May 10

Campaign Diaries — Before You Run

It’s kind of important that a candidate for office being thinking about and preparing for a campaign long before they actually jump into a race. A candidate who hasn’t prepared for the race before filing their candidacy is almost certainly going to lose. Key things that you have to do before running…

1. Establish a massive network. If you don’t have a extensive network of political activists, interest group operatives, party members, family, friends, coworkers and social media contacts, winning will be almost impossible for you. I personally don’t think I have a big enough network to run for office and I have over 4000 Facebook friends and 2000 Twitter followers. My personal network of people I can get on the phone is smaller than that. None of these is big enough to run for a significant office. If your network is smaller than mine, then you haven’t done enough work to be running. In certain circles and if you have enough money, you can be plugged into pre-existing networks, but they aren’t nearly as good as networks you establish on your own and have earned. Long before you run for office, you need to have a business card and social media profiles and you need to be constantly expanding them, gathering business cards from others and making as many serious connections as possible. You need to treat everyone you meet as someone that you will have to ask for money, volunteer hours and other important things because they all are. That’s the life of a candidate.

2. Consult with family and work. I’ve seen marriages break up over political campaigns. If your family isn’t fully on board with you running for office, you have a legit chance of not only losing the election, but alienating and possibly losing your family. Is it worth it? Similarly, how are you going survive financially while you are campaigning? If you can’t take significant time off from work, then you can’t win. If you think you can work a full-time job and do a good job as a candidate, you don’t understand campaigns.

3. Do your homework on the job you are running for and the district you are running in. I don’t mean, by this, that you should gather up a bunch of research in the few weeks before you declare and cram. I mean that you need to spend a significant amount of time — years even — to familiarize yourself with the community and the job you are running for. Effectively a campaign is a job interview and you aren’t likely to get the job if you don’t understand what it is. If you are running for county commissioner, you should regularly be attending the meetings, getting to know the issues, the people and the procedures that are relevant.

4. Establish a public presence in the community long before you decide to run. If you declare you are running for office and then you suddenly start showing up at community and activist events, people will see through it and think you are pandering to them, which you will be. You need to establish yourself as a person of interest in the community (or, more accurately, communities) that are relevant to public office long before you decide to run. You need to honestly participate in those communities and then they will support you. People don’t like being used, so don’t use them and don’t wait until you need them to offer them your service.

5. Do your homework on the issues that are important to the district. Again, I’m not saying campaign research here, I’m talking life research. You need to know what’s going on in the district — the issues, the history, the scandals, the players. Be certain that voters will know a lot of this stuff and if you don’t, they’ll think you aren’t serious and haven’t done your homework. Voters, generally speaking, what to know that you know more about what’s going on than they do. If not, why would they vote for you? If you are going to represent a district, you need to understand it from years of participation and study of that district.

6. Do some serious soul-searching on your values and issue stances. The most important thing for a candidate to win over a voter is that the voter trusts the values of the candidate. Even if they don’t agree with them, they will vote for someone who they feel the understand and know where that person stands. If you don’t know what your own values are, how can you expect voters to know? And you can’t take a list of issue stances and have that substitute for your values. You have to know what your values are, you have to have conviction in them and you have to be able to communicate those values to a variety of different people. If you can’t do this, you might as well not run, because it’s going to be hard for you to win.

It’s possible that you can win public office without doing any of these things, particularly if you have a lot of money. But most candidates, particularly early in their career, don’t have a lot of money. And, more importantly, why would you want to be in office if you didn’t care enough to do these things in advance. Grassroots candidates — who I guess I’m more addressing in these diaries — need to actually be a part of the grassroots, which isn’t something you can buy and it isn’t something you can do overnight.

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May 10

Fla. Progressive Political Post of the Day — Beach Peanuts

Official: “Bigger Fish To Fry” Than Actually Prosecuting In “Preventive” Florida Voter Purge:

From the Department of Phantom Voter Fraud, Republicans in Florida have made sure that the Florida Division of Elections is hard at work enforcing their new election laws that restrict voters from getting to the polls. Certain voters, that is.

