Pope Francis Calls 2017 A 'Wasted' Year Of Death, Lies

Pope Francis thought 2017 was a terrible year, too. I n his last public address of this tumultuous year, the pontiff called 2017 a “wasted” year that was filled with death and lies, harming the environment and humanity as a whole. Speaking at an evening vespers service in St. Peter’s Basilica, the Pope said humanity had…

Humans Have Been Making New Year’s Resolutions for Over 4,000 Years

‘A Dance to the Music of Time’ (1634-1635) by Nicolas Poussin.
A Dance to the Music of Time’ (1634-1635) by Nicolas Poussin

Humans Have Been Making New Year’s Resolutions for Over 4,000 Years

New Year’s resolutions are a popular practice. Countless people begin to consider them every year as December 31st rolls around. Although the big plans and ambitious goals can be difficult to follow through with, the idea of making (and breaking) New Year’s resolutions has been a social phenomenon for the past 4,000 years. You can trace this practice back the Babylonians.
Today, New Year’s resolutions are generally personal goals for self-improvement. The ancient Babylonians, on the other hand, made promises to their gods at the beginning of each year to return objects they borrowed and pay off their debts. They were more likely to keep their resolutions than most modern people are because the ancient people of Mesopotamia believed that a kept promise meant the gods would treat them well. However, a broken promise would mean angering the gods and bringing unfortunate situations into your life for the next twelve months.
Unlike the Western tradition of a new year starting in January, the Babylonian year began in mid-March. This made sense as that time of year is springtime; when crops are planted, and the world is refreshed and renewed.
Ancient Romans kept with the tradition of making yearly resolutions. Their god of choice for this act was the two-faced Janus, the deity linked to beginnings and endings. Janus was believed to be capable of simultaneously looking back toward the old year and forward into the new one
By the Medieval era, knights were taking the “peacock vow” (les voeux du paon) at the end of the year. This oath was a promise to keep with their chivalric ways in the coming year. It was also around this time that Christians were reflecting on the mistakes of the past year and resolving to avoid repetition of their errors. Watchnight services have been the space for many Christians to complete this task and pray for the upcoming year.

Medieval knights took the peacock vow as a sort of “New Year’s resolution” for chivalry.

Judaism has a similar idea with a practice which runs from the New Year, Rosh Hashanah, through the High Holidays and up until Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). Jewish people use this time to reflect on their mistakes in the past year and offer and seek out forgiveness for any wrongdoings.
As you can see, the general idea of a New Year’s resolution, regardless of one’s religious beliefs, is to reflect on the past and aim for self-improvement. The major difference is that people making resolutions in a non-religious context tend to make their promises to themselves, not a deity. The lack of a “higher power”, which could act cruelly if the resolution is not kept, may be part of the reason why New Year’s resolutions fall through for many people today. Most people believe they are not being held accountable to anyone but themselves if their resolution fails – so the risks of punishment for failure are often seen as lower.

New Year's Day postcard mailed in 1909. (Public Domain) Modern New Year’s resolutions are generally seen as difficult to keep.
New Year's Day postcard mailed in 1909

A 2007 study conducted at the University of Bristol showed 88% of the people who set New Year resolutions failed. The resolutions fell through even though 52% of the study's 3000 participants strongly believed they could complete their goals.
Researchers provide some helpful tricks to improve the odds: men are 22% more likely to achieve their resolution if they engage in goal setting. Women will be 10% more likely to succeed in their New Year’s resolutions if they tell others of their goals and seek support from helpful people in their lives.

Top Image: ‘A Dance to the Music of Time’ (1634-1635) by Nicolas Poussin. Source: Public Domain

Source: ancient-origins.net

Florida’s Voting Rights Restoration Initiative could restore rights for a million voters

Signature gatherers throughout Florida are working hard to gather enough signatures to put the Voting Rights Restoration Initiative on the 2018 ballot, which would restore voting rights to many Floridians.
Campaigners are attempting to gather 1.1 million statewide signatures before their deadline on February 1st. In order to get them to the state’s capital, Tallahassee, by the start of February, signatures need to be submitted to each county for approval by the end of the year.
As of right now, organizers from the grassroots group Floridians for a Fair Democracy, believe to be at 1 million signatures, and are working tirelessly for one last big push.
Florida is currently a state that makes it nearly impossible for felons to regain their right to vote after they have completed their sentence. The individual must petition the governor for an individual restoration of rights, which is rarely granted. If the Voting Rights Restoration Initiative is put on the ballot and passes, however, it will automatically restore voting rights to a majority of the felons who have completed their sentences.
Unfortunately, these restrictions were created post-Civil War to prevent African Americans and poor people from voting. It is believed that over 1.5 million Floridians, which is about 10% of the state’s adult population, are voteless. While some of those citizens are still carrying out their sentences, many have already exited the criminal-justice system but remain unable to vote.

