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Sunburn — The Morning Read Of What’s Hot In Florida Politics — 5.18.22

Loosening restrictions on Cuba is a mixed bag for Florida.

By Peter Schorsch   

Good Wednesday morning.

Kinley Morgan has joined Pinnacle Media as Vice President of Communications, CEO Jenn Meale Poggie announced Wednesday.

“I’m thrilled to bring Kinley on as Vice President of Communications,” Poggie said. “Kinley’s energy, work ethic, and strong communications experience in both the legislative and executive branches of state government will enable us to continue delivering successful outcomes for our clients.”

Pinnacle Media will benefit from Kinley Morgan’s solid work ethic.

Morgan comes to Pinnacle from the Florida Senate Majority Office, where she served as Press Secretary and previously worked as a legislative analyst.

Morgan previously served as a legislative assistant to Gainesville Republican Sen. Keith Perry and as a spokesperson for former Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. She also has experience working at a public relations firm specializing in tourism marketing.

Morgan is a graduate of Florida State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in applied American politics and policy.

“Jenn is one of the most respected and effective communicators in the field, and I am extremely excited to join the Pinnacle Media team,” Morgan said. “I look forward to working together to elevate the voices of our clients to ensure they reach their goals.”


Democratic advertising agency MDW Communications has promoted two employees to senior leadership roles and added three new members to its digital division.

Congrats: Landon St. Gordon and Martin Page moved up to senior leadership roles at MDW Communications.

Landon St. Gordon, who joined MDW in 2015, has been elevated to Vice President of Creative. Through his work with MDW, Landon has been a consultant on over 100 successful campaigns and causes, including the historic elections of Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and Sen. Shevrin Jones.

St. Gordon also manages MDW’s work with Equality Florida, one of the most prominent LGBTQ+ State Federations in the U.S. He is the winner of multiple Pollie Awards from the American Association of Political Consultants and multiple Reed Awards from Campaigns&Elections, a leading industry publication.

Martin Page, who joined MDW in 2019, has been promoted to Vice President of Strategy. Page’s work over the past three years has established MDW as a leading digital fundraising firm for Democratic campaigns across Florida and has helped grow the firm’s national footprint.

Page currently serves as a lead digital strategist for many of MDW’s top clients, including Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book, Broward County Commissioner Jared Moskowitz and U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson.

Alongside the promotions, MDW announced that Shannen BazziKendahl Hawkins, and Caitlin Lang will work at the firm’s growing digital division.

Bazzi comes to MDW from DC-based 20/20 Vision, an economic policy research and advocacy firm. Hawkins previously worked at Register2Vote, a civic engagement and technology nonprofit, with prior experience working with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. And Lang was previously the Press Associate for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.


On Monday, the young organizers of the “Say Gay” movement were honored with the Webby Award for the Social Movement of The Year at the 26th Annual Webby Awards.

The #SayGay effort gets special recognition as Social Movement of the Year.

Known as the “internet’s highest honor,” the Webby was jointly awarded to Will LarkinsJack PetoczAbbie Garretson and Javier Gomez. Upon being presented with the award by Tan France and Tig Notaro, each of them delivered a five-word acceptance speech.

Petocz’s speech was aimed directly at the Governor: “We will vote (RonDeSantis out.”

Collectively, the winners created a rapid response movement that challenged the Parental Rights in Education bill, which its opponents have described as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

They claimed the measure, now signed into law, advances homophobia, threatens LGBTQ rights, and could potentially harm LGBTQ individuals.

“I grew up without LGBTQ education, and even though I was in an accepting environment, it caused me to really hate myself and I see myself in this whole generation and that’s scary because our suicide rates are higher, drug abuse, self-harm, homelessness, everything about the queer community is struggling in regard to mental health, and this is just making it worse,” Larkin said at the Webbys.


Markel Trial Day 2 — From 200 potential jurors called to appear in Katherine Magbanua’s retrial for her alleged role in the 2014 murder of Dan Markel, prosecutors and defense attorneys selected about 60 to interview in greater detail.

One by one, Judge Robert Wheeler asked jurors to disclose if they had any personal relationships with individuals listed as witnesses, and from there, prosecutor Georgia Cappleman and defense attorneys Tara Kawass and Chris DeCoste took turns asking more pointed questions.

Of the initial 21 who were individually questioned, 13 were excused. Another batch was brought in, and as of 4:45 p.m., the legal teams were still deciding which jurors would remain. But by 5:30 p.m., final jurors were selected.

“Seven men, seven women selected,” tweeted Jeff Burlew with the Tallahassee Democrat.

“We officially have a jury in Katherine Magbanua’s retrial. Jury selection took a full two days,” tweeted Jada Williams of ABC27.

The process moves slowly but is a critically essential element of the trial. Opening statements are expected to begin Wednesday morning.

Read more of the story here.


@JayRosen_NYU: Wait. You’re saying that when (JoeBiden said he wants to “restore the soul of America,” that was like a campaign promise… and you’re here to ask whether he has delivered on that promise? Because a racist got a gun and shot 10 people dead?

@RonDeSantisFL: Biden’s plan to prop up the Cuban dictatorship represents yet another failure when it comes to standing for freedom in our hemisphere. Money from “tourism” will go into the pockets of the Cuban regime — and will help fortify the government against those seeking freedom in Cuba.

@BillFoxLA: There were 234,088 migrants encountered at the Southern border in April, per a DHS court filing today. That’s the highest number in DHS history. 117,989 migrants were released into the U.S. in April. 113,248 were removed, including 96,908 expelled via Title 42.

— @Mdixon55: .@CharlieCrist has agreed to a debate in Miami. His opponent @NikkiFried has been hitting him for not agreeing to debates. She has agreed to five, I believe.



— @steveschale: One smart foundation of both the House and Senate GOP success in FL is real continuity of leadership in their conferences. On flip side, there are eras the Ds are more like a series of massive speed bumps. @FentriceD is a real chance for Hse Dems to build long term continuity



— @billbarnwell: I pitched this idea a few years ago, but in every draft lottery, there should be one ball that just says CHAOS, and the rules for CHAOS should be kept under total lock and key until it gets picked

FloridaPolitics, excerpt posted on  SouthFloridaReporter.comMay 18, 2022

Republished with permission 


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