Is Rick Baker running for office? Cryptic Facebook post says to watch out for ‘upcoming plans’


ST. PETERSBURG — Is Rick Baker running for something?

The former St. Petersburg mayor from 2002 to 2010 posted a cryptic message on Facebook over the weekend about “upcoming plans.” He directed followers to his Twitter account, @bakerstpete.

“While you are there, please make sure to follow to stay up to date,” he wrote.

I will soon be posting upcoming plans on my Twitter @bakerstpete
While you are there, please make sure to follow to stay up to date.

Posted by Rick Baker on Sunday, August 25, 2019

Does that mean he’s running for mayor again? Statehouse? Congress? So far, it’s unclear he’s running for anything.

But Baker seems to be activating.

He hopped on Sean Hannity’s afternoon radio show on Monday. Baker promoted the appearance on Twitter prior to hitting the airwaves. It was the account’s first tweet since Election Day 2017, the final day of Baker’s unsuccessful bid to unseat incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and reclaim City Hall.

Hannity had him on to gab about one of the conservative commentator’s favorite punching bags: blight in big (and Democratic-run) cities. The host started the segment guessing the number of weekend shootings in Chicago and demonizing the scourge of tent cities in California cities. He then quizzed Baker on his fight to curb homelessness as St. Peterburg’s leader a decade ago.

Baker recounted his administration’s crackdown on homelessness, starting with the establishment of the new encampment at Pinellas Hope. Once they had a place to go, “We started to enforce all the quality of life laws that (former New York City Mayor) Rudy Giuliani is so good about,” Baker said.

Hannity, now a fellow at the free-market think tank Manhattan Institute, proclaimed the St. Petersburg solution should be a blueprint for cities like Baltimore and San Francisco.

“I just love the innovation of it,” the talk show host gushed, who went on to proclaim: “This guy may be the mayor of the century.”

During the 2017 campaign, Kriseman introduced national politics into the local race to an unprecedented degree, successfully painting Baker as a Donald Trump acolyte. It was enough for Kriseman to edge out a 3-point victory.

By clinging to Hannity, practically an adviser to Trump through his television set, is Baker leaning into that characterization? It’s an interesting move in a city that has elected a progressive mayor and City Council.

Meanwhile, there’s a “Draft Rick Baker” Twitter account, apparently trying to convince the Republican to run against U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist in 2020. Crist already has two potential Republican challengers for his St. Petersburg-based seat — former lobbyist Amanda Makki and former city council candidate Sheila Griffin — but Baker would supersede them both immediately in name recognition.

Baker, though, has previously rejected efforts to recruit him to run against Crist. “I’ve concluded that I’m a better fit for an executive leadership position than a position in Congress,” he said in 2016.

Baker did not return a call for comment.

I will soon be posting upcoming plans on my Twitter @bakerstpete nWhile you are there, please make sure to follow to stay up to date.

Posted by Rick Baker on Sunday, August 25, 2019

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roads were championed through the Legislature this year by Senate President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, with backing by the Florida Chamber of Commerce and road builders."},{"_id":"7T3JXVYYBVGTPGLH4S5ELDX4FU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1567027920457},"content":"More than 300 miles of new toll roads with broadband internet and sewer hookups, they said, would revive rural parts of the state and relieve congestion on Florida’s highways. The roads would extend the Suncoast Parkway to Jefferson County, another would extend Florida’s Turnpike to the Suncoast Parkway up to the Georgia border and a third would build an entirely new toll road from Polk County to Collier County."},{"_id":"LJUYRQM6PNFCTAIBRI7PCLI3VU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1567027920458},"content":"Transportation Secretary Kevin Thibault kicked off Tuesday’s meeting by calling their work “a defining moment for our state,” but often it was skepticism, not enthusiasm, voiced by board members."},{"_id":"3BTM5TOSJNG3FEOKGO266P42V4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1567027920459},"content":"Environmentalists raised several potential problems. Even supporters of the projects, such as the Florida Trucking Association, questioned the premise that new roads would lead to growth."},{"_id":"BEJXUBNN4NFOTE6TBQ7UP7DRFU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1567027920460},"content":"But it was those counties along the proposed routes, the ones lawmakers implied were on board, that also raised reservations."},{"_id":"D4SWG64I2NE5XMTKZFP7LYFTEU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1567027920461},"content":"In Gilchrist County, commissioners considered drafting a resolution against it."},{"_id":"RT2DYCJTCFGXZHHITQZ6O2URVY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1567027920462},"content":"“I convinced them that we need to be at the table,” Commission Chairman Todd Gray said."},{"_id":"4HU67VYBNZA55O7NPETZ6MD4UE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1567027920463},"content":"In Dixie County, commission Chairman Mark Hatch noted a new road could bring more traffic accidents, which would further stress what little medical care exists in the cash-strapped county."},{"_id":"MWWNCXMN2JGLRJ2ADKLUJF2IHY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1567027920464},"content":"“Whatever happens on that road, we’ve got to endure the burden of that cost,” Hatch said."},{"_id":"D6EXICLNB5BOBC4ENAFLNMOZCU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1567027920465},"content":"And officials in Marion County, where a potential toll road could connect Florida’s Turnpike to the Suncoast Parkway, have already said they don’t want it."},{"_id":"Q6QSPWBUNRFG3CCLIYXC6TD2PE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1567027920466},"content":"Ken Armstrong, president and CEO of the Florida Trucking Association, questioned whether economic growth was guaranteed along the route. He noted that Interstate 10 has wide swaths and many interchanges with “zero economic development.”"},{"_id":"4CJVFDJ32RGF5CEDBQUAY3IES4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1567027920467},"content":"“I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion that building a road creates economic development,” he said."},{"_id":"3NFIFKMYJFB7LFNRBFZGU7HPKM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1567027920468},"content":"Neither Galvano nor the Department of Transportation had data showing the roads were needed. 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PETERSBURG — Is Rick Baker running for something?"},{"_id":"4RTBXGZLKRAQHDNND6OKY5ZF4I","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1567022066145},"content":"The former St. Petersburg mayor from 2002 to 2010 posted a cryptic message on Facebook over the weekend about “upcoming plans.” He directed followers to his Twitter account, @bakerstpete."},{"_id":"6E424E7O75GKDJ5UMKLXKN36IA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1567022066146},"content":"“While you are there, please make sure to follow to stay up to date,” he wrote."},{"type":"oembed_response","subtype":"facebook-post","_id":"7MNG2FPUN5APDCI5Y7VQ7C32VI","raw_oembed":{"author_name":"Rick","author_url":"https://www.facebook.com/rick.baker.1213","provider_url":"https://www.facebook.com","provider_name":"Facebook","success":true,"height":null,"html":"

