Friday, June 26, 2009

U.S. Rep. Kendrick B. Meek In Support of the American Clean Energy and Security

U.S. Rep. Kendrick B. Meek (D-FL) submitted the following statement to the Congressional Record after voting in support of the American Clean Energy and Security Act:

“I stand for the creation of new American jobs, for less dependence on foreign energy, and for a reduction in the carbon pollution that causes global warming.

“This bill is about national security, creating jobs in a new energy economy, and defending consumers through a fiscally responsible bill with consumer protections.

“These investments will also spur new jobs. The Political Economy Research Institute estimates that 3.5 jobs will be created in the new green job sector for every 1 job that is fossil fuel source based in Florida. This could mean over 94,000 jobs in Florida alone.”

“Too often our foreign policy decisions are affected by the regional stability of oil producing countries. In Iraq we are paying for our oil-centric obsession and Floridians have paid over $37 billion for the war there. This legislation offers incentives that promote energy efficiency and that will break our addiction to foreign oil. We must focus on research and development for green technologies and end the obsession with crude oil that is fueling too much of our economy.

“The bill is not perfect – few landmark bills are. But we cannot wait to act on climate change legislation. Florida is already experiencing eroding shorelines, flooding and dying coral reefs. In particular, the Everglades face severely altered water flows and harmful invasive species. This will also have a devastating impact on Florida’s economy. In 2007, tourists flocking to Florida’s beaches and other priceless environmental areas spent over $65 billion in Florida.

“Without aggressively capping carbon emissions, the earth’s temperature will continue to rise, causing more extreme storms and altered ocean conditions which will have a devastating effect on Florida’s ecosystem.

“The American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) works to minimize price increases for consumers. On average the EPA estimates that this bill will cost an average household $98 to $140 per year in price increases, while holding those in the lowest income quintile harmless.

“Without carbon emissions caps, we have seen energy prices fluctuate drastically. By regulating carbon intensive goods and creating a transparent market this bill will help to stabilize those prices and help protect consumers.

“By investing in conservation, efficiency and renewables, Florida residents will see lower costs in energy though building weatherization improvement benefits, and energy efficiency savings.

House Democratic Leader Statement Regarding Special Investigator Findings

From the House Dems:

Florida House Democratic Leader Franklin Sands (D-Weston) issued the following statement in response to today’s announcement that Stephen Kahn, a special investigator for the Florida House of Representatives, has found probable cause to believe that Representative Ray Sansom, a Destin Republican, violated the House Code of Conduct.

“I am saddened by House Special Investigator Stephen Kahn’s findings that Representative Ray Sansom, a Destin Republican, may have abused his public office and violated ethics guidelines. Along with other legislators and many Florida citizens, I am eager to learn more about the findings of the various authorities who are officially investigating the representative’s alleged misconduct.

“As such, I look forward to reviewing any findings and recommendations of the House Select Committee on Standards of Official Conduct that has been appointed to review allegations concerning Representative Sansom.

“As elected officials, it is of the utmost importance that we conduct ourselves in a manner that not only meets that which is required by law but exceeds the public’s highest expectations.”

Floridian Featured In OFA Web Video

Today, Organizing for America released “Denied,” the next in its series of “The Faces of Health Care Reform” web videos. The piece features Lisa Smith of Lake Worth, FL explaining how she lost her insurance when she lost her job and then was denied coverage by private insurers because of a preexisting condition. OFA, a project of the Democratic National Committee, has collected hundreds of thousands of personal health care stories over the last several weeks. OFA plans to release additional web videos that highlight personal health care stories as the debate over reform continues in Congress.

Lisa Smith of Fort Lake, FL has hydrocephalus – or water on the brain – and several other health ailments that require regular monitoring and care. Like millions of Americans, when Lisa lost her job, she also lost her health insurance. Lisa was unable to afford COBRA, but when she called around to inquire about coverage from private insurers she was categorically denied. “As soon as I told them about my situation,” Lisa says, they said “forget it; they absolutely wouldn’t even go any further.”

Without insurance, Lisa can’t afford her monthly prescriptions (which cost about $800) or the regular tests and doctors visits that help keep her healthy and able to function normally. Lisa has a shunt that drains the water from her brain to her abdomen. With regular checkups, it’s easier to control her condition; but without those visits, Lisa is forced to wait until her situation is dire enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room. “Without regular monitoring I run a real risk of something serious happening and that scares me,” Lisa says.

“Like millions of other Americans, Lisa has a serious health condition that can be managed with regular care and medication,” said Mitch Stewart, the Director of Organizing for America. “But without insurance, Lisa can’t afford that regular care, so she’s forced to rely on emergency room visits, which is ultimately less effective and more expensive. Unfortunately, her story is indicative of what’s wrong with our broken system – we must reform our system to lower costs, increase access and protect patient choice.”

Organizing for America has collected hundreds of thousands of personal health care stories. The grassroots effort is building support in communities across the country for a plan that adheres to President Obama’s three principles for reform: lowering costs, preserving patient choice and increasing access to quality care. Tens of thousands of people in all 50 states participated in OFA’s June 6th Health Care Kickoff events, where attendees shared their stories, talked about the President’s principles for reform and started to plan activities in their own communities. This Saturday, June 27th OFA is organizing a national Health Care Day of Service. Earlier this week, OFA launched Health Care Stories for America an innovative online tool where hundreds of thousands of genuine health care stories can be shared, found and read, by city and state, from all across the country.

Watch Lisa Smith’s story:

EMILY’s List Announces Endorsement of Alex Sink for Governor of Florida and Diane Denish for Governor of New Mexico

EMILY’s List, the nation’s largest financial resource for women candidates, today announced its endorsement of Alex Sink for Governor of Florida and Diane Denish for Governor of New Mexico.

On Alex Sink:
“Florida is ready for a fresh start, and there is no better candidate for the job than Alex Sink. A proven leader and advocate for Florida families, Sink is extremely qualified to serve as Florida’s chief executive,” said Ellen R. Malcolm, president of EMILY’s List. “Demanding accountability in state government, Alex has earned a strong reputation as a watchdog for Florida consumers and taxpayers. Her vast experience and business acumen make her an ideal candidate for governor during these challenging economic times. EMILY’s List looks forward to helping to elect Alex Sink as Florida’s first woman governor.”

As Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Alex Sink has worked tirelessly to take on special interests, cut wasteful spending and restore government accountability. A dedicated advocate for Florida consumers, Sink has launched programs such as Florida’s Housing Help Initiative, which provides assistance to Floridians facing mortgage foreclosure, and the Safeguard Our Seniors Task Force, created to protect older Floridians from financial fraud. As CFO, Sink oversees thousands of employees and an annual budget of $300 million in Florida’s Department of Financial Services.

Sink was elected in 2006 after nearly three decades in the business world where she rose to be a widely respected chief executive. She is currently one of only two Democrats elected statewide in Florida. EMILY’s List backed Sink in her 2006 campaign and supported her through our Political Opportunity Program (POP) that helps women win down-ballot and state legislative races. When elected, Sink will become Florida’s first woman governor.

Betty Castor: "I endorse Dan Gelber for AG"


More than ever, Florida needs real leadership. That is why I am proud to endorse Dan Gelber for Attorney General.