Source NationOfChange

Son of Former Washington Post Publisher Commits Suicide

William Graham, the son of Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, committed suicide in Los Angeles, California, on December 20 in a death that mirrored his father's more than 50 years ago. Graham, a 69-year-old lawyer, taught trial law at the University of California at Los Angeles before years of focusing on philanthropic activities to benefit youth…

Are More Term Limits Coming To Florida

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Rep. Ron DeSantis

U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla. The Palm Coast Republican and likely gubernatorial candidate has taken up the torch in the movement to term limit Congress. In January, DeSantis introduced HJR 6, a resolution that would impose a three-term limit on members of the U.S. House and a two-term limit on members of the U.S. Senate. DeSantis has frequently used his public appearances and meetings with President Trump to cajole the president into making term limits a front-burner issue. If DeSantis’ efforts pay off, it will be a game-changer.
Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Lutz. If anyone can rival DeSantis’ boldness on term limits, it’s Corcoran, another potential candidate for governor. The speaker has twice passed through his House a ballot proposal applying term limits to Florida’s Supreme Court and appellate judges. Corcoran also made pro-term limits appointments to the Constitutional Revision Commission, which could result in either judicial term limits, school board term limits or both appearing on the 2018 ballot.
Jacksonville City Councilmen John Crescimbeni and Tommy Hazouri. Crescimbeni and Hazouri are the unsung heroes who saved Jacksonville’s term limits. Facing a threat from colleagues who wanted to gut the limits, the Democratic duo built a coalition to protect the two-term referendum that passed with 82 percent voter approval in 1991. Crescimbeni brought a homemade term limits sign from that first referendum into the council chambers; Hazouri dropped a truth bomb on colleagues by claiming “we have met the enemy and he is us.” 
Collier County School Board Member Erika Donalds. Donalds, the finance wiz who is now the vice chairman of the Collier County School Board, is a strong advocate for bringing fresh faces and ideas to Florida’s ossified education system. As a member of the Constitutional Revision Commission, she shepherded through two committees a proposal that would limit all 356 School Board members to no more than two four-year terms in office. If a supermajority of the full CRC membership approves Donalds’ proposal, Florida voters will have the opportunity to approve it next November.

Source: SunShineStateNews

Is Scott Herman Running For Office in 2018

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Scott Herman President Of The Dolphin LGBTA Caucus 

Rumors are around that Scott Herman former candidate for Oakland Park Commission, where he came very close both times of winning, is considering another run in 2018. The big question is for which seat, there have been rumors that it could be for Florida House seat 93 or for one of the open seats in the Oakland Park City Race, John Adornato III is termed out and is not running again. 

Watch This Space.........

Tragedy strikes several families following a Christmas Eve plane crash

Family dies in plane crash Unfortunately for several families, the Christmas weekend started off with tragedy. WFLA reports that a small plane fatally crashed on Sunday morning after taking off from Bartow Municipal Airport in Florida.

Rep. Deutch Statement on Latest Republican Stop-Gap Spending Bill

 Ted Deutch (FL-22) issued the following statement after voting against the House Republican spending bill, a short-term stop-gap measure that funds the government only until January 19, 2018:

“I cannot support a spending bill that kicks the can down the road while Republican leaders refuse to address important bipartisan priorities. Republican delay tactics are putting millions of Americans at risk.

"Before leaving Washington, we should have acted to provide long-term stability to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). We should have voted on the DREAM Act before the end of the year to provide a permanent legislative solution to the 800,000 DREAMers who are our friends and neighbors. We should have urgently provided the resources necessary to stop the tragic loss of life from the opioid epidemic; a crisis that claimed 63,000 lives in 2016 and continues to devastate South Florida and communities around the nation. We should have adequately provided recovery assistance that is still desperately needed in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The American people deserve more from their Congress.

