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Political Bits and Pieces

June 19, 2014 - 6:00pm
As Washington continued to ponder military options in the Middle East, including getting more active in Iraq, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016, took to the national stage to weigh in on the matter. Rubio appeared on Sean Hannitys show on Fox News on Wednesday night and called for America to use air power to hinder ISILs supply routes in Iraq.

During his appearance with Hannity, Rubio insisted the continuing chaos in the Middle East underscores the need for energy independence at home. ...

Rubio spoke on the Senate floor on Wednesday, urging President Barack Obama to show leadership on Iraq. Never again can we allow an al-Qaida-style group to establish a safe haven where they can plot against us anywhere on this planet, Rubio said in the speech. And the choice before you, Mr. President, is you either deal with it now or some future president and future Congresses and future Americans will deal with it later. ...

During a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Wednesday , Rubio went after James Dobbins, the State Departments special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, on the recent prisoner exchange in which five Taliban leaders were released. Under Rubios questioning, Dobbins said it is very likely that the five prisoners will return to the Taliban. ... Rubio also gave a shout out to a leading Republican foreign-policy figure -- and one who could end up as one of his rivals seeking the GOPs presidential nomination in 2016. In an interview with the New York Times, Rubio praised former Ambassador John Bolton for his prominent role in speaking out on foreign affairs. I called him a few weeks ago and thanked him for getting engaged in the debate, Rubio told the Times. ...

On Tuesday, a host of Democratic congressmen from South Florida were at Port Everglades, insisting the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) will not impact efforts to ready the port for the Panama Canal expansion. Four Democratic members of the Florida delegation --U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Frederica Wilson-- were on hand to showcase the WRRDA and the port. Currently, Port Everglades ranks as the twelfth largest container port in the nation. ... Speaking of Wasserman Schultz, she scored a win this week as her calls for Everglades restoration and replenishing Florida beaches were approved in the energy and water spending bill which unanimously passed the full U.S. House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday. The appropriations bill includes $65.5 million going to the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) and $41 million for beach renourishment. ...U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson, D-Fla., wants congressmen to be more secure when it comes to technology. Grayson is teaming up with U.S. Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., to host a crypto-party in his office on Capitol Hill on Monday. The event will feature experts who will explain how to protect your security online, how to assess your privacy risks online, encrypt your devices, chat securely and anonymously browse the Internet, Grayson wrote his colleagues in the invitation. ...

Former TV journalist Alan Cohn, the Democratic nominee challenging U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., is showcasing a poll released this week from Democratic pollster Anzalone Liszt Grove Research. The poll finds Ross leading with 42 percent while Cohn garners 35 percent and 23 percent are undecided. ...Former state Rep Carl Domino named his Martin County leadership on Thursday as he continues his efforts for the Republican nomination to challenge U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla., in November. Domino named veteran Republican activists Gloria and Dennis Fano, who are now serving as the finance chairs for the Martin County Republican Executive Committee, to head up his team in the county. ...U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., announced on Thursday that his office will hold a two-day conference on federal contracts in early August. The conference will be held at Florida Techs Denius Student Center in Melbourne from Aug. 4-5 and will focus on the contracting process. ...

U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., has a new member of his staff. This week, Diaz-Balart announced Enrique Padron is coming on board to work as an aide in the Southwest Florida district office. Padron worked with Mi Voz Radio 770 and was CEO and president of Viva Florida Magazine. ... On Wednesday, Gov. Rick Scott named Ryun Jayer Williamson to the Santa Rosa County Commission for the seat that had been held by his late father,Jim Williamson. Jayer Williamson challenged Rep. Doug Broxson, R-Milton, in 2012 in the Republican primaries and will hold the appointment until Nov. 11, this year. Williamson was already running for the County Commission seat before his father died. ... Staying in the Panhandle, U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, will be focusing on veterans issues in his district next week. Miller is dispatching staffer Stevan Davis, who handles military and veterans issues, out into the district on Wednesday for mobile office hours. Davis will be in Bonify at the Holmes County Chamber of Commerce in the morning before hitting DeFuniak Springs in the afternoon, setting up shop at the Veteran Service Office.

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