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Criminal justice reform remains a top priority for Jeff Brandes

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Sen. Jeff Brandes said he plans to continue his push for criminal justice reform, advancing a multi-year process to take a closer look at the state’s criminal justice system. Brandes, who has made criminal justice reform a top priority, was in Washington, D.C. last week for the Right on Crime annual summit. The conservative-leaning organization has been working on criminal justice issues in Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. Brandes said the key takeaway from the summit was that “many states are…

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Navy Veteran Andrew Learned becomes latest Democrat to challenge Dennis Ross in CD 15

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Hopeful for a wave election next year, Democrats are targeting several GOP-controlled congressional districts in Florida for 2018. Florida’s 15th Congressional District, now held by Lakeland’s Dennis Ross, is not one of them. Not yet, anyhow. However, don’t tell that to Democrats in the district, which encompasses parts of Polk, Hillsborough and Lake Counties. They think that Ross’ vote supporting the American Health Care Act and his championing Donald Trump‘s causes make him extremely vulnerable in the next election cycle. “A lot…

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Fifth annual list of Tampa Bay’s 25 Most Powerful Politicians

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Now in its fifth year, SaintPetersBlog/FloridaPolitics.com is offering its annual list of the Most Powerful Politicians in Tampa Bay. In compiling the 2017 list, FloridaPolitics.com queried several of the region’s leading political consultants, activists, bloggers, operatives and local lobbyists to name who they consider the 25 most powerful pols in the area. No suggested names were provided. For this exercise, the Tampa Bay region is defined as Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco, but can also include Hernando, Polk or Sarasota, particularly…

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Ben Carson to keynote Hillsborough GOP’s Lincoln Day Dinner

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Dr. Ben Carson, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Donald Trump administration, will be the keynote speaker for the Hillsborough County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner scheduled for June 9. That announcement was made Tuesday night by Deborah Tamargo, the chair of the Hillsborough GOP, at the party’s monthly meeting in Tampa. Congressmen Gus Bilirakis, Vern Buchanan and Dennis Ross will also appear at the dinner, as will House Speaker Richard Corcoran. A native of Detroit, Carson grew up poor and was…

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#18 on list of Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Politicians — Dennis Ross

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Dennis Ross, initially elected in 2010 to Florida’s 15th Congressional District that had been held by Adam Putnam, thumped Jim Lange, his Democratic rival last fall, 58 to 42 percent. As the senior GOP deputy House majority whip, Ross has mostly been a steadfast backer of President Donald Trump and spoke out enthusiastically upon the successful passage of the American Health Care Act in early May. “After seven long years, Americans across Florida and the entire nation can breathe a…

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CD 15 hopeful Greg Pilkington believes 2018 will be big for Democrats — including himself

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is one of a handful of aspiring Democrats who have filed to challenge Dennis Ross in Florida’s 15th Congressional District next year. Nevertheless, Pilkington may be the best organized of the bunch at this early point in the election cycle. Since entering the race, he’s hired some political pros to help him in his attempt to win the crowded Democratic primary next summer. That includes campaign manager Stephen Madden, Blue Ticket Consulting’s Tom Alte as his campaign finance fundraising director, Laura Williams as his communications director, and Phyllis…

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Democratic hopeful Ray Pena says voters in CD 15 ‘not happy with Dennis Ross’

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Although Ray Pena Jr. worked in law enforcement his entire life, he resents that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is “ripping families” apart deporting undocumented immigrants under the Donald Trump administration. “We need a fair and just immigration reform policy right now because what we have is unfair and unjust,” says Pena, who became the first Democrat to file to run for Florida’s 15th Congressional District seat earlier this year. That’s the seat comfortably held for the past six years by…

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