“To govern is to compromise for the sake of the greater good of our nation. This stop-gap funding bill ignores the priorities of the American people. While I voted against this empty, short-term bill, I hope that my Republican colleagues enter the New Year determined to work with Democrats to find bipartisan solutions to the significant challenges ahead.”

House LGBT Caucus Slams Trump Administration’s HHS Censoring

The Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus slammed the Trump administration for continuing to censor and erase transgender and allied voices from public discourse at the Department of Health and Human Services, which has reportedly withheld more than 10,000 public comments from a proposal with life and death consequences for the transgender community.

“The Trump administration has all but conceded that they cannot win a public debate on the merits and so has resorted to erasing opposition voices from the public sphere,” said LGBT Equality Caucus Executive Director Roddy Flynn. “This disturbing development comes just days after reporting that agencies within HHS were banning staff from even using the word ‘transgender.’  It seems this administration is not content with just giving a stamp of government approval on discrimination or banning transgender patriots from the military, they are intent on entirely erasing the community from public life.”

In October, the Trump administration sought public comment on a proposal to reduce HHS regulations for religious and faith-based groups, a move that could impact transgender American’s access to health care.  While HHS received 10,729 comments on the proposal, it only published 80 comments.  The comments published largely support the rule on the grounds that it rolls back nondiscrimination healthcare protections for transgender Americans.

The Washington Post recently reported that the Trump administration prohibited federal employees from using the words “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based” in official documents.

Wasserman Schultz on Passage of the GOP Tax Scam

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) released the following statement on the House passage of the Republican tax bill:

“Today, the Republican-led Congress failed the American people by teaming up with special interests to prioritize the wish lists of Wall Street over the needs of middle class families. This abhorrent legislation was written by wealthy Republican donors, for wealthy Republican donors.

While providing an enormous handout to giant corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent, this plan will ultimately raise taxes on millions of middle class Americans, increase premiums and the numbers who will be without health insurance, and adds $1.5 trillion to the deficit. As Republicans openly admit to using this legislation to pave the way for unconscionable cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, I will not back down in fighting their reckless agenda.

Reps. Deutch, Cicilline, Hill Lead 71 Members Pushing VP Pence to Address Human Rights in Egypt

Reps. Deutch, Cicilline, Hill Lead 71 Members Pushing VP Pence to Address Human Rights in Egypt
Bipartisan letter outlines concerns ahead of the Vice President’s visit to the Middle East 

(Washington) Today, Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee Ranking Member Ted Deutch (FL-22), Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01), and Congressman French Hill (AR-02) led 71 of their House colleagues in asking Vice President Mike Pence to hold the Egyptian government accountable for systemic human rights violations during a scheduled meeting in Cairo this week.

For decades American foreign policy has been based on promotion of our values of freedom, equality, and right to democratic representation. We have enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership with the government and people of Egypt and we very much support this continued relationship,” they wrote in a letter signed by 71 Republican and Democratic colleagues, including House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27). “However, the close U.S-Egypt relationship is at risk as long as the Government of Egypt engages in widespread violations of internationally recognized civil and human rights. We respectfully ask that you do everything you can to ensure this message is delivered forcefully and regularly to the Egyptian government at all levels, particularly during your visit this month.

Vice President Pence is visiting Cairo this week to meet with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The Egyptian government has engaged in mass detentions, attacks on journalists, and efforts to restrict civil society.

The full text of the letter sent to Vice President Pence is embedded below. A PDF version of the signed letter can be downloaded by clicking here.


The Honorable Mike Pence
Vice President
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
Washington, DC 20501

December 18, 2017

Dear Mr. Vice President:

We write to you ahead of your upcoming visit to Egypt to raise concerns about recent actions taken by the Egyptian government that constitute a widespread crackdown against civil and human rights.

Egypt and the United States have had a long and enduring partnership, predicated on strong military and counter-terrorism cooperation, shared security goals, and a shared vision for peace in the region. We value the benefits that the U.S-Egypt partnership has brought to both of our countries over the past four decades. In particular, our mutual interest in deterring and combatting the spread of terrorism is only underscored by the horrific attack perpetrated on the al-Rawda mosque in Sinai which killed over 300 worshippers.