There’s more…

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May 09

The Return of Campaign Diaries

So I haven’t written one of these in a long time, but I think that this might be the most important topic for me to write about in the next few months. There are lots of reasons that Democrats, despite having a majority in partisan voter registration in the state are a tiny minority in state government. Some of these problems are big — poorly run state and local party entities, massive money disparities, gerrymandering, massive out-of-state interest group spending — but, despite those problems, a lot more left-wing candidates should be winning in Florida than actually do and that’s something that I want to focus on in the next few months. First I want to get a few general principles out of the way:

1. Just because a candidate wins doesn’t mean that they ran a good campaign. Name recognition, money, districts, incompetent opponents, lack of opponents, etc., all play a role in the outcome. Many candidates win despite running terrible campaigns because other things become more important. If better campaigns were run by their opponents, many of these candidates would lose.

2. The conventional wisdom on campaigns among Florida Democrats is almost all wrong. What do Democrats control in Florida? Not much, right? Then why are we relying upon the wisdom of people who have been running losing campaigns for years? Why are we running campaigns the same way they’ve always been run? The last campaign I worked on (and quit), the candidate wanted to do everything the traditional way and the candidate listened to all kinds of people who have never run a winning campaign. What do you think is going to happen on election day?

3. Winning campaigns is more of a science than it is an art. To run better campaigns, it is important that we actually scientifically study what works and what doesn’t work. Then we have to abandon things that don’t work and try new things. The good news is that people are doing this research. The bad news is that candidates and consultants usually ignore it.

4. Progressives can win anywhere in the state. I will repeat this line ad nauseum until people get it. Political science research has shown for decades that the overwhelming majority of voters do not vote based on issues. A huge percentage of voters have no idea what the issue stances of the candidates are. Party orientation and candidate orientation dwarf issue orientation in terms of how voters decide. If a voter doesn’t trust a candidate, they won’t vote for them. If they don’t know where the candidate stands and the candidate won’t speak about their values and stick to them — regardless of what they are — they won’t trust the candidate. Extreme right-wing Republicans win office all over the country. Why? Is it because we are a conservative country? Not if you look at any polling of what Americans believe. The reality is that conservative candidates talk about their values, they

5. There is never an excuse to not run a professional campaign. Professionalism is about principles of proper campaigning, not about money. If you say you are running a ‘grassroots campaign’, you can’t let that mean that you are running a bad campaign, which it does mean 95% of the time. Even the smallest campaign should be very professional if they want to win. Go read David Axelrod’s book about winning the 2008 election. Remember that Obama came out of nowhere to win that election. One of the key reasons was that it was the most professional Democratic campaigns in recent decades. You should attempt to emulate as much of that campaign as you can.

6. Mastery of voter data is the key to victory. A good knowledge of the voters in the district and good tracking of your interactions with those voters is the key to winning, even against a better funded opponent. Well-funded candidates are often lazy. Hard-working candidates often lose because they aren’t working smart. Elections are about data. If you aren’t heavily focusing on the data and if you aren’t paying someone specifically to focus on the data, then you’ll probably lose.

7. Message is vitally important, too. Mastering the data won’t mean much if you don’t communicate a clear message to the voters that they connect with. This isn’t a very difficult thing to do, but it is a very difficult thing for people to stick to. A good candidate repeats their message so often that they get sick of hearing it. Yet they continue to repeat it, with conviction, until they retire or the message changes because the real world changes. Repetition — in message, analysis, data mastery, etc. — is the essence of campaigning.

More later…

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May 09

Winner and Loser of the Day in Fla. Politics — LGBT Floridians/Buchanan

Winner: LGBT Floridians — The first president to endorse marriage equality for all Americans is a major landmark in the struggle for the rights of LGBT citizens. People will teach about this moment in history classes (well, good teachers will).