For as long as I've known Dan, he has been one of the most effective voices for the issues we care about. Whether it’s public education, health care for children, or standing up for consumers – Dan has been out front, and leading the charge.

His passion to stand up for change is what we desperately need in Tallahassee. But he needs your help to get there. With the end of the second fundraising quarter approaching, we need to help Dan raise as much money as possible in the next week.

Please join me by contributing to Dan’s campaign.

I know what it takes to be an effective member of the Florida Cabinet, and Dan has the experience necessary to hit the ground running from day one in Tallahassee.

Please join our effort by making a contribution today.

Betty Castor

Senator Justice and Governor Crist Hold Ceremonial Bill Signing for the Firefighter Memorial Flag

From the Senate Dems:

Senator Charlie Justice (D-St. Petersburg), along with Governor Charlie Crist and Representative Bill Heller (D- St. Petersburg) joined firefighters from across Pinellas County today for the ceremonial bill signing of Senate Bill 198 creating the official Fallen Firefighter Memorial Flag.

“This flag is tribute to the 144 brave men and women who have given their lives protecting their communities,” said Senator Justice. “It is a small but very important act creating this testament to their sacrifice.”

The idea for a Florida Fallen Firefighter Memorial Flag was originally brought to Senator 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. The flag will be displayed at funerals and memorials for fallen firefighters, at fire stations, at the official Fallen Firefighter Memorial in Ocala, FL, as well as any other location designated by the State Fire Marshal. Chief McGuff and Firefighter Weschler were recognized at the ceremony for their contribution.

“I cannot tell you how honored I am to help facilitate the creation of this flag. I’m proud that it was a local initiative from my district that made it happen,” Senator Justice added.

Representative Rehwinkel Vasilinda Announces Launch of Film and Entertainment Caucus

From the House Dems:

Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda (D-09) celebrated Florida’s film industry this week at the Film Florida Annual Meeting in Miami Beach and announced one of her initiatives to be launched this fall, the Florida Film and Entertainment Caucus.

“As we look for ways to encourage and enhance business development in this troubling economy and build a strong foundation for Florida's future, the film and entertainment industry is a terrific fit,” said Rep. Rehwinkel Vasilinda. “Florida is poised to be a leader in this green, creative and economically resilient industry. Florida had a significant history in the booming motion picture business in Jacksonville during the early 1900s. We can reclaim this lush and vibrant economic territory and compete for the millions of dollars that are now pouring into other economies.”

In anticipation of an even tougher legislative session in 2010, Rep. Rehwinkel Vasilinda is organizing a bipartisan group of legislators from both chambers who want to play a role in encouraging and enhancing the industry through legislation. Collaborating with Film Florida (, a not-for–profit association that provides a leadership role in Florida’s film, music and entertainment industries, and the Governor’s Office for Film and Entertainment (, the Florida Film and Entertainment Caucus also will help to educate Members and the public about the significant economic development opportunities, as well as determine the best ways to encourage and nurture the growth of all aspects of the industry in Florida.

Florida’s Film Commissioner Lucia Fishburne, who heads the Governor’s Office of Film and Entertainment, agrees that the state can do more. “Florida can take a larger share of the U.S. film, music and entertainment business by providing more competitive incentives to attract more projects. The Florida Film and Entertainment Caucus can be instrumental in developing and moving a policy agenda that helps Florida become a greater player in the film industry,” said Fishburne.

“I have met many producers, directors and other professionals from the film industry who share the same vision about Florida’s tremendous potential to become one of the lead states to attract production projects,” said Rep. Rehwinkel Vasilinda. “My hope is that the Film and Entertainment Caucus will help make this vision possible, along with the help of the other mechanisms already in place such as Film Florida.”

Filmmaker and producer William Grefe, best known for building the low budget action/thriller exploitation genre and whose career spans five decades and over a dozen features (almost all filmed in Florida) was one of several industry professionals with whom Rep. Rehwinkel Vasilinda shared her initiative during the Film Florida annual meeting this week. Grefe was honored Tuesday with the distinguished Legends Award for his accomplishments in the industry, joining industry icons Errol Falcon, Michelle Marx and Michael McGowan, Sr.

“Representative Rehwinkel Vasilinda’s plan to form the Florida Film and Entertainment Caucus, is most welcome in the film community. Our government officials and the general public must be made aware of the countless millions of dollars the entertainment industry could provide to Florida's economy,” Grefe said.

“For Florida to move boldly into a strong economic recovery and ensure a strong and sustainable economic future, the motion picture industry should be a vibrant part of our industry mix. Film, music, television, internet content, and games are green economic development and encourage the kind of innovation and creativity we need in order to make Florida excellent,” said Rehwinkel Vasilinda.

All members of the Florida House and Senate received an invitation from Rep. Rehwinkel Vasilinda this week to join the Film and Entertainment Caucus, scheduled to be launched later this fall. Governor Charlie Crist and Lt. Governor Kottkamp have been big supporters of the film, music and entertainment industry and have been invited to attend the launch as well.

Representative Darren Soto Calls For Stricter Laws To Curtail Street Racing

From the House Dems:

In the early morning hours of June 21, 2009, officers moved in on a St. Petersburg street race with hundreds of spectators. A crowd cheered. Racers popped wheelies and spun their cars, zipping dangerously close to spectators. Tires squealed as the police moved in on the spectacle.

Last year, Representative Darren Soto (D-Orlando) sponsored legislation that made being a spectator to a street race illegal. Violators are charged with a non-criminal infraction that carries a minimum fine of $80. On Sunday morning in St. Petersburg, officers issued citations to over 200 spectators.

“Street racing is illegal and deadly. Those who choose to promote this type of behavior are only adding to the problem,” said Representative Darren Soto.

State Representative Darren Soto is committed to toughening laws to curtail this dangerous and illegal activity. During the 2009 legislative session, Representative Soto sponsored House Bill 843, the Luis Rivera-Ortega Street Racing Act, which, had it become law, would have increased penalties for repeat offenders of street racing.

Though the bill did not pass in its entirety, Representative Soto is pleased that the definition of a “street race” was amended this year to include an element of competition. The street racing statute was previously declared unconstitutional by a Florida appeals court. Without the amendment, street racing convictions would likely have been reversed on appeal.

On Monday, the St. Petersburg Times brought attention to the law enforcement response to street racing in an article, “Police Slam Brakes On Drag Race Fans,” that illustrates how legislative reforms are achieving results and saving lives.

“There are still more legal reforms that need to be approved next year to discourage repeat offenders of these dangerous activities,” said Representative Soto.

U.S. Rep. Kendrick B. Meek Regarding the Passing of Hillsborough County Elections Supervisor Phyllis Busansky

U.S. Rep. Kendrick B. Meek (D-FL) released the following statement after learning of the passing of Hillsborough County Elections Supervisor Phyllis Busansky:

“This morning I was personally saddened by the news of the sudden death of a remarkable public servant, Phyllis Busansky. She was a friend of mine and her passing is nothing short of tragic. Phyllis put public service first and she helped improve the lives of countless people in her community and beyond. That never ending desire to serve others made Phyllis a remarkable leader of the highest order. May her family be comforted by the many members of a tightly knit community that admired her which spans Hillsborough County and the state of Florida during this incredibly sad time.”