So while we urge you to extend our condolences and offer our continued support to Egypt’s fight against terrorism we also urge you to raise our concerns over Egypt’s domestic civil and political repression. In recent years, independent civil society groups have been the target of a concerted government effort to silence their voices and limit their ability to operate. Minority groups, including religious minorities and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community have been the targets of discrimination and violence. Independent media organizations have been shuttered, and dozens of journalists, bloggers, and citizens have been jailed for their speech.

The Egyptian government has been engaged in a wide-ranging effort to crack down against public discourse, civil society activity, and independent media using a variety of methods and tools, including the use of legislation ostensibly designed to promote public safety or regulation, but practically used to stifle dissent. In particular, the NGO law ratified by President al-Sisi in May 2017 threatens to devastate the ability of independent organizations to operate within Egypt and calls into question the Egyptian Government’s own commitments to freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. The government routinely pressures journalists and private citizens to suppress criticism of the government, and has used criminal prosecution, gag orders, arbitrary detention, and serious physical abuse in police custody to target free speech. The criminalization of legitimate NGO activity complicates the effectiveness of the foreign assistance package that the United States provides to Egypt annually. The usage of these funds, and their compliance with U.S. law under the Brownback Amendment, relies on the ability of implementing partners on the ground to function freely.

Recently, the Egyptian government has participated in the disturbing global trend of government authorities targeting directly, as well as fostering an environment of discrimination and violence against, members of the LGBT community. The most recent wave of anti-LGBT persecution has been ongoing since September, when authorities in Cairo arrested seven people who had been photographed at a concert raising a rainbow flag. These arrests marked the beginning of a widespread crackdown on LGBT Egyptians with reports of 65 people being arrested. Most have been charged with sentences ranging from 6 months to 12 years in prison. Reports that the Egyptian Parliament will consider legislation that would criminalize same sex relations are further cause for concern.

While the Egyptian government has demonstrated an interest in achieving greater parity for Coptic Christians, Copts continue to be the frequent target of systemic discrimination as well as violence carried out by non-state actors, including fellow Egyptians. Despite statements of support, the government has not taken sufficient steps to protect Copts from violence and ensure equal treatment under the law.

Finally, the Egyptian government has repeatedly stated its intent to find a satisfactory resolution in the case against 43 NGO workers, including 19 Americans, who were unjustly convicted under the Morsi government in 2013. This issue has been an irritant in U.S.-Egyptian relations for too long and has set a troubling precedent with regard to Egypt’s treatment of democracy, human rights, and governance efforts, including programs funded by U.S. tax dollars.

Given your stated commitment to the protection of free speech and human rights, we ask that you raise these issues during your meetings this month with the highest levels of Egyptian leadership. Specifically, we respectfully ask that you raise with your counterparts the following:

1. The case against the 43 NGO workers must be resolved as soon as possible and without a retrial, specifically by Egypt’s court of cassation swiftly allowing an appeal in the case to be heard, the court issuing a ruling, and then President Sisi pardoning every individual (not just the Americans) convicted in the case.

2. The repressive NGO law should be repealed and independent civil society organizations should be allowed to operate, free from government interference.

3. The arrest, harassment, and incitement against LGBT individuals inside Egypt must cease immediately, the individuals in detention must be released, and the government should oppose any laws that seek to criminalize the speech or activities of the LGBT community.

4. The Government of Egypt should take additional steps to end the culture of impunity for attacks on Coptic Christians and continue to undertake the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of individuals who carry out attacks on Copts and other Christians in Egypt.

5. The government must stop impinging on freedom of speech and release journalists, bloggers, and citizens who have been arrested on political charges.

6. The government should take steps to release any American citizens or Legal Permanent Residents who have been arbitrarily detained and comply with international human rights standards for detention of all prisoners.
For decades American foreign policy has been based on promotion of our values of freedom, equality, and right to democratic representation. We have enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership with the government and people of Egypt and we very much support this continued relationship. However, the close U.S-Egypt relationship is at risk as long as the Government of Egypt engages in widespread violations of internationally recognized civil and human rights.

We respectfully ask that you do everything you can to ensure this message is delivered forcefully and regularly to the Egyptian government at all levels, particularly during your visit this month.

Thank you for your attention.