Loser: Vern Buchanan — The investigation into Florida’s most corrupt member of Congress widens.

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May 09

Fla. Progressive Political Post of the Day — Beach Peanuts

I just did a lot of research on this Mourdock guy, so good to see coverage of the connection between him and Marco Rubio.

Endorsements: Time To Embrace The Crazy:

Yesterday, one of the last of a disappearing breed, commonly known as a M-o-d-e-r-a-t-e R-e-p-u-b-l-i-c-a-n was sent packing from his long held seat in the U. S. Senate, Richard Lugar of Indiana. He was beat by a Tea Bagger candidate who seems to be in a hurry to cash a taxpayer funded paycheck for doing absolutely nothing if he’s elected.

The candidate, Richard Mourdock (T-eaBagistan) said this about his views on how to get things undone in Washington…

There’s more…

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May 07

Fla. Progressive Political Post of the Day — Political Hurricane

Senate Race Ratings: May 7, 2012:

Beginning today, we will update these ratings every week and will begin House ratings weekly after qualifying. We will also provide a digest each Monday of new happenings in the Senate races across the state.

Based on today’s projections the Democrats would win 14 seats, the Republicans would win 25 and 1 race is a toss up. The only incumbent to be defeated would be Republican Ellyn Bogdanoff who is running in a heavily Democratic district against a sitting Senator Maria Sachs. We however, refer to Bogdanoff as the incumbent in this race because a much larger percentage of her old Senate district is in the new SD-34.

There’s more…

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May 06

Florida Democratic Party Small County Coalition Luncheon to Feature Omar Khan

Crawfordville, Florida – Wakulla County Democratic Executive Committee Chair Rachel Pienta announced today that Omar Khan will be featured as the luncheon keynote on Saturday May 12th during the 2012 Small County Coalition Conference, “We’re very excited to be able to host Omar Khan. He has deep Florida roots and his current role in national Democratic politics makes him a great speaker for us to highlight during this critical election year meeting of Democrats from across the state of Florida.”

Omar Khan has been serving as Associate Political Director for Obama for America since August. Khan joined the campaign after serving as an appointee in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Relations. Prior to that, Khan served on the Obama ’08 campaign in several states before coming back home to Florida for the General election in 08. He served as one of the Deputy Political Directors in the FL 08 Campaign. In this role he was one of the regional leaders for the West Florida region that consisted of the 11 counties that comprise the Tampa Bay Media Market. Before joining the Obama campaign, Khan was the Nevada Field Director on Vice President Biden’s presidential campaign.

Khan’s political roots began in Florida with an impressive list of affiliations, including Student Body President and Board of Trustees Member of the University of South Florida. He continued his active participation in political organizations, presiding over the Florida Young Democrats, serving as the Deputy Political Director for the Florida Senate Victory Committee in 2006. During that cycle, Khan played an integral role in Charlie Justice’s State Senate victory in which Justice was outspent by Republicans 3 to 1.

Limited tickets are available for Saturday’s luncheon at the Bistro at Wildwood Resort. The Wildwood Resort is located at 3896 Coastal Highway (Hwy 98) Crawfordville, FL 32327. The lunch is scheduled for 12:30 pm on Saturday May 12th.

For additional information and to purchase luncheon tickets, please visit the Wakulla Democrats website

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May 03

Florida Democrats to Meet in Wakulla May 11 -13

Crawfordville, Florida – Wakulla Democratic Party Chair Rachel Sutz Pienta announced today that the Small County Coalition of the Florida Democratic Party will hold their annual meeting at the Inn at Wildwood on Highway 98 in Wakulla County the weekend of May 11 – 13.

