Florida Politics: “Jeremy Ring earns police union endorsement in CFO race”

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Former state Sen. Jeremy Ring earned another endorsement in his bid to be that state’s Chief Financial Officer, picking up the support of the Florida Police Benevolent Association. The PBA is a union representing law enforcement officers across the state.

In a statement, PBA President John Rivera said, “Senator Jeremy Ring is a passionate advocate for Florida’s law enforcement and correctional officers. He was our champion in the Florida Legislature.” Ring, a former Parkland resident, represented northern Broward County in the Florida Senate from 2006 to 2016. Rivera went on to say that Ring’s “innovative mind and tenacity helped usher in major positive changes for the officers and their families. We are proud to endorse Jeremy Ring for Chief Financial Officer.”

This adds to Ring’s endorsement pool as he was recently endorsed by former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy. The International Association of Fire Fighters also endorsed Ring last year.

Ring, a Democrat, will have to unseat the current CFO, Republican Jimmy Patronis. He was appointed to the position last year by Gov. Rick Scott.

Patronis was set to face a primary challenge from state Sen. Tom Lee before Lee ultimately decided against a run.

Ring has brought in impressive fundraising totals in his challenge to Patronis. The most recent poll in the race also showed Ring with 37 percent support to Patronis’s 35 percent. However, that poll was conducted back in December.

Among the state CFO’s responsibilities are oversight of Florida’s retirement funds and regulation of the insurance industry.

An early member of the Yahoo!, Ring opened the first East Coast office of the internet company back in 1996. The 47-year-old wrote a book about his time there, but left long before its eventual financial troubles.

Florida Politics: “Jeremy Ring picks up endorsement of Patrick Murphy, once mentioned as possible CFO candidate”

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As the deadline to qualify for the statewide ballot comes into focus, former state Senator Jeremy Ring has picked up the endorsement of a fellow Democrat occasionally mentioned as a possible primary opponent.

Former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy signaled his support for Ring’s bid to be Chief Financial Officer, citing the former Yahoo executive’s “acuity.”

“From Yahoo to the Florida Senate, there is no other candidate with the extensive background and innovative hides he brings to the table,” Murphy said in a release. “That’s why I’m proud to support him.”

Murphy, the party’s nominee for the U.S. Senate in 2016, has been mentioned as a possible CFO candidate, especially given his background in accounting and finance.

Murphy’s closing the door on a 2018 run is likely the last obstacle Ring will face to running all but unopposed in the Democratic primary.

Current CFO Jimmy Patronis is running for a full-term in the Cabinet post. He’s expected to be joined by state Senator Tom Lee in the Republican primary.

An early poll showed Ring with a slight lead over Patronis, 37-35, though that 2-point spread fell well within the 3.7 percentage point margin of error.

The chance to pick up a spot on the powerful Cabinet also played a role in Murphy’s decision to back Ring.

“After 20 years of Republican rule, Floridians are hungry for a fresh approach and I can think of no one better than Jeremy Ring to steer us forward.”

Florida Politics: “Parkland meets Pulse, uniting in grief, anger and frustration”

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Survivors, family, and community members battered but not beaten by Florida’s two great recent tragedies met in Orlando Wednesday at Pulse nightclub, uniting in their grief, anger, determination and a frustration over how things do or do not change.

A busload of Parkland community members, including families of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students, came to pay their respects at the Pulse nightclub, and to share in their experiences both of and following the mass shootings of Feb. 14, 2018, and June 12, 2016.

 

These are not happy groups, but they were joyful to meet one another Wednesday, in the company of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and former state Sen. Jeremy Ring, two Democratic politicians as closely affected by the massacres as any. Dyer oversaw much of Orlando’s response, coming out of it Orlando United. Ring is a Parkland resident, running for Florida Chief Financial Officer, with his campaign temporarily suspended since the school shooting.

The group, part of the much larger contingent that spent the past week in Tallahassee seeking legislative responses to the Douglas High School shooting, was not put together for any ideological positions, but at Pulse Wednesday their anger and frustration appeared widespread: angry that their community suffered another shooting, frustrated that many believe the Florida Legislature let them down.

