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Florida Senate reopens chamber after $6 million upgrade

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The chamber of the Florida Senate is reopening after a $6 million upgrade. Outgoing Senate President Andy Gardiner showed off the renovated chamber on Monday. Workers spent the last eight months tearing out carpet, replacing desks and installing a new stained glass dome and new wood columns. The state motto of “In God We Trust” is now displayed prominently above the president’s rostrum. Senate leaders had been considering renovations for more than a decade, but Gardiner said they went ahead…

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Blaise Ingoglia announces he’s running for re-election as Florida GOP chair

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Announcing earlier than he intended to do, Republican Party of Florida Chairman Blaise Ingoglia said Thursday he will run for re-election to his post next January. “I was hoping to announce this after Thanksgiving so everyone could spend time with their families and give everyone a much-needed break from politics, but the events of today will not allow me, or us, that luxury,” Ingoglia wrote on his Facebook page. “I want everyone to know that I will indeed be running for…

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Christian Ziegler announces his candidacy for Republican Party of Florida Chair

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Christian Ziegler, the 33-year-old state committeeman for the Sarasota Republican Party, has announced his candidacy for chair of the Republican Party of Florida. “As we turn the page from the election, we have a lot of work to do over the next two years to ensure victory in 2018 — work that takes focus and resources,” Ziegler said in a statement sent to members of the Florida Republican Party Thursday. “In addition to supporting the Trump Administration, we will need to strengthen…

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Andy Gardiner, business leaders launch Florida Unique Abilities program to help disabled find work

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Senate President Andy Gardiner appeared in downtown Orlando Wednesday to promote the launch of the new Florida Unique Abilities partnership, an initiative that businesses can join to support hiring those with disabilities. Gardiner and business leaders representing AT&T, Walgreens, and SeaWorld, appeared at the Canvs building on Garland Avenue to talk up the program, saying it would behoove businesses all over the state and country to start hiring more people with disabilities. The Florida Unique Abilities partnership, they said, would…

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Florida Senate renovations near completion

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The Florida Senate’s chamber renovations should be done by early-to-mid November. Senate spokeswoman Katie Betta tweeted back on Oct. 5: “Chamber Reno Update — About one month to left to go.” She posted photos showing the chamber with redone walls, new desks, and new carpet going down. As planned, the nearly 40-year-old mural that greeted visitors to the 5th-floor gallery has been removed. Departing Senate President Andy Gardiner has said the mural will be preserved for viewing elsewhere and stored until then. The 10-foot-by-16 foot “Five Flags Mural” greeted visitors to…

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Is Oscar Braynon running the best Senate political operation in years?

in Peter by

Democratic uber consultant (and frequent Uber customer) Steve Schale contends in a must-read, table-setting blog post about which Florida Senate races are worth watching that “Oscar Braynon is running the best Senate political operation I’ve seen in years.” Really? Technically, Schale is absolutely right. Braynon is running the best political shop in years because, when compared to previous Democratic efforts, O.B. looks like a black James Carville. Beyond Schale, there are other super-smart people in Tallahassee who think very highly of the Florida Democrats’ Senate political…

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ABLE United launches, offers tax-free savings for disabled Floridians

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Floridians with disabilities will now be able to save up to $100,000 in a tax-free account to pay for their health care, education and job training without jeopardizing their government benefits. Under a 2015 law, sponsored by Estero Republican Rep. Ray Rodriguez and Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, a Fort Myers Republican, ABLE United launched the program July 1. The state law is the result of the federal Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act, which U.S. Rep. Ander Crenshaw, a Jacksonville…

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