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I will soon be posting upcoming plans on my Twitter @bakerstpete nWhile you are there, please make sure to follow to stay up to date.

Posted by Rick Baker on Sunday, August 25, 2019

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So far, it’s unclear he’s running for anything."},{"_id":"U4SSE5RADJAVXLPQ6WUSMIIE4A","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1567022066148},"content":"But Baker seems to be activating."},{"_id":"VAAK54GNIJC53BG3MAN6UNCQ6Y","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1567022066149},"content":"He hopped on Sean Hannity’s afternoon radio show on Monday. Baker promoted the appearance on Twitter prior to hitting the airwaves. It was the account’s first tweet since Election Day 2017, the final day of Baker’s unsuccessful bid to unseat incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and reclaim City Hall."},{"_id":"LXC2VXFH2RANLMG6A5YJNI2WKE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1567022066150},"content":"Hannity had him on to gab about one of the conservative commentator’s favorite punching bags: blight in big (and Democratic-run) cities. The host started the segment guessing the number of weekend shootings in Chicago and demonizing the scourge of tent cities in California cities. He then quizzed Baker on his fight to curb homelessness as St. Peterburg’s leader a decade ago."},{"_id":"LUHMAML4KVCNROSGXAKKCP3JGY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1567022066151},"content":"Baker recounted his administration’s crackdown on homelessness, starting with the establishment of the new encampment at Pinellas Hope. Once they had a place to go, “We started to enforce all the quality of life laws that (former New York City Mayor) Rudy Giuliani is so good about,” Baker said."},{"_id":"WZ3UQV4W6JHEVPV6CEVHVXZFEY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1567022066152},"content":"Hannity, now a fellow at the free-market think tank Manhattan Institute, proclaimed the St. Petersburg solution should be a blueprint for cities like Baltimore and San Francisco."},{"_id":"XNQBOJPJGVH4PJLXIQSBRWIJ54","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1567022066153},"content":"“I just love the innovation of it,” the talk show host gushed, who went on to proclaim: “This guy may be the mayor of the century.”"},{"_id":"XZKKZY5AUJARVFAR5DGDDHQF4Y","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1567022066154},"content":"During the 2017 campaign, Kriseman introduced national politics into the local race to an unprecedented degree, successfully painting Baker as a Donald Trump acolyte. It was enough for Kriseman to edge out a 3-point victory."},{"_id":"D7HTBNU7DVEO5EQN75JYLZ6E2I","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1567022066155},"content":"By clinging to Hannity, practically an adviser to Trump through his television set, is Baker leaning into that characterization? It’s an interesting move in a city that has elected a progressive mayor and City Council."},{"_id":"6GSRVK6YPFC6JBIK24SH5JJ63A","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Meanwhile, there’s a “Draft Rick Baker” Twitter account, apparently trying to convince the Republican to run against U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist in 2020. Crist already has two potential Republican challengers for his St. Petersburg-based seat — former lobbyist Amanda Makki and former city council candidate Sheila Griffin — but Baker would supersede them both immediately in name recognition."},{"_id":"PDR3ET3IKJEY7GWRBBVXCQTERA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Baker, though, has previously rejected efforts to recruit him to run against Crist. “I’ve concluded that I’m a better fit for an executive leadership position than a position in Congress,” he said in 2016."},{"_id":"WQW46MNVVRGFNG23GTBUXXO77I","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1567022066156},"content":"Baker did not return a call for comment."},{"type":"oembed_response","subtype":"twitter","_id":"K3AYJ5D7RRFJLNFRIND5PZI2WM","raw_oembed":{"url":"https://twitter.com/DraftRickBaker/status/1166120439875297281","author_name":"Draft Rick Baker","author_url":"https://twitter.com/DraftRickBaker","html":"

