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Business Community Offers a Split Decision in First Coast Senate Race

May 29, 2012 - 6:00pm

The business community this week offered a split decision in one of the most competitive and compelling Republican primaries in the Sunshine State -- the battle to replace term-limited state Sen. Steve Wise, R-Jacksonville.

With Wise facing term limits, three prominent Republicans -- former Rep. Aaron Bean, Rep. Mike Weinstein, R-Jacksonville, and attorney Wyman Duggan -- are competing to represent parts of Nassau and Duval counties.

Bean announced on Wednesday that he had garnered the endorsement of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Aaron Bean knows the Jacksonville business community and understands what it takes to be a small-business owner in Florida, insisted Marian Johnson of the Florida Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.The Florida Chamber supports Aaron Bean for Senate District 4 and encourages its members to do the same. Aaron has what it takes to get the job done in Tallahassee for the hard-working taxpayers in his district and across the state.

I am honored to have the support of the Florida Chamber, Bean said before stressing his belief in free-market solutions. I am an avid believer that business owners create jobs, and we must decrease the regulatory and tax burden on businesses to free up the entrepreneurial spirit and grow the work force in order to continue on the path of economic recovery.I am committed to making our community and our state a better place to live, work and raise a family.

But Bean is not the only candidate in the race who unveiled the support of the business community this week. Weinstein, who represents parts of Clay, Duval and St. Johns counties, received the support of JAXBIZ, the political arm of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce, on Tuesday.

I am honored to have the support of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce and JAXBIZ, Weinstein said. As one of the largest business advocacy organizations in the entire state of Florida, they understand as I do that we need to continue to support policies that will grow our economy, create jobs and keep taxation and regulation low. I look forward to working with the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce in the future as we continue to secure North Floridas future as a leader of business and job creation in the state.

Both Bean and Weinstein have strong ties to the business community on the First Coast.

Bean, a former mayor of Fernandina Beach, is currently with Shands Jacksonville and owns an insurance company and a miniature golf course. He also worked in the banking industry for a decade.

Weinstein, who is known to Jacksonville residents for his two unsuccessful mayoral bids, served as executive director for the citys Economic Development Commission and was instrumental in the citys efforts to host a Super Bowl.

Duggan, a former Marine officer, also has ties to the business community, having chaired the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerces Commercial/Industrial Development Task Force.

Reach Kevin Derby at or at (850) 727-0859.

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