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David Jolly presents flag at Ray Neri’s memorial service

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Former U.S. Rep. David Jolly on Wednesday presented an American flag to Laura Neri, the widow of community activist Ray Neri, who died Jan. 3. The flag was one that U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis had had flown over the Capitol especially for Mrs. Neri. “Ray Neri was a special person,” Jolly said. “Ray touched peoples’ lives.” Jolly was only one of many of Pinellas’ political leaders who came to Neri’s memorial service. Others included Pinellas County commissioners  Pat Gerard, Karen…

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In wake of Orlando shooting, Vern Buchanan renews call to pass bill imposing death penalty for cop killers

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

One day after Debra Clayton was shot and killed, Sarasota area Republican Vern Buchanan is once again calling Congress to pass his bill making it easier to sentence cop killers to death. Clayton, a 17-year veteran of the Orlando Police Department, died Monday morning while attempting to arrest a murder suspect. Hours later, an Orange County Sheriff’s deputy also died in an auto accident during the pursuit of the alleged killer wanted in the slaying of his pregnant former girlfriend. “These vicious attacks against police…

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Charlie Crist says “God would be pleased” if Donald Trump shows more heart towards Dreamers

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Charlie Crist is one congressional Democrat who appears to be greeting the incoming Donald Trump administration with an open mind. “Whatever it is that we come to help American workers get back to work and help the middle class and our country, we need to do it together and do it in a spirit of cooperation,” the St. Petersburg Democrat told CNN’s Jake Tapper in an interview broadcast on “State of the Union” on Sunday. That spirit of cooperation includes embracing a Trump proposal to place a 35…

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Infamous dates: The moments that influenced Florida politics in 2016

in 2017 by

Everyone expected Florida to play an important role in politics this year. And why wouldn’t they? Presidential hopefuls hailed from here; the state’s electoral votes were coveted; and its Senate race could have determined control of the U.S. Senate. But just like many predictions in 2016, some of the prophecies for Florida’s outsized role on the national stage fell flat. Many believed a Sunshine state politico would be a presidential nominee (not quite right) or that the election would hinge…

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Adam Putnam political committee brings in more than $2.3 million in 2016

in Statewide by

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam raised more than $2 million in 2016, boosting his war chest ahead of a likely 2018 gubernatorial bid. State records show Florida Grown, Putnam’s political committee, raised more than $2.3 million through Nov. 30. The committee has raised more than $6.3 million since February 2015, according to state campaign finance records. Records show Florida Grown spent nearly $1.4 million in 2016, including at least $240,000 for political consulting and $51,450 for advertising and advertising design work.…

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Charlie Crist, Brian Mast among The Hill’s ’10 freshman to watch’ in Congress

in Statewide by

Three Florida freshman are among the “freshmen to watch” in the 115th Congress. On Monday, The Hill unveiled its list of “10 freshmen to watch in the new Congress.” According to The Hill, seven new senators and 55 new House members — including 10 from Florida — will take the oath of office on Jan. 3. Newly elected Reps. Charlie Crist, Brian Mast and Stephanie Murphy were among the new members The Hill singled out. Crist, a St. Petersburg Democrat, unseated…

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With its Lego project, the Tampa Bay Times crushes my hopes and dreams

in Peter/Top Headlines by

Last week, the digital geniuses at the Tampa Bay Times debuted a multimedia presentation that used animated Lego figures and constructions to tell a complicated story about a planned toll road on the Howard Frankland Bridge. “How the plan to fix Tampa Bay’s most important bridge fell apart, told in Legos” from Eli Zhang, Caitlin Johnston, Anthony Cormier, and Martin Frobisher is an absolute must-click for its combination of shoe-leather reporting and “Everything Is Awesome” visualization. It’s a great read. It’s visually stunning. It’s also — to…

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