Thursday, December 30, 2010

New appointment, new office

TALLAHASSEE — In the waning days of his term, Gov. Charlie Crist Thursday announced 14 appointments or reappointments for the Judicial Nominating Commission.

Among them is Patrick K. Neal, 61, of Bradenton, owner of Neal Communities. Neal was named to the Twelfth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission, succeeding Marsha Nippert.

Neal was appointed for a term beginning Dec. 30, 2010, and ending July 1, 2014.

Also this week, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Sarasota) announced  that he has moved his office in Sarasota to better serve his constituents. The new Sarasota office is located at 111 South Orange Ave, Floor 2R, Suite 202W.

“The new office is easy to find, accessible, and centrally located with more parking,” said Buchanan, who encouraged residents of Florida’s 13th Congressional District to visit or call to express their views or to request his assistance with a federal agency.

In addition to Sarasota, Buchanan has a district office in Bradenton at 2424 Manatee Ave. W., Suite 104. The phone numbers for the two offices: Bradenton - (941) 747-9081; Sarasota - (941) 951-6643.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Florida picks up two House seats, equals NY

Our Washington bureau reporter Lesley Clark filed this report today:

WASHINGTON … Florida just picked up two new seats in the U.S. House, making it the biggest swing prize in the race for the White House.

The new seats -- announced by the U.S. Census Bureau -- give Florida equal standing with New York -- and only California and Texas will have more electoral college votes -- though neither state is considered up for grabs like Florida.

The boost is expected to help Republicans -- who already control 2/3 of the seats in the state -- but some say privately the party could have a tough time carving out two new seats without jeopardizing incumbents.

The bureau in February will release population and race breakdowns down to the neighborhood level for states to begin redrawing the congressional boundaries. Florida's redistricting will be complicated this time around by two voter-approved state constitutional amendments that create strict rules for how politicians can draw district maps.

The addition of two seats brings the state's total number in the U.S. House of Representatives to 27 and boosts its Electoral College votes to 29 (the state's two senators are included in that math).

The boost in Florida's population comes as part of a broad population migration … and power shift … with Sun Belt states like Florida, Georgia, Arizona and Texas picking up seats that are being lost in declining Northern states, including Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Texas was the biggest winner in the census, picking up four new seats; Ohio and New York each lost two.

Monday, December 20, 2010

FEC sues car dealer over contributions to Buchanan

The Federal Elections Commission has filed a lawsuit against a Jacksonville car dealership that the government alleges illegally reimbursed employees and others for contributions they made to U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan's election campaigns.

The FEC alleges in the suit, filed Friday in Jacksonville, that Sam Kazran, the owner of Hyundai of North Jacksonville, reimbursed employees and others almost $68,000 for money they donated to Buchanan for his first election bid in 2006 and his re-election effort in 2008.

"Beginning in 2005, Kazran arranged for HNJ employees and others to contribute to (Buchanan's campaign) and for such contributions to be reimbursed with HNJ funds," the complaint states, allowing Kazran to exceed federal limits on the size of contributions.

Buchanan formerly owned the dealership, selling a partial interest to Kazran in 2004 and his remaining interest in 2008.

The complaint does not allege Buchanan committed any wrongdoing.

In a statement released Monday, his campaign staff said, "The congressman's campaign brought this matter to the FEC's attention more than two years ago. Since neither Congressman Buchanan nor his campaign are parties to the litigation, we cannot comment any further."

The FEC is asking for a federal court to fine Kazran and to enjoin him from future violations.

To read the complaint, go here.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Manatee Legislative Delegation to meet

BRADENTON — The Manatee County Legislative Delegation meeting is scheduled 8 a.m.-noon Jan. 18  at the Manatee County Commission Chambers, 1112 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton.

The delegation is now setting the agenda for the hearing, according to a press release from Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton.

 Anyone interested in making a presentation to the delegation should call Bennett’s office at (941) 727-6349. Anyone who intends to propose local legislation, is required to submit certain forms with their presentation. Information can be found at:

Given the state’s budget challenges, the delegation will not be receiving or hearing requests for appropriations.

According to the rules of the Manatee County Legislative Delegation, presentation materials in their entirety must be made available to members of the delegation at least 48 hours prior to the meeting. This is to provide members with time to review the material and prepare any questions.

 In order to meet this deadline, Bennett asked that complete presentation materials be received at his office at 3653 Cortez Road, Suite 90, Bradenton, FL 34210, no later than 5 p.m. Jan. 11. Any materials received after this deadline will not be included in the delegation notebooks.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Buchanan to appear on 'Morning Joe' on Tuesday

MANATEE — U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, will appear at 7 a.m. Tuesday at 7on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to discuss the tax debate in Congress, his office announced today.

Buchanan was recently named to the House Ways and Means Committee, considered the most influential committee because of its broad jurisdiction over tax policy.

"Morning Joe," a daily political talk and news program, is hosted by former U.S. Rep. Joe Scarborough, who formerly represented the Florida Panhandle in Congress.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Manatee Democrats plan candlelight vigil for 'Dream Act'

Manatee County Democrats on Tuesday evening will gather at the Manatee County courthouse in support of the proposed "Dream Act."

Here's a release from the local party:
Responding to a call from the National Council of La Raza for nationwide candle light vigils in support of President Obama’s “Dream Act,” the local Manatee County Democratic Party announces a candlelight vigil Tuesday, December 7th from 5 to 7 p.m. at the old Courthouse at 1115 Manatee Avenue West, Bradenton, Florida 34205.

The “Dream Act” gives a legal path to citizenship for children brought to the U.S. from infancy to their early teens. These children, through no fault of their own, committing no crime, grow up American in everything but name only. After high school these children may not legally attend college or seek work and are often deported to countries where they have no family, connection or recollection. This legislation will be part of the total picture of humane immigration reform.

Several groups will be in attendance in support of the legislation including the Florida Immigration Coalition, the Sarasota-Manatee Farmworkers Supporters, and the Just Faith Ministries. Bring signs and candles. Members of the media are welcome.

2 Manatee businessmen named to Scott's 'good government' panel

Two prominent Manatee businessmen have been named to one of Gov.-elect Rick Scott's transition committees.

Steve Knopik, president of Beall's; and former state senator Pat Neal, president of Neal Communities Inc., are two of the 12 members of Scott's "Good Government" Transition Committee.

Scott has asked the group "to undertake a ‘fact-finding mission’ to identify innovative ideas from the private sector, success stories from other states, cost-saving opportunities and legislative priorities that can assist the Governor-elect as he takes office in January," states a news release on Scott's transition website.

Specifically, the committee, according to Scott, will:
  • Identify opportunities to reduce the size of government.
  • Improve management and operating processes.
  • Increase levels of service.
Scott has named numerous such advisory groups to assist with his transition, but four weeks after he has elected, he has yet to name anyone to his administrative team.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bennett files Arizona-style immigration bill (UPDATED)

As he promised last summer, State Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, has filed an Arizona-style immigration bill that would give Florida law enforcement the authority to ask suspected illegal immigrants about their status.

“I just want to make sure we handle this problem with a very even hand," Bennett told the Bradenton Herald's Beth Burger. "I know there’s a lot of people that say, 'Throw them all out.' ... I have a lot questions myself. The only way I can control this and get discussions going is to have a bill."

Senate Bill 136, filed last week, "is intended to discourage and deter the unlawful entry and presence of aliens in this state and the economic activity by persons unlawfully present in this state," the proposed legislation reads.

“If the sheriff arrests somebody and they are here illegally," said Bennett, "we should be able to call (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and get them out of our lives."

The measure, as currently drafted, explicitly prohibits the use of racial or other type of profiling to determine whom is ask to prove that they are legally in the United States. Officers would have to have a "reasonable suspicion" that someone is in the country illegally before asking about their status.

"A law enforcement officer of this state or a political subdivision of this state may not consider race, color, or national origin when implementing the requirements of this subsection, except to the extent permitted by the United States constitution or the state constitution," the proposal reads.

The bill is based on a new Arizona law requiring police investigating another incident or crime to ask people about their immigration status if there’s a “reasonable suspicion” they’re in the country illegally.

Bennett's measure would require local law enforcement to contact federal immigration officials of people who cannot prove they are in the country legally. Also, anyone found to not be carrying proof of their immigration status could be fined up to $100 and sentenced to up to 20 days in jail.

To read Senate Bill 136, go here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Buchanan calls for Wikileaks prosecution

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, is lending his voice to those calling for someone to pay for what he described as the "despicable" leaking of classified documents to the Wikileaks website, arguing for those responsible to be prosecuted under federal espionage laws.

"The leak of hundreds of thousands by Wikileaks undermines our national security and poses grave and extreme risks to Americans abroad," Buchanan wrote in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder.

Holder said Monday the Justice Department might take criminal action against those responsible -- an effort Buchanan said has his "full support."

"It is vitally necessary that these leaks be plugged, and further, that those guilty of this harmful act are severely punished to avoid future leaks jeopardizing national security," Buchanan wrote.

"In addition to heightening tension within the international community and putting ongoing military and intelligence operations at risk, the reckless release of these documents may have deadly consequences for many people, including U.S. civilian and government officials abroad."

