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October 2013

September 2013

Alex Sink letter about her decision not to run for governor

Alex Sink has emailed this letter about her decision not to be a Democratic candidate for Florida governor:
I want to thank my many friends and supporters from around Florida who have reached out to me over the past months with words of encouragement for my continued involvement in the business and political life of our state. 
After careful consideration, I have decided that the best way for me to make a positive and lasting impact on our state is to continue the work we've started together. I plan to continue my involvement with the Florida Next Foundation, working to build a state of innovation and inspiring the next generation of young Florida leaders. And of course I am going to be supporting candidates who I believe share my vision that Florida can be a state of opportunity for all of its citizens.
That being said, like so many Floridians, I am appalled at Governor Rick Scott's failed leadership on the economy, education and the environment.  I will continue to speak out and to aggressively hold him accountable for ignoring Floridians' best interests.


Alex Sink says she will not run for Florida governor

In an interview with the Associate Press, Democrat Alex Sink, who narrowly lost to Republican Rick Scott in 2010, said she is not going to seek a rematch.

Recently, Sink said she would make up her mind by Oct. 25. At this moment it is not clear what prompted her to make the decision today.

Sink's husband, Bill McBride, was the Democratic nominee for governor in 2002. He died suddenly in December and his death has weighed heavily on Sink's decision making about her future as a candidate.

In addition, the potential of a Sink candidacy was met with less excitement among Democrats who supported her in 2010.  Many Democrats have said publicly and privately that they were lukewarm about her taking another shot at Scott. Supporters noted that it was close race, she is widely known, and a practiced campaigner.

In the wings is former Florida Governor Charlie Crist. The Republican turned independent and now Democratic is expected to announced in the coming weeks.


Rachel Maddow blog slams Jeb Bush for hanging out with GOP hardliners

Jeb bush
Today we get two versions of Jeb Bush. The Rachel Maddow blog version is a guy who is "quite limited" in his understanding of immigration and education while ruining his reputation by hanging out with "the ridiculous wing of the GOP."

Writes Steve Benen for Maddow:  "Among Republicans, he tends to be seen as a relatively moderate wonk, with a specific policy focus on immigration and education. Whether Bush deserves that reputation is another matter . . ."

Maddow blog notes that Bush was the "star attraction" at a fundraiser yesterday for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, and. . .

"Over the summer, Bush helped raise campaign cash for far-right Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R), generally considered one of the bigger buffoons to hold statewide office in recent memory.

Around the same time, Bush cozied up to the increasingly controversial American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), speaking at the group's annual conference, and appeared at the Faith And Freedom Coalition event organized by disgraced former lobbyist Ralph Reed."

Maddow and company, would be hard pressed to say anything kind about someone named Bush. The blog concludes with:

"I realize the former governor is considering a 2016 presidential campaign, but is all of this outreach to the ridiculous wing of the GOP really necessary? Has Bush decided to completely abandon his so-called "brand" as a mainstream, substantive Republican?"

Meanwhile, Bush gave us his version of Bush today while speaking at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. where he took on the conservative uproar over Common Core.

According to Alex Leary at the Tampa Bay Times, Bush called opposition to Common Core "purely political."

"If you're comfortable with mediocrity, fine," Bush snapped.

So on the one hand, Maddow offers you a version of Bush who is deeply entrenched with some of the more strident members of the Republican Party. On the other Bush today goes bare knuckles with the strident members who oppose Common Cause.

Who is the real Bush? It is both versions.

And he is not preparing for 2016. He is not going to run for president.

Read more of Maddow here.

Read more of Leary here.

Clay Shaw remembered 1939-2013

Reaction to the death of former Congressman Clay Shaw.

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel - We have lost a great statesman for South Florida. I will always fondly remember Clay Shaw from my time as Mayor of West Palm Beach, as someone who you could work with in a bipartisan manner and as a true gentleman. My heart goes out to his family at this difficult time.

U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart -  For over 30 years, Clay Shaw dedicated his life to public service. He was an honorable man who believed in the power of servant leadership and helping others. Clay was a true family man and his relationship with his wife, Emilie, was inspirational. His service as the dean of Florida’s Congressional delegation went beyond that – he was a mentor and friend to all. My wife Tia and I send our thoughts and prayers to Emilie, his children, and his grandchildren. He will always be remembered as a class act who loved his country.

Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam - Florida lost a great advocate and public servant when Clay Shaw was called home last night. I had an opportunity to work on a number of issues with Clay, but his greatest love was always his family. Mdelissa and I send our prayers to Emilie and the Shaw family.

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) - He was a principled Chairman, a sharp legislative mind and passionate about expanding opportunities for American families. Clay Shaw will be deeply missed by all of us at the Ways and Means Committee. He was one of the finest individuals I have known as well as one of the Committee's best leaders.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush - My prayers are with Emilie & the Shaw family. Clay’s dedication to the state of Florida & our great nation was an example to many.