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Republicans, meanwhile, have quietly shrunk Democrats’ numerical advantage below 244,000 voters for the first time since at least 1972."},{"_id":"DN36PYA24VC6TFIJZABM6QFEFI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Both parties are setting out early in hot pursuit of an estimated 4 million unregistered and eligible voters."},{"_id":"6DIKTB7Y2REIHNUQKKDEJEIPH4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"But the arms race isn’t only about out-organizing the opposition. Heading into 2020, both Democrats and Republicans are also shifting tactics to keep voters from joining the fastest-growing bloc in Florida: independents, whose meteoric rise has thrown a state known for razor-thin election margins even further into electoral uncertainty."},{"_id":"B36WLCUG5NGJJPZYCZF7XNOEXI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"RELATED STORY: Donald Trump’s strategy for women — It’s the economy. Is that enough?"},{"_id":"RCBXJBAR7JBHXIF6MBFGPT377I","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Republican Party of Florida Chairman Joe Gruters, who said the ballooning number of independents makes them a “commanding presence” in 2020, is well aware of the trend. “We’re aggressively going after these new voters,” he said."},{"_id":"UD6W3FAU55FIPEXBXSXYFWBJAI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Democratic leaders are pounding home the same point."},{"_id":"FWQUVJWDJJAUFJCYZQM4UFSMFI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“We can’t continue with the status quo,” said Scott Arceneaux, a former Florida Democratic Party executive who helped push Democrats’ voter advantage over Republicans to 560,000 during President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign. “You’re going to need to have a big partisan effort on behalf of the state party, and on behalf of the presidential candidates.”"},{"_id":"XZYUDSIGKBHIRFQXY6SIFEJ7II","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"The numbers show why party organizers are already in gear. At the beginning of August, there were 4.968 million registered Democrats in Florida, and 4.724 million Republicans. Voters without party affiliation stood at 3.616 million — a number that has exploded since George W. Bush won the presidency in 2000 by a Florida margin of 537 votes."},{"_id":"CHV3BD3XKVGPFLHEY34UCNJ5WU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"At the time, independents numbered about 1.5 million, equal to about 17 percent of registered voters in the state. Now they make up more than a quarter of the state’s voters — even though they can’t vote in Florida’s party primaries. And their numbers have risen at a rate equal to the combined growth of both the Democratic and Republican parties."},{"_id":"CWEKPDZWVZA3JCE3DVTAIMQZQM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Much of that trend is organic, a product of frustration with America’s gridlocked politics, the coming of age of party-averse youth and an influx of Hispanic immigrants who lack historical ties to the political parties. Independents are growing in power and size across the country."},{"_id":"YGRU3URX7JHZDFX34HLQAEPW5E","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"There may be another factor at play, too, though its influence is limited. Some election experts believe the rise of the independent voter in Florida is also due to the Democratic Party’s growing reliance on a network of nonprofits that register voters — and are prohibited by law from pushing ideology along with paperwork."},{"_id":"MHEUI6IYA5HILNXGXI4RUXKALQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"As the first teams of organizers begin to fan out across the state during what has traditionally been the sleepy off-season, Democrats and Republicans are hiring new employees and budgeting millions of dollars for voter registration."},{"_id":"PESBDUNJVVDJ7PMLGKNMSKVQ5A","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"And Democrats are calling on deep-pocketed donors to give up their usual tax-deductible donations to the nonprofits that register voters in nonpartisan efforts — often known by their federal tax code number, 501c3 — and divert some of their money to the state party or into independent “dark money” 501c4 political operations that, without disclosing donors, can push a partisan message."},{"_id":"4IB4B6IOI5DV7EXJBKNW2KH4XI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Steve Schale, a Democratic strategist who led Obama’s 2008 Florida campaign, believes party registration has become one of the clearest indicators of which candidate will prevail in an election as the country becomes more polarized. Independents muddy the outlook, but Schale said that if Democrats want to win, they need to significantly outnumber Republicans, who have proven better in Florida at turning out their voters."},{"_id":"3KFFIA5DTZHQBDOWWMY7P5IEQU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“If more of them vote than us, and we have less of us, then we’re always going to be threading a needle,” he said."},{"_id":"J3KEZJEO4BEI7KZDOAIJIJCU3Q","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"One Republican strategist questioned the wisdom of throwing more money and manpower into voter registration, believing that enthusiasm for the candidate will outweigh any amount of work by clipboard-holding community workers. State data also show that, even in peak years, voter registration drives only account for about a quarter of the voter applications."},{"_id":"O4RMP3OARFHQDFCPS2RDIK72LQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Even so, Florida just saw three statewide races decided by less than 0.5% in November. Democrats aren’t willing to wait around until July for a Democratic nominee to rally disengaged voters. Nor are Republicans sitting idly while Democrats set out more than a year ahead of the election to register voters."},{"_id":"SR23BKKSCRGL3NIIBDNTZ4A5P4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“We’re doubling and tripling our efforts,” said Gruters, the Florida Republican Party chairman. “They’ve helped us probably get more focused on this area, to tell you the truth.”"