What If?

Battle conservative misinformation on President Obama's health care plan:

This ad is now airing in Florida and was produced by Health Care for America Now.

Representative Joe Gibbons Provides Testimony To Congress Regarding Cell Tax Fairness Act of 2009

From the House Dems:

On Tuesday, June 9, 2009, State Representative Joseph Gibbons (D-Hallandale Beach) testified before the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law regarding House Resolution 1521, the Cell Tax fairness Act of 2009.

The act prohibits states or local governments from imposing any new discriminatory tax on mobile services, mobile service providers, or mobile service property for five years after the enactment of this Act. It further defines "new discriminatory tax" as a tax imposed on mobile services, providers, or property that is not generally imposed on other types of services or property, or that is generally imposed at a lower rate.

In his prepared remarks, as well as on the video available at this link, Prepared Testimonies and Archived Video, Representative Gibbons told subcommittee members that taxation should not punish disproportionately those who can least afford it. He said that the impact of the current level of taxation on wireless consumers in his district is significant for the high level of seniors, African Americans and Hispanic consumers who use wireless voice and data services.

Representative Gibbons said he takes any federal intervention into state taxing authority very seriously, but he believes HR 1521 walks the “fine line of when federal intervention makes sense.”

“This bill does not preclude my ability to tax wireless consumers or the industry in a rational way,” Representative Gibbons said. “It only precludes my state from targeting these consumers for additional excess taxes.”

Quote Regarding Funding to Expand Weatherization Assistance Programs in Florida

Congressman Kendrick B. Meek (D-FL) issued the following quote regarding U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s announcement today that the Department of Energy is providing more than $70 million in Recovery Act funding to expand weatherization assistance programs in Florida:

“I applaud the Obama Administration’s efforts in expanding weatherization assistance programs in Florida. With Florida receiving 40 percent of its total Recovery Act weatherization funding today, I look forward to the positive results that will contribute to Florida’s economic recovery. These awards will help Florida achieve its goal of weatherizing more than 19,000 homes, lowering energy costs for low-income families that need it, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating green jobs across the state. Floridians will be ensured that taxpayers dollars are being spent responsibly through the creation of jobs, saving money, reducing pollutions, and strengthening Florida’s local economies.”

Rep. Skidmore Statement on Governor's Action on Prescription Drug Monitoring Legislation

From the House Dems:

Representative Kelly Skidmore (D-Boca Raton) offered the following statement in response to Governor Charlie Crist’s signing today of Senate Bill 462, which authorizes the creation of a prescription drug monitoring system in the Florida Department of Health.

“I am proud to have been among the sponsors of this legislation that will help end the prescription drug abuse epidemic that has devastated many Florida families and given our state a reputation as the nation’s pill mill,” said Representative Skidmore.

“I appreciate Governor Crist’s positive action on this legislation. Florida’s lack of a prescription drug monitoring system has made our state a target for criminals looking to buy prescription drugs easily. I am pleased that we are now equipping physicians and law enforcement personnel with the tools they need to stop the abuse, misuse, and illegal sale of prescription drugs.”

Sen. Deutch's Bill To Protect Children In Cases of Domestic Abuse Signed Into Law

From the Senate Dems:

Legislation sponsored by Sen. Ted Deutch (D-Boca Raton), crafted in tandem with a domestic abuse survivor whose children died at her husband’s hand, was signed into law by the governor on Wednesday.

“I am so proud to have sponsored this new law that will help ensure no child falls victim to the relationship of the parents,” said Sen. Deutch. “Evidence of domestic violence must be specifically considered in order to help protect the children.”

The legislation signed by the governor this week ensures judges make written findings in domestic and sexual violence cases, and child abuse cases when supervised visitation is recommended.

It was inspired by Lake Worth resident Jenny Carter, who divorced her husband after experiencing domestic abuse in her own marriage. In 2006, during a court-approved visitation around Christmas, her ex-husband set fire to their home, killing himself along with the couple’s 10-year old son, Nelson and 8-year old daughter, Crystal. Since then, Ms. Carter has dedicated herself to changing the existing laws governing parental visitation.

“I became my children’s voice,” Ms. Carter said, “so that other children and other families don’t suffer this tragic fate. This law provides the safety net my children didn’t have.”

Under the new law, judges will now have to broaden from third degree felony to first degree misdemeanor their scrutiny of domestic violence convictions when determining parental responsibility.

Currently, many felony domestic violence cases plead down to first degree misdemeanors, and a parent is frequently granted custody even if they have a history of domestic violence not involving the children.

House Democratic Leader Responds to School Grades Report

From the House Dems:

Florida House Democratic Leader Franklin Sands (D-Weston) offered the following statement in response to today’s release of school grades by the Florida Department of Education.

“I applaud Florida’s public school students, teachers and administrators for their hard work during the 2009 school year. I am pleased that Florida’s schools are showing improvement. However, our students and teachers deserve better than a one-day assessment of a year’s worth of work, which is all that the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) provides.

“Public school accountability and progress should be based on the whole body of work that schools, teachers and students accomplish throughout the year rather than on a one-day snapshot.

“For several years, Florida House Democrats have offered a better system of accountability that Republican legislative leaders have dismissed.

“We have proposed to broaden the FCAT into more than a one-day test of only math, reading and science skills’ to an assessment based on a wider array of subject areas and a year’s worth of knowledge. We made some progress in 2008 with the passage of changes in the high school grading formula. That bipartisan effort now needs to be extended to all grades.

“Additionally, Florida House Democrats see the importance of directing more financial resources to low-performing schools that need help. This year’s increase in the number of “D” and “F” schools is troubling. According to the Department of Education, the number of schools receiving either a “D” or “F” grade this year increased to 217, up from 200 in 2008.

“Rewarding high-performing schools with more budget flexibility and control over their programs also makes sense, and has been a cornerstone of the Florida House Democratic Caucus education initiatives.

“Meanwhile, while we are likely to see banners in the Capitol touting today’s school grades report, the progress comes amid signs that there are many challenges ahead. For instance, in recent days, we have learned that Florida’s high school graduation rate is still among the lowest in the nation thanks to a study published in Education Week Magazine. We’ve also learned, thanks to Stanford University's Center for Research on Education Outcomes, that charter schools are doing a worse job at meeting the needs of students, especially minorities, than public schools.

“Today’s findings highlight the importance of Democrats and Republicans working cooperatively toward developing a world-class public education system.”

Budget Cuts Blamed For Broward Teacher Layoffs

From the House Dems:

Florida House Democratic Leader Franklin Sands (D-Weston) issued the following statement in response to layoff notices being received this week by approximately 400 Broward County School District teachers:

“No one should be confused. There is only one simple reason why 400 teachers are losing their jobs in Broward County -- Republican legislative leaders have refused to adequately fund public schools,” said Leader Sands. “At the same time that Republican leaders eagerly cut taxes that only millionaires, special interests and large corporations paid, they also callously reduced the state’s contribution to schools.

