Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

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Bill Rufty

Bill Rufty has 71 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.”

Darren Soto lands in Puerto Rico

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U.S. Rep. Darren Soto, the first congressman of Puerto Rican heritage from Florida, just landed in San Juan within the hour.

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Adam Putnam checks on Polk storm prep

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam returned to his home of Polk County on Thursday, checking on preparations for food, shelter and transportation from the county’s Emergency Operations Center. He also issued warnings to state residents to take action immediately: “Irma is a beast. There is no scenario in which Southeast Florida will escape it. And a slight shift can send it (farther inland). Being inland is not a free pass to this storm.”

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As Florida prepares for Irma, NOAA aircraft working nonstop

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

Hurricane Irma may be days away from Florida, but national, state and local agencies are at work now to deal with the second weather threat to the nation in two weeks.

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History comes alive at St. Augustine Seminole Wars convocation

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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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