Governor’s Field Expands, Special Vaccines Session and Can Florida Help Unclog Global Trade?
State Senator Annette Taddeo entered the Democratic primary race for governor this week, saying she is the candidate who can excite voters in her party’s attempt to oust Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis next year.
His candidacy makes three veteran Democrats in the race to topple Governor DeSantis in 2022 – Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, U.S. Representative Charlie Crist and now Taddeo. She believes she has what it takes to galvanize Hispanic voters and appeal to Progressive Democrats as the party struggles to regain a foothold in Florida.
“The conversation about my gubernatorial candidacy began in the last election cycle when we saw the huge erosion of Hispanic voters and the decline in voters for Democrats in Miami-Dade,” Taddeo said.
She won her state seat in 2017 in a special election following the resignation of Republican Senator Frank Artiles. He resigned after using a racial insult in a private conversation with two black state senators. Taddeo was re-elected in 2018 by a comfortable margin. Ron DeSantis was elected governor that year with a 0.4% margin.
She said “being there” is an action Democrats need to take to win back voters.
“We [Democrats] I love to come two weeks before an election, throw [around] a bunch of money, ask for the vote and it doesn’t work, ”Taddeo said.
And the president of the Florida Democrats also pledges to attend.
“What is not going to happen anymore is a Democratic Party which only sets up its operation on the ground for each election, which limits its work and its hopes of winning blue counties to make us overtake”, a said Florida Democratic Party Chairman Manny Diaz. “This is what has been done for the past 10 years. Not anymore.”
Floridians have not elected a Democratic governor since 1994. Former President Trump has carried the state widely in 2016 and 2020, even given Florida’s traditional political reputation as a “purple” state.
Democrats lag behind the Florida Republican Party in voter registration. While Democrats still have an advantage over the number of registered voters in Florida, it is shrinking. In January, Democrats had a 2% margin. By August, it had fallen to 1%.
Diaz said it was a “game of typos” of record data for the differences.
“The games are played with something called ‘inactive voters.’ An inactive voter still has the right to vote, but is no longer registered in public numbers,” he said.
He did not call such a practice illegal, but “temporarily creating a message”.
Potential special session
Governor DeSantis has called for a special legislative session to push back federal government mandates on vaccines. The move comes as the Biden administration is preparing a rule requiring employees of companies with 100 or more workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, or get tested weekly.
The president is already demanding that the military, federal contractors and federal employees receive the doses.
DeSantis said Florida couldn’t wait for the 2022 legislative session, which begins in January, to “toughen” state laws banning vaccines and masks.
“We want to make it clear that in Florida your right to earn a living does not depend on the choices you make in terms of these injections,” he said.
Democrats are questioning DeSantis’ motivations for calling this extraordinary session. State Representative Anna Eskamani of Orange County called it a political ploy. ”
It is disappointing and sad that Governor DeSantis is spending public money and time on a politically motivated program to stimulate his own electoral aspirations, ”Eskamani said.
Senator Taddeo, who announced she was running for governor this week, said the call for the session was “insane”.
“Now the governor wants to tell private companies what they should and should not do to keep their employees and customers safe. Frankly, I think that is nonsense,” Taddeo said.
Exactly what the governor wants lawmakers to do may not go so far as to prevent companies from requiring employee vaccinations, however.
“He explained, in general terms, how bad the vaccination mandates are, implying that the federal government’s proposals [are] Wrong. But then, when he made his ideas clear, he declared war on employers’ vaccination mandates. But he’s really not asking lawmakers to ban the practice, ”said Mary Ellen Klas, Miami Herald Tallahassee bureau chief.
Florida House and Senate leaders have said they will consider the governor’s call for a special session, but what the agenda might be remains to shift.
And, according to Klas’ reports, executives may want to move directly to the expected vaccine requirements of the Biden administration’s employer.
“They rejected the idea that maybe [the state] should add Florida removal or Florida removal from all OSHAs to special session [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] requirements and create [its] own labor department, ”Klas said.
Float to Florida
The governor and others hope to use the backup at southern California ports to bring the cargo to Florida instead. Dozens of freighters are lined up in the waters off Southern California. This has been one of the pinch points in global trade that has helped fuel inflation and fueled concerns about missed gifts over the coming holidays.
“As the largest container port in Florida, we want the industry to know that Florida ports are a solution to the nation’s port congestion problem,” Eric Green, CEO of JAXPORT, said in Jacksonville on Tuesday.
“We have capacity and all of our ports can give these companies good incentives if they re-route their ships. We have had some ships re-routed already, we expect to have more,” Governor DeSantis said in an appearance on Fox News Thursday night.
But few Florida ports could accommodate the bulk of the large ocean-going vessels waiting to dock in Los Angeles or Long Beach. According to marine traffic data online, ships with drafts of 42 feet or even 47 feet are waiting for service. JAXPORT is the subject of a project to deepen its navigation channel from 40 to 47 feet. The PortMiami Canal has been deepened to 50 feet.
“Let’s not forget that it’s not just the mega container ships that are stranded there,” said Michael Rubin., CEO of Florida Ports Council.
It may take more to rout freight traffic from one side of the continent to the other on a regular basis.
“If this cargo is destined for, say, Florida or even a discretionary market somewhere on the east coast, why not bring it to a less populated area there?” said Rubin.
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