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Bill Rufty

Bill Rufty has 68 articles published.

Former Ledger of Lakeland columnist Bill Rufty is Central Florida political correspondent for SaintPetersBlog and Florida Politics. Rufty had been with the Ledger from 1985-2015, where, as political editor, he covered a wide range of beats, including local and state politics, the Lakeland City Commission, and the Florida Legislature. Ledger editor Lenore Devore said about Rufty’s 30-year career: “[He is] a man full of knowledge, a polling expert and a war history buff … who has a steel trap in his brain, remembering details most of us have long since forgotten.”

History comes alive at St. Augustine Seminole Wars convocation

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

The drum beat a slow, mournful cadence as a procession of soldiers in 1842 uniforms led by two mounted cavalrymen proceeded down St. Augustine’s Marine Street to the National Cemetery where Maj. Francis Dade and all but two men of his command are buried.

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J.D. Alexander opts out of Senate race

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

JD Alexander, a Lake Wales Republican who wielded great influence in the Florida Legislature for four years in the Florida House and 10 years in the Senate, said he has decided not to run for his old Senate seat again. But he hasn’t endorsed anyone in that race yet. “ A part of me wanted to run but I sat down on the July the Fourth week and decided the personal costs are too high for my family and business,”…

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Neil Combee takes on tough room in Polk County

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Republican State Rep. Neil Combee of Polk City faced a terse crowd largely of Republican county and city officials during a noon address Thursday to the Polk Tiger Bay Club. Many legislators are facing folks back home upset with cuts to local governments and for an amendment to the state’s constitution, which if passed by the voters in 2018 would increase the residential Homestead property tax exemption from $50,000 to $75,000.

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J.D. Alexander rides again to save Polk County arts center

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Remember former Sen. J.D. Alexander, the Lake Wales Republican who almost single-handedly created Florida Polytechnic University by use of his power as Senate Appropriations chair? Alexander has been out of the Senate for almost five years, but it would appear that the old power cell is still charged and ready to zap when needed. Polk County Commissioner George Lindsey recently praised Alexander saying he was the main reason that budget cuts that would have shut PSC’s JD Alexander Center in…

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Polk GOP Commissioner warns Republican incumbents may face strong challenges

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Republican Legislators could find themselves challenged for election next year … by Republican candidates, Polk County Commissioner George Lindsey, a Lakeland Republican, confirmed Wednesday. In an interview before his address to the Polk Tiger Bay members, Lindsey said what he described as legislators’ attacks on home rule and local government, has many even in the Republican Party talking about trying to remove incumbents in the 2018 elections. “The chatter (across the state) is voluminous,” Lindsey said. “I don’t know if…

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Darren Soto cautiously eyeing Puerto Rico statehood effort

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Sunday’s landslide vote in Puerto Rico to determine statehood and perhaps add the 51st star to the American flag, was almost ignored by news media, until the last minute, because of all the political controversies emanating from Washington. But some officials like U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, an Orlando Democrat representing the 9th Congressional District had been paying close attention since the election was scheduled. Soto, 39, the first Florida member of Congress of Puerto Rican heritage, was careful not to…

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