VIDEO: Rep. Deutch Joins MSNBC's Alex Witt to Slam Efforts to Undermine Special Counsel

 On Sunday, Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22) joined MSNBC's Alex Witt to condemn Republican efforts to discredit and undermine the special counsel's Russia investigation.

"When my colleagues refer to the special counsel's investigation as a 'coup d'etat,' it really undermines the rule of law in this country. They ought to be careful, they ought to stop it, and they ought to let this investigation proceed for the benefit of the American people."

Congressman Deutch went on to discuss the decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the harmful Republican tax legislation:

"The only piece of legislation more unpopular than this tax bill is the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which was defeated, and I hope that my colleagues will think about that when they vote this week."

Click the image below to watch the Congressman's interview.

VIDEO: Rep. Deutch Defends Mueller Investigation from Republican Attacks

VIDEO: Rep. Deutch Defends Mueller Investigation from Republican Attacks
(Washington) On Wednesday, December 13, during a House Judiciary Committee hearing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22), a senior member of the committee, refuted Republican attacks to discredit and undermine special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

Click the image to watch the Congressman's questions. A transcript of his remarks is below.
Click here to watch Congressman Deutch's full statement on the Russia investigation.

Congressman Ted Deutch: I’d like to quote some of my colleagues from this committee. One of them said that the special counsel’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign assisted in its effort to interfere in the election is actually an attempt to overthrow the government of the United States. Do you believe that, Mr. Rosenstein?

DAG Rod Rosenstein: No

TD: He said, “…we are at risk of coup d’etat in this country if we allow an unaccountable person...” Is the special counsel unaccountable here?

RR: No, he is not unaccountable.

TD: He went on to say, “…with no oversight...” Is there no oversight at all with the special counsel?

RR: There is oversight.

TD: And then he went on to say that “if we allow an unaccountable person with no oversight to undermine the duly-elected President of the United States.” Is pursuing the rule of law “undermining the duly-elected President of the United States,” Mr. Rosenstein?

RR: No, it is not.

TD: One of my other colleagues said, “we’ve got to clean this town up.” He talked about firing Mueller. One of our former colleagues of this Committee accused Mueller of having a vendetta against President Trump because he fired James Comey. Mr. Rosenstein, do you believe that he has a “vendetta” against the President?

RR: No, I do not.

TD: I would just conclude that this little walk through, this one year in American history, makes it impossible to understand how it is that my colleagues on the other side continue to launch attacks not only against reporters, against the FBI, against the special counsel, but they do so to throw dirt on the story, to make it try to go away. They may want to bury their heads in the sand but Mr. Chairman, I want to make clear, that they will not bury the rule of law in the United States of America. I yield back.

Is there a Blue wave running across the country

Yes, Roy Moore was a historically flawed candidate, and President Trump stressed that point this morning after Republicans’ defeat in Alabama last night. “The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange … is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the general election. I was right!” he tweeted (Of course, that fact didn’t stop Trump from backing Moore when other Republicans ran away after the allegations against the Alabama Republican.) 

But if you thought Moore’s flaws – and the allegations against him – were the only reason why Republicans lost in Alabama, you haven’t been paying attention to 2017. The seven major races this year have underscored that Democratic voters are fired up, that Republican ones aren’t and that Trump is unpopular, even in red states. 

Then look at Trump’s own numbers in Alabama, according to the exit poll: His approval rating was 48 percent approve, 48 percent disapprove. But more importantly, the intensity was against the president – with 41 percent strongly disapproving, versus 32 percent strongly approving. 

And then there was the African-American vote: They made up 29 percent of the electorate (up from 28 percent in 2012 when Barack Obama was the ballot in Alabama), and they broke for Jones by a 96 percent-to-4 percent margin. This is how a wave happens, and the wave heading in 2018 got bigger and bigger during every contest this year – first in Georgia (which Democrats still lost), then in Virginia last month and then Alabama last night. 

It took a lot of GOP mistakes for Democrat Doug Jones to get to 50 percent in Alabama. But here’s the thing: He was probably going to get 44 to 45 percent of the vote against a Luther Strange in this environment. Ultimately, what took down Roy Moore was a combination of the allegations against him, plus the surge of Democratic voters. And don’t lose sight of the second part of that equation.

