Orange Democrats Spring Reception to feature Dyer, and State of Party Address by County Chairman

The Orange County Democratic Party, has announced that their Spring Reception will take place next month on May 17th at the Sanctuary, in Downtown Orlando.

The Program features Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and the County Chair Carlos Smith. Other elected officials listed on the Host Committee include Congressman Alan Grayson, Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph, Orange County Commissioner Tiffany Moore-Russell, and Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.

Other notable attendees include Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant and former Orlando Police Chief and Current Candidate for Orange County Mayor Val Demings.

Smith will be giving the State of the Party Address at the reception. Look for local Democrats to springboard from this event into the election cycle, where they’ll try to protect their gains from 2012, while trying to win seats on the County Commission and the Mayor race. They will also have to do their part for likely Gubernatorial Democratic Nominee, former Republican Governor Charlie Crist, as he takes on his predecessor Rick Scott in what will be one of the most highly watched races in the country.

You can read the flyer below.

orange county dems spring reception

Platt no-show for debates, but touts 200K in donations for CD 9 GOP Primary

Osceola Realtor Executive and Republican Candidate for Florida’s Congressional 9th District, Carol Platt is a tough one to figure out.

She’s well-spoken and personable enough, but her attendance at Candidate Forums has been poor. Wednesday night, Platt was a No-Show at a Young Republicans 9th District event. Last month she was absent at an East Orlando Tea Party Candidate Discussion. And lastly, was late for a UCF candidate function held days ago. Both missed events were written off as scheduling conflicts by her campaign.

It’s important to remember that the incumbent in the 9th District, that consists of parts of Orange/Osceola counties is Democrat Alan Grayson, one of the most controversial and combative members in American Politics today. The last person to defeat him, is now his colleague. Congressman Daniel Webster participated in 4 Candidate Forums en route to victory in 2010.

Still, Platt is busy fundraising. Her campaign has crossed 200k in fundraising donations. In a release they had the following to say.

“I am truly blessed and honored by all of the support I have received so far; I’m ready to hit the ground running in Congress and represent this great Nation we live in,” Carol Platt expresses.”

It continues..

The campaign reached a key financial milestone that shows strong local support with nearly 1500 individual donors. Campaign Consultant Joel Searby stated; “These fundraising numbers – and more importantly the people who are giving – underscore Carol’s incredible backing from across the community, state and nation. She has an outstanding support system and we are headed in the right direction.”

Platt faces Marine Vet/Court Interpreter Jorge Bonilla and Businessman Peter Vivaldi in the GOP primary. Both candidates have participated in the forums mentioned, and have a 4th scheduled to take place in the near future.

If Platt or someone from her campaign, would comment on if they intend to participate in future debates, I’ll update this post.

Florida Congress District 9 Changeable 3-14

Your Social Media Sunday Political Round-Up For 4-6-14

Here are this week’s best social media offerings from your Elected Officials.

Florida Governor Rick Scott celebrated the opening of the Major League Baseball Season by publishing this photo of himself on the field with the Detroit Tigers during Spring Training.

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam was one of many Gator fans bummed out by the men’s basketball team loss to the Connecticut Huskies.

Here we have Florida Senator Bill Nelson pressuring a sluggish Department of Veterans Affairs to act. We’ve had the Orlando VA Hospital here delayed for years.

Congressman Alan Grayson had an April Fool’s Joke for Everyone.

Here we have Congressman Daniel Webster and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs out supporting the Wounded Warrior Project at a local event.

Here we have District 47 State Rep. Linda Stewart with the National Championship Florida State Seminoles.

Noles Stewart

Here we have State Rep. Bryan Nelson representing the blue and orange on Gator Day.

Nelson Gators

Finally, we have Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer celebrating the swearing in of new OPD Chief John Mina.

Have a great week everyone and remember..we’ve got elections on Tuesday!

Orange Commission District 6 Candidates Run Issues Gauntlet in Forum

Last night, in front of a packed house of about 250 people at the Mt. Pleasant Church, the 5 Candidates hoping to replace termed out incumbent Tiffany Moore-Russell in District 6 took the state to talk about every major issue, in a forum hosted by the Orlando Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Business Derrick Wallace, Businesswoman Victoria Siplin, Former Commissioner Homer Hartage, Commissioner Aide Roberta Walton, and Metro Plan Director Virginia Whittington covered a whole range of topics in the 90 minute debate, that covered a lot of ground and was beautifully moderated by Professor Jennifer Smith.

They led off with introductions. Wallace touted his business, that he says has put thousands to work, and also his experience dealing with big money projects. He has a plan for the district that he wants to implement if elected. Siplin told her story of growing up an orphan to become a successful businesswoman and mother. And said she was running because she wanted to see forward progress in the district. Hartage spoke of his government experience and plan for neighborhood development. Whittington described her daily trip through the district and called it “alarming” and wants to see it improve. Walton said she has the experience to serve effectively from day 1, and spoke of her experience as an aide in the county government. She said the infrastructure of the county was old.

They called about addressing needs for minorities in the district. They all pointed to raising awareness to existing programs. Hartage, Wallace encouraged enrollment in Obamacare. Whittington said it was time to “Sound the alarm” and work with the state legislature. Walton and Siplin talked about local programs and jabbed the current body in Tallahassee for refusing to expand medicaid.

When it came for ideas for bringing higher paying jobs to D6, Siplin spoke of training opportunities and setting goals for applications for contracts. Wallace echoed that and said it was all about branding and promotion of the area. Walton said “the wheel isn’t broken” and that current programs needed to be reviewed. The current brand needs to be promoted she added. Whittington had 3 points. Fill empty infrastructure, take a strategic look at improving, and to also reeducate on existing programs.