},{"_id":"I6VIJY4JNFEEPCHVL37I4RUDTQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Since 2011, the Democratic Party has sent local election offices almost 10 times the 65,000 registration applications that the Republican Party of Florida has submitted. But this summer, for the first time since the state began tracking third-party voter registration organizations, the Republican National Committee signed up to register voters in the state. The Trump-affiliated America First Action Super PAC also established a Florida-specific voter registration organization on Aug. 15, called Florida First."},{"_id":"XA6YCRAHDRAPPBJOZAWGP5SFDA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Gruters, a state senator and 2016 co-chairman of Trump’s Florida campaign, said the party has dedicated 16 employees to registering voters across the state, and hired Matt Parker, a field strategist who worked for Gov. Ron DeSantis’ campaign, as a $180,000-a-year registration director. Republicans also have been holding voter registration drives — including one in Pembroke Pines that drew some protesters this month because it was held at a gun show."},{"_id":"ZMHGIVFREJHLPO36XHOKMNOCAI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Even DeSantis, Florida’s Republican governor, is getting the state in the game. He announced Wednesday that Florida would join a multi-state electronic voting database that requires that member states send postcards to the homes of eligible but unregistered voters to tell them in a nonpartisan manner how they can register."},{"_id":"PFBR6CMJKVEWZK3HMMI775WO7I","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“Voter registration is a priority for all of us,” said Trump Victory spokesman Rick Gorka, “to ensure that we elect Republicans up and down the ticket in 2020.”"},{"_id":"H5BGYWV7ANCGHLEU3LCMGXMRP4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"The Democratic activist base, on the other hand, is more fractured."},{"_id":"LMMYHD3M4JBJTJH4UL43KDJA4I","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Hundreds of thousands of voters have been registered over the last decade by organizers representing the nonprofits that organize in minority communities and receive their funding from national donor organizations like left-leaning State Voices and America Votes. This year, SWAG, a network of nonprofits working in cooperation with former gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum, aims to register a whopping half-million voters — 300,000 more than the Florida Democratic Party hopes to register by the time Democrats select a nominee in July."},{"_id":"7HOYYVWMQ5BSHGZ24AS4GXOZPM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Most that work will be nonpartisan, leaving voters to choose a party — or none at all — on their own. But, depending on the amount of money that Gillum is able to raise and dole out as he pursues an overall goal for the party of registering 1 million voters, the SWAG network expects to conduct more partisan registration through its dark money affiliates. (On Thursday, Gillum announced that he’s released $1 million to voter registration organizations.)"},{"_id":"FQPLMP2FIZDRHEA6NMBHZ27TNM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“We will be doing the largest [501]c4 registration we’ve ever done,” said Andrea Mercado, executive director of New Florida Majority, part of the SWAG network. “We think it’s important that we have some voter registration efforts where we’re pretty explicit about who we believe potential voters should be supporting.”"},{"_id":"SGOMXTINAFBXNPN2P3T453JJ5Y","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Jorge Mursuli, the voter registration guru tasked by Gillum with keeping in touch with dozens of independent operations registering voters, believes partisan registration will be crucial to defeating Trump."},{"_id":"RHLWG7Y24ZGBJG5DXMQUKAPIOI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Mursuli spent years leading Democracia USA, a nonprofit created to organize in Hispanic communities in battleground states. In Florida, he has helped register close to 100,000 voters, with the assumption that most would support Democrats even if they register as independents."},{"_id":"S6FVWBTN2JE47LS76I2FFPFQ7E","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"But it’s also true that an independent voter remains something of a wild card for the party. And Mursuli thinks Democrats need to be more aggressive in pushing new voters to register as Democrats if they’re going to beat Trump — one reason that Gillum is now steering resources into voter registration by 501c4 dark money groups."},{"_id":"6HVPF7IHBVAURD4BIJ7KXCJBLU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“It’s not something that’s been done in the past but it’s very worth trying,” said Mursuli. “It’s going to be important for the country in terms of, ‘does this work?’ “"},{"_id":"PT2O27M5AFBDLJIOKZHO4SYISQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Still, left-leaning activist groups remain a force in the state, in part because they’re better able than political parties and campaigns to mobilize in communities and maintain lasting relationships. Tory Gavito, president of Way to Win, a donor organization that contributed $3 million toward nonpartisan voter registration in Florida during the midterm elections, thinks Democrats will see better results if they reach voters early instead of showing up in communities only during election season."},{"_id":"MFFFH47OSJHQBLJUOIK3CZ5EKU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“Our mistake on the Democratic side has been flooding Florida with millions upon millions of dollars in the last weeks of an election, primarily on TV” rather than trying to build deeper ties to minority groups, Gavito said."},{"_id":"PIHYXYEJW5DC3BPG5YBROLYKAI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Democrats say they’ve learned the lesson. Nonprofits like the Miami-based Florida Immigration Coalition have already sent organizers into the field, and dozens of new Florida Democratic Party staffers have fanned out across the state in minority communities. Juan Peñalosa, executive director of the Florida Democratic Party, says the party has registered more than 9,500 voters since June — more than it registered in the entire off-year ahead of last year’s midterm elections."