Kim Bankoff of Weston, mother of three children in the school district, said many of the families who went to Tallahassee were generally pleased and some even excited by the proposals that Legislature leaders laid out to them Monday. Then, she said, hours later, in the middle of the night, they learned of the amendments coming in, and much of the support many felt was replaced by jadedness.

“Pass this or not we need to recognize this does not go far enough,” she said.

Ring, who spent much of the time with the group in Tallahassee and traveled separately to Orlando Wednesday, said of most of the members of the group, ‘They’re ticked off. They’re not happy.”

Ring said Bankoff’s frustration was caused because members of the Florida House had explained their bill Monday night and then changed it, making the Parkland community members feel deceived.

“I’ve seen that countless times,” Ring said. “The other thing that frustrated them that the Florida Senate in a, I don’t know how long, seven hours? meeting, somehow ran out of time. And I’ve seen that countless times.”

He said he understands the processes and politics, but the desperate families who came to Tallahassee were caught completely off-guard, and left aghast.

The 25 or so Parkland community members who came to Pulse met with about a dozen Pulse survivors and family.  Up until a few days ago they would have been able to make an intimate visit to what had become a makeshift shrine to what, until the Las Vegas massacre last summer, had been the country’s worst mass murder in recent history. But they had to get together outside a new, eight-foot, mostly-tarped fence surrounding the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, a barrier erected only last weekend to allow for construction of an interim memorial.

As both Parkland and Pulse community members placed single white roses into the fence, Luciel Tschumy, an LGBTQ transgender female activist from Broward County, read the names of the 49 people murdered at Pulse, punctuating her reading with anger for the lives cut short. “We’re standing here putting 49 roses. We shouldn’t have to freakin’ be here!” she exclaimed.

Margate Elementary School teacher Monique Wilson read a poem she wrote expressing deep frustration and anger. “Honestly America? What’s a parent to do, when a child is stripped from you?” she read. “So much change is needed, America, we’ve needed it for such a long time.”

Dyer sought to unite the groups, and pledged Orlando’s support. “We love you. We feel your pain. We want to do everything that we can to help you,” he said.

Florida Politics: “Jeremy Ring: Divest FRS from gun makers”

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During his freshman year in the Florida Senate, Democrat Jeremy Ring led the fight to make Florida the first state in the nation to pass a bill to divest from Iran. Under that legislation, $1 billion in state pension funds was screened for holdings in companies doing business with or investing in Iran’s oil sector.

As he now runs to serve as the state’s chief financial officer more than a decade later, Ring says if elected, he would push to have Florida divest in any company that manufactures assault weapons for civilian purchase.

Ring lives in Parkland, the site of last week’s deadly mass shooting. He said the idea came to him this week as he sought what he could positively do as CFO to try to prevent another such event.

“We are market makers; the Florida Retirement System (FRS) is the gold standard,” Ring says. “It can do more to significantly affect the stock price of a company than just about any pension fund in America.”

Ring adds that, as a fiduciary, his job is to make sure the retirement system gets the strongest return for its beneficiaries and makes its annual investment return goals. There is no way, he maintains, that divesting from such companies will hurt Florida’s pension fund.

His idea came after it was reported that the FRS had more than 41,000 shares in American Outdoor Brands Co. with a market value of $528,000, according to a Dec. 31 securities filing posted on its website. American Outdoor Brands is the Massachusetts-based parent company of Smith & Wesson.

Federal law enforcement officials say Nikolas Cruz used an M&P 15, Smith & Wesson’s version of the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, to kill 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Along those same lines, Democratic candidate for governor Gwen Grahamreleased a statement on Thursday calling for the state to divest all Florida’s state interests from gun and ammunition manufacturers.

Ring’s proposal would not be as sweeping, as it’s limited to divesting from companies that manufacture assault weapons for sale to civilians, not to the military.

Florida is just one of at least a dozen states that own stocks issued by the makers of firearms, Bloomberg reported earlier this week.

The California State Teachers’ Retirement System, one of the largest pension funds in the country, has divested from firearm makers that are illegal in the state.