From NBC's Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Carrie Dann

Best meteor shower of the year starts Wednesday night

Meteor shower over the Everglades

Clear skies are forecast for South Florida. The best viewing may be from the beach, since the meteors will appear to be coming from the northeast, and a dark sky, which is hard to find amid South Florida’s city lights, will make the meteors easier to see.  The asteroid, a three-mile-wide rock called 3200 Phaethon, will remain a comfortable 6.4 million miles away. But its enormous debris cloud will create the annual event called the Geminid meteor shower, named for the apparent center of the shower in the constellation Gemini.  “The Geminids offer slow, brighter than average meteors with some having hints of color, reds and yellows,” said Eric Vandernoot, astronomy and physics lab coordinator at Florida Atlantic University. “As for the best of the year, well, that often depends on the lunar phase at the time. This year’s Geminids are very favorable for viewing.”  Meteor shower over the Everglades A meteor from the 2014 Geminid meteor shower over the Everglades. (Aaron Umpierre/Courtesy) The show will compensate for the flop of the Perseid meteor shower in August, when the glare of a full moon snuffed most viewers’ attempts to appreciate the event.  "With August's Perseids obscured by bright moonlight, the Geminids will be the best shower this year," Bill Cooke, with NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office, said in a news release.  A waning crescent moon will preside over the Geminids, casting insufficient light to blot out the show.  Starting in early evening, the meteors will grow in number, reaching a peak of 100 an hour between midnight and 4 a.m., creating streaks of fire as they fly through the atmosphere at 22 miles per second.  But in a way, the earlier part of the show may be more spectacular. Although there will be fewer meteors, the ones that do appear will last longer, making streaks on the night sky as they skim the atmosphere.  The meteors could appear anywhere in the sky, since the entire planet will be passing through the cloud, Vandernoot said, although the best place to look will be to the northeast.  “The only thing for folks to do is to travel to find a wide open space away from city lights to see the meteors,” he said. “If that is too difficult for them, then I often advise people to head east towards the shore. Much of the shower will tend to come at from the east as the Earth rotates into the debris train of the asteroid Phaethon.” 

Source: http://www.sun-sentinel.com

Meet Florida Democrats New Chair

Terrie Rizzo

Terrie Heinrich Rizzo is the three-term Chairwoman of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party, the “Chair of Chairs” of the Florida Democratic County Chairs Association (DCCA), and one of Florida’s ten elected members of the Democratic National Committee. She is proud to be part of the Florida Democratic Party team that will Flip Florida Blue in 2018 and retake the White House in 2020!

Always an “engaged citizen and passionate Democrat”, Terrie first become politically active with Democrats Abroad while living in Europe during the 2000 Presidential Election, and vowed to “get involved and make a difference.” After moving back to the United States, she started her path to activism as a volunteer with the 2004 John Kerry Campaign, then as DEC Committeewoman for her precinct in Boca Raton, and was elected to be Palm Beach County DEC Vice Chair in 2006.

Terrie assumed the position of the Palm Beach County Chairwoman in 2012 and was unanimously re-elected without opposition in December 2014 and 2016. Under her leadership, Palm Beach County Democrats have developed an organization which is widely regarded as one of the best county organizations in the state of Florida and nationally, focusing on year-round organizing, training and precinct development, and emphasis on voting by mail.

In January 2017 she was elected by state Democrats as one of Florida’s ten representatives to the Democratic National Committee, and in April 2017 she was elected by her fellow county chairs as “Chair of Chairs” of the Florida Democratic County Chairs Association. She also served as an elected Florida Delegate to both the 2012 and 2016 National Conventions.

When Terrie’s team took the helm of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party, the organization was not self-sufficient and in debt.  UnderTerrie’s leadership the Palm Beach DEC went from a negative operating budget to raising over $600,000 in the 2016 cycle. Palm Beach DEC does not have paid staff or consultants, so 100% of those fundraising dollars went to support campaigns and grassroots organizing. Her team has developed the innovative Blue Victory Precinct Leader’s Manual and Victory Express Precinct Newsletter, now used by over 35 counties in Florida.

Terrie is especially committed to the importance of grassroots involvement inclusion and diversity, and participation by all, and she is inspired by her favorite political quote: “One person can make a difference and everyone should try.” - John F. Kennedy.