Read the whole letter here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Report: Buchanan is 7th richest member of Congress

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, is the seventh wealthiest member of Congress, according to a report from a watchdog group that monitors politicians' finance.

Determining the net worth of members of Congress is not an exact science, as they are required only to report the value of their holdings and liabilities in ranges. The minimum value of Buchanan's holdings was minus $69.4 million and the maximum value was almost $366.2 million, for an average of almost $148.4 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which examined disclosure forms filed in 2009.

That's up almost 4.2 percent, from Buchanan's average net worth of more than $142.4 million in 2008.

In 2009, CRP said Buchanan reported 489 assets worth a total of between $87.3 million and almost $366.2 million; and 18 liabilities worth a total of between more than $31.8 million and almost $156.8 million.

Buchanan reported that several of his holdings are worth as much as $25 million, including his Sarasota Ford auto dealership and a house in Aspen, Colo. His liabilities include a line of credit with SunTrust bank on which Buchanan owes as much as $25 million.

Buchanan is one of eight representatives and senators with an estimated net worth of at least $100 million. At the top of the list is Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., at almost $303.6 million.

Get the details on Buchanan's holdings, here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bennett, Detert snag Senate appointments

State Sens. Mike Bennett and Nancy Detert have been appointed Florida Senate committee chairs by Senate President Mike Haridopolos, officials announced today.

Bennett, R-Bradenton, will chair the Community Affairs Committee, as well as serving as Senate President Pro Tempore, one of the top posts in the upper chamber of the legislature.

Detert, R-Venice, will chair the Commerce and Tourism Committee, officials said.

“Selecting committee chairs has been a member-driven process,” said Haridopolos. “I took great strides in placing Senators on committees they wanted to serve on. I asked each of them to list their top 10 committee priorities, and based on their responses, I selected committee chairs.”

The Florida Legislature today is holding an organizational session and a special session. Its regular session is slated for next spring.

Sara Kennedy

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Mike Bennett named president pro tempore of Florida Senate

TALLAHASSEE – Incoming Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos today announced that he has selected Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, as president pro tempore of the Floida Senate.

He also named Senator Andy Gardiner as Senate Majority Leader.

The two members of his senior leadership team that will work with him once he takes the helm of the Senate on Nov. 16, according to a press release from Haridopolos.

"My senior leadership team has a tremendous amount of experience serving the people of Florida,” said Haridopolos. “Florida faces serious challenges and we need proven leaders to guide us through these difficult times. I’m pleased to have Senators Bennett and Gardiner as members of my leadership team, and like me, they’ll have one primary focus – helping get Florida’s economy back on track.”

Bennett was first elected to the Senate in 2002. He previously served in the House of Representatives from 2000 to 2002. Bennett’s position as President pro tempore requires approval by the Senate.

“I’m pleased that Mike Bennett has agreed to serve as President Pro Tempore,” said incoming President Haridopolos. “He has the respect of the entire Senate and is known for bringing a common sense business approach to government. I trust and value his counsel.”

Gardiner, R-Orlando, has served in the Senate since 2008. Prior to his election to the Senate, he served eight years in the House of Representatives. From 2004-2006, Gardiner served as House Majority Leader.

The new appointments are effective Nov. 16 when the Senate meets in organization session.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Galvano appointed to Scott's transition committee

Gov.-elect Rick Scott has picked state Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, for a seat on his transition advisory board.

Galvano, first elected in 2002, could not seek re-election because of term limits. He is seeking a state Senate seat in the 2012 election.

“It’s at the early stages at this point," Galvano said this morning."I did speak with Gov. Scott on election day, and he had asked if I would be willing to serve on his transition team, which I said ‘Yes I would.’”

Added Galvano, "There are some talented people he has assembled.”

What does the transition teams do?

“My understanding is that as a new administration goes in, there are a lot of moving parts and people who will have to fill certain roles, make structural decisions, working relationships need to be established. It’s a major change, I understand," Galvano said.

“We’ll be there to provide some insights and and advice as he makes these decisions.”

Galvano said the team has a number of governmental veterans, especially at the state level.

“I’ve finished two years as (Florida House) Rules and Calendar (council chairman), and eight years of experience in the Florida House, and so, hopefully, there’s something I can offer.”

The St. Petersburg Times' political blog has more details:
The leader of Scott's transition is Washington lawyer Enu Mainigi, and the executive director is Mary Anne Carter, a Tennessee lawyer who ran Conservatives for Patients Rights, the Scott political committee that opposed President Barack Obama's health care plan. The transition office will be at Scott's campaign headquarters on East Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale.

The advisory committee members, as announced by Scott, are former Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings; U.S. Sen. George LeMieux; Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton; former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre; former Jeb Bush chief of staff Kathleen Shanahan; Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland; Rep. Mike Weinstein, R-Jacksonville; Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Marono; and Sally Bradshaw, a former Jeb Bush chief of staff.

Three advisory board members have close ties to Jeb Bush (Jennings, Shanahan and Bradshaw); Ferre is the only Democrat; and Dockery is an outspoken maverick who is a fierce critic of the Republican establishment in Tallahassee and the state Department of Transportation.

"It's all individuals who love Florida, and what goes on in Florida," Scott said. "We're going to take care of their expertise and their commitment to our great state."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Whitmore, DiSabatino win commission races

Carol Whitmore and Robin DiSabatino easily won their respective contests for seats on the Manatee County Commission.

With all 127 precincts reporting, Whitmore, the incumbent Republican had 47,713 votes, or 68 percent, in the race for the at-large District 6 seat. Challenger Sundae Knight, a Democrat, had 22,504 votes, or 32 percent.

In the District 4 seat, Robin DiSabatino, a Republican, beat Democrat Roger Galle. With all 22 precincts reporting, DiSabatino had 6,006 votes, or 59 percent, and Galle had 4,176 votes, or 41 percent.

Monday, November 1, 2010

List of Manatee County polling places, sample ballots

Don't know where you are supposed to vote on Tuesday?

Check out the list of polling places on the website for the Manatee County supervisor of elections.

For a sample ballot or if you don't know your precinct number, go here.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Whitmore, DiSabatino hold on to large spending leads

Bradenton Herald reporter Tim Wolfrum reports on the latest campaign finance reports in the races for two seats on the Manatee County Commission:
The elections office also released the latest campaign finance reports for county races Monday.

As expected, the Republican candidates in the county commission races extended their huge spending leads over their Democratic counterparts.

In the District 4 race, Republican Robin DiSabatino spent $12,013.56 during the period from Sept. 25 to Oct. 8. That’s more than three times as much as Democrat Roger Galle ($3,950.16) has spent on his entire campaign.

Almost half of DiSabatino’s recent spending, $5,793.48, went to Political Ink, a direct-mail company out of Alexandria, Va. Overall, DiSabatino has spent $107,445.99 on the primary and general election. Galle was unopposed in the Democratic primary.

In the countywide District 6 race, incumbent Carol Whitmore, the Republican, spent $16,060.36 during the most recent two-week period, almost nine times what Democrat Sundae Knight ($1,792.54) has spent on her entire campaign.

Unfortunately for Whitmore, $2,500 of her expenditures came from donation refunds she didn’t have to make. Whitmore made five refunds of $500 each to donors who had supported her in the primary as well as the general election. The maximum donation is $500.

“Since I didn’t have an opponent in my primary, I was told by my CPA (certified public accountant) that I couldn’t take duplicate donations after the primary. That was wrong,” Whitmore said after checking with Sweat’s office.

Whitmore also spent a considerable amount, $11,261.57, with Political Ink since Sept. 25. She has spent $65,813.88 to date.
 Read the campaign finance reports, including lists of donors, here.

District 67 and District 68 House candidates invited to debate

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference has invited the District 67 and District 68 House candidates to a debate set for 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20, at the Bradenton Central Library, 1301 Barcarrota Blvd. W.

Among those confirmed for the debate are District 67 candidates Democrat Z.J. Hafeez, Republican Greg Steube, and no party candidate John Studebaker.

In the District 68 race, David "Watchdog" Miner has confirmed he plans to attend. Miner is running with no party affiliation.

District 67 incumbent Ron Reagan is term-limited and cannot seek re-election. Likewise in District 68, incumbent Bill Galvano is term-limited.

District 67 covers all of East Manatee and a portion of Hillsborough and Sarasota counties. District 68 covers west Manatee.

The public is invited to Wednesday's debate.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bill Clinton to stump for Kendrick Meek in St. Petersburg

Some Democrats reportedly want Kendrick Meek to drop out of the race for U.S. Senate in order to improve Charlie Crist's chances of beating Marco Rubio in the Nov. 2.

Just don't count former President Bill Clinton among those Democrats.

Meek and Clinton, who almost 10 years after leaving office is still called on to lend his political aura to office seekers, are set to appear Tuesday at a campaign rally in St. Petersburg for the underdog Democrat, and again on Wednesday in Orlando.

"I am honored to have President Clinton rally Floridians behind my campaign for U.S. Senate once again. It's time to take a stand and I am proud to stand with President Clinton," Meek told the St. Petersburg Times.

