Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

A barefoot python hunter, sponge harvesters, and a wealthy radio host who may want to be governor

in 2017/Top Headlines by

Phil Levine is getting a lot of mileage out of his deal to be a satellite radio show host this summer.

The Miami Beach mayor who’s raising money and organizing for a possible Democratic gubernatorial run insists his SiriusXM Radio show being tapped now on a rambling bus tour of Florida has nothing to do with politics, but rather with sharing the real spirit of Florida with the satellite service’s listeners.

A barefoot python hunter in the Everglades, a cigar roller in Tampa, a sponge harvesting family in Tarpon Springs, rocket launch “pad rats” at Kennedy Space Center.

And in Orlando Wednesday, Levine met with OnePulse Foundation Board Chairman and lawyer Earl Crittenden to interview him about how the gay nightclub massacre June 12, 2016, affected Orlando. And they met at Orlando’s new soccer stadium, the city’s newest good-feeling monument.

But this has nothing to do with running for governor, said Levine, whose political committee All About Florida already has $4 million [including $2.3 million from his personal fortune,] more than any of the official Democratic candidates has been able to raise.

“I’m enjoying meeting unique Floridians who truly shape our state, from all walks of life, from all geographical areas of the state. I think what it does is it gives myself, and even our listeners on SiriusXM even a greater understanding of what makes up this truly unique state of Florida,” Levine said.

The five-day bus tour, with his name splashed on the side, includes some of his political committee staff, but also a radio audio engineering team rolling to 22 stops in five days, from Miami to Pensacola.

“I don’t look at this as anything political,” he said. “This really truly is for our listeners. Of course, I’m getting educated at the same time. But It’s all about Florida. It’s all SiriusXM listeners. It’s not about politics. There’s no politics being discussed. There are no politicians being interviewed.”

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at [email protected]

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