As a Navy brat, and later as an adult, Terrie has had the privilege of living in many areas of the United States and abroad. Terrie has over 40 years of experience in the fields of health & fitness education and communications. She is a specialist in adult exercise and ergonomics. Since moving to Florida, she continues to instruct multiple fitness classes weekly and provides coaching & personal training for private clients, specializing in “fitness over 50”. She says she has the best jobs in the world, helping people be fit and healthy and helping elect Democrats!

In addition to being a political junkie, Terrie enjoys traveling, dining, sports (especially football), and the theater, and she is a voracious reader. She and her husband, Mike, an Information Technology executive and consultant, have been married for over 45 years and have one son, Matthew, daughter-in law, Kate, and two grandchildren, Annika and Bo, who live in San Francisco -- Democrats (and future Democrats) all!

Palm Beach County Chair Terrie Rizzo has won the race to become the Florida Democratic Party’s next chair

Terrie Rizzo

Palm Beach County Chair Terrie Rizzo has won the race to become the Florida Democratic Party’s next chair, the party announced in Orlando Saturday, Rizzo took nearly three-quarters of the vote, with 890 votes to her opponent Stacey Patel’s 291 votes.

Three women initially vied for the top position in the FDP, which was vacated last month when former chairman Stephen Bittel resigned

Rizzo was widely expected to win and led the pack among the possible contenders against Hillsborough County Democratic activist Alma Gonzalez and Brevard Democratic executive committee chair Stacey Patel, but the race eventually turned into a two-person battle after Gonzalez dropped out and announced she would instead support Rizzo for chair.
Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Florida President Monica Russo was also pondering a bid for the job, but Russo technically wasn’t eligible since she isn’t a party chair or a state committeewoman. Russo ultimately threw her weight behind Patel after backing out of the race this week.
FDP spokeswoman Johanna Cervone said Rizzo’s election would help continue the momentum the party, disgruntled over the 2016 election, has been building since President Donald Trump took office earlier this year. 
"Democrats around the country are resisting Donald Trump and the Republican party’s disastrous policies that only serve the wealthy few while leaving working families behind,” she said. “Florida Democrats are organized, energized and taking on Donald Trump, Rick Scott and the GOP.”
Rizzo, who has served as head of the Palm Beach Democratic Party since 2012, nabbed the endorsements of several elected officials this week, some of whom carried significant weight in the chair voting process

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson announced he’d back Rizzo’s nomination on Friday and would throw his 42 votes her way. 
Rizzo also reeled in the endorsements of Florida Democratic circles, including South Florida U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Val Demings and Alcee Hastings. 
“I’m honored to receive the endorsement from such a diverse group of electors,” Rizzo said at the time. 
State Democrats have seen a wave of victories in recent months, turning Florida’s 40th Senate District blue over the summer and helping St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman win his reelection campaign last month
Statewide Democratic candidates expressed the hope that Rizzo would be a strong leader for a party which has largely fallen behind and been severely outnumbered by Republicans in Tallahassee for the last 20 years.
“Florida Democrats have a big task ahead of us in 2018: re-electing Senator Nelson, putting Democrats in the Governor’s Mansion and the Cabinet, and fighting for seats up and down the ballot,” said Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum. “I know that Chairwoman Rizzo will bring the energy and excitement we need, and I’m excited to work with her.”
Other Democrats expressed the same sentiment Saturday.
“Under her steady leadership, I believe our party is in a stronger position this cycle to continue to build on our incredible successes this year and help sustain outreach and organizing efforts in 2018 and in the years to come,” said Miami Beach Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Philip Levine. 
Cervone also said to expect a surge of “blue” in a purple state next year with Rizzo at the helm. 
“Under Chairwoman Rizzo's new leadership, FDP is ready to flip Florida blue in 2018 and begin creating an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top,” she said.

Taxpayers spent $220,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit that involved U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings

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Taxpayers spent $220,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit that involved U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Delray Beach, the Capitol Hill publication Roll Call reported Friday night.
Hastings, who has denied the claims in the suit, said he did not know of the settlement until Friday night and is “outraged” by it.
Winsome Packer, a staffer on the congressional Helsinki Commission that Hastings once chaired, filed a lawsuit in 2011 against Hastings and the commission, which is officially known as the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. A federal judge dismissed the claims against Hastings — but not the commission — in 2012.
The House Ethics Committee also cleared Hastings of sexual harassment in 2014.

