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Fresh Blood Needed in 2018

By John-Walt Boatright  —

National politics usually monopolizes the attention of the news media and, therefore, ours. The prestige and power of national office fully consumes attentive citizens, for good reason. But it is often at the expense of our state and local political happenings. The Founders envisioned a limited federal government because our federalist system allowed for more power and control within state and local governments.

This is why the Constitution enumerates powers vest in the federal government and leaves the rest with the states. This is a fact easily discarded by liberals. Furthermore, aspiring politicians typically rise from within state and local offices, which makes voter vigilance in our city, county, and state that much more consequential. It is why we must devote time and research to choosing the right candidates for upcoming state elections.

Florida’s 2018 elections will see our statewide Cabinet turn over the keys to a new slate of leadership. Florida’s Cabinet consists of four positions: Governor, Chief Financial Officer, Attorney General, and Commissioner of Agriculture. The state has enjoyed Republican control of these offices for the past two terms. All of these positions are important because they are statewide executives with influential roles in our state government.

Naturally, all eyes will be on the Governor’s race. Rick Scott is term limited in 2018, allowing candidates in both parties to run for the office. The most buzz surrounds current Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam as the favorite on the Republican side. Putnam served stints in the Florida and U.S. Houses before being elected statewide in 2010, including as the 3rd ranking Republican in the U.S. House.

Democrats have several names floating around the state, including former Congresswoman Gwen Graham, daughter of Bob Graham, and current Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. Another interesting candidate is John Morgan, of Morgan & Morgan fame. If you have ever spent any amount of time in front of a television, you have no doubt been forced to watch their relentless commercials. John Morgan is also the major backer of the recently adopted Amendment 2 in the 2016 election – medicinal marijuana. He donated a million dollars to this effort, and he is undoubtedly confident enough in his political abilities to try a run for Governor.

The upcoming election cycle will also include the entirety of the U.S. House and a third of the U.S. Senate, so there is no need to ignore national news. In fact, our U.S. Senator is up for re-election, and this is an important decision to come before Florida voters. Will Floridians reaffirm stagnation, or will they take a chance on bold leadership? The answer to this question almost solely depends on who the GOP challenger will be. Intense speculation swirls around outgoing Gov. Scott, who can easily sink millions of his own money into the race, just like he has before.

There is one proposition that is unquestionable, however. Bill Nelson’s stale representation (was it ever fresh?) over his three terms has yielded little to nothing for Florida voters. Period. And I would welcome any credible information to the contrary. No policy initiatives, no tangible evidence of productive leadership, no legislation turned into law. As a member of Congress, a senator is one of only 100 who plays a vital role in crafting and approving bills to send to the President. After two decades in office, and no shortage of problems needing solutions, where is Sen. Nelson’s leadership?

It is eclipsed by a freshman senator’s loud mouth and aspirations for higher office. Sen. Nelson votes with Elizabeth Warren a whopping 92% of the time!

The Warren and Bernie Sanders wing of the Democrat Party leads in a direction that Florida does not want to travel. You can think long and hard about what kind of leadership you desire in Washington, but it’s really a no-brainer.

Nelson’s time has expired. Let’s ensure a better future for ourselves by electing responsible and independent thinkers in 2018.