“It is outrageous that Republican legislative leaders are praising themselves for increasing per-student state education funding by a scant $28 over last year,” said Sands. “If they think that’s such a big achievement, they are delirious. All that the Legislature has done is raise state education funding to the level that it was in Fiscal Year 2006-07—or nearly three years ago.

“These decisions undoubtedly will have a severe impact on the future of our state,” he added. “By failing to adequately fund public schools, we are guaranteeing that our state will fail to develop a well-qualified, well-educated workforce for the new economy of the 21st Century.

“Instead of paying for the state’s public school system, Republicans have attempted to dismantle it with vouchers that send children to religious schools and forcing school boards to increase local taxes to make ends meet.”

U.S. Rep. Kendrick B. Meek Regarding Veteran’s Affairs Inspector General Report Regarding Medical Mistakes at VA Facilities

U.S. Rep. Kendrick B. Meek (D-FL) released the following statement after learning that fewer than half of Veterans Affairs centers had appropriate guidelines for medical procedures such as colonoscopies, potentially exposing thousands of veterans to HIV and other diseases.
Meek first learned about medical mistakes that had transpired in the Miami VA Hospital on March 23, immediately thereafter called Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki about the matter, and wrote both the Secretary and Inspector General George Opfer requesting an Inspector General’s investigation into the matter. A copy of that letter is attached.

On March 27, Rep Meek conducted an on site visit of the VA facility in Miami meeting with healthcare professionals, hospital administrators and press on the ongoing patient testing taking place at that facility.

A copy of the U.S. Rep. Meek statement appears below:
“The findings in the Inspector General’s report that I requested in March and will be officially released tomorrow morning are beyond troubling. Veterans should expect extraordinary care at our VA facilities, but instead they received subpar treatment. To admit wrongdoing is never easy, and the VA should be credited for being proactive in investigating their conduct – yet that does not excuse the magnitude of the inexcusable errors that were committed.
“While we can never adequately pay back our veterans for their service to our country and dedication to the uniform they wore, we can try to assist by providing them with the top level of medical care they deserve. The VA is a model of the type of healthcare we provide our veterans and when mistakes like this occur, it undermines the efficacy of the entire system.

“Though I am not a member of the committee, tomorrow I will join the Veterans Affairs Committee and will expect to hear an answer to the question, ‘How could this have happened?’ By exposing veterans, their families and communities to life debilitating and life threatening diseases, we have responded to our veterans’ service with the ultimate disservice.

“We desperately need a new set of guidelines to ensure that when these or any medical procedures are conducted at the VA, they are done so in the most careful manner adhering to the highest standards of medical care.”

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek Endorsed for U.S. Senate by U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Ron Klein

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Miami) was endorsed today for the U.S. Senate by U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Weston) and Ron Klein (D-Boca Raton).

Meek, Wasserman Schultz and Klein served together in the Florida state legislature and now in the U.S. Congress.

“Debbie and Ron are two stars shining brightly on Capitol Hill and their constituents are fortunate to be represented by the best. The Florida delegation in Congress is among the most effective because of their leadership. In short time, they have climbed the rungs of the leadership ladder and they are delivering for their districts and our state. Debbie and Ron were leaders in Tallahassee who clearly stood out amongst the crowd and they have surpassed that standard of excellence in Washington, D.C. Together we are all working to pass a National Catastrophe Fund in Congress, which is critical for Florida. Their endorsement means a great deal to this effort and I look forward to campaigning together throughout the state during this race” said U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek.

“Kendrick arrived in Congress two years before I did and he helped pave the way for me to make a positive and impactful change in Washington,” said U.S. Rep. Wasserman Schultz. “Together as members of then Leader Pelosi’s 30-Something Working Group, we led the fight against President Bush’s wrongheaded proposal to privatize Social Security and championed the effort to provide affordable healthcare for low income children. Kendrick can outwork anyone and I witnessed his dedication firsthand in 2002 when he led the effort to reduce class size in Florida. Kendrick stands up when others sit down and that is the type of leader Florida needs in the U.S. Senate.”

“I am proud to support Kendrick Meek for U.S. Senate. His hard work helped Democrats take back the majority in Congress in 2006. As a U.S. Senator, Kendrick will fight for our entire state and help pass critical legislation like the Homeowners’ Defense Act. He has my full support, and I look forward to seeing Kendrick working on the other side of the Capitol Rotunda soon,” said U.S. Rep. Ron Klein.

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek Endorsed for U.S. Senate by State Representative Luis Garcia

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Miami) was endorsed today for the U.S. Senate at a petition drive rally attended by State Representative Luis Garcia (D-Miami Beach).

Meek is qualifying for the U.S. Senate race by petition and the campaign is collecting 112,476 petitions to qualify for the ballot.

“Luis Garcia has lived a life of public service. He is a state representative who represents his constituents in Tallahassee, but his leadership affects people far beyond his district boundaries,” said U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek. “As a former Trooper who served as a first responder on Florida’s highways and byways, I share a professional bond with Luis who served as the former chief of the Miami Beach Fire Department. We understand how poorly conceived policies in Tallahassee and Washington can adversely affect those on the front lines who are responsible for protecting our communities. I thank State Rep Garcia for his support and look forward to serving his constituents as their future U.S. Senator.”

“Kendrick Meek knows the value of selfless service. He comes from a family that puts the needs of others first and that type of selflessness is what we require in our next U.S. Senator,” said State Representative Luis Garcia. “My constituents deserve the very best representation in the U.S. Senate and Kendrick is the very best person to help lead our state during these difficult days. As former first responders and now as public servants, we share the same commitment to serving others and I look forward to joining Kendrick on the campaign trail.”

Already Congressman Meek has been endorsed by Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, Broward County Mayor Stacy Ritter, West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel, Tallahassee Mayor John Marks and Gainesville Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan.

He has also received endorsements from SEIU, United Teachers of Dade, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, AFSCME, and Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO.

El Representante estatal Luis Garcia apoya la candidatura del Representante Kendrick Meek al Senado de los Estados Unidos

Miami Gardens, FL – Durante una reunión hoy para recolectar peticiones para su candidatura, el Representante Kendrick Meek (D-Miami) recibió hoy el apoyo del Representante estatal Luis Garcia (D-Miami Beach) en sus aspiraciones electorales para el Senado de los Estados Unidos.

Meek aspira a calificar para aparecer en la boleta como candidato para el Senado de los Estados Unidos a través de peticiones y su campaña está recolectando 112,476 peticiones para participar en las primarias.

“Luis Garcia ha vivido una vida de servicio público. Él es un Representante estatal que representa a sus electores en Tallahassee, pero su liderazgo afecta a la gente mucho más allá de las fronteras de su distrito”, dijo el Representante Kendrick Meek. “Como un ex-Patrullero, que presté servicios de respuesta inmediata en las carreteras y caminos de la Florida, compartí una relación profesional con Luis, quién fue jefe del Departamento de Bomberos de Miami Beach. Nosotros entendemos como políticas pobremente concebidas en Tallahassee y Washington pueden afectar negativamente a quienes están en la línea del frente y tienen la responsabilidad de proteger a nuestras comunidades. Yo agradezco al Representante Estatal García por su apoyo y espero servir a sus electores como su futuro Senador de los Estados Unidos.”