The weekend’s events include a Friday night welcome reception, workshop sessions on Saturday, and a fish fry on Saturday evening featuring Florida Democratic Party Chair Rod Smith; elected officials from throughout the state; Democratic candidates from Congressional District Two and State House District Seven. The May 12th “Turning Florida Blue” Fish Fry will mark the first time that the Democratic candidates for Congressional District Two will be featured together. The Democratic candidates for House District 7 will also be highlighted during the program. The new State House District 7 is comprised of Madison, Lafayette, Taylor, Jefferson, Wakulla, Franklin, Liberty, Gulf and Calhoun counties with a small portion of Leon.

The Florida Democratic Party Small County Coalition is an organization created to stimulate active interest in political and governmental affairs in Florida counties with fewer than 35,000 registered Democratic voters. The annual Small County Coalition Conference weekend also draws participants from larger counties across the state.

For additional information about Small County Coalition Conference events or to purchase fish fry tickets, please visit .

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May 02

Winner and Loser of the Day in Fla. Politics — Obamacare/The Gaetz Clan

Winner: Obamacare — Looks like the law is already helping Floridians with millions of dollars to make our health care better.

Loser(s): Don Gaetz and Matt Gaetz — Standing up for a pointless law that serves no legitimate purpose AND is killing people is about as bad as one can get. I hope those checks from ALEC/NRA clear for you, boys.

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May 02

Fla. Progressive Political Post of the Day — Progressive Professor

Six Months To Presidential Election Of 2012: No Signs Of Strong Third Party Movement!:

With six months to go to the Presidential Election of 2012, there are no signs of a strong third party movement occurring, which would have any dramatic effect on the election results.

Third parties in the past have had significance in election results, although never able to win the election.

This certainly proved true with the Free Soil Party of 1848, the Progressive Party of 1912, the American Independent Party in 1968, and the Reform Party of 1992.

And even in small ways, as in 2000, the candidacy of Ralph Nader, and even that of Pat Buchanan, had an effect on the race, particularly in Florida.

There is no such danger at this point, and with Mayor Michael Bloomberg making clear he is not running as an Independent, and instead allowing himself to be courted by both the Romney and Obama campaigns, there should be a major sigh of relief in both camps.

Yes, there will be third party candidates, but no one seriously is seen as a major figure, although it sometimes has seemed that Jon Huntsman, the former Utah Governor, might run, and Ron Paul, still technically in the race for the GOP Presidential nomination, has been rumored as a Libertarian Party candidate, as he was in 1988.

There’s more…

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May 02

The Gender Wage Gap Is Real (Ammunition)

I was sad to see a few of my liberal friends buy into the conservative talking point that there isn’t a wage gap between men and women. This is where science if your friend, when controlled for all known factors that could affect the gap — including all the ones conservatives talk about — the gap, while smaller, still exists, and it is significant in terms of real money.

Changes between 2009 and 2010 in the real median earnings of men and women, aged 15 and older who worked full time, year round, were not statistically significant. In 2010, the female to-male earnings ratio was 0.77, not statistically different from the 2009 ratio

An April 2007 report by the American Association for University Women (AAUW) titled “Behind the Pay Gap” conducted a regressive analysis of full-time earnings for men and women one year after graduation, and discovered a 5 percent pay gap between men and women.

AAUW’s Study Took Into Account Numerous Factors, Including Hours Worked Per Week, Occupation, Industry, And Workplace Flexibility.

In January 2009, the Bush administration’s Department of Labor published a report written for the department by CONSAD Research Corporation. While downplaying the existence of wage inequality, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor Charles E. James stated in a foreword to the CONSAD report that after controlling for several variables, there was “an adjusted gender wage gap that is between 4.8 and 7.1 percent.”

The report looked at the following factors in determining an adjusted gender wage gap: “occupation, human capital development, work experience, career interruption, motherhood, and industry sector.”

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May 01

Winner and Loser of the Day in Fla. Politics — Garcia/Rubio

Winner: Joe Garcia — Everybody in Florida is better off when Garcia is active in the political spectrum. Everyone in America will be better off when he finally gets to Washington.

