The first time I met Charlie Crist, he was the state Attorney General. It was at a Florida Department of Law Enforcement news conference in their then-new digs along the Dolphin Expressway near Florida's Turnpike.
I'm fairly certain it was one of those Joint Agency Task Force announcements that had something to do with Identity Theft (Hint: "We're against it.")
Former Gov. Charlie Crist made it official Friday: He will run for his old job again in 2014, setting up a potential battle with Republican Gov. Rick Scott for the state's highest office.
Crist, who is set to announce his candidacy Monday morning at Albert Whitted Park in St. Petersburg, quietly filed his paperwork Friday with state election officials. The move allows him to begin raising money immediately. He becomes an instant front-runner in a Democratic primary that also includes former state Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich of Weston.
With little more than a year remaining before voters head to the polls in November 2014, candidates face something of a new world: Beginning Friday, they can rake in even more money from contributors to their campaigns.
Some of the biggest changes in a sweeping campaign-finance bill, approved last spring by the Legislature, take effect on Friday.
By Rachel Morello and Jim Turner and News Service of Florida
The outlook was largely positive as Governor Rick Scott, government officials and business leaders gathered in Coral Gables to discuss progress in boosting Florida’s economy.
The Oct. 31 gathering coincided with a board meeting of Enterprise Florida, the state’s public-private economic development agency.
Gov. Scott opened the discussion by praising both the public and private sectors for contributing to recent signs of economic recovery. He cited an increased focus on education and the addition of 365,000 private sector jobs since he took office.
Nan Rich often riffs that she has an unfair advantage over Charlie Crist in the quest to oust incumbent Gov. Rick Scott.
"I'm a woman, a mom and a grandmother. Those are powerful things to be today in this state," Rich told Democrats gathered in Orlando for their state conference over the weekend.
Rich may have exaggerated her edge over Crist, a former Republican who will formally enter the race on Monday. But she isn't overstating the importance women voters have in determining who wins elections across the country, and especially in Florida.
Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 5:02 pm
In a U.N. vote that has become something of a tradition, only one country agreed with the United States that its embargo of Cuba should continue. The final count in the General Assembly vote was 188-2.
NPR's Michele Kelemen reports for our Newscast unit:
"For the 22nd year in a row, the U.N. General Assembly approved a mainly symbolic resolution that condemns the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba. This year's tally was 188-2, with three abstentions. Only Israel sided with the U.S. this time.
I met Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in 2007, just before she was first elected president of Argentina. In our interview, she talked a good deal about the rise of women leaders in the Americas, from then Chilean President Michelle Bachelet to then U.S. presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Demonstrators who are critical of the Catholic Church and favor abortion rights take part in a protest in Rio de Janeiro during Pope Francis' visit to Brazil on July 27. Abortion is illegal in Brazil with rare exceptions. Some lawmakers are attempting to make it even more restrictive.
The doctor's office is clean and white and comfortingly bland in an upscale neighborhood of Sao Paulo. We were given the address by a health professional who told us one of the doctors here gives safe abortions in a country where they are illegal.
The doctor agrees to speak on condition of anonymity after we prove we are not there to entrap him. He does not admit on tape that he terminates unwanted pregnancies. But he says openly he favors legalizing abortions.
Fed up with what they see as a lack of representation at the California Capitol and overregulation, supervisors in the far Northern California county of Siskiyou, which includes Yreka, have voted in favor of secession.
Originally published on Tue October 29, 2013 12:59 pm
There's a big race right now to become the 51st state.
Forget traditional contenders like Puerto Rico. In several existing states, residents of less populous areas are hoping to create new states of their own.
Citizens in 11 mostly northeastern Colorado counties are among them. They'll vote on Nov. 5 whether to break off and form their own state. Many are unhappy about liberal state legislation they believe reflects the values of the Denver-Boulder corridor, but not their part of the world.
Florida's food programs are bracing for cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that kick in Nov. 1 --- while watching warily as U.S. House and Senate conferees prepare to negotiate a federal farm bill, which could have much more far-reaching consequences for hungry Floridians.
Hundreds of Florida Democrats fawned over former Gov. Charlie Crist this weekend at their annual conference as the onetime "Reagan Republican" campaigned relentlessly, receiving a hero's welcome more than a week before he officially announces his candidacy for governor.
The Florida Democratic Party's conference gave Crist, who wasn't an official speaker, a platform to do what he seems to love best --- pose for photographs, whisper words of encouragement and linger long enough with admirers to create a logjam wherever he went.
Expected next month to launch a bid to return to the governor's office, Democrat Charlie Crist released a YouTube video Friday that might foreshadow the themes of his 2014 campaign.
Crist referred to himself as the "people's governor," a familiar mantra from his days in office. Though he didn't mention Republican Gov. Rick Scott by name, Crist took shots at Scott, who has used a theme of "It's Working" while trying to convince voters the state has rebounded under his stewardship.
Broward County and Palm Beach’s unemployment rates are dropping faster than it is in any other major metropolitan area, according to a new federal report.
For August, the most recent month with updated federal data, the Fort Lauderdale metropolitan area saw unemployment plunge to 5.8 percent from 7.7 percent a year before. according to data released Monday. Palm Beach also saw a drop of nearly two percentage points (from 9.7 percent to 8.4 percent), ending Seattle’s six-month run atop the list produced each month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The state is starting the process of figuring out how much it would cost to legalize medical marijuana. Private groups are gathering petition signatures to put a proposed constitutional amendment on next year’s ballot.
All citizen initiatives that propose changes to the Constitution must undergo a financial review.
Economists for the Florida Legislature will spend the next few weeks running the numbers.
Vesselka McAlarney with the Office of Demographic and Economic Research looked at data from other states that have legalized the drug.