“Kendrick Meek sabe lo que es prestar servicios desinteresadamente. Él proviene de una familia que pone las necesidades de los demás primero y este tipo de servicio desinteresado es lo que necesitamos de nuestro próximo Senador,” dijo el Representante Luis García. “Mis electores merecen la mejor representación en el Senado norteamericano y Kendrick es la mejor persona para ayudarnos a dirigir nuestro estado en estos días difíciles. Como ex-oficiales de respuesta inmediata, y ahora como servidores públicos, compartimos el mismo compromiso para servir a otras personas y espero unirme a Kendrick en esta campaña.”

Ya el Congresista Meek ha recibido el apoyo de los alcaldes de Broward, Alcaldeza Stacy Ritter; Miami, Alcalde Manny Diaz; West Palm Beach, Alcaldeza Lois Frankel; Tallahassee, Alcalde John Marks; y Gainesville, Alcalde Pegeen Hanrahan.

El Congresista Meek tambien ha recibido el apoyo de algunos de los sindicatos mas importantes en nuestro Estado, como el SEIU, AFL-CIO y United Teachers of Dade.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Capitol Offense: Where Is Congress on the Public Option

Today, I'm joining with Democracy for America, Health Care for America Now and Open Left in supporting the Stand With Dr. Dean Campaign. The idea is to put pressure on our members of Congress to find out where they stand on health care reform and whether or not they support Dr. Howard Dean's call for a reform that includes a public option. See Dean's statement here:

Chris Bowers has suggested that we use crowdsourcing techniques to find out where everyone in Congress stands, which also helps pressure them to take the right stand. So here's the plan:

1. Contact your member of Congress via e-mail and ask them the following questions:

1--Do you support a public healthcare option as part of healthcare reform?
2--If so, do you support a public healthcare option that is available on day one?
3--Do you support a public healthcare option that is national, available everywhere, and accountable to Congress?
4--Do you support a public healthcare option that can bargain for rates from providers and big drug companies?

Don't call, do this via e-mail because we want a written response. If they are vague in answering these questions, contact them again and ask for clarification. If they don't answer you, keep contacting them (and have your friends and family contact them) until they do give you the answers.

2. Forward the responses to me at We're going to publish an official response from as many of our members as possible so we know where everyone is. And we'll keep a track of who isn't responding so we know who to put pressure on. Similarly, once we find out who is on board and who isn't, we know who to put further pressure on down the road.

3. If you have your own blog, post the responses there, too. The more public pressure we can put on Congress, the easier we make it for them to do the right thing.

Here is the public contact info for each of our Florida members of Congress:

Rep Gus Bilirakis R FL-9

Rep Allen Boyd D FL-2

Rep Corrine Brown D FL-3

Rep Virginia Brown-Waite R FL-5

Rep Vern Buchanan R FL-13

Rep Kathy Castor D FL-11

Rep Ander Crenshaw R FL-4

Rep Lincoln Diaz-Balart R FL-21

Rep Mario Diaz-Balart R FL-25

Rep Alan Grayson D FL-8

Rep Alcee Hastings D FL-23

Rep Ron Klein D FL-22

Rep Suzanne Kosmas D FL-24

Rep Connie Mack R FL-14

Sen Melquiades Martinez R FL

Rep Kendrick Meek D FL-17

Rep John Mica R FL-7

Rep Jeff Miller R FL-1

Sen Bill Nelson D FL

Rep Bill Posey R FL-15

Rep Adam Putnam R FL-12

Rep Tom Rooney R FL-16

Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen R FL-18

Rep Clifford Stearns R FL-6

Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz D FL-20

Rep Robert Wexler D FL-19

Rep C. W. Bill Young R FL-10

We'll also post the results of these at the WatchBlogs dedicated to each Republican member and at the Florida Democratic News blog.

You can also sign the petition on health care here.

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 (

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Help Kendrick Meek Get on the Ballot

The following post does not constitute an endorsement from FPC and we will post other noteworthy releases from other Democratic or progressive campaigns in this, or any other, race from Florida. I think I speak for everyone at FPC, though, in endorsing the idea of getting on the ballot via the petition method as the more democratic approach.

From the Kendrick Meek campaign:

Dear Friends of Kendrick's Grassroots' Movement:

My name is Kate Nowak, and I am the Petition Director for Kendrick Meek for Florida. Instead of showing up in Tallahassee with a check in hand to qualify for the ballot, Kendrick Meek has chosen the path less travelled. He will be qualifying for the ballot by petition, and to get those petitions signed, he needs your help. Every time someone signs a petition, they own a piece of this campaign. Because Kendrick chose this route you will be the reason why he's on the ballot. You have a voice.

We need all boots on the ground, all hands on deck. This is also a historic movement - Kendrick Meek will be the first statewide candidate in Florida history to qualify for the ballot by petition. We need you to join our campaign and make history. Please sign a petition and have your family members and colleagues sign a petition! Make a Petition Pledge. How many can you collect?

Download the petitions by visiting or by calling 877-FL-4-MEEK (877-354-6335) and we'll mail you as many petitions as you want.

Once you've signed your petition, and collected petitions on behalf of this campaign, we need some more help. We need you to take the next step, for Kendrick, and for this state. Please join our $20.10 for 2010 Club-I'm a member! Can you commit to just $20.10 per month until the election in November 2010? This is less than a dollar a day, but will build the foundation we need to compete in 2010. Join the club!

But your work doesn't end there. Have you visited and signed up to volunteer? Are you Kendrick's Facebook friend? Are you following his twitter updates?

This campaign will succeed because of you. Own this campaign by filling out a petition. Call our offices at 877-FL-4-MEEK (877-354-6335) and we'll mail you as many petitions as you need to sign up your friends and family. And please join our $20.10 for 2010 club. We need your help.

Join me, join Kendrick, join Floridians and be part of the movement for the next step for change.

Thank you,

Kate Nowak

Link to Meek's campaign site

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Stimulus In Action: Pike Industries Begins Work on Route 101 Stimulus Project

Floridians Near Bottom In Number of Unemployed Getting Benefits, Florida House Republicans Blocked Unemployment Benefits for Floridians

From the House Dems:

In an article today focused on research by the nonprofit, investigative news organization, The News Service of Florida reports that fewer out-of-work Floridians qualify for benefits than almost any other state, leaving millions of dollars in the unemployment trust fund even as Florida weathers its highest jobless toll in 33 years.

“Only South Dakota and the District of Columbia have fewer unemployed getting benefits than the 32 percent of Floridians who qualify,” the article states.

“Supported by business groups, the Republican-led Legislature turned down expanding the eligibility rules for unemployment and an accompanying $444 million in federal money,” according to the article.

“The 32 percent of jobless Floridians who do qualify for benefits draw an average of $239.64 weekly, ranking 44th in the country,” the article states.

During the 2009 legislative session, state Representative Kevin J.G. Rader (D-Delray Beach) filed legislation and presented an amendment that would have helped Florida obtain these economic recovery stimulus monies for the state’s Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund.

Numerous House Democrats spoke in favor and supported Representative Rader’s proposal. The proposal was blocked from passage by House Republican leaders.