Loser: Marco Rubio — Pretty much sounds like an admission of wrongdoing on the part of the junior senator to me.

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May 01

Fla. Progressive Political Post of the Day — SOG City Oracle

The Concealed Carry Dream World:

Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano wrote an opinion piece the other day on concealed carry entitled, Get ready for new face of gun owners. Romano’s article elicited a spirited debate between my bride and me. I suggested that this was a typical mainstream media piece of crap, because it didn’t address what I believe are the vitally important issues involving concealed carry.

The Belle of Ballast Point took the position that the thrust of the article was just that we are becoming a society of scaredy cats (my term, not hers, or his) and that, according to Romano, “it isn’t all rednecks and bikers. It isn’t all weekend warriors and criminals. It isn’t all machismo and ego.” In today’s world it is, “The teacher. The widow. The student, the homemaker and the businesswoman” who are buying guns and signing up for concealed weapon permit (CWP) courses.

Well, fine said I! But, my point is that all these articles, like Romano’s, do is to encourage more people to start packing heat with the mistaken belief that a gun will somehow, in their world of dreams, make them safer.

There’s more…

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Apr 24

Women Set to Say “Enough is Enough” on April 28th – in a city near you!

Tallahassee, Florida – Women across the nation will participate in “Unite Women” events on April 28th. Tallahassee Coordinator Diane Wilson announced today, “Women and men who support women will gather on the steps of the Old Capitol from 12 to 2 pm on Saturday, April 28th to stand for women’s rights.”

Women across Florida have coalesced around a call to unite initiated by fledgling organization “”. UNITE Women’s ( is a national grassroots women’s organization founded in February 2012 to protect and advance women’s rights in all areas of women’s lives across the lifespan.

Wilson said, “UNITE Women is calling on Americans to join together and denounce ongoing legislative and political at tacks on women from the extreme right, while honoring the diversity and continued fight for the freedom of women to
choose their own destinies.”

Examples of legislative proposals, government
regulations, and political rhetoric include the following initiatives:

An Arizona bill would make the use of birth control without employer permission an offense for which a worker could be terminated.

The state of New Hampshire Medicaid program stands to lose $1 billion in federal funds under abill that outlaws public spending by any health care provider who directly or indirectly performs abortions.

In Florida, Governor Rick Scott, used a line-item veto to cut funding to the state’s rape crisis centers —in the middle of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Unite Against the War on Women is the Facebook home of, which was launched on Facebook February 19, 2012 with a call to march and rally on April 28, 2012 in every state to say “Enough is enough” to the legislative attacks on women and women’s rights across the nation.

Priority Areas of interest identified by the “Unite Women” effort to defend and advance include: Women’s Rights and Civil Rights, Women’s Reproductive rights, Women’s Economic Equality and Workers’ Rights, Protecting women and children from violence & abuse, Voting Rights, and Women’s Wellness, Health and Safety

The Tallahassee rally will feature the following speakers:

Opening Remarks by Diane Wilson, host

Invocation by Rev. Della Fahnestock, Alliance of Faith & Feminism

Tallahassee City Commissioner Andrew Gillum

League of Women Voters Jessica Lowe-Minor, Executive Director

Samantha Gordon NARAL National, Associate Director

Ion Sancho Supervisor of Elections Leon County

Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda

Nancy Argenziano former FL Senator, current Citrus County candidate

Anita Davis Civil Rights activist and TV personality

LisaAnn Benham Florida Tallahassee President ACLU

Alma Gonzalez AFSCME Special Counsel

Donna Slutiak Florida President NOW

Emily Caponetti Statewide Legislative Director Planned Parenthood

Amanda James Equality Florida

Amy Coenen National Women’s Liberation

Susan Smith Democrat Progressive Caucus of Florida

Jodi Renee Thomas Writer and Mom

Tabitha Frazier Leon County Hispanic Caucus

Barbara Devane Florida Alliance for Retired Americans

Dr. Rachel Sutz Pienta Florida Democratic Women’s Club

Senator Arthenia Joyner

After the rally, all participants are invited to enjoy Tallahassee hospitality at one of our four open houses from 2:30 to 5 pm hosted by the League of Women Voters of Florida, the Oasis Center for Women and Girls, AFSCME Florida Council 79 and the Florida AFL-CIO, and the Living Luna Center.