},{"_id":"S6BK3ZOUS5EWVDSSUIXZMIVGMQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“We are seeing, in the age of Trump, an unprecedented level of interest,” said Arceneaux, the former Florida Democratic Party executive director. “People are just so much more amped because the president is in 100 percent campaign mode every day. 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Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., sparred with Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro about how to prevent guns from getting into the wrong hands."},{"_id":"6NERV5UMAVBZ7FNVKGKYLVAZFQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562686},"content":"“I’m here in Australia, congressman. They don’t have problems like this,” Pirro said Aug. 10 following the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton that killed 31 people. “This is starting to be unfortunately a uniquely American situation. And I am a gun owner. I am a strong Second Amendment person, but some of the wrong people are getting their hands on guns.”"},{"_id":"FF3GO3KRUBG77M6H6Y4YGUXJE4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562687},"content":"Gaetz replied: “Nobody would suggest that in the United States we would want Australia’s solution. There they went and confiscated all the guns. You know who did what Australia did? Venezuela. And now their people can’t fight back when they are having to fight their way out of a socialist dictator.”"},{"_id":"CBZAKGVBO5G67K2ZITQKM5HSMA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"RELATED STORY: ‘No probable cause’ Matt Gaetz violated Florida Bar rules in tweets at Michael Cohen"},{"_id":"GNUJLQQY3FG2JJNB33CMB5PP6Q","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562688},"content":"But no one suggested taking away guns, Pirro responded, adding that Gaetz’s Venezuela comparison seemed “a little off.”"},{"_id":"MMDDENUGVNDF3B4YUXITXDWVTY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562689},"content":"So PolitiFact Florida wanted to look into it. The general point Gaetz was trying to make, his spokesman told us, was that he believes gun control failed in both Australia and Venezuela. He shared articles showing an Australian black market for guns, for example, as well as other news stories about Venezuela’s gun control laws leaving civilians and even police more vulnerable."},{"_id":"GNOUF3EIZRAANE7AYRMHXNPX7Y","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562690},"content":"But there are several factual inaccuracies with his specific claim about Australia and the comparison to Venezuela."},{"_id":"QPJLJGB5HFD6XFHNTEXMOT6PTA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562691},"content":"• Australia didn’t enact a total gun ban; it banned certain guns, including semi-automatics after a mass shooting in 1996."},{"_id":"3VXDAMJOLJBNVHEM6YLCSQNGRE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562692},"content":"• That’s different from what Venezuela’s government did in 2012 and 2013, when it took steps in an effort to stem the flow of guns."},{"_id":"5DUJ3QRNJ5B3JBEEEAGEI6PO6Q","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562693},"content":"• In both countries, millions of guns remain in civilian hands. Gun deaths are a major problem in Venezuela."},{"_id":"2ZPQD23IGZBXRAXZEDOADKEMTU","type":"header","level":2,"additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562694},"content":"Gun control in Australia"},{"_id":"MTVWCHKVP5BVJH4FUTVAOOBWSU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562695},"content":"In 1996, a shooting in Tasmania left 35 dead. It was one of the most deadly civilian mass shootings in the world at the time. The conservative-led national government moved quickly to ban and destroy certain guns."},{"_id":"CQQCQK7KXRH4LJXK4CNTET4TI4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562696},"content":"Australia banned semi-automatic and self-loading rifles as well as shotguns. The government offered a one-year grace period during which it would buy back the firearms. After that, people possessing the weapons would be subject to strict penalties. The buyback program took in more than 640,000 prohibited weapons — roughly one-fifth of the country’s estimated guns."},{"_id":"65ER5RWZDZAYBCLE37YJDJBHSI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562697},"content":"Today, Australians still legally own a high per-capita ratio of single-shot long guns, along with plenty of handguns, said Philip Alpers, founding director of Gunpolicy.org, a global project of the Sydney School of Public Health. But the number of legal and illegal guns dropped from about 3.2 million in 1996 to 2.5 million in 1997."},{"_id":"SHHERPEPCJEXBKMCIBZPQGU22E","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562698},"content":"Since then, it has climbed back up to almost the same number as before the ban, though the rate of gun ownership is smaller today."},{"_id":"IDDMXPVTRNGD5IOWURN7BUHNVQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562699},"content":"In the 1980s and early 1990s, Australia suffered 14 mass shootings, which claimed 117 lives, Alpers said. Following the gun law changes, there were no mass shootings for many years. In June 2019, four people were killed by a gunman who used a banned gun. In 2018, seven were killed in a mass family homicide-suicide."},{"_id":"SH2ZPD7PIZGEJE36JHSYG6IA7U","type":"header","level":2,"additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562700},"content":"Gun control in Venezuela"},{"_id":"TXQP23DOEJGC7PUP4RTY5FT25I","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562701},"content":"What Venezuela did several years ago was not the same as Australia."},{"_id":"IJNQUW4FQFHU7OE3MDMJWO6FFI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562702},"content":"The gun situation was not the same, for starters. In Australia, the government responded to a mass shooting. Venezuela faced a widespread problem with rampant gun violence and homicides — and it still does."