Winner and Loser of the Week in Florida Politics – Week of 9.26.21

With fanfare, Florida’s minimum wage rose from $ 8.65 an hour to $ 10 on Thursday. By 2026, the minimum will be $ 15 an hour.

It’s in five years.

For a 40-hour work week, the current minimum is $ 400 per week, before taxes. In many parts of the state, that would barely cover the rent for a small apartment, let alone the true cost of living.

The increase probably wouldn’t have happened without Amendment 2, which voters passed last November. As might be expected, organizations like the Florida Chamber of Commerce opposed it.

The Chamber argued that this would force “older people and working families to pay more for basic necessities like food, clothing and haircuts.”

But here’s the thing. The House ignores the other side of the argument. In fact, they tell worker bees to stop grumbling and, like Rick scott would say: “at work”.

Businesses wonder why so many jobs are unfilled. There is no single answer, but many have decided that working for a meager salary is not worth it.

It’s a shame it took a constitutional amendment to make this happen, but Florida built its economy on the backs of low-paid workers who made their employers richer. It is high time to balance the scales.

Some owners get it, however.

Bay News 9 reported the co-owner of the Disco Dolls, a Tampa-based clothing store, hair salon and art gallery.

Leigh Anne Balzekas said his store has six full-time employees, all of whom earn $ 15 an hour.

“To train someone and keep talented people, you do it by paying them fairly,” she said.

What a design.

Now it’s time for our weekly winners and losers game.


Honorable mention – Greg Steube: The 43-year-old Republican United States Rep from Sarasota brought his A-game to the annual congressional baseball game at Nationals Park in Washington.

He was the starting pitcher for the GOP’s 13-12 victory, throwing 120 pitches in 5 2/3 innings before advancing to third base.

But the bigger story was what he did on the plate. In the third inning he threw the first step he saw back, back, back and GONE! The ball landed in the left field seats and Steube was able to show off his home run.

It was the first home run out of the park in 40 years for this game.

Fittingly, Steube also grabbed a pop-up for the match final with the tie on base.

Register it!

Almost (but not quite) the biggest winner – The Kennedy Space Center: The news doesn’t get much better than that. Govt. Ron DeSantis has announced plans to build a space satellite factory in famed central Florida’s east coast.

It will cost $ 300 million to build and employs 2,100 people. The factory, when completed, will have the capacity to produce 1,000 satellites per year.

“This will be the largest satellite manufacturing plant in the world,” DeSantis said.

The satellites that Terran Orbital will manufacture are called CubeSAT, also known as nanosatellites. They may be smaller than most kitchen toasters, but are very technologically advanced.

The company can quickly manufacture the satellites and adapt them to the specific needs of the buyer.

“There is no better place I can think of if you have $ 300 million to invest than here”, Chairman and CEO of Terran Orbital Marc Bell noted.

DeSantis would certainly agree.

Biggest Winner – Desmond Meade: Meade stood out as a driving force behind the campaign to restore the voting rights of criminals in Florida. In recognition of his tireless advocacy work, he was appointed MacArthur Fellow 2021.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Award of Chicago is presented to “extraordinarily talented and creative individuals” across the country who demonstrate “the promise of significant future advances based on a track record of significant achievements ”.

The honor comes with an unconditional “genius grant” of $ 625,000.

Meade’s personal story is one of redemption and perseverance. While in the military, Meade became addicted to cocaine, which led to a wave of crime.

The army dishonored him and Meade spent time in jail. After his release from prison in 2005, Meade enrolled in rehab and started on the road to recovery, eventually earning a law degree.

He was the driving force behind the push for Amendment 4 in 2018, which restored the franchise to former criminals in Florida. Voters approved the measure almost 65%.

“This is huge,” said Meade, the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition.

He said he would use the grant money to pay off law school loans and further the cause of voting rights.


Dishonorable Mention – Frank Pichel: He wants to be Miami’s next mayor, but his campaign just got a little (OK, big) hiccup.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office stopped Pichel on Friday on a felony charge of identity theft of a police officer. Pichel spent a few hours in the county jail before posting a $ 5,000 bond.

The Miami Herald reported that Pichel is accused of showing a badge and pretending to be a Monroe County MP while sitting in a BMW outside a house in Key Largo on May 30.

A Miami-Dade police officer on leave, visiting a friend in the neighborhood, asked Pichel what he was doing there.

Pichel, according to the arrest warrant, “produced a gold badge and identified himself as a Monroe County police officer.”

The Miami-Dade officer checked the license plate and passed the information on to Monroe Police.

Almost (but not quite) the biggest loser – John Rutherford: Jacksonville’s Republican United States Representative is under a microscope for allegedly violating STOCK law.

The STOCK Act requires sellers to report individual stock transactions between $ 1,001 and $ 15,000 to the office of the Clerk of the House within one month of the transaction.

Rutherford made five such transactions in October 2020 but did not file a report until February, The business insider first reported.

Rutherford spokesperson Alex Lanfranconi told Insider the filing was overdue, but the congressman was not fined $ 200.

“All late periodic transaction reports have been submitted in full and accepted by the House without penalty,” Lanfranconi said.

The moral of the story: you have to do the paperwork.

Biggest Loser – Marco Rubio: The senior US senator from Florida reminded us again last week of his penchant for putting his foot squarely in his mouth.

Start with Rubio’s take on the president Joe biden A $ 3.5 trillion spending plan to meet multiple national needs.

“The $ 3.5 trillion The Biden plan is not socialism, it is Marxism“Rubio tweeted.

Oh really?

The New York Times’ Paul krugman responded, “Ah yes, remember that moving sentence from the Communist Manifesto: ‘Workers all over the world, unite to devote 1.2% of GDP to popular programs over the next decade! “”

Connecticut US Sen. Chris Murphy tweeted: “According to Republicans, everything Democrats do is socialism or Marxism. When I get a turkey sandwich for lunch today, it’s socialism.

Marxism is considered a social, political and economic philosophy. The application of this philosophy is communism, under which the state controls most goods and economic resources.

by Biden spending plan is neither of those things.

It proposes to offer more guaranteed public education to fight inequalities and subsidized childcare and paid holidays to help more women in the labor market. This would expand health insurance and invest more money in the fight against climate change.

In addition, it meets the crippling infrastructure needs of the nation.

Rubio should, and probably knows, all of this. But, dang, summoning Karl Marx will scare off the GOP base bejeebers, so all is well.

Rubio also mocked a notice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for using a gender-neutral term in a post about COVID-19 vaccinations.

“COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant people to prevent serious illness, death and adverse pregnancy outcomes from COVID-19, ”the agency said.

Rubio leaps up.

“” Pregnant people “? ” he wrote. “If @CDC ever finds a man pregnant, I assure you his immunization status won’t be the main thing he should be worried about.”

Given how Rubio often made fun of transgender people, the Twitterverse wasn’t nice.

“There are people who have a uterus but who identify as men. There are literally people right now who identify with and look like men who are pregnant. Find out then quit, ”one person wrote.

Another replied, “Is that the message you choose to send out, not the fact that they want pregnant women to get vaccinated?” “

There was also this cryptic response.

“How about worrying about the growing number of bodies in your state instead of separating the wording from the CDC guidelines?” “


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