Florida Politics: “Jeremy Ring returns fire with list of dodgy Jimmy Patronis donors”

State Sen. Jeremy Ring, the Democratic nominee for Florida Chief Financial Officer, is hitting back hard against a website that highlights his supporters with criminal pasts.

Behind the site is the re-election campaign of Ring’s Republican opponent, incumbent CFO Jimmy Patronis. Now, Ring is playing the same trick with Patronis’ donors, some of whom have faced their own criminal charges.

Jeffrey Bragg: In 2003, Bragg settled a case after facing allegations that he harmed investors by signing misleading flood insurance documents. He was serving as executive vice president and chief operating officer of Insurance Management Solutions Group Inc. at the time. Bragg appears to have made a pair of $500 contributions to Patronis’ campaign, along with another $500 donation to Patronis’ political committee, Treasure Florida.

Bragg was also once offered up for a post as the state’s insurance commissioner but after questions regarding those allegations were raised, he was eventually appointed to the Department of Elder Affairs under the Secretary of State.

Mike Horner: A former state representative who resigned his post in 2012 after an investigation pegged him as a client at an Orange County brothel.

Horner was likely to win re-election to his Kissimmee seat. He was not charged with a crime. So far, Horner has donated $250 to Patronis’ re-election bid.

Jay Odom: A GOP donor who was previously indicted over federal campaign finance allegations. He has put forward a whopping $5,000 to Treasure Florida.

Odom was accused of laundering more than $10,000 to reimburse donations to a 2008 presidential candidate, believed to be Mike Huckabee. He was also charged with making false statements.

Thorsten Pfeffer: Co-owner of a club in Panama City Beach who faced charges he used to club to distribute drugs. Pfeffer went to trial and was found not guilty on both counts he faced. He has offered up $500 to Patronis’ campaign, according to records filed with the Florida Division of Elections.

Ring’s campaign promises “more to come” regarding Patronis’ donor base.

The offensive was launched after the Patronis campaign set up RingsCriminalRing.com, which offered similar details over contributors to Ring’s effort to oust Patronis from the CFO position.

“Does this make Jimmy Patronis a hypocrite or just incompetent?,” asked the Ring campaign in a statement. “Either way, this is just further proof that he is unqualified to be Florida’s Chief Financial Officer.”

View the original article here.

Press Release: “Campaign Fail: Florida’s Chief Auditor Jimmy Patronis Failed to Audit Own Criminal Contributors Before Attacking Jeremy Ring”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2018
contact: Anthony Pardal
anthony.pardal@gmail.com, (239) 410-6048

Campaign Fail: Florida’s Chief Auditor Jimmy Patronis Failed to Audit Own Criminal Contributors Before Attacking Jeremy Ring

CORAL SPRINGS, Florida — Yesterday, Jimmy Patronis announced a new campaign website designed to impugn the reputation of Jeremy Ring by listing the backgrounds of a handful of his campaign contributors. However, the only thing it exposed was that Jimmy Patronis is just another politician throwing rocks at a glass house. A quick search of contributions to Patronis’ campaign accounts through March of this year shows a rogues gallery of contributors, including the ones listed below. Does this make Jimmy Patronis a hypocrite or just incompetent? Or, both? Either way, this is just further proof that he is unqualified to be Florida’s Chief Financial Officer.

The following are a list of some of Patronis’ criminal and ethically challenged contributors. More to come:

Jay Odom – Served jail time for a scheme to launder money to a presidential candidate and other campaign finance violations and tried to buy influence that led to a separate indictment that ultimately brought down former Florida House Speaker Ray Sansom amongst other questionable business and political endeavors.

Mike Horner – The former State Rep. resigned his seat after his name came up during an investigation of a prostitution ring.

Jeffrey Bragg – A one-time nominee for Florida’s insurance commissioner was sued for misleading investors in a flood insurance venture that ultimately caused tens of millions of dollars in harm.