The St. Petersburg event will be at the USF St. Petersburg Campus Activities Center Core, 131 Sixth Ave. S. Door open at 10:45 a.m.

The events are free and open to the public, but reserved tickets can be obtained by calling (9877) 354-6335 or going to

Early voting starts Monday for Nov. 2 elections

MANATEE -- Early voting for the Nov. 2 general election starts Monday in Manatee County and will run Mondays through Sundays until Oct. 31.

The voting place at the county elections office, 600 301 Blvd. W., #118 will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays; and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

To ask questions, call the elections office at (941) 741-3823 or visit the supervisor of elections website.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Buchanan outspending Golden by more than 10-to-1

The 13th Congressional District is seen by many observers as "solidly Republican," and that is not belied by the latest campaign finance reports filed by incumbent Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, and Democratic challenger James T. Golden.

Reports, which were due today to the Federal Elections Commission, show that as of Sept. 30, Buchanan had outspent Golden by a more than 10-to-1 margin -- to be precise, $925,977.07 spent by Buchanan vs. $90,288.59 spent by Golden.

The margin is even larger when you look at how much cash the respective candidates have on hand heading into the final month of the campaign.

Buchanan reported almost $1.17 million in cash on hand.

Golden had just under $9,500 in the bank.

Buchanan added to his cushion by collecting more than $118,000 in contributions between July 1 and Sept. 30.

During the same period, Golden raised  more than $24,000 in contributions.

For more details on Buchanan's campaign finance reports, go here.

For Golden's reports, go here.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Marco Rubio plans Bradenton stop on Friday

MANATEE — Republican senatorial candidate Marco Rubio has a stop planned 4 p.m. Friday at Republican campaign headquarters at 602 3rd St. E., Bradenton.

The public is invited. For more information, call 714-0619.
In addition, Rubio and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani are scheduled to make a campaign stop in Sarasota 8:15 a.m. Saturday. The public is invited to the free rally at Bayfront at Island Park in downtown Sarasota.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

'The Terminator' endorses Charlie Crist for Senate

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this afternoon tweeted his endorsement in the U.S. Senate race in Florida, picking his fellow governor, Charlie Crist, over his fellow Republican, Marco Rubio:
I endorse Gov @ for Senate. Great leader, works with both parties, and our country needs someone like him in DC right now.

Friday, October 8, 2010

League of Women voters to hold campaign finance event

The League of Women Voters of Manatee County on Monday will sponsor a talk on campaign finance reform.

" With the Supreme Court ruling in January that allows corporations to spend freely on federal campaigns, the influence of big-money contributions is growing," a news release states.

The guest speaker will be Ben Wilcox, former executive director of Common Cause of Florida. He will discuss
 the latest changes to the rules, the impacts they will have on state and federal elections, and how the system should be changed, according to the release.

The program will held from noon to 1 p.m.  at the Unitarian Fellowship Hall, 322 15th St. W., Bradenton.,  The program is free and the public is encouraged to attend.

A brown bag lunch will take place from 11:30 am to noon. The program will be rebroadcast on METV. For more information, call (941) 729-9248.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Manatee commission candidates to debate Oct. 19

The Federation of Manatee County Community Associations on Oct. 19 will host a candidates forum for the two county commission seats on the Nov. 2 ballot.

Scheduled to attend are District 4 candidates Robin DiSabatino, a Republican, and Roger Galle, a Democrat; and at-large candidates Carol Whitmore, the Republican incumbent, and Sundae Knight, the Democratic challenger.

After the candidates make presentations, attendees will be able to ask questions of the candidates.

The forum will be at 6:45 p.m. Oct. 19 at the Manatee County Central Library, 1301 Barcarrota Blvd.

For more information, call (941) 792-5477 or visit the federation's website at

Friday, October 1, 2010

Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance hosts a bipartisan fundraiser to fight Amendment 4

The local opposition to Amendment 4 -- the "Hometown Democracy" measure on the Nov. 2 ballot -- are gearing up for the final month of the campaign with a fundraiser next week in Lakewood Ranch.

Here's the press release:
Politicians from both parties are scheduled to speak out against Amendment 4 at a Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance fundraiser on Thursday, October 7th at the Concession. Expected speakers at the event include Representative Keith Fitzgerald, Senator Mike Bennett, and Representative Ron Reagan.

“Defeating Amendment 4 is critical to everyone in the state of Florida,” said Craig Cerreta, chairman of the LWRBA governmental affairs committee. “Leaders from both political parties agree that the passage of this amendment would cripple Florida’s economy and cost thousands of jobs. It will be like hanging up a sign on the state of Florida that says ‘DO NOT DO BUSINESS HERE.’ We are having this fundraiser to show solidarity across party lines to defeat this amendment and to help raise awareness about how detrimental it could be to our state.”

The fundraiser will be from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. at the Concession Clubhouse, located at7700 Lindrick Lane Bradenton, 34202, and will include wine tastings and hor d’oevres by Sean Murphy. There is a $50 minimum contribution at the door and sponsor recognition with a $100 contribution. Anyone interested in attending should register at
 For more on the opposition to Amendment 4, go here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

County commission debates on Wednesday

The first of several Bradenton Herald-League of Women Voters-Manatee Education Television candidate forums will air Wednesday on METV.

Manatee County Commission candidates Robin DiSabatino and Roger Galle, vying for the District 4 seat, will participate in the 7 p.m. forum, followed by District 6 at-large candidates Sundae Knight and Carol Whitmore at 7:45 p.m.

Forums be posted on and will also be replayed on METV, which can be found at Bright House channel 614, Verizon channel 31 or Comcast channel 19.

Monday, September 27, 2010 endorses Golden for Congress

The liberal political action group has endorsed Democratic nominee James T. Golden in his challenge of U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, according to a release from Golden's campaign.

“I wish thank the members of MoveOn residing in the 13th Congressional District for recommending the endorsement of my candidacy, and I thank for accepting the recommendation," Golden said in the statement. "I have already pledged through MoveOn to support campaign finance reform and to oppose cutting Social Security benefits. I am proud of this endorsement, and I will be appreciative of's continued support and will certainly continue to consider their positions."

Golden, a Bradenton minister and attorney, is a former member of the Bradenton City Council.

Meanwhile, Golden starting today will be holding a series of "community conservations" in the district that he said will "demonstrate his commitment to engaging all of the people."

The schedule is:
• Monday, Sept. 27 from 1 to 3 p.m. at Fruitville Library, 100 Coburn Road, Sarasota.
• Monday, Oct. 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. in conjunction with Manatee County Medical Society's Candidate Forum at the Dolphin Aviation Center in Sarasota.
• Tuesday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. in Arcadia (location TBD).
• Friday, Oct. 8 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Gulf Gate Library, 7112 Curtiss Ave., Sarasota.
• Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m. in conjunction with the Hardee County Builders Association's Candidate Forum in Wachula (location TBD).

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Political journalist to speak in Sarasota on Oct. 4

Just in time for the upcoming elections, veteran political journalist Mark Halperin will be the first speaker in Forum Truth's 2010-2011 lecture season.

Here's the news release from Forum Truth:
Forum Truth is pleased to announce that its first speaker of the 2010-2011 season will be TIME Magazine Editor-at-Large and senior political analyst Mark Halperin. Halperin will appear on Monday, October 4 at 7:30 pm at the Sarasota Hyatt Regency ballroom, 1000 Boulevard of the Arts. Tickets are $25 for Forum Truth members and $30 for non-members. Students 21 and younger are free with reservation.

“We are very excited to announce that Mark Halperin will be joining us on October 4,” remarked Irene Bandy-Hedden, chair of Forum Truth. “With the November elections coming up, there is no one better to present a clear picture of what is happening and where we might be headed.”

The title of Mark Halperin’s talk is “President Obama, the Republicans, the Midterms and Beyond,” all subjects of great concern as we approach the November elections. Some of the questions Halperin will address are:

• What will happen in Florida's critical Senate and gubernatorial races?
• What can President Obama do to try to save the Democratic majorities in Congress?
• What happens to our taxes, health care, and foreign policy if Republicans take over?

As Editor-at-Large and senior political analyst for TIME, Halperin covers politics, elections and government for the magazine and Halperin is also the creator and author of’s “The Page,” a news and analysis tip sheet that gathers and edits the latest political stories, campaign ads, TV clips, videos and campaign reactions from every news source, along with Halperin’s own analysis.

Halperin is also a senior political analyst for MSNBC, where he appears regularly on "Morning Joe" and other programs on the cable channel.

Prior to joining TIME in 2007, Halperin’s journalism career covered politics. For 20 years, he worked at ABC News, where he covered five presidential elections and served as political director from November 1997 to April 2007. Additionally, Halperin founded and edited the online publication The Note on, which was characterized as the most influential daily tip sheet in American politics by publications including The New Yorker, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Vanity Fair.

Halperin is also the author of many New York Times best-selling books, including “Game Change” which he published in January of this year with New York Magazine writer John Heilemann. The book uses over 200 resources to report the inside story of the 2008 campaign.

“Mark Halperin is watching and reporting on every notable election coming up in November,” continued Bandy-Hedden. “Our timing for this presentation and discussion could not have been better planned. All of our forums include an open microphone following the talk where audience members can ask questions of our knowledgeable speakers. It is always an interesting interchange with lots to learn. October 4th will surely be a fascinating evening for all who attend.”