Hastings told The Palm Beach Post he was not involved in the settlement.
“Until this evening, I had not seen the settlement agreement between the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) and Ms. Packer,” Hastings said in a statement sent to The Palm Beach Post. “This matter was handled solely by the Senate Chief Counsel for Employment. At no time was I consulted, nor did I know until after the fact that such a settlement was made. The lawsuit that Ms. Packer filed against me was dismissed on February 14, 2012, just as the House Committee on Ethics investigation was also dismissed on December 11, 2014. I am outraged that any taxpayer dollars were needlessly paid to Ms. Packer.”
Packer claimed she was forced to endure unwelcome sexual advances, crude sexual comments and unwanted touching from Hastings while he was chairman of the commission. She also claimed that Hastings retaliated against her after she complained.
Hastings at the time called the allegations “ridiculous, bizarre (and) frivolous” and accused Packer of trying to promote a self-published novel dealing with sexual harassment and other topics.
The Post reported in 2012 that a judge dismissed the harassment and retaliation counts against Hastings as an individual, but other counts of Packer’s lawsuit accusing the commission of sex discrimination and retaliation were not dismissed.

Source PalmBeachPost.com

Florida House Republicans Jumping Ship Here Is Why

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Richard Corcoran

Republicans are leaving the Florida House. Is Richard Corcoran the reason why?” via William March of the Tampa Bay Times – This year, nine Republican members of the Florida House of Representatives eligible for re-election have either left the House or plan to run for another office. Several have cited conflicts with House Speaker Corcoran, objecting to what they call his dictatorial leadership style. Some say that relationship with Corcoran factored in their decisions to leave. Several of the departing legislators were among those who voted against top Corcoran priorities in the 2017 legislative session, including a bill to allow liquor sales in grocery stores and another to slash business recruiting and tourism promotions programs. "Corcoran's leadership style is just oppressive. It's as simple as that," said former Rep. Dan Raulerson, who resigned from his seat in July in the middle of his third term.

Source: TampaBay.com

Terrie Rizzo Leads in Endorsements for FDP Chair

Terrie Rizzo
Terrie Rizzo
The race to become the next chair of the Florida Democratic Party continues to heat up, with one of the candidates -- Terrie Rizzo of Palm Beach -- announcing a slew of supporters endorsing her to take over next weekend.
On Tuesday, Rizzo announced the endorsements of 51 of the 182 electors who will cast their ballots in Orlando Saturday. 
Rizzo’s lengthy and growing list of endorsements currently puts her in the lead in the four-woman race for FDP chair. Under the party’s weighted vote system, there are 1,237 votes possible in the race. 
Rizzo has said she is confident in her chances of taking over the reins of the party, explaining she has 70 percent of the weighted votes needed to win.
Rizzo has received the endorsements of some of the top names in Florida Democratic circles, including South Florida U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel and Alcee Hastings. 
Other local endorsements have flooded in all the way from Democratic strongholds like Orange County to smaller counties like Polk County. 
Rizzo has served as the chair of the Palm Beach County Democratic Party since 2012 and is joined in the race by three other women from around the state who have also said they want in, though some of them have not officially declared their candidacies just yet.
Hillsborough County Democratic State Committeewoman Alma Gonzalez is rumored to be seeking the position. 
Gonzalez currently works at the Hillsborough County Civil Service Board and is allegedly receiving the backing of FDP First Vice Chair Judy Mount,
Stacey Patel from Brevard County has also said she’ll run for the seat next week. Brevard County recently sent the highest amount of delegates to the FDP’s conference in Orlando this year and won the “Golden Gavel” award for knocking on the most doors to get Florida Dems to the polls. 
One of those women, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Florida President Monica Russo also a possible candidate for the job, but Russo isn’t technically eligible since she isn’t a party chair or a state committeewoman. 

The job was vacated by chair Stephen Bittel, who was accused by several Democratic party staffers and consultants of inappropriate sexual comments and for creating a "creepy" and “unprofessional” work environment. 
Electors will vote electronically for the next FDP chair Friday. The official FDP meeting will be held at the Rosen hotel in Orlando Saturday.

Source Sunshine Stae News