Good Tuesday morning.
A top-of-Sunburn happy birthday shoutout to Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried.
A lot has been written, much of it critical (with some criticism coming from this author) about Commissioner Fried, but she deserves recognition for what she has accomplished.
If you had said five years ago that lobbyist Fried would be the last Democrat to hold statewide office, you’d have been laughed off the fourth floor of The Florida Capitol. But Nikki shocked the political world and won her race, and she has been the leader of the loyal opposition ever since. Twenty-five years from now, it won’t matter if she lost a Primary for Governor. But what will matter is that she entered the arena, as so few others do.
I have zero doubt big things are still in store for Nikki Fried. She’s shocked us all before — and it’s a near-certainty she will again.
Happy birthday, Commissioner.
Ballard Partners has added former U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller to its Washington, D.C. team.
“As the 118th Congress prepares to convene with new House leadership in a few weeks, we are delighted to have such a respected former member of the House Republican Leadership join our Washington office,” said Brian Ballard, the firm’s president and founder. “Our firm’s clients will be uniquely served by Jeff’s special insights, experience and relationships in Congress.”
Miller represented North Florida in Congress from 2001-17 and spent three of his eight terms as Chair of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs.
He was also a senior member of the Armed Services Committee and a member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He also served in the Florida House from 1998 through 2001.
“I am excited to be joining Brian and the exceptional team of professionals at Ballard Partners,” Miller said. “As the new Congress convenes and begins its important work, I look forward to assisting the firm’s clients in the new political environment in Washington.”
A Florida native, Miller earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida. He joins 20-plus other government affairs professionals on the D.C. team led by Dan McFaul, who last month was elevated to managing partner of the Washington office.
Florida State University Vice President and Athletic Director Michael Alford will headline the Capital Tiger Bay Club’s lunch program this afternoon.
Alford has been president and CEO of Seminole Boosters — the support organization for FSU athletics — since 2020 and last year was named VP and athletics director. Since Alford took the top spot at Seminole Boosters, the organization has added 2,000 new members and raised $15 million for a new football operations center.
Before coming to Tallahassee, Alford worked as the athletic director for Central Michigan University. He previously worked as the Senior Associate athletic director for the University of Oklahoma, senior director of Corporate Partnerships and Sales for the Dallas Cowboys, and general manager of Crimson Tide Sports Marketing at the University of Alabama.
The Capital Tiger Bay Club event will be at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, 505 West Pensacola St., in Tallahassee. It begins with an 11:30 a.m. luncheon. The main program will run from noon to 1 p.m.
There is a $35 guest fee for non-members to attend the event. Registration is needed and is available online.
For your radar — History in the making! At 3:30 p.m. today in a White House ceremony, President Joe Biden will officially sign the Respect for Marriage Act, codifying same-sex and interracial marriage. Invitees include Miami-based Democratic consultant and activist Christian Ulvert and Carlos Andrade, who held their wedding ceremony in D.C. nearly 10 years earlier, following the landmark decision that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The couple later sued the state of Florida to recognize their marriage — and won in 2015 when the courts struck down the state’s ban. “This is especially heartfelt because Carlos, a Venezuelan American immigrant who fled political oppression from his home country, found a voice here in the U.S.,” Ulvert said in a Facebook post. “He will be sitting in the White House bearing witness to what freedom means, and a right we fought for and won.”
One other note:
— Young voters like Dems, but their support is waning: Young voters (under the age of 30) preferred Democrats at 53% compared to just 41% for Republicans, but that support was down from earlier elections, according to The Associated Press. The outlet’s VoteCast showed voters went for now-President Biden over Donald Trump in 2020 at 61% to 36%, a 20-percentage point drop. Looking at the previous Midterm Election in 2018, support dropped even more, from 64% in an election year that saw Democrats retake the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. Read more here.
— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —
—@JimmyPatronis: This Special Session will put policyholders first. Insurance is supposed to help people get back on their feet after disasters; not shakedown policyholders. Unscrupulous attorneys and other corrupt parties need to go somewhere else. In Florida, we’re done with it
—@GaryWhite13: Received an email from my property insurance company reminding me of Special Legislation Session, asking me to sign petition telling Legislature to “curb the roof claim and litigation abuse” it blames for Fla’s high insurance rates.
—@MDixon55: New TV in the Senate press gallery. @Kathleen4SWFL playing the long game here
So apparently my office in the Florida House of Representatives has rats. Wow. I literally have no words. They put me in an office with rats. pic.twitter.com/whXZlZnAJb
— State Rep. Angie Nixon (@AngieNixon) December 12, 2022
—@AnnaForFlorida: Appreciate the caller who left us a voicemail asking why we want to “teach woke” and “kill children” but also said have a nice holiday with your family lol
— DAYS UNTIL —
‘Avatar 2’ premieres — 3; Military Bowl with UCF Knights against Duke — 15; Cheez-It Bowl with FSU against Oklahoma — 16; final Broadway performance of ‘The Music Man’ with Hugh Jackman — 19; last day to ride Splash Mountain before remodeling — 40; The James Madison Institute’s Annual Dinner — 43; 2023 FAC Access 67 Broadband Summit — Florida Association of Counties begins — 44; Bruce Springsteen launches 2023 tour in Tampa — 50; ‘Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania’ premieres — 66; final performance of ‘Phantom of the Opera’ on Broadway — 67; city of Tampa Municipal Election early voting begins — 76; Gov. Ron DeSantis’ ‘The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival’ released — 77; ‘The Mandalorian’ returns — 78; Tampa Municipal Election — 83; 2023 Legislative Session convenes — 84; World Baseball Classic finals begin in Miami — 88; ‘John Wick: Chapter 4′ premieres — 101; Taylor Swift ‘Eras’ Tour in Tampa — 121; American Association of Political Consultants Pollies ’23 conference begins — 136; 2023 Session Sine Die — 143; ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’ premieres — 143; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ premieres — 171; Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ premieres — 220; ‘‘Captain Marvel 2′ premieres — 227; Dune: Part Two’ premieres — 325; ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ Part 2 premieres — 472; ‘Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes’ premieres — 528; Opening Ceremony of the 2024 Olympic Games — 591; ‘Thunderbolts’ premieres — 591; ‘Blade’ reboot premieres — 633; ‘Deadpool 3’ premieres — 696; ‘Fantastic Four’ reboot premieres — 794; ‘Avengers: The Kang Dynasty’ premieres — 871. ‘Avengers: Secret Wars’ premieres — 1,060.
Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, Daniel Dean, Renzo Downey, Jacob Ogles, and Drew Wilson.
This article originally appeared here and was republished with permission.