Forum Truth is a voluntary, not-for-profit organization that provides public forums on important issues without the influence of special interest groups. The meetings presented by the group provide reliable, in-depth and easily accessible information on issues of national importance. All presentations are open to Forum members and non-members alike. Since its inception in 2003, the membership group has brought over 75 nationally acclaimed, professional speakers to the Sarasota/Manatee area. To order tickets, become a member or for more information on Forum Truth, visit the website, or call 941-349-8350.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Roll Call names Buchanan 8th richest member of Congress

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan in 2009 was the eighth wealthiest member of Congress, with his net worth rising by 11 percent, according to Roll Call.

The magazine listed Buchanan's net worth at $55.47 million, although Roll Call acknowledged that may not be entirely accurate because senators and representatives only have to list on disclosure forms their assets and liabilities in broad ranges. The figure was calculated by adding the lower end of each range for assets and then subtracting it by the lower end of the range for liabilities.

This is what Roll Call wrote about Buchanan:
Buchanan boosted his minimum net worth by more than 11 percent in 2009 after reducing his debt by $3.75 million.

The Florida lawmaker, whose empire includes auto dealerships, real estate and investment accounts, reported paying off mortgages and lines of credit valued at a minimum of $4.25 million. He also dropped a $500,000 second mortgage on a Florida investment property and a $1 million loan tied to Suncoast Ford dealership from his annual report.

But Buchanan added a $1 million debt for the purchase of an Embraer Phenom aircraft and increased the debt tied to one of his auto dealerships by $500,000 to a minimum loan of $1 million.

Buchanan also reported transactions in his GenSpring Family Offices investment account that increased the fund’s value to more than $16 million in 2009 from about $13 million the previous year
 The richest member of Congress, according to Roll Call, is Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., with a net worth of $188.37 million, according to Roll Call.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Citizens group endorses Knight, Galle for Manatee commission seats

A local citizens group formed earlier this year to support candidates for the Manatee County commissioner who would be more responsive to "neighborhood interests than to special interests in the development community," has endorsed two Democratic candidates in the Nov. 2 general election.

In the District 6 at-large race, the Manatee Coalition for Responsible Government has endorsed Sundae Knight in her bid to unseat incumbent GOP commissioner Carol Whitmore.

Whitmore, said MCRG in a news release, is "an entrenched incumbent heavily financed by developer funds."

"Sundae's professional experience as an engineer and problem-solver across a wide range of issues would be of considerable benefit to the citizens of Manatee County," the news release states.

And in District 4, the MCRG is backing Roger Galle, who is running against Republican candidate Robin DiSabatino. The MCRG had endorsed Norm Luppino in the Aug. 24 primary.

"Roger's opponent has taken substantial contributions from developer and related business interests," the news release states. In contrast, Roger is committed to act on behalf of the citizens of Manatee County and has declared that District 4 is not for sale."

The MCRG-backed candidates trail far behind their respective opponents in fund-raising.

As of Aug. 19, Knight had raised less than $2,400; compared to more than $75,000 raised by Whitmore, according to reports filed with the Manatee County elections office.

In District 4, Galle had raised more than $3,300; compared to more than $117,000 raised by DiSabatino.

Earlier this year, the MCRG had endorsed Michael Gallen, who ousted incumbent Commissioner Gwen Brown in the Aug. 24 Democratic primary. Gallen is unopposed in the general election.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Kendrick Meek has a new ad, too

U.S. Senate candidate Kendrick Meek today released a new television ad:

Crist plays word game in first campaign ad

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist today released the first television ad for his general election campaign for the U.S. Senate.

In the ad, Crist visually rejects both the Republicans and the Democrats to reveal who he vows he will represent if elected.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Precinct-by-precinct results from Tuesday's primary are available (UPDATED)

UPDATED, Aug. 27, 2010 -- In response to a note from a reader, the link to the results has been corrected.

Want to know how your precinct voted in Tuesday's primary elections?

Well, the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections Office today posted 361 pages of precinct-by-precinct results that reveal exactly how the votes broke down.

For instance, reporter Tim Wolfrum discovered this nugget on Page 304 of the report:

On Election Day, Robin DiSabatino received only 4 more votes than Norm Luppino in the race for the Republican nomination for the District 4 seat on the Manatee County Commission, and one fewer than Luppino among voters who went to the polls before Tuesday.

However, Absentee voters -- who cast more than 28 percent of the ballots in the race preferred DiSabatino by an almost 5 to 3 margin, providing almost all of her 262-vote margin of victory.

Another curiosity about the commissioner race: Among early voters, only 2 votes separated Luppino from third-place finisher Tim Norwood. Luppino received 87 early votes, DiSabatino, 86, and Norwood, 85.

Read the precinct-by-precinct numbers, here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

To runoff or to not runoff? It depends on the race

School Board candidate Julie Aranibar was the top vote-getter in Tuesday’s District 3 race, narrowly out-gaining incumbent Jane Pfeilsticker by a margin of 41.4 percent to 40.8 percent. Which means that because neither receive 50 percent plus one of the votes — a third candidate, Albert Yusko, received 17.6 percent — there will be a runoff on Nov. 2.

Republican county commission candidate Robin DiSabatino also didn’t get a majority of the votes in her District 4 race. But when she woke up this morning after a tight battle with two other candidates, she could start thinking not about a runoff against one of her GOP rivals but about a general election race against Democrat Roger C. Galle.

Why the different rules?

Bob Sweatt, Manatee’s supervisor of elections, told Bradenton Herald reporter Beth Burger this morning it’s because the school board election was a nonpartisan race — that is, the candidates did not run with an affiliation with either the Democrats or the Republicans — there has to be a runoff because neither Aranibar nor Pfeilsticker received a majority of the votes.

But under a state law adopted in 2001, partisan primaries, like the county commissionr race, are settled on election day, regardless of whether a candidate gets a majority of the votes.

“That’s just the way the law is set up,” said Sweat, citing Florida statutes - Chapter 100 for partisan races and Chapter 105 for nonpartisan elections.

In the county commission race, DiSabatino received 36.4 percent of the vote, compared to 32.8 percent for Norm Luppino; and 30.7 percent for Tim Norwood.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Buchanan, Castor among U.S. House incumbents to survive Tuesday.

An anti-incumbency fervor that many say is sweeping the country this election year did not extend to Florida and the seven incumbent U.S. House members who faced intra-party challenges in today's primary.

As of late tonight, five of the incumbents -- including U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa -- had won their respective primaries.

Buchanan and Castor cruised to easy re-nomination wins, with Buchanan receiving 83.5 percent of the vote in his GOP primary race against Don Baldauf; and Castor receiving 85.4 percent in her battle with Democratic challenger Tim Curtis.

They also start out their re-election campaigns with large fund-raising and name-recognition advantages over their respective challengers.

Manatee voter turnout low

Between apathy and rain showers, 24 percent of Manatee County voters cast ballots in Tuesday’s primary to choose gubernatorial candidates, county commissioners and school board members.

That translates to 48,843 of the 202,436 registered voters braving the rain to go to the polls, said Bob Sweat, Manatee County Supervisor of Elections.

Charles Bullock, a political science professor at the University of Georgia, said voter turnout can be hampered by rainy weather — in particular the Democratic turnout.

“That’s the problem, you have to be particularly interested. If your next door neighbor is running for school board, then you’ll stop and vote,” he said. “If you’re marginally interested, then any little thing can dissuade you.”

Read more in Wednesday's Herald.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

McCann: 'I am not bought and paid for'

His opponents have been touting endorsements from prominent groups like the Florida Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Florida. But consider Florida House candidate Robert McCann unimpressed.

In response to a post Monday about recent endorsements for his Republican rivals Jeremiah Guccione and Greg Steube, and our conclusion that business favored either one of them over him, McCann sent us the following e-mail:
Your presumption and innuendo is NOT true and unfair. I have no special interest endorsements, no liberal media, and I am not bought and paid for. I do not want these endorsements if I have to change my stance on any issue. In fact, some concerned citizens have been sending emails and Facebook has quotes on these types of endorsements. Print these if you will...
McCann, Guccione and Steube are running for the GOP nomination in House District 67.

Monday, August 16, 2010

McCollum to make return visit to Bradenton

Florida gubernatorial candidate Bill McCollum will make his second appearance in Bradenton in three days when he appears before the Kiwanis Club of Bradenton on Tuesday.

McCollum, currently Florida's attorney general, is scheduled to speak during the group's meeting at 12:15 p.m. at Kiwanis Hall, 1401 21st Ave. W., Bradenton.

For more information, visiting the Kiwanis Club's website.

On Sunday, McCollum, who is in a tough GOP primary with businessman Rick Scott, campaigned outside Popi's Place restaurant a few blocks away.

Business group gives 'dual endorsement' to Guccione, Steube

Florida House candidate Jeremiah Guccione this morning sent out an e-mail touting his endorsement from the Associated Industries of Florida.

