stand with President Obama:

2010 is our time to get Tallahassee working for the people, not the powerful, but that will only happen if we elect Democrats to clean up the mess Charlie Crist is leaving.

Thank you for being part of our movement to bring change to Florida.

Thurman: Sink Is The Proven Leader To Move Florida Forward

From the FDP:

Florida Democratic Party Chair Karen L. Thurman released the following statement today supporting CFO Alex Sink in her campaign to be Florida's next governor:

"To move Florida forward, it's clear we need a leader who fights for our families, strengthens the middle class, and takes on the special interests.

"Floridians are cheering today now that Alex Sink has announced her candidacy for governor. As a businesswoman who delivers real results for the people of Florida, CFO Alex Sink is not only the Democrats' strongest candidate but she's the very best candidate for the job.

"As Florida's CFO, Alex Sink is a proven leader who uses her three decades of business experience to get results. CFO Sink has protected consumers from financial fraud, cut down on no-bid contracts, and make government more efficient with our tax dollars.

"Now more than ever, we need Alex Sink's leadership to guide Florida through the difficult challenges ahead and protect everyday Floridians from the special interests in Tallahassee. Our party is organized and energized to elect Alex Sink to the governor's office, and in 2010, Sink will lead the next wave of Democratic success in our state."

Friday, May 15, 2009

What Florida's Leaders Are Saying About Florida's Next Governor, Alex Sink

From the FDP:

As Alex Sink kicks off her campaign to lead the Sunshine State to a better future, Florida's Democratic leaders uniformly offered praise of the state's current CFO. The Florida Democratic Party today released the following statements from these elected leaders and party officials:

Former Governor and U.S. Senator Bob Graham said:

"During these unique and challenging times, there is no doubt in my mind that Florida needs new and different leadership. With her impeccable integrity, strong character, outstanding leadership skills, and years of hard work and business experience, I can think of no one better prepared to lead Florida then Alex Sink."

Senator Nan Rich, Democratic Leader-designate said:

"I support Alex Sink for Governor because she is the leader Florida needs in these tough times. As Florida's CFO, Sink has fought against politics as usual and has worked hard to protect taxpayers' dollars. She has always stood up to fight for Florida's children and families. Now we need Alex Sink as Governor to bring change to Tallahassee."

Senator Dave Aronberg said:

"In these tough times, Florida needs Alex Sink as our next Governor so she can use her experience as a business leader and cabinet officer to lead our state to a better future."

Senator Larcenia Bullard said:

"Florida needs Alex Sink's business experience and leadership to help families across the Sunshine State and create job opportunities for all Floridians. As Governor, Alex Sink will build an educational system that strengthens our children, opening doors and creating opportunity."

House Democratic Leader Franklin Sands said:

"As Florida's fiscal watchdog, Alex Sink has led the fight to hold government more accountable and ensure our tax dollars are spent wisely. Next year, Floridians will elect Alex Sink as our next Governor because she is the leader Florida needs in these tough times."

Representative Ron Saunders, Democratic Speaker-designate said:

"During these hard economic times, we need Alex Sink as Governor to continue being an aggressive watchdog for the people of Florida, making sure our taxpayer's hard earned dollars are spent wisely. As CFO, Alex Sink has demanded accountability, protected Floridians from financial scams, and cracked down on government waste and abuse."

Representative Luis Garcia, Jr. said:

"Alex Sink has worked for all Floridians, from protecting seniors from insurance fraud, keeping families in their homes, and supporting education. I am very pleased she will continue that work as Governor."

Representative Geraldine F. Thompson said:

"After years of busting up business as usual in Tallahassee and rooting out government waste, fraud, and abuse, I know Alex Sink is the leader that Florida needs as our next Governor."

Representative Martin David Kiar said:

"I am honored to endorse Alex Sink for Governor of Florida because of her undying and tireless commitment to provid our children with the best education possible. Alex understands that the most important method of ensuring economic success for our state is to provide our children with an appropriate and high quality education. I am confident that when Alex is elected as Florida's next Governor that our education system will be a model for all states to follow and that our children will finally receive the education they rightfully deserve."

Representative Joe Gibbons said:

"Florida needs real leadership to jumpstart our economy and start creating jobs, which is why we need Alex Sink as our next Governor."

Representative Kelly Skidmore said:

"I am supporting Alex Sink for Governor because she has always put children first. From her work on Governor Chiles' Education Commission, the United Way and in her Hillsborough community, Alex has always worked for our children. I am thrilled she will soon be serving our children as Governor."

Representative Ronald A. Brise said:

"In these tough times Florida needs a governor that is not afraid to lead and make tough decisions for the benefit of all Floridians. A governor who cares for people and what normal working people face everyday. Florida needs Alex Sink to be the next governor because during her tenure as CFO she has always put people before politics and has provided a steady and stable leadership that both Democrats and Republicans can count on. We can count on Alex Sink. She has proven that she can lead in difficult times."

Representative Audrey Gibson said:

"CFO Sink knows the importance of being a wise steward of our tax dollars. As Governor, Sink will use her business experience to cut duplicative waste in government so Florida can make the necessary investments to protect our schools and communities.

Representative Perry Thurston said:

"Last fall Floridians stood for change when our state helped elect President Obama. Now we need to change Tallahassee by electing Alex Sink as our next Governor."

Representative Mia Jones said:

"Recognizing the tough economic times we are currently facing, we need a Governor with the expertise and experience of Alex Sink. She has spent nearly three decades in business - creating jobs and economic opportunity in communities all across the State of Florida, with her at the helm we can expect to see an increase in job creation and economic stability."

Representative Hazelle Rogers said:

"Alex Sink spent nearly three decades creating jobs and economic opportunity in communities all across the Sunshine State which is why I, as a small businessperson, support her candidacy and look forward to working on her campaign."

Representative Mark Pafford said:

"Florida needs a governor committed to protecting working people, strengthening our economy and giving our families a fighting chance, that's why Floridians are going to stand up in 2010 to make Alex Sink our next governor."

Florida Democratic Party Vice-Chair Rhett Bullard said:

"In these tough economic times we need a governor who can manage our money and lead our state to a better future. Alex Sink has the experience needed to connect with Floridians from the panhandle to the keys."

Florida Democratic Party Vice-Chair Judy Mount said:

"Every Floridian should be happy that Alex Sink is running for governor. As CFO, she has fought for Florida's families of all backgrounds. In our diverse state, we need that, now more than ever."

Mitch Caeser, Broward County Democratic Party Chairman said:

"Alex Sink possesses the right combination of grit and experience as a businesswoman to guide Florida during these tough economic times."

Rick Minor, Chairman of the Leon County Democratic Party said:

"We need a Governor who can steer Florida out of this economic crisis. Alex Sink is uniquely qualified for the job - she has nearly 30 years of business experience and as Florida's CFO she's cut government waste, increased accountability, and cracked down on fraud."

Alison Morano, Florida Democratic County Chairs Association Chair/Pasco County Democratic Party Chair said:

"Alex Sink has been the state's fiscal watchdog, cracking down on waste and making government work for the people of Florida. As Governor, she would help Floridians out of these difficult economic times."

Millie Herrera, Immediate Past President of the Democratic Hispanic Caucus of Florida said:

"Alex Sink will continue defending the best interests of hard working Floridians when she becomes our next Governor, the same way she has fought for us as Florida's CFO. I can't wait to have a Governor who will put our interests first and prioritize quality education, affordable health care, and incentives for small businesses."