Frank Stevens – Arrested for fraud.

Jeffrey Howell – Arrested for a DUI

Thorsten Pfeffer – Criminally charged with conspiring to use their club for the consumption and distribution of illegal drugs.

Pat Bunker – Multiple criminal offenses including burglary and a DUI.

Tiffany Carr – Investigated for misusing taxpayer money and providing false salary information to Florida’s Department of Children and Families.

Ring, who opened the first East Coast office of the internet company Yahoo! out of his apartment in 1996, also represented Broward County as a Democrat in the Florida Senate from 2006 until 2016. Ring has been traveling extensively to meet with voters and share his vision for the state. His unique background in the technology sector has colored his calls for the creation of an innovation economy and high-paying jobs in Florida. Ring’s accomplishments in this sphere include helping to build Yahoo from a small start-up into a multi-billion dollar venture along with his work in the Florida Senate laying the groundwork for innovation and technology companies to flourish in the state.

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Miami Herald: “What does Florida’s chief financial officer do? What you need to know before voting”

The chief financial officer, or the self-titled “business manager for the state,” oversees a variety of offices, mainly handling the state’s finances and serving as a trustee of the state retirement fund.

The race for the seat — currently held by Republican Jimmy Patronis — could be important to the Democratic party, which has not won a statewide office since Alex Sink was elected CFO in 2006. She launched an unsuccessful campaign for governor in 2010, and was succeeded in her role by Republican Jeff Atwater.

So what exactly does the CFO do?

Anna Farrar, a spokeswoman for the office, said the biggest undertaking of the CFO is the insurance and consumer services piece, which serves to answer questions from residents about anything from investments to insurance fraud. The office also serves as the custodian for unclaimed money across the state.

Current CFO Jimmy Patronis is just the fourth person to fill the role, which was created in 2002 to consolidate state offices related to financial services. He oversees more than 2,000 employees across 13 divisions.

The offices range from the state’s accounting, investment, deferred compensation and risk management programs to agencies overseeing insurance agencies, funeral homes and cemeteries. The CFO’s office licenses insurance agencies and serves as the state fire marshal.

As one of the three elected members of the Florida cabinet in addition to the governor, the CFO serves alongside the attorney general and commissioner of agriculture and consumer services. The cabinet officers, including the CFO, work with the governor on matters such as the purchase of land, clemency and law enforcement. The CFO makes about $128,972 annually.

In addition to managing the day-to-day finances of the state, whoever ends up in the seat will be tasked with overseeing a multiyear overhaul of the state’s 30-year-old financial management system. The CFO also handles about $1 billion in unclaimed property from dormant bank accounts, unclaimed insurance settlements and even watches, jewelry, coins and other miscellaneous items from abandoned safe deposit boxes. Unclaimed money is deposited into a fund for public education, but citizens have the right to claim their property any time.

Patronis is running as the sort-of-incumbent on the Republican ticket in a campaign promising support for first responders, identity protection and fiscal accountability.

He was appointed to the role by his longtime friend, Gov. Rick Scott, after Atwater resigned in 2017. Because Atwater’s term technically ends this year, it creates a rare open seat for the office.

Juan Peñalosa, executive director of the Florida Democratic Party, says the opportunity could be a win for Democrats.

“For the first time, our Democratic nominees are all capable of winning as individuals,” he said.

On the Democratic ticket for CFO is Jeremy Ring, a former Broward County state senator and ex-Yahoo! executive who has promised to prioritize Florida’s retirement system and insurance rates while “growing the innovation economy.”

Patronis and Ring have run into some tension along the campaign trail, mainly whenPatronis accused Ring of hiring a political researcher to access his driving records.

Patronis called the candidate “Reckless Ring” and said the breach was “disturbing.”

State investigators found that the researcher did access confidential information on Patronis but that the actions were not illegal. Despite Patronis’ campaign pointing at Ring for the breach, the Democratic candidate was not mentioned in the investigation.