"I am very proud to have the support of AIF. As the only candidate running for District 67 who has ever created a job, met a payroll, or run a business, I will work with the Associated Industries of Florida to put Floridians back to work" Guccione said.

Well, a check of the AIF Web site reveals the group also endorsed one of Guccione's rivals for the District 67 seat, fellow Republican Greg Steube. The group labeled its action as a "dual endorsement," presumably meaning that either one is better than the third candidate in Aug. 24 GOP primary, Robert McCann.

Earlier, Steube was endorsed by another prominent business group, the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

"I am honored to have the support and endorsement of the largest business organization in the state. I look forward to working with the Florida Chamber to promote sound policy for small business growth and economic development," Steube said.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Rick Scott & BBQ in Sarasota

Rick Scott, Republican candidate for Florida governor, will be campaigning in Sarasota on Saturday.

A free BBQ event, which is open to the public, is from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Dolphin Aviation, 8191 N. Tamiami Trail.

Scott is slated to speak at 4 p.m.

RSVP at the Facebook event page here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Senate hopeful Meek campaigns in Bradenton today

U.S. Senate candidate Kendrick Meek this afternoon will tour a Bradenton nursing home and speak with union workers during a stop on his "Real Dem Express" bus tour across the state.

Meek, a U.S. representative from Miami, is seeking the Democratic nomination for a seat in the U.S. Senate. His chief rival is businessman Jeff Greene.

Early voting is currently underway for the Aug. 24 primary. The winner will face presumptive Republican nominee Marco Rubio and Gov. Charlie Crist, who is running as an independent, in the Nov. 2 general election.

Meek is set to arrive at 2:45 p.m. at the Casa Mora Rehabilitation & Extended Care center, 1902 59th St. W., Bradenton, at 2:45 p.m. He will tour the center, as well as meet with local members of the United Food and Commercial Workers union.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Early voting for Aug. 24 primary starts today

Early voting for the Aug. 24 primaries started this morning in Manatee County.

Through Aug. 22, you can cast your votes early at the county supervisor of elections office, 600 301 Blvd. W., Suite #118, across from DeSoto Square mall. The hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday; and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

Registered Democrats and Republicans can vote in their respective primaries, and all registered voters can cast their ballots for the Manatee County School Board and other nonpartisan positions.

A note about the three school board races on the ballot: The candidates have to live in the particular districts they are seeking to represent, but all county residents are eligible to vote in each race.

For more information, call (941) 741-3823 or visit the elections office's website.

McCann wins South Shore Republican Club straw poll

Florida House District 67 candidate Robert McCann easily bested his two GOP rivals in a straw poll over the weekend of members of the South Shore Republican Club in Hillsborough County.

McCann receive 26 votes, Jeremiah Guccione received 10 votes and Greg Steube received 8 votes, according to a news release from the SSRC president forwarded by McCann to the Bradenton Herald.

"Note that this was not a "buy a vote" straw poll. One person, one vote," the SSRC release stated.

District 67 encompasses parts of Manatee, Sarasota and Hillsborough counties.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Greater Tampa Chamber backs Steube, Boyd

Florida House candidates Greg Steube and Jim Boyd won their respective straw polls taken during the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce's Political Hob Nob last week.

For the District 67 seat,  Steube received 47.4 percent of the vote, compared to 21.9 percent for the only Democrat  in the race, Z.J. Hafeez. Steube's two rivals in the Aug. 24 Republican primary, Robert K. McCann and Jeremiah "JJ" Guccione, received 17.5 percent and 8 percent, respectively. John Studebaker, who is running with no party affiliation, received 5 percent.

In District 68, Boyd, a Republican, received 76.7 percent, and Dave "Watchdog" Miner, who is running with no party affiliation, received 23.3 percent.

The House races were the only two with particular interest to Manatee County included in the straw poll.

In the U.S. Senate race straw poll, former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, a Republican, received 47.8 percent; Gov. Charlie Crist, running as an independent, received 33.2 percent; Democrat Kendrick Meek received 6.6 percent; and Democrat Jeff Greene received 4.4 percent.

And in the race for governor, Republican Bill McCollum received 39.7 percent, compared to 28.8 percent for Democrat Alex Sink, and 22.8 percent for Republican Rick Scott.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The latest on campaign money in Manatee County

If dollars were votes, most of the local races on the Aug. 24 primary ballots might be over, as most races for the Manatee County commission or school board have a candidate collecting as much as 10 times more than their next-best funded rival.

The Manatee County elections office this week posted on its website the latest campaign finance reports from candidates in the local races. The reports cover fund-raising and spending from April 1 to July 16.

For a detailed look at who is contributing to the candidates and how they are spending the money, go here.

And remember that in an election, it's votes, not dollars, that determine the winner.

Manatee County Commission, District 2

Incumbent Democrat Gwen Brown has raised almost $56,000, and spent more than $18,000. Her Democratic challenger, Michael Gallen, has raised more than $15,000 and spent almost $4,000. No Republican is running in the race.

Manatee County Commission, District 4

Republican Robin DiSabatino continued her fund-raising prowess during the second quarter of the year, bringing her total to more than $115,000 in cash and in-kind contributions. She had spent more than $62,000 - about five times the amount spent by the three other candidates in the race combined.

The next most successful fund-raiser in the race, Norm Luppino, has raised more than $15,800 -- barely a tenth of what DiSabatino has raised -- and spent more than $8,900. The third Republican in the race, Tim Norwood, has raised almost $2,200 and spent more $1,700.

The winner of the Aug. 24 primary will face Democrat Roger C. Galle in the Nov. 2 general election. As of June 30, he had raised more than $3,200 and spent more than $1,700.

Manatee County Commission, District 6 (at-large)

Neither Republican incumbent Carol Whitmore nor Democratic challenger Sundae Lynn Knight has to worry about the primary, as they are set to face off in the general election. But already Whitmore has a huge financial advantage, raising almost $68,000 and spending almost $42,000.

Knight has raised more than $2,200 and spent less than a $1,000.

Manatee School Board, District 1

The financial disparities in two of the three school board races are less pronounced than for the county commission.

In District 1, incumbent Barbara Harvey has raised more than $6,100 and spent almost $5,300. Challenger David Bailey has raised more than $5,900 and spent almost $4,000.

Manatee School Board, District 3

Julie Aranibar has collected the bulk of the contributions in this race, raising more than $23,300 and spending almost $21,600.

Incumbent Jane Pfeilsticker has raised more than $6,700 and spent almost $3,300.

The third candidate in the race, Albert Yusko, has raised almost $3,900 and spent more than $3,700.

Manatee School Board, District 5

Financially, this may be the most competitive race in the county this year, with the two candidates raising and spending almost identical totals.

Karen Carpenter has raised more than $5,900 and spent more than $4,900.

Jennifer Radebach has raised more than $5,700 and spent almost $5,200.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Buchanan to meet with Tea Party Manatee

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Bradenton, will be at Mixon Farms on Saturday to meet with members of Tea Party Manatee.

"I hope you can come and meet Congressman Buchanan," Janet Mixon said in an e-mail today to Tea Party members. "He will say a few words and answer questions. He told me personally how important our job is and that the Tea Parties across the country are making a difference in the way things are done."

For some time now, the Tea Party has been trying to get Buchanan to commit to an appearance but scheduling conflicts had interfered.

Buchanan will be at Mixon Farms, 2712 26th Ave. E. Bradenton from 2 to 2:30 p.m. For more information, call (941) 748-5829.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Business Alliance, Teamsters make endorsements in local races

If it's election season, it's time for various organizations to make their endorsements.

Here's who the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance is endorsing in the area's higher-profile races:
  • Gwendolyn Brown – Manatee County Board of County Commissioners, District 2
  • Robin DiSabatino – Manatee County Board of County Commissioners, District 4
  • Carol Whitmore – Manatee County Board of County Commissioners, District 6
  • Barbara Harvey – Manatee County School Board, District 1
  • Julie Aranibar – Manatee County School Board District 3
  • Karen Carpenter – Manatee County School Board, District 5
  • Greg Steube – State Representative, District 67
  • Jim Boyd – State Representative, District 68
  • Keith Fitzgerald – State Representative, District 6
And in the13th Congressional District, Teamsters Local Union No. 79, which covers southwest Florida, including Manatee and Sarasota counties, has endorsed former Bradenton City Council member James T. Golden's bid to unseat U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Schools official to brief Tea Party on tax hike proposal

Manatee County School Board member Bob Gause on Tuesday will address what most generously could be called a skeptical audience about a proposal to raise property taxes to help the school district balance its books.

Gause, vice chairman of the school board, will speak at a working meeting of the Tea Party Manatee.

"Mr. Gause will be addressing the issue of the School Board's proposed tax increase now scheduled for a vote at their July 26th meeting," the Tea Party meeting announcement states. " They want to impose this increase on taxpayers to make up for their failure to meet necessary budget cuts, while actually increasing certain line items."

Schools superintendent Tim McGonegal has proposed levying an extra .25 mills to help close an estimated $8.87 million gap in the 2010-11 schools budget. The tax would generate about $6.7 million in extra revenue, according to officials.