},{"_id":"GRX3AJMHRBERXMTMKC22HD5JLE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562703},"content":"In 2012, Venezuela imposed measures to ban possession of a gun in public places and to halt private gun sales to citizens."},{"_id":"VFOGAZQHT5ERDHIZAVDWJSE6OQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562704},"content":"In 2013, President Nicolas Maduro signed a disarmament bill that was intended to stem the flow of guns."},{"_id":"6ORQMCTIUFHORGHAHIU62TBUME","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562705},"content":"The law created an automated system of registration for arms, parts, and ammunition under control of the armed forces. Individuals were allowed conditional possession, meaning that the state could take their gun."},{"_id":"4MAZIK2DJRDKPO7YJSACMDT2DY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562706},"content":"Rebecca Hanson, an expert on crime in Venezuela and now a professor at the University of Florida, said she wouldn’t call the 2013 law a "gun ban," because civilians could still own guns as long as they registered them. Also, guns remained widely available on the black market and enforcement was lax."},{"_id":"W6HHHBKZUNFUHLQYFDA43VOBYE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562707},"content":""The law, in reality, did not affect people's ability to access guns in any effective or long-term way," she said."},{"_id":"AWJJEO5IRVAE7ORJYRM4FONVVU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562708},"content":"Since the majority of guns are purchased on the black market, regulating the legal market does little to reduce gun sales in Venezuela, she said. Many of these guns end up flowing from state security forces and the military into the black market."},{"_id":"BHA5K7E7VBDNRKEQ7IBRWSBEWA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562709},"content":""All of this is to say that even with the 2013 law, access to guns has increased," she said."},{"_id":"UFXWOYAQWVEBTPGUG6OLYROHKM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562710},"content":"Alejandro Velasco, New York University history professor of modern Latin America, told us that "the gun ban had almost no practical impact on people’s ability to buy and keep (or use) weapons.""},{"_id":"GFIEWNY4O5ACVK45NSQWUXAWVI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562711},"content":"There are no solid numbers to pinpoint the number of guns in civilian ownership in Venezuela. Gunpolicy.org estimates that there were about 5.9 million privately owned guns in civilian hands in Venezuela as of 2017, though the consultant that came up with it said it could be a wide range."},{"_id":"P6CP6OSL6ZF35ORN7SKFEGHFD4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562712},"content":"The opposition movement has billed itself as nonviolent for the most part, Velasco said. Several experts told us it’s not surprising that civilians don’t bring guns to protests where they face the armed government."},{"_id":"34YXJ5YLMZDDJFD2LUVE3PYEQE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562713},"content":""Even if the disarmament law had dramatically reduced gun ownership, which is not at all clear, armed anti-government civilians would stand no chance against the tanks and fighter jets of the army," said Dorothy Kronick, a University of Pennsylvania political scientist."},{"_id":"PS4ME2MISBD4BATWVTWIDIB2HA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562714},"content":"Experts were critical of Gaetz using the problems in Venezuela to make any commentary on gun laws in the United States."},{"_id":"LCVOCH6QGVAZTKTAE6EBW75Y3Y","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562715},"content":""Linking the issue of arms control with the struggle for democracy in the Venezuelan context only contributes to distort a situation that is already very distorted," Keymer Avila, a professor of criminology at the Central University of Venezuela said, "increasing violence in an environment that is already very violent, and undermines an institution that is already very precarious.""},{"_id":"4655A7C4MZBANEB7QTCBPWWMG4","type":"header","level":2,"additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562716},"content":"Our ruling"},{"_id":"VAO7FJ2BYNBV7LNOYLTLDB5AUI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562717},"content":"Gaetz said in Australia "they went and confiscated all the guns. You know who did what Australia did? Venezuela.""},{"_id":"67PB6GE3FZAKNBK5IMHQNSFBEQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562718},"content":"Gaetz’s claim about Australia is wrong, and his comparison to Venezuela is flawed."},{"_id":"C5M65RKPJVBORLZYLKYM76DO4A","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562719},"content":"After a mass shooting in 1996, Australia banned semi-automatic and self-loading rifles as well as shotguns and offered a one-year buyback. It did not ban all guns. The number of civilian-owned guns is now nearly the same as before the 1996 law, although the rate of ownership is less."},{"_id":"MXVTAHK7GNEKVMKEOLJ3GXZCU4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562720},"content":"In Venezuela, the government instituted measures to try to limit the flow of guns to civilians. But experts said most guns are sold on the black market and that guns remain rampant in Venezuela. The idea that private gun owners could successfully challenge a national military is also unlikely."},{"_id":"3ZLLYDJQFNCKXCMMPHIW44G774","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562721},"content":"We rate this statement Mostly False."},{"_id":"RO5KZROW6BHEFGWNFPD6EVWE3U","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566915562722},"content":"Read more rulings at PolitiFact.com."