Sen. Marco Rubio - For over a quarter century, Clay Shaw epitomized everything a public servant should be and made South Floridians proud.  I was always impressed by Clay’s work on the causes he was most passionate about.  Clay’s impact on America will forever be felt through the important reforms he championed on welfare reform, Social Security reform and Everglades restoration.

Former Sen. George LeMieux - Clay Shaw spent a long career in Congress trying to accomplish, without partisanship or rancor, what was best for the people in his congressional district.


Former Florida Congressman E. Clay Shaw dies at the age 74

Former Florida Congressman E. Clay Shaw, Jr. died Tuesday evening after a long battle with lung cancer. The family released the following statement:
Statement on the passing of 
Congressman E. Clay Shaw, Jr.
It is with heavy hearts and profound sadness that our family announces the passing of our loving husband, father, grandfather, congressman and mayor, E. Clay Shaw, Jr. 
Clay Shaw passed away on Tuesday, September 10th at Holy Cross Hospital surrounded by family and following a courageous battle against lung cancer. 
“Clay cherished his time in the U.S. Congress representing the people of South Florida.  He was a devoted family man setting a fine example for our 15 grandchildren.  They will always be proud of Clay’s love of country,” said Emilie Shaw.
Clay Shaw accomplished a great deal during his 26 years in Washington spanning four U.S. presidents (1981-2007).  
As Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee’s Human Resources subcommittee, Clay Shaw authored the historic Welfare Reform Act of 1996.  Clay Shaw’s leadership in reforming the nation’s welfare system resulted in an end to welfare dependency on government while igniting the human spirit.  Today, countless Americans are off welfare and working. 
As Chairman of the House Ways and Means Social Security subcommittee, Clay Shaw led the effort to eliminate the Social Security Earnings Penalty on working seniors.  Thanks to Clay Shaw, millions of American seniors are still working today without the threat of losing their Social Security benefits. 
As Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee’s Trade subcommittee, Clay Shaw pushed for open markets across the globe.  A staunch free trader, Clay Shaw successfully led the passage of the Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) that opened up U.S. exports to the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.  
As Chairman of the Florida Congressional delegation, Clay Shaw authored the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP), a critical partnership between the federal government and the state of Florida in restoring and protecting America’s Everglades. 
Additionally, Clay Shaw authored the 1982 Missing and Exploited Children’s Act, the Holocaust Restoration Tax Fairness Act of 2002, the Congo Basin Forest Partnership Act of 2004 and led the Posse Comitatus effort in the 1980’s allowing the U.S. military to intercept illegal drugs on the open seas.
Clay Shaw was born in Miami, Florida, April 19, 1939. He graduated from Miami Edison Senior High School in 1957. He received his B.S. from Stetson University in 1961, an M.B.A., from University of Alabama in 1963, and his J.D. from Stetson University College of Law in 1966.
After years of service to the City of Fort Lauderdale, Clay Shaw was elected to Congress from 1981 to 2007.
Clay Shaw is survived by his loving wife of 53 years, Emilie; children Emilie “Mimi” Shaw Carter (Jim), Jennifer Shaw Wilder (Greg), E. Clay Shaw III (Heather) and John Charles “J.C.” Shaw (Angela) and 15 grandchildren.
Congressman Shaw will be buried at a family graveside in Cuba, Alabama.  A memorial service will take place in Ft. Lauderdale at a later date.

Outrageous in Tallahassee and why the press corps matters

Chris Clark is a lucky man. Not just because his buddy, Senate President Don Gaetz, is allowing him to make a lot of money in ways that deserve serious scrutiny, but because a powerful story by the Miami Herald appeared over the Labor Day weekend.

This is a must-read story by veteran Tallahassee reporter Mary Ellen Klas. She is at her best both in the reporting and writing of this story about how Chris Clark, chief of staff to Gaetz, has not only been generously paid by Gaetz but allowed to slip in and out of being a state employee so that Clark can reap cash from folks doing business with the Senate.

Some excerpts from the Herald story:

Senate President Don Gaetz’s right-hand man has been running his own political consulting firm, allowing him indirectly to rake in more than $400,000 from the some of the same special interests that have a stake in influencing legislation.

For three years ending in 2012, Chris Clark, 41, took a leave of absence from his state job after the legislative session ended in May and went to work as Gaetz’s campaign manager. Clark formed the company in 2009.

The lucrative arrangement Clark has carved out for himself underscores the web of financial ties special interests have with the Florida Legislature as staff often cycle in and out of government and the private sector, developing relationships with the very lobbyists who have a financial stake in influencing them.

. . .

...Clark’s consulting deals stand out for two reasons: the sheer size of the raw dollar amounts and the fact that Gaetz made a show of standing against special interest money by leading a charge to abolish some of the very political committees that helped fund his chief of staff.

Continue reading "Outrageous in Tallahassee and why the press corps matters" »