The Tea Party meeting will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Honeybell Hall at Mixon Farms, 2712 26th Ave. E. For more information, e-mail

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Rick Scott makes Manatee appearance

EAST MANATEE -- Rick Scott, the multimillionaire former hospital executive, brought his gubernatorial campaign to a breakfast gathering of the East Manatee Republican Club at Peridia this morning.

Scott calls himself an "across-the-board conservative" who supports job creation, lower taxes and smaller government.

When 40 percent of Florida homeowners are "under water" with their mortgages -- owing more on their home than its worth, when unemployment is running at record levels, and when the public education is in trouble, a drastic change is needed, Scott said.

Many of the ills can be traced back to bad government, he said.

Scott, who made his fortune as an entrepreneur, said Florida's governor should be the state's best salesman in persuading new business to come to Florida.

Scott did not mention the $1.7 billion fine for Medicare fraud that was assessed against Columbia/HCA or his involvement with that company.

Scott and Bill McCollum, Florida's attorney general, are the leading Republican candidates for governor. They face a primary election Aug. 24.

-- East Manatee Editor Jim Jones

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rick Scott to speak in Manatee on July 8

Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott will be the speaker July 8 at the Argus Foundation's "Meet the Minds" luncheon.

Scott, who is giving Attorney General Bill McCollum a strong challenge for the Republican nomination in the Aug. 24 primary, will discuss his candidacy and answer questions from Argus Foundation members and guests.

The event, which will be at noon at the Sara Bay Country Club, 7011 Willow St., Sarasota, is open to the public on a reservation only, space available basis. Cost is $35 per person.

For reservations and more information, call (941) 365-4886 or e-mail

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Congressional candidate Golden to hold meet-and-greet in Arcadia

Democratic congressional candidate James T. Golden will hold a meet-and-greet event Monday, June 28, at a private home in Arcadia.

For location information, call Golden's campaign headquarters at (941) 567-6224.

Golden, an attorney, minister and former Bradenton City Council member, is running against U.S. Air Force veteran Rick Eaton of Venice for the Democratic nomination for the 13th District seat in Congress.

Incumbent Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, is facing a GOP primary challenge from Don Baldauf, of Bradenton.

The primaries are Aug. 24, and the general election is Nov. 2.

The 13th Congressional District is comprised of most of Manatee County, a small portion of Charlotte County and all of Sarasota, DeSoto and Hardee counties.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Buchanan unveils his 'Oil Spill Prevention Act'

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota, today unveiled his proposed "Oil Spill Prevention Act," legislation that promises to get tough on Big Oil by lifting liability caps enjoyed by the industry and tightening federal oversight of oil and gas drilling.

Here is Buchanan's news release:
Sarasota, Florida – Congressman Vern Buchanan (FL-13) announced today he will introduce sweeping legislation to hold oil companies accountable for offshore spills and reform the federal oversight process to ensure disasters like the Deepwater Horizon never happen again.

Buchanan’s bill, the “Oil Spill Prevention Act” will be introduced in the U.S. House on Tuesday. It would rescind liability protections currently enjoyed by Big Oil and mandate that regular inspections occur as scheduled. Deepwater Horizon missed 16 inspections before it exploded, creating the worst environmental disaster in our nation’s history.

Buchanan’s bill was endorsed today by environmentalists, business leaders and local elected officials at a press conference on Lido Key public beach.

“We have to do everything possible to plug the leak and take strong action to make sure it never happens again,” Buchanan said. “There is more than enough blame to go around, starting with British Petroleum’s disgraceful effort to cut corners to save time and money. Federal regulators also need to be held accountable for failing to protect the public’s safety by granting waivers for environmental permits, skipping inspections and negotiating jobs with the very oil companies they were responsible for regulating.”

Buchanan’s bill would do the following:
• Prevent conflicts of interest by separating the inspections office responsible for safety and environmental protection from the leasing office, which collects revenues;

• Require random drug testing;

• Eliminate the revolving door between MMS and oil companies by requiring MMS employees to wait a minimum of two years before working for an oil company;

• Strengthen oversight by mandating that missed inspections be rescheduled and eliminating categorical exemptions from environmental requirements; and

• Eliminate the cap on the financial liability of oil companies responsible for offshore spills.

Sarasota Visitors and Convention Bureau President Virginia Haley said the bill would fix a broken regulatory process. “The time is now to address the dysfunctional nature of this regulatory process,” said Haley. “Sarasota’s beaches are beautiful and yet we can see the economic distress for our hotels, fishing guides and restaurants caused by an oil spill 300 miles away.”

Sarasota County Commissioner Jon Thaxton, a leading environmentalist in the region said Buchanan bill will help protect the environment. "Congressman Buchanan continues to support sound energy policy that recognized the need to secure national interests, develop energy initiative as economic drivers and preserve and protect our fragile natural environment." said Thaxton.
For more details about the legislation, go here.

Friday, June 18, 2010

And the candidates are ...

 According to state and local officials, these are the candidates qualified to run for elected office representing parts or all of Manatee County this year. The party primaries are Aug. 24 and the general election is Nov. 2.

U.S. Senate
Lewis Jerome Armstrong (NPA)
Sue Askeland (NPA)
Bobbie Bean (NPA)
Piotr Blass Piotr (WRI)
Glenn A. Burkett (D)
Charlie Crist (NPA)
Bernie DeCastro (CPF)
George Drake (WRI)
William Escoffery III (R)
Maurice A. Ferrer (D)
Jeff Greene (D)
Howard Knepper (WRI)
William Billy Kogut (R)
Carol Ann Joyce LaRosa (WRI)
Richard Lock (WRI)
Kendrick B. Meek (D)
Robert Monroe (WRI)
Belinda Gail Quarterman-Noah (WRI)
Bruce Ray Riggs (NPA)
Marco Rubio (R)
Alexander Andrew Snitker (LIB)
Rick Tyler (NPA)

U.S. Representative, District 11
Eddie Adams Jr. (R)
Tony Buntyn (R)
Thomas C. Castellano (R)
Kathy Castor (D)
Tim Curtis (D)
Mike Prendergast (R)

U.S. Representative District 13
Don Baldauf (R)
Vern Buchanan (R)
Rick Eaton (D)
James T. Golden (D)

Joe Allen (D)
Peter L. Allen (IDP)
Michael E. Arth (NPA)
Karl Behm, (NPA)
Lawton “Bud” Chiles(NPA)
William D. Crawford (R)
Tim Devine (R)
Herman L. Giger (NPA)
Ed Heeney (R)
Daniel Imperato (NPA)
Phillip J. Kennedy (D)
Farid Khavari, Farid (NPA)
Anthony “Tony” Knox Sr. (CHR)
Josue Larose (WRI)
Mike McCalister (R)
Bill McCollum (R)
Darrin E. McGillis (D)
C.C. Reed, C. C. (NPA)
Bertram B. Samuel (R)
Richard L. Scott R)
Alex Sink, Alex (D)
John Wayne Smith Smith (LIB)
Lesther Trujillo NPA)
James A. Van Driessche(R)

Attorney General
Dave Aronberg (D)
Holly Benson (R)
Pam Bondi (R)
Dan Elber (D)
Jeff Kamp (R)
Jim Lewis (NPA)

Chief Financial Officer
Jeff Atwater (R)
Loranne Ausley (D)
Joshua Larose (D)
Ken Mazzie (NPA)
Tom Stearns (NPA)

Commissioner of Agriculture
James Harlin Carter (R)
Ira Chester (TEA)
Thad Hamilton (NPA)
Randy Hatch (D)
Scott Maddox (D)
O.R. (Rick) Minton Jr. (D)
Adam H. Putnam (R)

State Senate, #18
Arthenia L. Joyner (D)

State House, #55
Martha Allen (D)
Joseph Lee Graser (WRI)
Darryl Ervin Rouson (D)
April D. Sheffield (D)

State House, #67
Jeremiah “JJ” Guccione (R)
Z.J. Hafeez (D)
Robert K. McCann (R)
Greg Steube (R)
John M. Studebaker (NPA)

State House, #68
Jim Boyd (R)
Dave “Watchdog” Miner (NPA)

State House, #69
Keith Fitzgerald (D)
Ray Pilon (R)
William D. Van Allen Jr. (LIB)

Florida Supreme Court justice
Charles T. Canady (NOP)
Jorge Labarga (NOP)
James E.C. Perry (NOP)
Ricky L. Polston (NOP)

Second District Court of Appeal
Marva L. Crenshaw (NOP)
Patricia Kelly (NOP)
Nelly N. Kouzam (NOP)
Robert Morris (NOP)
Stevan T. Northcutt (NOP)
Craig C. Villanti (NOP)
Douglas A. Wallace (NOP)

12th Judicial Circuit
Group 2, Diana Lee Moreland
Group 4, Scott Brownell
Group 9, James S. Parker
Group 12, Thomas W. Krug

Manatee County Commission, District 2
Gwendolyn Brown (D)
Michael Gallen (D)

Manatee County Commission, District 4
Roger C. Galle (D)
Robin DiSabatino (R)
Norm Luppiono (R)
Tim Norwood (R)

Manatee County Commission, District 6 (at-large)
Sundae Lynn Knight (D)
Carol Whitmore (R)

Manatee County Court judge, Group 1
George K. Brown Jr.