}],"created_date":"2019-08-27T14:06:47.600Z","revision":{"revision_id":"VSM6OVYAYVACDG3JB2N2HBU47Q","parent_id":"FQUNHNZKQFB2LL54VN7VXBFPPY","editions":["default"],"branch":"default","user_id":"[email protected]","published":true},"last_updated_date":"2019-08-27T14:29:47.040Z","canonical_url":"/florida-politics/buzz/2019/08/28/politifact-florida-fact-checking-matt-gaetz-on-gun-bans-in-australia-and-venezuela/","headlines":{"basic":"PolitiFact Florida: Fact-checking Matt Gaetz on gun bans in Australia and Venezuela","mobile":"","native":"","print":"","tablet":"","web":"","meta_title":""},"owner":{"sponsored":false,"id":"tbt"},"address":{},"workflow":{"status_code":1},"subheadlines":{"basic":"There are several factual inaccuracies with his specific claim about Australia and the comparison to Venezuela."},"description":{"basic":""},"language":"","source":{"system":"ellipsis","name":"tbt","source_type":"staff"},"label":{},"taxonomy":{"sites":[{"_id":"/florida","type":"site","version":"0.5.8","name":"Florida","description":"Florida news","path":"/florida","parent_id":"/","additional_properties":{"original":{"_id":"/florida","site":{"site_url":"/florida/","site_tagline":null,"site_title":"Florida news","site_description":"Florida news","site_about":null,"site_keywords":"Florida News, Florida politics, statewide news","native_app_rendering":"false"},"social":{"facebook":null,"rss":null,"twitter":null,"archives":null},"story_list":{"story_list_content":{}},"navigation":{"display_in_top_strip":"true","nav_title":"Florida","nav_display":"true"},"_admin":{"alias_ids":["/florida"],"tracking_node":null,"commercial_node":null,"default_content":null},"in_the_news":{"in_the_news_usefeature":null,"in_the_news_usesectionbar":"false","in_the_news_usebasepage":"/in-the-news-forsections/"},"Advertising":{"adbridg_kvp":{"Special":"Feature"}},"name":"Florida","order":1010,"parent":"/","inactive":true,"node_type":"section","inactive_date":1565038395536}}},{"_id":"/florida-politics","type":"site","version":"0.5.8","name":"Florida Politics","description":"The latest news on Florida politics from the Capitol in Tallahassee to Tampa Bay and up to Washington, D.C. 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Though the agency has regularly requested more funding over the years, pointing to rising costs and aging clients, those requests had been denied."},{"_id":"TJEFN42ZKJCP3PZT36SA2755TA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"The program operates under a “waiver” of federal rules that allows the state to be more flexible in how it delivers and spends on services, so that clients can live as independently as possible in homes or communities, with their own budgets they can use on services. As of January, the program served more than 34,500 people with developmental disabilities and another 21,900 were on the waiting list, according to a corrective action plan filed at the time."},{"_id":"IO7QVX7TPZDLFFIPMTJQRHDWDM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"The legislatively mandated overhaul requires the program to meet a set of criteria that include more “budget predictability,” as well as identifying “core services” with recommendations for “other services that are not affordable based on available resources.”"},{"_id":"HPKCDRADZ5AFHBMVOOYLSFAO34","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"As the agency began to review the program, it asked the public for comment over the summer and held a meeting last month at the agency’s headquarters in Tallahassee. Hundreds of people called in or attended to detail their concerns with the existing program and suggest what should be changed: improving training, cutting down on paperwork, and most of all, keeping services available for people with developmental disabilities."},{"_id":"JP66QRTDNRAV7ACG2UGTF722PI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"They pointed to past reductions and current delays in obtaining services, as well as several fears with the new changes: primarily that the agency might shift healthcare delivery to a system of managed care, where private contractors manage patients’ care and control what clients of the program are able to get, including services like in-home nursing care, speech and physical therapy and behavioral support to manage difficult behaviors."},{"_id":"U3SWQJDDYZATHAMIBRBG5BM4AA","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"At the end of that meeting, Palmer, the agency’s director, promised that administrators would continue to research options and incorporate the public’s comments into their work. She also put out a request for more feedback."},{"_id":"GTRVDIQIYBGPZAKIUVPDRDPGME","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“There were several people that brought up the word “waste” — there’s so much waste,” she said at the end of that meeting. “Those of you that have said that, I’m asking you to please put in writing to us what you mean. That could mean a lot of things to a lot of different people. I really need to know what you’re talking about.”"},{"_id":"7YKHL4MLB5C4VI3MDJZJ53PV5E","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Officials directed comments to an email address — [email protected], run by the agency — to “offer the Agency comments, ideas, and suggestions.” On the agency’s homepage is a disclaimer that “under Florida law, email addresses are public records.”"},{"_id":"T65DSHBMFRCN7BQLGO7IIPAN3Y","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"The agency, according to an invoice released as part of a public records request, received more than 500 comments in writing, spanning nearly 200 pages, in response to its request for public feedback. 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Late last month, the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council sent out a survey to hundreds on its mailing list, asking among several questions for respondents to anonymously identify which services they least need."},{"_id":"QDHZKQYENBE3RMMENYXUGXVMTM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"The question spurred worries that the data might be used to justify cuts rather than prevent them, prompting the private nonprofit council, which has members appointed by the governor and includes some state healthcare officials like Palmer, to say the survey was meant only to give families and individuals receiving services “a collective voice on the services most important to them.”"},{"_id":"7Q23ADMUEZHQTC4ODMSPV5UR6E","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"The agency is required to submit its final redesign plan to the Legislature by the end of September."},{"_id":"6CAS75SL4NBU5P2BP5N4AVMZ5Q","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"