“It sounds like the Patronis campaign is admitting that the only fraud committed here was when CFO Patronis used taxpayer resources for political activities and then tried to cover it up until the press caught him red-handed,” Ring said then.

He was referring to a June story first reported by Politico, which revealed that Patronis crashed a state-issued car on his way to his political consultant’s office last year.

Patronis also did not reimburse the state for $4,015.62 until Politico ran the story. It is illegal to drive a state-issued car for personal or political use. A spokesperson for Patronis’ office said his payment was for “wear and tear” on the vehicle.

Ring, of Parkland, has criticized Patronis and said he’s lied before in attacks against Ring.

“You can attack with the truth, you can attack with a kernel of truth or you can attack with a complete lie,” Ring said. “It’s fine, it’s politics. But it didn’t make sense.”

He wants to make Florida an innovation hub “like California and Massachusetts.”

“I have a concept of how we could take money from the retirement system to grow our big companies as well as grow our technology and innovation economy,” he said. “Kids in the state of Florida can grow up and want to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs. They want to innovate.”

Ring, whose net worth is a reported $5.1 million, has put $194,000 of his own money into his campaign. He says his experience running a large-scale enterprise and full-time commitment to campaigning makes him uniquely qualified for the job.

Patronis says his experience in the role already shows his commitment to the people of Florida. Since he became CFO, 885 people have been arrested for insurance fraud, and $10 billion have been paid down in state debt.

“I take my job seriously as the fiscal watchdog for taxpayer dollars,” he said. “I fight insurance fraud and oversee insurance agents to protect Floridians.”

View the original article here.

Jacksonville Business Journal: “Florida candidates show bipartisan support for federal changes to pot banking”

Democratic agriculture-commissioner candidate Nikki Fried and other state Cabinet candidates from both parties want to see federal banking changes that could lead to Florida financial institutions being open to people and businesses with ties to the medical-marijuana industry.

But Fried’s proposal for a state-created bank to handle the burgeoning industry’s money has little support from other candidates who may be part of the next Cabinet.

Fried, an attorney and medical-marijuana lobbyist from Fort Lauderdale, has made revamping regulations about the cannabis industry and banking a high-profile issue because of difficulties she has had in securing a bank for her campaign account.

Fried said as a Cabinet member she would lobby the federal government to enact laws that would protect banks that handle money tied to marijuana. She also would advocate that the state’s top financial regulator, who is overseen by the Cabinet, maintain an “open door” policy for banks handling marijuana money. Also, she said she would urge fellow Cabinet members to charter a bank that could handle the money.

“We can start a state bank. That is something I have been proposing as well, a national state-bank that is controlled by the Cabinet that we can take dollars from companies and have it housed in one location,” Fried said during a conference call last week in which she was joined by former Gov. and Congressman Charlie Crist, D-Fla.

Fried said a state-backed back would be better positioned for Florida lawmakers to provide defense from “any actions on the federal level.”

Fried’s call came as twice in the past two months her campaign account been bumped from national banks, first by Wells Fargo, then by BB&T.

Florida voters in 2016 approved a constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana. While Florida is one of about 30 states with such legalization, cannabis remains illegal on the federal level. As a result, financial institutions have been reluctant to put themselves into a position where they can be accused of laundering drug money.

“These banks are placing limits on access to medical marijuana and limits on the care Floridians can receive,” Fried argued.

Fried’s Republican opponent for agriculture commissioner, state Rep. Matt Caldwell of North Fort Myers, has a different plan to address medical-marijuana issues.

Caldwell wants to move the Office of Medical Marijuana Use from the Florida Department of Health to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The winner of the Caldwell-Fried race in November will head the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for the next four years.

“I am advocating for the largest role possible for the commissioner in order to see the medical cannabis program instituted and developed consistent with the law and Florida Constitution,” Caldwell said.

