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Lawton Chiles

Progressive groups sue over Rick Scott’s judicial appointment power

in 2017/Top Headlines by

When Gov. Rick Scott appointed a conservative jurist to the state’s Supreme Court in December, he made clear he wasn’t done. “I will appoint three more justices the morning I finish my term,” he said, referring to the mandatory retirement in early 2019 of the court’s liberal-leaning triumvirate of Justices Barbara Pariente, Peggy A. Quince and R. Fred Lewis. Now, two progressive organizations are saying to Scott: Prove you can. They say he can’t. The League of Women Voters of Florida (LWVF)…

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Martin Dyckman: Judges are not politicians, nor should they play politics

in Statewide by

When the Florida Constitution Revision Commission was debating the election of judges 20 years ago, I sat in the gallery to hear my own words used to attack something that my editorials and columns consistently had supported. The issue was whether all trial judges should be chosen exclusively by appointment, without elections, in the same manner as Supreme Court justices and judges of the district courts of appeal. A commission member who opposed that found a column in which I…

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As a teen, Gainesville pivotal to shaping Andrew Gillum’s political rise, ambition

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

For the charismatic, 37-year-old mayor of Tallahassee, a day in Gainesville was an opportunity to campaign for Florida governor — the job he hopes to win in next year’s election — but also a chance to reconnect with a place and some people who he describes as “pivotal.” Following an economic roundtable discussion with University of Florida students and local leaders in business and government Tuesday afternoon — at Tower Technology Park, near Interstate-75 in Alachua County — Andrew Gillum,…

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Martin Dyckman: Florida’s overbearing ‘politics of death’

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He would put it off as long as he could, aides said, and trembled when he finally had to sign a black-bordered death warrant. Despite his profound opposition to capital punishment, LeRoy Collins sent 29 men to their doom during his six years as Florida’s governor. He was in anguish each time. To some people, that example casts a poor light on Aramis Ayala, the state attorney for Orange and Seminole counties, whose announced decision to seek no death sentences…

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Carlos Nathan: An open letter to Florida Democrats

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

“What we have here is a failure to communicate.” That quote from “Cool Hand Luke” could be directed squarely at the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party has been suffering from this issue and a message problem since 1998. The performance of the Florida Democratic Party has led to a complete Republican dominance in both the Legislature and the Governor’s mansion. In 2008, Florida helped elect a young, vibrant senator to the highest office in this land under the premise of…

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Hillsborough County Commissioners honor Kevin Beckner as he departs the board

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Kevin Beckner was feted with plaudits and awards by his colleagues on Wednesday, his last day on the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners. “My service was never about me, it was always about we,” the 45-year-old Indiana native said at a ceremony celebrating his eight years of service on the board. Term-limited out of his seat this fall, he had hoped to continue his political career by running for the Hillsborough Clerk of the Circuit Court seat, but lost in a bitterly…

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When Ron (Sachs) met Matt (Gaetz)

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Ron Sachs, one of Tallahassee’s premier pitchmen, comes from a progressive background: Iconoclast college newspaper editor, spokesman for Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles and the state’s teachers’ union, speechwriter for Democratic Gov. Reubin Askew. Matt Gaetz, a firebrand state representative from northwest Florida, is the picture of Republican values: Tax cutter, gun rights defender, abortion foe. So why did Sachs, CEO of the eponymous PR shop, give $2,500 to Gaetz’s campaign this week? (Here’s the Federal Election Commission filing) Gaetz, Republican candidate for the solidly-conservative 1st Congressional District, is…

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