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Richard Corcoran’s agenda and style get bashed (and sometimes praised) by panel of Pinellas lawmakers

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He wasn’t on the dais, but Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran’s policies and public comments were front-and-center when a panel of Pinellas lawmakers spoke Wednesday in Clearwater about the recently concluded legislative session. Dubbed “the most interesting man in Tallahassee” in a recent Miami Herald profile, the 52-year-old Land O’Lakes Republican came into leadership last year with a firm and aggressive agenda, and achieved some major accomplishments in state government. And with a potential gubernatorial candidacy in the offing, opinions…

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More endorsements come rolling in for Darden Rice’s re-election

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St. Petersburg City Council Chair Darden Rice is announcing an extended list of new endorsements Thursday for her District 4 re-election bid. As a popular first-term Council member and longtime civic activist, Rice enjoys a wellspring of support from elected officials, colleagues and well-wishers on both the local and state levels. The growing list of endorsements includes several prominent local elected officials: State Sen. Darryl Rouson, State Reps. Ben Diamond and Wengay Newton, as well as St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman,…

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Plant City House Republican Dan Raulerson wants everyone to own a gun

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The attempted assassination Wednesday morning of Louisiana Republican Congressman Steve Scalise in suburban Washington D.C. has shaken the nation. Certainly, lawmakers now realize how vulnerable they are to mentally unstable people with access to firearms who disagree with them politically. At Friday’s Tampa Tiger Bay Club, five members of the Hillsborough County Legislative Delegation were asked their thoughts on what the shooting means for Floridians, and the nation. Plant City Republican House member Dan Raulerson said the answer was simple — everyone, especially lawmakers…

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Associated Industries releases 2017 Voting Record report

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The voting record report is out. Associated Industries of Florida released its 2017 Voting Record report. Published for more than four decades, the annual report is considered one of the definitive legislative scorecards for the business community. This year, the organization calculated more than 208,966 votes on 1,955 bills with 848 legislators. “This session, AIF faced a variety of tough issues on behalf of Florida’s business community, including opposing any measure that would have made it more expensive for businesses…

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Pinellas GOP heavyweights raising money for Rick Baker on Wednesday in Clearwater Beach

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Former Mayor Rick Baker continues building momentum in his quest to return for a third term as St. Petersburg Mayor. Coming off a successful campaign kickoff event last week, Baker, who served two terms from 2001-2010, is following with another high-profile reception Wednesday in Clearwater Beach. Co-chairs of the event – with the tagline “Proven Leadership” – include renowned attorney Brian Aungst Jr., former Pinellas GOP Chair Jay Beyrouti and restaurateur (and one-time “Mr. Clearwater”) Frank Chivas. According to the invite,…

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Wengay Newton on why he’s supporting Rick Baker — and not Rick Kriseman

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Wengay Newton’s enthusiastic endorsement of Rick Baker in St. Petersburg’s mayoral election has surprised and upset some Pinellas County Democrats, but the veteran pol isn’t losing any sleep over the issue. “It’s a non-partisan race,” the Democratic state Representative from District 70 said. “It has nothing to do with partisanship.” Although the race is non-partisan, Baker is a well-known Republican, while Newton and incumbent Rick Kriseman are prominent Democrats. Newton was one of three people who introduced Baker at his well-choreographed…

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Hillsborough lawmakers clash during Tampa Chamber’s Session look-back

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As House Minority Leader Janet Cruz notes, the Hillsborough County Legislative Delegation works “as a united front” when representing their community in Tallahassee. That’s true on issues like the eleventh-hour move by the Florida Senate to push the University of South Florida out of pre-eminent status under a conformity education budget bill that passed in the waning hours of the legislative session two weeks ago. Over that matter, members acted in unison, denouncing what they said was a fundamental unfairness, leading…

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