House Democratic Leader Franklin Sands (D-Weston) stated today, “With Florida’s 9.6 percent unemployment rate at its highest since 1976, it’s extremely difficult to understand and impossible to justify why the Republican leadership in the House blocked opportunities to help out-of-work Floridians.”

The ProPublica report is here:

Friday, June 12, 2009

5 Questions for Dan Gelber

5 Questions for Dave Aronberg

5 Questions for Rod Smith

Tampa City Councilwoman Mary Mulhern supports the Employee Free Choice Act

Bill Signed Will Improve Floridians' Access to Care

From the House Dems:

On Wednesday, June 10, 2009 Governor Charlie Crist signed into law a “Clinical Labs” bill sponsored by state Representative Luis Garcia (D-Miami) and state Senator Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey). The legislation, CS/Senate Bill 408, requires clinical labs to accept human specimens, such as blood and urine, for analysis from Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioners. The legislation also eliminates a current requirement that initial workplace drug tests be conducted only by laboratories which will allow Florida employers to conduct employee drug tests in a more efficient and cost-saving manner

“I commend Governor Crist for signing into law this important legislation that has been widely supported in both the Florida House and state Senate,” said Representative Luis Garcia. “This new law will improve Floridians’ access to care while also promoting healthy Florida workplaces. I am proud to have worked on this vital health care legislation.”

Advanced registered nurse practitioners already play a critical role in improving Floridians’ health. They provide primary health care services, manage chronic illnesses and diagnose acute illnesses. They are also allowed to order laboratory tests. Under the new law, they will be able to do even more good for patients even though their scope of practice is not expanded.

The law amends a statute to allow advanced registered nurse practitioners to be among those who clinical labs are required to accept human specimens on the order of physicians, dentists and certain others.

Additionally, the law eliminates a requirement that initial drug tests performed in compliance with a drug-free workplace program be conducted by laboratories. These labs are often located out of state and charge shipping and handling fees. As a result, employees and employers have faced delays and high costs for drug testing that can be eased under the new law.

Nearly 20 million Americans were estimated in 2007 to be illegal drug users, according to the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). This research also indicates that three of every four drug users are employed. Consequently, employers lose an estimated $160 billion per year due to absenteeism, increased healthcare costs and decreased productivity stemming from drug use.

In Florida, employers who implement drug-free workplace programs are eligible for discounts on workers’ compensation insurance. The new law will save employers and employees even more time and money.

The law will still require that confirmatory drug tests, performed at licensed labs, and medical review be conducted before final results are available to employers.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

From the Blogs


The latest stories from the Florida blogs...

Blue In Miami: FDP says look at our voter reg numbers!

Smashed Frog: Educating Martin Kiar

Eye on Miami (Gimleteye): Florida Democratic Party's annual Jefferson Jackson Dinner

Blast Off: Jefferson-Jackson Dinner 2009: liveblogging, page 6

Blast Off: We now interrupt this liveblogging ...

Blast Off: Jefferson-Jackson Dinner 2009: liveblogging, page 5

Blast Off: Jefferson-Jackson Dinner 2009: liveblogging, page 4

Blast Off: Jefferson-Jackson Dinner 2009: liveblogging, page 3

Blast Off: Jefferson-Jackson Dinner 2009: liveblogging, page 2

Blast Off: Jefferson-Jackson Dinner 2009: liveblogging, page 1

Blast Off: FDP Jefferson-Jackson 2009: pictures from Netroots Coalition meeting

Blast Off: At Jefferson-Jackson in Miami Beach

Pushing Rope: Florida Democratic Party Voter Registration

Blue Herald 2.0: Is Anyone Minding the Store at the Federal Reserve?

The Campaign Manager: Sink Posts Strong Numbers

Madfloridian: This month 10 Democratic senators pushed for a tax break for multimillionaires.

Senator Charlie Justice (D-St. Petersburg) Statement on SB 216 Becoming Law/New Law Prohibits Tax Dollars From Being Spent on Political Ads‏

From the Senate Dems:

“I would like to commend supporters of SB 216 and Governor Crist for making such a valuable piece of legislation law. Today marks the beginning of a new era of government accountability, as this will ensure that governments will not be telling taxpayers how to vote, but rather allow voters to be the final arbiter in determining what is good policy for our communities. Gone are the days of unjust and irresponsible campaign spending from our government. I will continue to fight for campaign finance reform in Tallahassee, and I will continue to seek government accountability for our taxpayers.”

Representative Mary Brandenburg statement on Alonzo Mourning Access to Care Act‏

From the House Dems:

Representative Mary Brandenburg (D-Lake Worth) issued the following remarks in response to Governor Charlie Crist’s signing House Bill 675, the Alonzo Mourning Access to Care Act, which expands the availability of Medicare supplemental policies to Medicare beneficiaries with End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).

“I am pleased Governor Crist showed his support by signing House Bill 675 into law,” said Representative Brandenburg. “Former Miami Heat player Alonzo Mourning, who knows first-hand how important it is to have adequate coverage for life-saving medical treatments, and the leadership of the National Kidney Foundation of Florida and the Florida Renal Coalition, are to be congratulated.

“I am proud to have been able to help advocate for this critical expansion of coverage, which will enable approximately 11,050 Medicare beneficiaries with end-stage renal disease to purchase supplemental coverage policies,” added Representative Brandenburg. “For the estimated 2,000 beneficiaries who lack secondary insurance, today’s action brings hope for a better future and the potential for better days ahead.”

Statement of Congressman Kendrick Meek on the Tragic Shooting at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC

Congressman Kendrick B. Meek (D-FL) released the following statement on the tragic shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC:

“In the building that was erected to preserve the memory of the martyrs and heroes of the Holocaust, the ugly face of bigotry cast a dark shadow over the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum today. The Museum is a place of stillness and personal reflection, and that calm was broken by a gunman who shattered that silence. People from around the country and the world come to that location to learn what the powerful phrase ‘Never Again’ really means. Visitors take that message to their home communities to serve as spokespeople against bigotry, racism and hatred. That message needs to resonate throughout this country even more so today.

“My heartfelt condolences are extended to the family of the victim who was an innocent man, securing the countless people who stream into one of the national treasures in our capital city. His life and service will not be forgotten.”

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek Endorsed for U.S. Senate by Miami Mayor Manny Diaz

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Miami) was endorsed today for the U.S. Senate by Miami Mayor Manny Diaz.

“Manny Diaz is not only Miami’s mayor, he’s America’s mayor. As President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Manny was the Leader-in-Chief, working tirelessly to ensure that Miami and cities throughout the state and county would benefit from the economic recovery package,” said Congressman Kendrick Meek. “Whether working with President Obama or congressional leaders, Manny was the economic stimulus champion for our cities and his leadership is unparalleled. Mayor Diaz’s endorsement means a great deal to this campaign, and I look forward to working together throughout this U.S. Senate race to better our community and state.”

“Congressman Kendrick Meek is a leader in Congress who knows that placing unfair financial burdens and unfunded mandates on our cities is a practice that must end. Cities are being asked to do more with less, and Kendrick has proven himself to be a leader on the Ways and Means Committee who opposes disadvantaging our cities and most vulnerable citizens,” said Mayor Manny Diaz. “Miami has undergone a renaissance once already, and now we are rebuilding again to create a green city that is a model of 21st century innovation. I look to leaders like Kendrick to champion this movement in Congress, and as Florida’s next U.S. Senator, our state will be served by one of the best.”