Crime was the next topic. Wallace and Walton stressed working with law enforcement to improve. Whittington said her home has been broken into 3 times by youth and they had to be pushed to be “producers and not consumers”. Hartage wanted to revive a task force that “would enforce every law in the book”. Siplin brought up her work with the POPS program currently in High Schools that puts youth to work immediately.

Next was the controversial possible construction of a new High School in a possibly rural area of Windermere. Walton felt that the land in question wasn’t rural. Whittington talked about reforming the land purchasing process and the Martinez Doctrine. Hartage echoed her and said that we couldn’t buy land on speculation. Victoria Siplin brought up the conflict over the Evans High School move and pushed for teamwork with the state legislature. Wallace said the whole process needed to be reviewed and reassesed from there. He really didn’t know anything else at the time.

Talking trash was next or the question was how to diminish trash that pose a threat to the lakes in the district. All of them agreed that current laws had to be enforced and that teamwork was needed to fix the problem. Wallace had a blunt reply. He said he didn’t know of a trash problem in district and he wasn’t going to sit on stage and make things up. That drew both laughs and gasps from the crowd in attendance. Hartage would return fire on that point. He insisted there was a problem.

All of the candidates agreed that more funding was needed for the arts within the district. They all agreed that they weren’t being treated equally and Walton referred to the new Performing Arts Center, and believes they need to have a seat in the conversation on how that could be used to promote programs in their region.

The Conversation over a new Hispanic Exclusive Seat on the Commission was an exciting one. Siplin supported the measure and brought up Mildred Fernandez‘s service (we’ll assume it was before her removal from office). Wallace “absolutely” also supported the new seat. Walton supported the idea but felt no new measures were needed to make that happen. She pointed out that Hispanics had the 9th Congressional seat in their majority but still elected Alan Grayson. Both Hartage and Whittington believed Hispanics deserved the seat but opposed the Fred Brummer Charter Amendments. Hartage specifically did not approve of expanding the Commission by two seats. That was a part of the Brummer amendment that would be designed roughly for that purpose.

All of the candidates oppose eliminating the County Tax Collector Office and called it either political or an unneeded change. It was the quickest round of answers in the forum.

Not all of them agreed on the big Expressway Authority Merger: Whittington and Walton were opposed to the merger. Whittington said “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” and Walton felt it best to keep those decisions local. Hartage and Siplin supported the move. Hartage slammed the hire of Steve Precourt and Siplin brought up the investigation by State Attorney Jeff Ashton for possible Sunshine Violations. Wallace didn’t have enough information and did not have an opinion.

All of the candidates pledged to be more accessible to constituents. Hartage’s answer drew the biggest laugh of the event. “I’m not a hard man to get a hold of. I’ve had the same phone number since 1978.

Priority and Passion were the final two questions of the forum: Siplin felt for the children due to her past and present experiences of her life. She would provide health care for them, and take all actions to ensure the neighborhoods in the district flourished. Wallace would bring the stakeholders to the table to build a strategy to move on, and his passion was also in the children and the future of the area. Whittington would fulfill promises that haven’t been met yet and her passion would be getting what the district deserved to avoid falling further behind. Homer Hartages first priority would be to ensure the defeat of the Fred Brummer amendments and he as well had passion for the youth in the district. Walton touted her experience and promoting “shovel ready” projects. She wants to use the vibrant core of the district to promote growth.

They each gave closing statements and the event was over. Great forum and as you can see, a lot of information given out.

Some Personal Observations and Analysis:

Derrick Wallace, while he didn’t have the answers for all of the issues, he definitely had the biggest campaign presence in the room. A large platoon of attendees were wearing his T-shirts.

Roberta Walton was in an interesting position. She has to push her experience, while creating enough space for her to forward her own ideas. Her position as an aide is almost like her running for reelection. She can’t be too critical of the current state of the district

Homer Hartage has a wealth of knowledge from his previous service. Maybe the most in the field. But won’t a decision on the Brummer amendment be down before he takes office next year?

Victoria Siplin had a good night. Her Husband and former State Senator Gary Siplin was also in attendance. She doesn’t have a particular angle to call hers yet. She needs to establish why she’s better than the others and either give some innovative ideas or her cite experience to gain some traction.

Virginia Whittington also had a good night and was the most energetic candidate. She’s a good story teller and would be a very difficult opponent in a one on one debate. She needs to tout her experience with Metro Plan more.

A great event!

d6 forum

President Obama Visits Orlando says “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds”

Today, in front of a full house at Valencia State College, President Barack Obama promoted Women in the Economy and their role in the future workforce of the country.

He spoke of his Mother and the way she worked hard to raise him and his sister. He spoke of his Grandmother who, worked at a bank and ultimately hit a glass ceiling, which led to her training people who would eventually be her boss.

“When women make less than men that hurts their family” the President said “it burdens men and children. When they can’t fill their potential that holds us back”

President Obama spoke with a group of students and young female professionals behind him and held a roundtable with them before the speech.

There were light moments “My Household is 80% Women. Including my Mother in Law, I always include my Mother in Law” he stressed.

“Equal pay for equal work. It’s a simple plan” he said.

He promoted the Paycheck Fairness Act and raising minimum wages to $10 per hour and called on Congress to act. He ended the speech by promoting the Affordable Care Act and jabbed Republicans for not moving on equal pay solutions and instead trying to overturn Obamacare 50 times.

Other elected officials on hand included Senator Bill Nelson, Congressman Alan Grayson, and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.

The President will head from Orlando this afternoon to a fundraiser in South Florida held by former Miami Heat Basketball Star Alonzo Mourning.

Obama at Valencia in Orlando