Manatee County Court judge, Group 2
Doug Henderson

Manatee County Mosquito Control, Group 1
Ralph C. Garrison

Manatee County Mosquito Control, Group 3
Timothy Matthews

Manatee County School Board, District 1
David M. Bailey
Barbara A. Harvey

Manatee County School Board, District 3
Julie B. Aranibar
Jane R. Pfeilsticker
Albert G. Yusko

Manatee County School Board, District 5
Karen Carpenter
Jennifer A. Radebach

Manatee County Soil and Water, Group 2
Benjamin E. King

Manatee County Soil and Water, Group 3
Jennifer L. Brunty

Cedar Hammock Fire District, #2
Thomas P. Flynn
Michael S. Holderness

Cedar Hammock Fire District, #3
Diane Bennett
Edward Stanley

Cedar Hammock Fire District, #4
Michael B. Holderness

Duette Fire District, #1
Michael Glassburn Jr.

Duette Fire District, #2
Felicia J. Tappan

Duette Fire District, #3
Julie M Parrish

Duette Fire District, #5
Leonard W. Horak

East Manatee Fire Rescue, #1
Garry A. Lawson

East Manatee Fire Rescue, #3
Alvin R. Jacobs, Jr.
David I. Morgan III

East Manatee Fire Rescue, #5
Glenn A Davis

North River Fire District, #1
Michael P. Browning

North River Fire District, #3
Robert M. Bell

North River Fire District, #7
Margaret C. Tusing

Parrish Fire District, #1
Gary A. Combee

Parrish Fire District, #3
Kevin L. Webb

Parrish Fire District, #5
Darryl L. Schue

Southern Manatee Fire District, #1
Marlan A. Anderson
Charles A. Durant

Southern Manatee Fire District, #3
Mark Ruben

Southern Manatee District, #5
Brad J. Ranney

Trailer Estates Fire District, #1
Carol Lorraine Asa

Trailer Estates Fire District, #2
Jennie L. Battaglia

Trailer Estates Fire District, #3
Robert Lee Moore

Trailer Estates Fire District, #4
Dominick A. Zack

Trailer Estates Fire District, #5
Nancy J. Bertomeu

West Manatee Fire District, #2
Michael G. Mulyck

West Manatee Fire District, #3
Lawrence C. Tyler Jr.

West Manatee FIre District, #4
Monther Kobrosly
Johnny R. Rigney

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Rouson in Pensacola to meet with Obama

State Rep. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, whose district includes part of Manatee County, just sent out a news release advising he is in Pensacola today to meet with President Barack Obama about the Gulf of Mexico oil spill:
Representative Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, will travel Tuesday to the Florida Panhandle to meet with President Barack Obama and state leaders to discuss the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill’s impact.

Representative Rouson looks forward to addressing the critical issues associated with the oil spill. “After inquiry and invitation, I am pleased to attend this event with the President and the Governor. We need to acknowledge the crisis the State of Florida is now facing and solve the problems caused by the oil spill.

“I’m grateful the President and Governor continue to stress the fact that oil has not impacted most of Florida’s beaches. Florida is open for business. In light of this crisis, my continued opposition to offshore drilling and commitment to exploring alternative energy sources is re-affirmed.”

Representative Rouson is particularly interested and concerned about the oil’s impact on families and seafood businesses in the state. “I have many constituents, numerous small business owners, and shrimpers in my district who are losing their livelihood. I am very sensitive to their needs and circumstances. Florida should seek financial compensation for these persons and I am also pushing for a National Seafood Marketing Fund to be established to assist these industries. Our state should join with Alaska and Maine in passing a joint resolution advocating for this program’s creation on the federal level. If there is a special session this summer, the legislature should take the opportunity to assist those whose lives have been impacted by the spill.”

Rouson represents District 55 in the Florida Legislature, covering parts of Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Obama in Pensacola

 Gov. Charlie Crist and President Barack Obama on Pensacola Beach this morning (AP photo)

The Miami Herald's Jennifer Lebovich is part of the press pool covering President Barack Obama's visit today to Pensacola.

Here is her latest report:
Potus got to Pensacola Beach at 8:55 am, wearing blue shirt and black slacks. Walked down walkway with Gov. Crist (wearing yellow short sleeve and jeans). Both walked to the waters edge talking and pointing toward horizon. Three boats could be seen out in water.
Adm. Thad Allen met them on the beach.
The sand is white, water emerald green. A ways down the shore people are swimming in water. Hundreds gathered about 200 yards away.
People chanting "Save our beach, save our beach."
Here's a pool report from Politico's Carol Lee:
President Obama and Governor Crist strolled past The Original Fishsandwich Snackbar at Pensacola beach and walked down the beach together.

A crowd of beachgoers gathered behind a barricade about 150 yards away. They cheered as Obama and Crist made their way on the white sand to the water's edge. Obama and Crist waved.

At shore, the two men chatted. Obama in navy slacks, brown shoes and rolled-up blue shirtsleeves, and Crist, in jeans and a yellow shortsleeve shirt.

Obama pointed and gestured down the beach every once in a while. A couple seagulls sat near their feet.

The water is beautiful, glistening in the sun. Down the beach, some people were swimming. No signs of oil. Adm. Thad Allen who was walking in the sand to catch up with POTUS, said there has been oil in the area.

Allen caught up with POTUS and Crist as they turned to head back to the snackbar. POTUS saluted Allen, who held what appeared to be a briefing book in his left hand. POTUS then walked back up the beach, with Allen on one side and Crist on the other.

By 8:58 a.m. POTUS was back at the snackbar which is an open-air beach pavillion that also sells beach supplies, souveniers and rents fishpoles.

Pool was ushered back to the vans, and could see POTUS sitting on top of a picnic table in the pavillion chatting with someone, Crist standing to his right.

We're holding while POTUS gets a briefing on the spill, before the pool spray.
 Here is a transcript of President Obama's speech at the Pensacola Naval Air Station:
 THE PRESIDENT: Well, hello, Pensacola! (Applause.) It is great to be here. I want everybody, first of all, to give a big round of applause to Chief Elison Talabong for leading us in the pledge and singing our National Anthem -- (applause) -- to Lieutenant Commander Randy Ekstrom for the wonderful invocation. (Applause.)

I want to thank your outstanding local leaders for welcoming me here today, including Captains Chris Plummer, Mike Price and Brad Martin. Give them a big round of applause. (Applause.) And your great senior enlisted leaders, including Master Chief Mike Dollen, give them a big round of applause. (Applause.)

I want to thank all the spouses and families who are joining us here today. You hold our military families together, so we honor your service as well.

It is great to be here in Pensacola -- America’s oldest naval air station, “the cradle of naval aviation.” We’ve got Navy -- all the students of the Naval Air Technical Training Center. (Applause.) We’ve got Training Wing Six, maybe a few Blue Angels. We’ve got the United States Marines in the house -- (applause) -- maybe a few Air Force and Army, too. (Applause.)

Now, I don’t know how many could be here, because they’re out there on the water right now, responding to the spill -- but I want to thank all the folks at Coast Guard Station Pensacola for their outstanding work. (Applause.) And I know somebody who is especially proud of them, and that’s the former Commandant of the Coast Guard who postponed his retirement to answer his country’s call once more and coordinate the federal response effort to the spill -- and that’s Admiral Thad Allen. Please give him a big round of applause. (Applause.)

Now, I was just down at the Pensacola Beach Gulf Pier, at the Fish Sandwich Snack Bar. Now, I don’t know if any of you ever checked it out. It’s a nice spot. We were there with some of Florida’s state and local leaders to discuss the situation here. I want to acknowledge the hard work that’s being done by the governor of Florida, Charlie Crist; Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Alex Sink; Senators Bill Nelson, George LeMieux, representatives who are here today -- we got Jeff Miller and Corrine Brown and Ted Deutch. Please give them a big round of applause. (Applause.)

We’ve got Escambia County Commissioner Grover Robinson and Pensacola Mayor Mike Wiggins. Thank you very much for your outstanding efforts. (Applause.)

I know all of you join me in thanking these leaders and their communities -- because they’re your neighbors -- for the incredible support that they give all the men and women and your families here in Pensacola. So we’re grateful to you.

But this is my fourth visit to the Gulf Coast since the start of this spill. Yesterday, I was over in Gulfport, Mississippi; Theodore, Alabama; and now Pensacola -- assessing the situation, reviewing the response, seeing what needs to be done better and faster, and talking with folks -- whether fishermen or small business people and their families -- who are seeing their lives turned upside-down by this disaster.

Here in Pensacola, the beautiful beaches are still open. The sand is white and the water is blue. So folks who are looking for a good vacation, they can still come down to Pensacola. People need to know that Pensacola is still open for business. But that doesn’t mean that people aren’t angry. That doesn’t mean that people aren’t scared. That doesn’t mean that people have concerns about the future -- we all have those concerns. And people have every right to be angry.

Those plumes of oil are off the coast. The fishing waters are closed. Tar balls have been coming ashore. And everybody is bracing for more.