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Obama: Health Care Organizing Kickoff Video

Gelber Jumps Into the AG Race

Today I announce that I am running for Attorney General of Florida.

More than two decades ago, at the age of 25, I stood in a small federal courtroom in Miami and said for the first time “My name is Dan Gelber and I represent the United States of America.” It was at that precise moment – filled with a mix of pride and humility – that I knew pubic service would be my path.

That is exactly the path I have followed – as a federal prosecutor for nearly a decade, as the chief counsel of the U.S. Senate’s investigations committee, as a big brother in the Big Brothers program for 25 years and, most recently, as a member of the Florida legislature. Each of these roles has reaffirmed that my decision in that small federal courtroom decades ago was the right one for me.

Governor Crist’s announcement that he would not seek reelection but rather a seat in the U.S. Senate, resulted in vacancies in all the offices of the cabinet. At a time when our state is facing its greatest challenges, ironically, we have our greatest uncertainty and dislocation. But out of this turmoil we can also find opportunity –the chance to set a new course that avoids the mistakes of the past and tracks a better future for our families.

I want to serve and believe I can best support our state's renewal as Florida's next Attorney General.

My years in the Florida legislature have demonstrated to me that Tallahassee too often turns its back on the people, opting instead to carry out the narrow agenda of a few special interests. The Attorney General is not merely Florida's top cop, but must also be the strongest advocate that every day Floridians have in government – the person they know is worried about their safety and the security of their children, and the person who makes sure that their rights are not being trampled upon. I believe my background prepares me for this task, and it is a job I’d be privileged to assume.

So that’s it. I’m running for Attorney General, and I hope I can count on your continued support.


PS. Check out the re-branded

Florida Democratic Party Lauds President Obama's Efforts To Strengthen Our National Security Through Unprecedented Outreach To Muslims Around the Worl

Florida Democratic Party spokesman Eric Jotkoff issued the following statement:

"Today President Obama took an important step towards increasing our national security and improving our relations with Muslims around the world. In his remarks in Cairo, the President recognized his respect for Islam and the many contributions Muslims have made to all of civilization. He spoke of how American Muslims - nearly seven million living in the U.S. today -- have enriched our country's story and called on us all to focus on the mutual interests we have with Muslims around the world, and how we must confront our mutual problems together.

"The President reminds us once again that the surest way to solve our problems is through seeking common ground. We must remember that the majority of Muslims throughout the world share our goals of making our country and world more secure by confronting violent extremism, preventing nuclear proliferation, and strengthening democracy and human rights. As Democrats and as Floridians we continue to support the President's efforts to strengthen our security by engaging with the Muslim community and creating a culture of mutual respect."

Florida Democratic Party Statement on Attorney General Race

Florida Democratic Party Spokesman Eric Jotkoff released the following statement regarding the Attorney General race:

“As Attorney General, Bill McCollum has done nothing more than promote himself and the status quo, overlook Republican corruption festering across Florida, and stand with the special interests by doing their bidding.

“In 2010, Florida is going to elect a strong Democrat to bring change as our Attorney General, because Florida can’t afford more of the same.

“The Sunshine State needs a strong Democrat as Florida’s chief legal officer to bust up business as usual, fight for everyday Floridians, protect consumers, and ensure our communities are safe for Florida’s families.

“In 2010, every statewide office in Florida will be wide open with no incumbents running for re-election, for the first time in 134 years. Democrats are working to seize our historic opportunity to bring change to Florida by electing our next Governor, Alex Sink, electing a strong Democrat to the U.S. Senate, and electing more Democrats to the Cabinet, Congress, and Florida's Legislature.”

Representative Mark Pafford Seeks Early Talks Re: 2010-11 funding for Florida Seniors

From the House Dems:

Dear Governor Crist:

I call your attention to the plight of thousands of Florida seniors who rely on a host of services provided by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and community groups throughout the state.

Florida seniors comprise nearly one-fourth of the state’s population. Yet despite their huge importance to our culture and economy, I am concerned that our state government does not yet fully fund the programs on which these individuals and their loved ones rely.

As a result, there are today approximately 30,000 seniors on waiting lists for services, with predictions that the waiting lists will grow significantly as our population ages.

Florida seniors should no longer have to wait. They deserve top priority when spending decisions are made by legislators and the governor.

As you know, it will be several months before the Fiscal Year 2010-11 state budget discussions get underway. However, I believe that now is the time for your office, Department officials, state lawmakers, legislative staff and community leaders to begin working together in earnest toward crafting a Department of Elder Affairs budget that enhances, rather than cuts, direct services and assistance for seniors.

Your support and encouragement toward this endeavor will go a long way toward improving health outcomes for Florida seniors, and I respectfully seek your involvement.

I am concerned that the $3 million in spending cut from senior programs in the upcoming 2009-10 state budget will drastically impact important services, including Florida’s Community Care for the Elderly program, Florida’s Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative, Home Care for the Elderly, as well as many local service programs and various contracted services.

But despite my concerns about the immediate future, I am hopeful that if we are pro-active and work cooperatively, we can minimize long-term harm to seniors.

Throughout Florida, seniors are understandably concerned about their own circumstances, and they need assurances now that public agencies will be able to continue providing the help they need and the care that they deserve to receive.

I believe that starting this dialogue now will be a positive step toward honoring our seniors and providing them the assistance that they so desperately need.

With kind regards, I am,

State Representative
District 88

Florida Democrats Continue Voter Registration Surge

From the FDP:

New voter registration figures released by the Florida Democratic Party today show that since the 2008 election Democrats continue to out pace Republicans in registering new voters.

Since the registration deadline for the 2008 election, Democrats have registered over 30,000 more voters than the Republican Party. Democrats are out registering Republicans in all age groups and have a 3 to 1 advantage in Hispanic registration.

Reacting to this news, Florida Democratic Party Executive Director Leonard Joseph said:

"Since the 2008 election, our local Democratic Parties and activists inspired by President Obama have continued voter registration drives such as those that helped Democrats turn Florida blue in 2008.

"The continued grassroots activism and surge in Democratic registration shows that Floridians are inspired by the proven leadership and bold action that President Obama and Democrats in Congress have taken to bring change to Washington. Because Floridians know that Democrats are working to jumpstart Florida's economy and end politics as usual, Florida Democrats are energized and organized to bring change to Tallassee in 2010.

"In 2010, every statewide office in Florida will be wide open with no incumbents running for re-election, for the first time in 134 years. Democrats are working to seize our historic opportunity to bring change to Florida by electing our next Governor, Alex Sink, electing a strong Democrat to the U.S. Senate, and electing more Democrats to the Congress, Cabinet, and Florida's Legislature.

"Democrats' registration advantage will be one of the many reasons why Floridians will stand up to change Florida in 2010 by electing proven Democratic leaders."