Living Luna Center is pleased to offer an Open House on Saturday, April 28th from 2:30- 5:00 pm in conjunction and support of the Unite Women march.

Living Luna Center is a sanctuary embodying the Feminine in the heart of Tallahassee, offering Services, Film Screenings, Women’s Circles, Community.

Co-Founders Licia Berry and Teresa Husband have a personal devotion to being of service and empowering women through consciousness-raising and support services. Services include women’s circles, film screenings, discussions, workshops, classes, retreats, massage therapy, healing, and individual consultation. Their connective and integrative dedication to the healing process as well as to the supportive evolution of consciousness makes a loving container in which to create an alliance utterly respectful of the feminine way.

Living Luna mission statement:
We Choose…
• to surrender to the incredible force of labor as the new is being born
• to trust the intuitive, innate wisdom present in the body, emotions, mind and spirit
• to follow the wisdom of our hearts
• to offer a place for those who are ready to access information, guidance and support in their evolution

Living Luna is located at 511 Beverly St., near the corner of Park and Meridian. For more information call Licia Berry at 850-661-9370

AFSCME Florida Council 79 and the Florida AFL-CIO is pleased to offer an Open House on Saturday, April 28th from 2:30-4:30pm in conjunction with and support of the United Against the War on Women Rally.

AFSCME is a union comprised of a diverse group of people who share a common commitment to public service. For us, serving the public is not just a job, it’s a calling. An important part of our mission is to advocate for the vital services that keep our families safe and make our communities strong. We also advocate for prosperity and opportunity for all of America’s working families. We not only stand for fairness at the bargaining table — we fight for fairness in our communities and in the halls of government. AFSCME Florida is the second largest union in Florida with 90 locals representing approximately 110,000 employees of the state, state universities, cities and counties, school boards and private nonprofit hospitals.
The Florida AFL-CIO is a state federation of approximately 500 local labor unions and labor councils, representing 500,000 workers, retirees and their families. We are construction workers, health care professionals, classroom teachers, agricultural workers, hotel and restaurant employees, transportation workers, firefighters, law enforcement and correctional officers. Wherever people work in Florida, across a broad range of trades and professions, you will find our members.
We work to provide better lives for all of Florida’s working families, through political and legislative action, grassroots mobilization and organizing new workers into Florida’s labor movement. We also provide a wide range of community services working to build stronger and healthier communities.
Join as at the Florida AFL-CIO 135 South Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL 32301 (use downstairs side entrance on College Avenue).
For additional information about our work or location, please feel free to contact Alma R. Gonzalez, AFSCME Florida Council 79 at (850)222-0842 or via email at

The Oasis Center for Women and Girls is pleased to offer an Open House on Saturday, April 28th from 2:30-5:00pm in conjunction with and support of the Unite Women march.

The Oasis Center for Women and Girls is a nonprofit community-based women’s center whose mission is to “improve the lives of women and girls through celebration and support”. We are focused on personal, professional, and economic concerns facing women, girls and their families. We are committed to addressing these issues individually through the provision of direct services and collectively through community dialogue and awareness raising. At Oasis, we believe that offering increased opportunities for women and supporting girls in developing expansive visions of who they can be and what they can do strengthens the entire community. Our current services and programs include services for women, services for girls and community programs.

Join as in our home located at 317 E. Call St. Tallahassee, FL 32301 to learn more. Our location is on Call St. between Calhoun and Gadsden.
The League of Women Voters of Florida will be hosting an open house at our headquarters, a historic house within walking distance of the Capitol, from 2:30 – 5:00 PM on Saturday, April 28th. The event will provide attendees with an opportunity to learn more about the League and enjoy fellowship with smart, politically engaged women and men from throughout Florida.