So I’ll say today what I’ve been saying up and down the Coast over the last couple of days and over the last month. Yes, this is an unprecedented environmental disaster -- it’s the worst in our nation’s history. But we’re going to continue to meet it with an unprecedented federal response and recovery effort -- the largest in our nation’s history. This is an assault on our shores, and we’re going to fight back with everything we’ve got.

And that includes mobilizing the resources of the greatest military in the world. (Applause.) Here at Naval Air Station Pensacola, you’ve been one of the major staging areas. You’ve helped to support the response effort. And I thank you for that, and I know the people of Pensacola thank you for that. And all along the Gulf coast, our men and women in uniform -- active, Guard, and Reserve -- from across the country are stepping up and helping out.

They’re soldiers on the beaches putting out sandbags and building barriers and cleaning up the oil, and helping people process their claims for compensation from BP. They’re sailors and Marines offering their ships and their skimmers and their helicopters and miles of boom. They’re airmen overhead, flying in equipment and spraying dispersant. And, of course, there are Coast Guardsmen and women on the cutters, in the air, working around the clock.

And when I say this is the largest response of its kind in American history, I mean it. We’ve got more than 5,000 vessels on site -- skimmers, tugs, barges, dozens of aircraft. More than 27,000 personnel are on the scene, fighting this every day, putting out millions of feet of boom and cleaning the shores.

All told, we’ve authorized the deployment of 17,500 National Guardsmen to respond to this crisis. So far, only about 1,600 have been activated. That leaves a lot of Guardsmen ready to help. And if our governors call on them, I know they’ll be ready, because they’re always ready.

So I want the people of this region to know that my administration is going to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to deal with this disaster. That includes the additional actions I announced yesterday to make sure that seafood from the Gulf is safe to eat. It includes steps we’ve taken to protect the safety of workers involved in the cleanup. It includes the new command structure I announced this morning to make sure states and local communities like Pensacola have the autonomy and the resources that they need to go forward.

And that includes something else -- making sure BP pays for the damages that it has caused -- (applause) -- because this isn’t just an environmental disaster. For many families and communities, it’s an economic disaster. Here in Pensacola and the Panhandle, tourism is everything. And when the tourists stay home, it ripples out and hits folks across these communities -- the charter boats, the hotels, the restaurants, the roadside stores, the shops, the suppliers, the dive shops. And if your inland waters are contaminated -- if the bays and bayous are contaminated -- it could be devastating, changing the way of life down here for years to come.

I’m going to speak to the nation tonight about this. But let me say to the people of Pensacola and the Gulf Coast: I am with you, my administration is with you for the long haul to make sure BP pays for the damage that it has done and to make sure that you are getting the help you need to protect this beautiful coast and to rehabilitate the damaged areas, to revitalize this region, and to make sure that nothing like this happens ever again. That is a commitment I am making to the people of Florida and people all across this Gulf.

Now, that spirit -- (applause) -- that spirit of resolve and determination and resilience, that’s the same spirit we see in all of you, the men and women in uniform, the spirit we’ll need to meet other challenges of our time. Obviously the news has been dominated lately by the oil spill, but our nation is at war and all of you have stepped forward. You volunteered. You took an oath. You stood tall and you said, “I will serve.”

And here at Pensacola, you’re carrying on the proud tradition of naval aviation that spans a century. Here at the Barrancas National Cemetery, our heroes from yesterday’s wars are still inspiring us. And like generations before you, you’re no strangers to sacrifice. Our prayers are with the families and friends of the crews that you lost in that training exercise two months ago. Today, we send out our thoughts and prayers to all the folks from Pensacola on the frontlines at this very moment, including Iraq and Afghanistan. They are making us incredibly proud.

And so are you. As naval aviators and naval flight officers, you’ll soon earn your “Wings of Gold.” Many of you will prove yourselves as indispensable air crews -- the mechanics, the engineers, the electricians, the maintenance crews -- people’s lives depending on what you do each and every day.

I know you’re looking ahead to your first operational tours -- to join the fleet and your squadrons. And within weeks, some of you may find yourselves serving on a carrier deck in the Arabian Sea or working a busy flight line in Afghanistan. And as you begin your careers, as you look ahead to a life of service, I want you to know -- on behalf of the American people -- that your nation thanks you, your nation appreciates you, your nation will stand with you every step of the way.

And as your Commander-in-Chief, I want you to know something: I will not hesitate to use force to protect the American people or our vital interests. But I will also never risk your lives unless it’s absolutely necessary. And if it is necessary, we are going to back you up to the hilt with the strategy and the clear mission and the equipment and the support that you need to get the job done right. That’s my promise to every one of you, every man and woman who wears America’s uniform.

That includes the right strategy in Iraq, where we’re partnering with the Iraqi people for their long-term security and prosperity. And thanks to the honor and the heroism of our troops, we are poised to end our combat mission in Iraq this summer -- on schedule. (Applause.)

As we end the war in Iraq, we’re pressing forward in Afghanistan. We’re working to break the momentum of the Taliban insurgency and train Afghan security forces, strengthen the capacity of the Afghan government and protect the Afghan people.

We will disrupt and dismantle and ultimately defeat al Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates. (Applause.) And we will support the aspirations of people around the world as they seek progress and opportunity and prosperity, because that’s what we do -- as Americans.

As you meet the missions we ask of you, we’re going to make sure you’re trained and equipped to succeed. That’s why we halted reductions in the Navy. That’s why we increased the size of the Marine Corps. That’s why we’re investing in the capabilities and technologies of tomorrow. And as we come up on the 100th anniversary of naval aviation next year, we’re committed to the next generation of aircraft. We’re going to keep you the best-trained, best-led, best-equipped military that the world has ever known. (Applause.)

Some of that is about technology. But the most important thing in our military is our people -- it’s all of you. And as you advance through the ranks and start families of your own, we want to be there for your loved ones, too. This is one of the defining missions of the First Lady, Michelle Obama. On Sunday, she visited the Navy-Marine Corps team and their families at Camp Pendleton. And they had a tough week, because five outstanding Marines from Pendleton gave their lives last week in Afghanistan. During her visit, Michelle had a message for their families and for all military families: America is going to keep faith with you, too.

When a loved one goes to war, that family goes to war. That’s why we’re working to improve family readiness and increase pay and benefits, working to give you more time between deployments, increasing support to help spouses and families deal with the stresses and the separation of war.

But this can’t be the work of government alone. As Michelle has been saying, 1 percent of Americans may be fighting our wars, but 100 percent of Americans need to be supporting our men and women and their families in uniform. You guys shouldn’t be carrying the entire burden. That’s why Michelle is challenging every sector of American society to support our military families -- not just now, with our nation at war, but at every stage of your lives.

So we’re improving care for our wounded warriors, especially those with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury. We’re funding the Post-9/11 GI Bill -- to give you and your families the chance to pursue your dreams. We’ve made a historic commitment to our veterans with one of the largest percentage increases to the VA budget in the past 30 years.

Those are concrete actions we’ve taken to meet the commitment I have to you and that the American people have to you. Because you’ve always taken care of America, America needs to take care of you. And that’s my main message here today. We’re all in this together. In our country, there isn’t a “military world” and a “civilian world.” We’re all Americans. There’s not Democrats and Republicans, when you take the long view -- we’re all Americans. We all rise and fall together. And we all need to do our part to get through the challenges we face as a people.

So, yes, we’re emerging from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Too many folks are still out of work here in Florida and around the country. Yes, we’re a nation at war with adversaries who will stop at nothing to strike our homeland and would kill innocent people, women and children, with no compunction. Yes, we’re now battling the worst economic -- environmental disaster in American history. Any one of these challenges alone would test our country. Confronting them all at once might overwhelm a lesser nation.

But look around you. Look at the person standing next to you. You look around and you see the strength and resilience that will carry us through.

You look at this installation and the forts that have stood watch over this bay and its people for centuries -- through the rise and fall of empires, through a terrible Civil War -- and as a nation healed itself, we became a beacon to the world. We’ve endured.

All of these men and women in uniform, all of you represent the same spirit of service and sacrifice as those who’ve gone before -- who defeated fascism, defeated tyranny, prevailed in a long Cold War over communism. And now, in our time, you’ve toppled regimes based on terror and dictatorship, and you’ve given new hope to millions of people. You’ve earned your place among the greatest of generations.

And look at the people of this city and this region -- fishermen who’ve made their lives on the water, families who’ve lived here for generations, hardworking folks who’ve had to endure more than their share -- tough economic times and hurricanes and storms that forced so many families and communities to start over from scratch. But they never gave up. They started over, and they rebuilt stronger than before.

As Americans, we don’t quit. We keep coming. None of these challenges we’re facing are going to be easy. None of them are going to be quick, but make no mistake, the United States of America has gone through tough times before and we always come out stronger. And we will do so again. (Applause.)

And this city and this region will recover. It will thrive again. And America’s military will prevail in the mission to keep our country safe. And our nation will endure from these trials stronger than before. (Applause.) That is the history of the United States of America. That is the legacy of our Armed Forces. And I promise you that we will not falter.

Past generations have passed on this precious gift to us, and future generations are depending on us. And as I look out on each and every one of your faces, I’m absolutely confident that you will meet that challenge.

God bless you and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)

Check back later for updates.