New Registration Figures

(Oct. 7, 2008 - May 1, 2009)

Democrats 86,220 39.54%
Independents 76,134 34.91%
Republicans 55,720 25.55%
Total 218,074

Statement by U.S. Rep. Kendrick B. Meek (D-FL) On Decision to Lift the Suspension of Cuba from the Organization of American States (OAS)‏

Congressman Kendrick B. Meek (D-FL) issued the following statement on the decision to lift the suspension of Cuba from the Organization of American States (OAS):

“The OAS has demonstrated a willingness to overlook Cuba for its misdeeds. It has eased restrictions on a nation that has referred to the hemispheric organization as a cadaver, and unconscionable behavior by a regime that suppresses human rights and personal freedoms was rewarded today.

“The OAS has lifted the suspension on Cuba but has not readmitted the communist nation into the hemispheric organization and that is a distinction worth making. As I traveled to Mexico City and the Summit of the Americas with President Obama and congressional members, my message was straightforward: For Cuba to be readmitted to the family of nations, the onus of responsibility falls upon the Castro regime to abide by the Inter-American Democratic Charter.

“The ball is in Cuba’s court to forsake a legacy of repression and tyranny, and embrace Democratic values and ideals.”

Thurman Honors PRIDE Month; Reaffirms Democrats' Commitment To GLBT Equality

From the FDP:

As Floridians honor the contributions on the of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Community by celebrating PRIDE Month, Florida Democratic Party Chair Karen Thurman released the following statement:

"During this month-long celebration of PRIDE and throughout the year, Florida Democrats are fighting for equality and civil rights for all residents of the Sunshine State.

"As the Party of inclusion, Democrats know that all are created equal and we have fought against discrimination based on race, sex, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, and disability.

"Over the past several years, Democrats stood up to change Washington. In doing so, the cause of ending discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans has taken a giant leap forward.

"With a Democrat in the White House and Democratic Majorities in Congress who are committed to equality and justice, we have reached significant milestones. President Obama and our Democratic Congress are concentrating on a number of measures to ensure equality for all-such as supporting federal rights for GLBT couples, stronger hate crimes laws, ridding our military of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' in a way that both ensures national security and strengthens our Armed forces, banning discrimination in the work place, fighting HIV/AIDS and ensuring adoption rights. And while the debate over marriage equality takes different forms across the country, Democrats support recognizing same-sex couples so all of Florida's families are able to receive the same rights and protections.

"While there have been great strides made in promoting equal rights for all Americans, we still have much more to do especially here in Florida.

"As Democrats we are fighting to ensure that Florida's children have safe and secure homes and receive care from families who love them, regardless of their sexual orientation.

"Our Democrats in the Legislature are fighting for domestic partnerships to ensure committed, unmarried couples throughout Florida have access to basic legal rights, like hospital visitation. And Democrats in Tallahassee are fighting to stop work-place discrimination at the state level.

"As Democrats, we look forward to a nation where discrimination of any kind is a thing of the past. GLBT Pride month is a reminder that we still have a way to go."

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek Endorsed for U.S. Senate by America’s Building Trades Unions, AFL-CIO

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Miami) was endorsed by the Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO (BCTD) for the 2010 U.S. Senate election in Florida.

“Members of the Building Trades Unions work with their hands and minds everyday to make Florida prosperous again,” said Congressman Kendrick Meek. “They are on the front lines working to rebuild our state and know firsthand the impact that reckless policies can have on our communities. The federal stimulus package passed in Congress and signed into law by President Obama will enable the Building Trades to help put Floridians back to work and revitalize our economy by producing green jobs. The Building Trades family represents the everyday man and woman who I look forward to representing too in the U.S. Senate.”

The BCTD Governing Board of Presidents voted to endorse Meek on Monday.

Upon the conclusion of that vote, President Mark H. Ayers said, "We are excited about the prospect of helping Kendrick Meek become the next U.S. senator from Florida. Throughout his life, both as a trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol and most recently as the congressman from Florida's 17th District, Kendrick has held firm in his belief that government should work for all the people, not just the privileged few. We are honored to issue this endorsement and we will do all that we can to educate and mobilize our members on his behalf in 2010."

Mike Williams, President of the Florida Building Trades Council said, “Kendrick Meek’s record on issues that concern the Building Trades Union is a model of perfection. He understands that when our members in Florida are working, the families and communities of the state are benefiting. We serve as the barometer of our state’s economic health, and the Florida Building Trades are thankful that Kendrick supported the much needed economic recovery plan. Our membership spans the state and we will work as hard to rebuild Florida as we will to elect Kendrick Meek to the U.S. Senate.”

The Building and Construction Trades Department, AFL-CIO is an alliance of 13 national and international unions which collectively represents 2.5 million skilled craft professionals in the United States and Canada.

The Building Trades includes the following unions: Insulators/Asbestos Workers, Boilermakers, Bricklayers, Cement Masons, Electrical Workers, Elevator Constructors, Iron Workers, Laborers, Painters, Roofers, Sheet Metal Workers, Teamsters, and Plumbers and Pipe Fitters.

Since announcing his candidacy on January 13th, Congressman Meek has received endorsements from SEIU, United Teachers of Dade, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, and AFSCME.

Gelber Steps Back


As you may know I have decided to step back from my U.S. Senate bid. I wanted to let you know the reasons.

When Governor Crist announced he would be a candidate for US Senate, he created a domino effect that opened up every seat on the cabinet. At a time when our state is facing its greatest challenges, ironically, we have our greatest uncertainty and dislocation. But I believe this is also an opportunity – the chance to set a new course that avoids the mistakes of the past and tracks a better future for our families.

It makes little sense -- when we do face the prospect of real change in Florida -- for me to participate in a potentially divisive primary for U.S. Senate that will only serve to diminish our chances against a very formidable and well-known Republican nominee.

I also believe that we have a historic opportunity here in Florida to reshape the political landscape and more importantly, bring fundamental change to Tallahassee. I have had a number of conversations with Senators Graham and Nelson, and CFO Alex Sink, about how we can best unify our party and move forward with a slate of candidates that can communicate our vision for a better Florida, and I look forward to continuing these discussions. I would like to hear your thoughts as you have been a good supporter and friend, and I value your opinion. You can reach me at

Thanks again,


Statement by U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek Regarding Dan Gelber’s Announcement to Step Back from the U.S. Senate Race

U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, released the following statement regarding Dan Gelber’s announcement at tonight’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Miami Beach to step back from the U.S. Senate race:

“Dan Gelber is the model public servant guided by a lifelong pursuit of truth. I’d wish Dan luck in any endeavor that he pursues, but he doesn’t need luck. Dan’s intellect, dedication to justice and sense of fairness will serve him and our state well no matter his pursuit. He is a friend who puts party first and his message to Florida Democrats that we must unify around a slate of candidates is a powerful statement that I wholeheartedly embrace. Dan is a natural leader who will continue to serve our state with distinction in any capacity he chooses and our party is better off because of him.“

Statement On Karen Diebel Running For Congress (FL24)‏

Florida Democratic Party Spokesman Eric Jotkoff released the following statement on Karen Diebel announcement that she will be running for Congress:

"Karen Diebel's unstable and erratic behavior raises questions about her qualifications for Congress. Central Floridians are looking for more than failed policies and old ideas; they expect steady, common-sense leadership during these difficult economic times, which is exactly why they elected Suzanne Kosmas."