Complimentary refreshments will be served, and League merchandise will be available for purchase.

About the League: The League of Women Voters of Florida was established in 1939 and is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

The League’s office is located at 540 Beverly Court, near the intersection of Park Ave. and Franklin Blvd. For more information, please call us at (850) 224-2545.



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Apr 24

As UNITE Women grows, new names step forward to endorse


Contact: Karen Teegarden:
Laura Walker:

BIRMINGHAM, MICatholics for Choice and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
have joined UNITE Women, officially endorsing the new organizations April 28 nationwide

The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice was founded in 1973 to safeguard the
newly won constitutional right to privacy in decisions about abortion. Its founders were
clergy and lay leaders who worked with women and provided referrals to safe abortion
services before the Supreme Court legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade.

Today, the Coalition comprises national organizations from numerous major faiths and traditions,
affiliates across the country, and individuals who support reproductive choice and religious
freedom. Rev. Matthew Westfox, RCRCs Director of Interfaith Outreach, said RCRC is
honored to be asked, and would be happy to endorse this powerful event.

Catholics for Choice (CFC) was founded in 1973 to serve as a voice for Catholics who
believe that the Catholic tradition supports a womans moral and legal right to follow her
conscience in matters of sexuality and reproductive health. Headquartered in Washington,
D.C. CFC works with sister organizations in Latin America, and maintains a presence in
the European parliament and throughout Europe.

ABOUT UNITE Womens ( is a national grassroots womens organization
founded in February 2012 to protect and advance womens rights in all areas of womens lives across our
lifespan. Working with members in all 50 states, we identify our common concerns and develop action
programs to address them, in partnership with other groups that share our mission and our vision of a better
life for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.

National Endorsers Of UNITE Women

A is For · Advocates for Youth · Catholics for Choice · Center for Inquiry
Coalition of Labor Union Women · Code Pink · Coffee Party USA
Feminist Peace Network · Ihollaback · Katrina vanden Heuvel – Editor & Publisher, The Nation
The National Equal Rights Amendment Alliance · National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
National League of Latin American Citizens · National Organization for Women
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice · This Slut Votes

Follow Unite Women on Facebook, or Twitter

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Apr 24

Winner and Loser of the Day in Fla. Politics — Tampa Bay Times/Scott

Winner: The Tampa Bay Times — Jeff Greene’s nonsensical lawsuit against the newspaper has been tossed from court. About time.

Loser: Rick Scott — Cutting funding for rape crisis centers would be exactly the type of thing a Republican would do if he and his party were engaged in a war on women.

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Apr 24

Fla. Progressive Political Post of the Day — Avery Voice


When the schoolyard bully tries to pick a fight, first he tries name calling. Progressives from the beginning supported the overthrow of monarchies, they fought and died for democratic self government. Progressives opposed slavery, and supported women’s right to vote. If you think that’s a COMMUNIST PLOT, go ask your wife.

Progressive fought to end cozy crony governments and instead worked to professionalize government. One of the first battles modern progressives fought was to establish the direct election of U.S. Senators. Progressives teamed up with Women Rights Advocates and Labor Organizers and together opposed child labor and fought for compulsory free public education for all children. Progressives at the turn of the century were more concerned with citizen participation and access than in a Marxian economic critique. So, no, Progressivism, new or old, has nothing to do with either the theories or the failed practices associated with Communism.

There’s more…

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Apr 23

State Rep. Rick Kriseman: Farewell and Thank You

by Benjamin J. Kirby

To read my blog, the Spencerian, over the last few entries is an exercise in frustration, sadnessmelancholy and outright depression.