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I am looking forward to a positive discussion of how we can make our great city even better for all people.”"},{"_id":"ZBEDBDXPMRCFVBCVPEEB5PRRM4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566943262409},"content":"He’ll face Orlando Acosta, 48, a former officer in the U.S. Air Force who now runs a defense consultancy. Acosta earned about 20 percent."},{"_id":"THOPJYRVEVEALAGD2DCRTBKSHM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566952197864},"content":"“I’m very grateful to all the voters for giving me their approval to move on ahead," said Acosta by phone as he stood outside his home, where he took in the results with volunteers, donors, friends and family. 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won despite only raising $13,459, according to her latest financial report. That was significantly less than Beth Connor’s $23,415 and Figgs-Sanders’ $26,810.50, per their latest reports."},{"_id":"6VAI2AI2URFWNJ6UTMPM5ZXKFI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566952197872},"content":"“I’m just so ecstatic!" said Cox, reached by phone at her results watch party at the St. Petersburg Country Club, about winning the most votes in the race. “I did not expect that I would. But it happened. It’s amazing.”"},{"_id":"FRZLLH7VAJGIHCFLUJ2P43SWGU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566952197873},"content":"She talked about how hard she’s been working. “Calling, waving, praying, strategizing," she said. “And now it’s time to do it again. And take it to a whole other level.”"},{"_id":"34V323YKSRHE5B276C4OOALEGQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566952197874},"content":"Figgs-Sanders, speaking by phone from a watch party at Portofino Italian Restaurant in the Skyway Marina District, said the amount of money she raised means she has a lot of support. 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In that position, he played key roles in the $3 billion Water Street Tampa project, the renovation of the Armature Works, the expansion of the Riverwalk and talks about bringing the Tampa Bay Rays to the state’s third-largest city."},{"_id":"KPX72GFLP5CQBNJDRMI7NC5MHE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566933582619},"content":"“Anything brick and mortar, his fingerprints are on it,” Buckhorn said Tuesday. “He left some big shoes to fill.”"},{"_id":"W7ECBGHWQBGXLIPTDJZ56O42BM","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[],"_id":1566936909656},"content":"If Buckhorn was the city’s cheerleader extraordinaire, McDonaugh was often the one who did the detailed work of getting the big deals done. 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Javier Fernández, who spearheaded the Democrats’ pitch, said Democrats plan on filing bills to address what they hoped would be covered in a special session, including universal background checks, safe gun storage, a ban on high-capacity magazines and the creation of a task force in urban areas to address day-to-day gun violence"},{"_id":"JWHEOXR36JGZBAX57F2CPX2DT4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“Last year, nine proposals were filed ... not one was given a hearing at any level,” he said. “We don’t have the luxury of waiting.”"},{"_id":"7RR4GTR5QRFLDLPRVB4ODCETCQ","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Publicly, Floridians seem to support the effort. 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The Senate President and the Speaker of the House also have the power to convene the Legislature in special session, but it’s unlikely that will happen."},{"_id":"RBHEYC7UKJFOPPBXMBKEJVKIJU","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Senate President Bill Galvano instructed a key committee to “review and better understand the various factors involved in mass shootings” like white nationalism, but said through a spokesperson last week that he “does not support calling a special session.”"},{"_id":"F2B5VGRVARAN5C46F3CU2PCWTE","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Miami Beach Sen. Jason Pizzo said he respects Galvano for paying attention to the issue, especially last year after the Parkland shooting, but that his promise “doesn’t go far enough.”"},{"_id":"R24V65AV7BBQNIBVCUSXEJJSSI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Speaker José Oliva, of Miami Lakes, also came out in opposition of convening before the official committee weeks began."},{"_id":"H6SZBNYUENFQFNYMEYE7WJPKZY","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Rep. Cindy Polo, also of Miami Lakes, said she was particularly “frustrated and disappointed” in the “no” votes from members like Oliva, of the Miami-Dade delegation."},{"_id":"GSVVMDYYBFEJTPVU2B5OILYHRI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“This isn’t serious enough? Are we not facing a crisis?” she said, citing day-to-day gun violence in Miami. “Will not one bill be heard? Our children are dying ... your thoughts and prayers are not what we elected you to do.”"},{"_id":"6JIM5FDXVZBQLG26VC4O6Q235U","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"Standing behind the elected officials were about two dozen activists, including MJ Wright, who lost her son Jerry in the Pulse nightclub shooting, Romania Dukes, whose son De’Michael was shot and killed outside their Cutler Bay home, and Debbie Hixon, whose husband Chris was killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School."},{"_id":"UOM2CHRQVJB7VGS2WO7EKASBG4","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"The women pleaded for lawmakers to remember South Florida and gun violence in Miami when they go back to Tallahassee for session this year."},{"_id":"QCU2CQNJ6RB27DYG3QZTCWNLUI","type":"text","additional_properties":{"comments":[],"inline_comments":[]},"content":"“We plead again. We beg again. 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