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Sunburn — The Morning Read Of What’s Hot In Florida Politics — 9.16.21

By Peter Schorsch    

Good Thursday morning.

Congrats to the newlyweds!

They said ‘I do’ — A top-of-Sunburn congratulations to Kelsey Swithers and Patrick Deasy, the longtime couple who got married yesterday in Tallahassee. Swithers works as a senior member of Bascom Communications; Deasy owns Active Movement, a CrossFit gym in Tallahassee popular with many members of The Process. All the best to the happy couple!

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The pandemic has had some strange side effects on American politics. Among the strangest: “My body, my choice” is now a rallying cry for Republicans.

Gov. Ron DeSantis and supporters — especially the crowd fawning over his anti-mandate crusade — have co-opted the abortion rights slogan to describe the unenviable plight of those who can’t bear the thought of receiving one of three safe, effective, and potentially pandemic-ending shots.

How ironic that the GOP embrace of “my body, my choice” comes as abortion rights advocates shout it with renewed zeal. After the Supreme Court failed to act on a Texas law that effectively bans abortions, they fear Florida could be the next domino to fall.

It’s not all paranoia. Top state lawmakers, including the Senate President, have said the legislation is in the works.

On Thursday, the Florida Democratic Party launched the first salvo regarding abortion rights with a digital ad highlighting the “hypocrisy” of Republicans’ anti-abortion stance on vaccines as they plot to interfere with women’s reproductive rights.

The ad opens with a line from DeSantis: “We’re a free state. People are going to be free to choose, to make their own decisions about themselves, about their families.”

It continues, with sound bites from U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, various news anchors and others. Later in the ad, Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book promises that any attempt to import a Texas-style abortion law to the Sunshine State will be met with “fierce, fierce, fierce opposition.”

“We will do everything in our power to stop it from happening,” she says.

In an accompanying news release, FDP Executive Director Marcus Dixons said the party “has a clever message for Floridians — we will fight for women’s rights today, tomorrow, and always.”

He adds: “The Republican’s deeds and hypocrisy will be exposed, and voters will be reminded of their actions through 2022.”

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

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Lincoln Project drags ‘worst Governor’ DeSantis in new ad” via A.G. Gancarski of Florida Politics — The video starts with some file news footage from the peak of the Florida COVID-19 resurgence, with descriptions of a state in “crisis,” the “hotbed of the pandemic.” “Where’s Ron DeSantis,” a crisp female voice asks, “Laughing it up in New Jersey, raising money for himself.” “He ran as a mini-me Trump. Now he’s trying to prove he’s more Trump than Trump and doesn’t care how many Floridians have to die,” the voice-over continues. “Ron DeSantis: the worst Governor in America.” Lincoln Project co-founder Rick Wilson said, “DeSantis is working hard to ensure he wins the America’s Next Top Trump reality show for the 2024 presidential contest, no matter how many Floridians suffer from his reckless COVID policies.”

To watch the ad, click on the image below:

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The Meenan Law Firm expanding its government affairs team, bringing on Daniel Olson as a government consultant.

Daniel Olson brings a wealth of Executive Branch experience to Meehan.

“Dan brings a wealth of Executive Branch experience to our team,” managing shareholder Tim Meenan said. “We are excited by the breadth of his background and expertise, which will be a tremendous benefit to our clients.”

Before entering the private sector, Olson spent 14 years working in state government and public-private partnerships, most recently as Director of Government Affairs for Attorney General Ashley Moody.

In that role, he developed policy positions and championed legislative and budget priorities focused on opioid abatement and litigation issues, racketeering and elder fraud. He also oversaw the Cabinet Affairs office and advised the Attorney General on multiple high-profile issues.

Olson has been involved in the public policy arena for over a decade, specializing in Florida state Attorney General issues, professional regulation and licensing, alcohol, gaming, lottery, tobacco, tourism, procurement, and Cabinet Affairs. He has lobbying experience in the executive and legislative branches and has spent years advancing policy initiatives for two Governors and multiple agencies.

Olson earned his bachelor’s degree in political science and economics and master’s degree in public administration from Florida State University.

He has served in multiple leadership roles throughout his time in government, including as the Chief Operating Officer at VISIT FLORIDA, the Chief of Staff at the Florida Lottery, and the Director of Legislative Affairs at the Department of Business and Professional Regulation.

“We are proud to have Dan join our government relations team and employ his legislative and executive branch skills on behalf of our growing client roster,” said Joy Ryan, shareholder and head of Meenan’s Legislative Practice Area. “His experience at the highest levels of Florida’s state government will be an incredible asset to our firm.”

— SITUATIONAL AWARENESS —

@POTUS: The vaccine requirements under my COVID plan will cover one hundred million workers. Today, I met with businesses that are leading the way. Because vaccine requirements keep businesses open and workers safe.

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@mstratford: News — Federal judge in Florida rules in favor of @RonDeSantisFL, declines to block the state’s ban on school mask mandates. It bucks the trend of two other federal courts that recently halted the same policies in Iowa & Tennessee.

@jeffschweers: Florida news organizations file motion to intervene in @CarlosGSmith public records lawsuit against @HealthyFla — state objects! Leon Circuit Judge (JohnCooper will hear from both sides Monday at pretrial hearing.

@ryanstruyk: U.S. vaccinated by religion via new Pew poll:

90% atheist

86% Hispanic Catholic

84% agnostic

79% White Catholic

73% White mainline protestant

70% Black protestant

57% White evangelical protestant

@AGGancarski: You just know when someone pops out the “so many people are living in fear” that it’s going to be nothing but dulcet tones, Zen koans and good vibes for the whole three minutes of their public comment.

@nicholaswu12: Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) says she can’t vote for the reconciliation package “at this early stage” but remains “optimistic that the comprehensive reconciliation package will be appropriately targeted and fiscally responsible …”

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FloridaPolitics, excerpt posted on  SouthFloridaReporter.comSept. 16, 2021

Republished with permission 

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