The trend continues today, I’m afraid: State Representative Rick Kriseman (D-53), a favorite of this blog as well as my own Representative, has announced he is not seeking re-election:

While I am pleased by our occasional victories, and hold out hope that the political climate and dysfunction in Tallahassee will eventually improve, neither provides me with a good enough reason to return for two more years.

Therefore, in November, a dozen years after entering public service, I will leave the Florida House and my legislative family to spend a little more time in my house with my family. My wife, kids, and our Labrador retrievers are looking forward to it.

Being at home will also allow me to focus on my law practice, and to give extra attention to some of the fun things in my life, like my Karate and guitar lessons.

But know this, until November, I intend to work hard to re-elect our president, and to be helpful to other great candidates who are running for local, state, or federal offices. I’ll also be using the downtime to think about my own future, and how I can best serve our community.

As you probably remember, Duncan worked for Keith Fitzgerald for his two terms at a State Representative in District 69, and I think both Duncan and Keith might express a similar sentiment about working in an overwhelmingly Republican legislature with a far-right-wing Governor.

I was lucky enough to be granted an interview with Representative Kriseman (part I here, and part II here).  If there are any take-aways from that interview, it’s that Kriseman loves his hometown of St. Petersburg, and that he believes very deeply in public service.

I don’t know what that means for Kriseman’s future — I take him at his word that he’s going to focus on his law practice and his fantastic family.  But I think it’s a safe bet to say we haven’t heard the last of Rick Kriseman in public life.

Maybe because I was married to a political staffer, but too often these events go without passing along the recognition and acknowledgement due the advisers and aides of these politicians we admire.  Duncan and I consider Kevin King and David Flintom friends, but beyond their friendship, they have served their boss, and more important, the people of this district well.  I don’t know where they’ll land or what they’ll be doing, but with talent like that, I bet it’ll be something really great.

Good luck, Representative Kriseman.  And thank you for your service.

Rick during session

c/p at the Spencerian

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Apr 23

Winner and Loser of the Day in Fla. Politics — Kriseman/Schorsch

Winner: Rick Kriseman — After years of service, he’ll get some time to himself to not be tilting at windmills in Tallahassee. The rest of us all lose on this one.

Loser: Peter Schorsch — I like Peter and I agree with him on issues often enough that I regularly link to him here even when people tell me I shouldn’t. But I know he has a personal thing with Kriseman and his top aide Kevin King, even if I don’t know the source of the conflict. Regardless of that personal strife, it’s obvious that Kriseman was one of the good guys in the legislature and one of the few people fighting for Floridians, including Peter, even if it was an ultimately unsuccessful fight because of the right-wing dominance of state government.

Posted in Winners and Losers | 1 Comment
Apr 23

Fla. Progressive Blog Post of the Day — Political Hurricane

Should I rename this feature the Political Hurricane Blog Post of the Day?

Trotter’s Editorial: Direct challenge to Florida Supreme Court: Show us how Senate map is fair!:

Alright, let’s say you are building an airplane. All of the aeronautical engineers are standing around and looking at the plan. These are the experts to determine if this plane will fly or not. Looking at the plane, there are some people concerned about the shape of wings. They look them over and realize that, even though they are a little flawed, the wings would still work and the plan would fly with those wings. The plan, according to these experts is ready to go.

But there is one problem with this plan. This plan has no engines or a tail section. Even with these important parts missing, these aeronautical engineers still say the plane is worthy of flying.

If you look at this scenario, one would say that these engineers are totally out of their mind…creating a plane that has fundamental pieces missing.

This is exactly what the Florida Supreme Court might do with the Florida Senate redistricting plan.

As was mentioned in our previous article about the Supreme Court and redistricting, the Court continues to look at the validity of the entire plan, and still continues to look at this plan district by district. Therefore, they aren’t looking at the law, making sure there are fair plans. And, honestly, if this plan does pass, I think it is fair to say that those on the Supreme Court that vote for the plan are lacking legal knowledge, thus shouldn’t even be on the Court in the first place.

There’s more…

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