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Ryan Torrens, political outsider running for Attorney General, says he’s what Florida Democrats need

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Consumer protection attorney Ryan Torrens is quite aware that he’s not an established political presence, but he says that should be an argument for his fledgling candidacy to become Florida’s next Attorney General. “Look, I get it,” the 32-year-old told an audience who gathered Friday morning at Tampa’s Oxford Exchange to hear the Hillsborough County resident speak as part of the Cafe Con Tampa lecture series. “I’m young. First-time candidate. A lot of people look at me and think, ‘Can…

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Florida Lottery confirms resignation of three high-level employees

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The Florida Lottery on Thursday confirmed that three top officials had turned in their resignations—but wouldn’t say why. Secretary Jim Poppell “is committed to the Lottery fulfilling its mission of funding education for Florida’s students,” spokeswoman Connie Barnes said in an email. The Lottery’s profits go into the state’s Educational Enhancement Trust Fund, which pays for Florida Bright Futures Scholarships, among other things. “The department anticipates filling the General Counsel and Legislative Affairs position within the next week,” Barnes added. “We are currently…

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State-run audit at Tampa International now underway

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For the Tampa Bay legislative delegation, it was one of the more combustible moments of the 2017 Legislative Session. We’re referring to when Republicans Jack Latvala and Dana Young pushed back forcefully against Tom Lee‘s insistence of an audit of Tampa International Airport’s $2.6 billion master plan. Actually, what they were really pushing back against was Lee’s provocative comment that “potential public corruption” was taking place at TIA. Airport CEO Joe Lopano confirmed Thursday that state audit is now underway.…

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Rick Scott makes eight judicial, state board appointments

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Gov. Rick Scott announced eight appointments and reappointments this week to a variety of Florida judicial, state boards, and commissions.

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Money pouring in for Florida’s Congress members in tough districts

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Members of Florida’s congressional delegation vulnerable because of their balanced districts each raised hundreds of thousands of dollars in the second quarter of 2017, new reports show. The latest campaign finance reports posted this week, covering money raised and spent in April, May and June, shows that Republican U.S. Reps. Brian Mast of Palm City and Carlos Curbelo of Miami had the biggest hauls in the second quarter, while Democrats Charlie Crist of St. Petersburg and Stephanie Murphy of Winter…

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Jose Oliva taps Jason Rojas for key staff position, putting him on track for chief of staff

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Jason Rojas is set to be Jose Oliva‘s chief of staff when Oliva takes over as Speaker of the House for 2018-20. Rojas, recently a staff director in the Florida House, will start August 1 at the Republican Party of Florida, where he will serve in a policy development role that is a stepping stone to eventually leading the Speaker’s Office.

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More Florida Forest Service firefighters to head out West

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Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam Thursday said he’s sending 24 more wildland firefighters from the Florida Forest Service to help fight fires out West.

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