Asked about the state establishing a bank to handle the interests of businesses tied to medical marijuana, Caldwell said businesses have been using state-chartered banks “to solve this challenge in the free market.” Private banks can be state chartered or federally chartered.

Caldwell also said he would continue to support a proposal by Congressman Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Fort Walton Beach, that would “down-schedule cannabis” which is now considered by the federal government like heroin and cocaine.

“This would also ease the challenges for outside industries, such as banking,” Caldwell said.

Democrat Jeremy Ring, a former state senator running for state chief financial officer, was the only major-party Cabinet candidate who backed Fried in setting up a state-chartered bank to handle medical-marijuana money. However, Ring would place a caveat on how the financial institution is run.

“As long as it serves as a depository institution, solely, then yes, the Cabinet should consider establishing a state-chartered bank,” Ring said. A depository institution could be a commercial bank, while examples of non-depository institutions could include such things as securities firms.

Ring also backed Fried in establishing new rules for the state Office of Financial Regulation to help medical-marijuana businesses.

“Sooner or later, the federal government will have to either change the classification of marijuana, legalize it in some capacity or go after more than half of the nation,” Ring said. “Until that point, I do believe that states do have a role in assisting businesses, particularly here in Florida where over 70 percent of voters backed the legalization of medical marijuana.”

“At the end of the day, elected officials work for the taxpayers and have a responsibility to implement the will of the people,” Ring continued. “With that said, the CFO has a very particular role to play in this in its capacity as part of the (state) Financial Services Commission — specifically the Office of Financial Regulation — which has regulatory oversight of Florida’s financial services industry.”

The campaign of incumbent Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, a Republican from Panama City, said the state has been seeking to clear up federal banking rules.

“The CFO’s office sent a letter to the Federal Reserve earlier this year which asked for clarification and guidance on how to best handle the lack of banking options for medical marijuana companies because he was concerned about crimes, theft and the safety of those who are managing the funds associated with those businesses,” Patronis campaign spokeswoman Katie Strickland said in an email.

Attorney-general candidates Ashley Moody, a Republican from Hillsborough County, and Sean Shaw, a Democratic state representative from Tampa, favor working with the federal government to clear up the conflicts in state and federal law.

“The resulting banking issues faced by the medical marijuana industry were known prior to the passage of the amendment and resulting legislation,” Moody said. “The challenges will continue to exist until Congress modifies existing federal law. Unless that happens, there is unlikely anything the state or Cabinet can do to ameliorate these banking issues as even specially chartered banks would still be subject to federal banking regulation and money-laundering laws and reporting requirements.”

She added that Congress needs to codify “a safe harbor to existing banking laws” so the marijuana industry, where legal, can have access to a strictly controlled banking system.

“Continuing to force the industry to operate solely in cash will invite criminal enterprise and jeopardize the safety of employees,” Moody said.

Shaw said he will support the will of the voters but added that the greatest “confusion and instability” is the “federal government’s failure to give clear guidance as to how they will enforce federal marijuana laws.”

“It is well past time for the federal government to clear up the inconsistencies between state and federal law and allow the state of Florida to benefit from the same type of new revenue streams that states such as Colorado and California have been afforded,” Shaw said.

View the original article here.

Florida Politics: “Jeremy Ring courts Jacksonville Democrats Monday night”

Margate Democrat Jeremy Ring, a former state Senator and current Democratic nominee for Chief Financial Officer, will address Jacksonville Democrats tonight.

Ring will speak to the Duval Democrats at their normal monthly meeting (held at the IBEW Union Hall) at 6 p.m. Monday evening.

Ring is running against incumbent Panama City Republican Jimmy Patronis, a gubernatorial appointee running for his first term.

Patronis, who did not face a primary challenge, is well-capitalized, with over $5 million banked. Ring will not match that fundraising.

When we talked to Ring in late August, he contended that fundraising would not determine how the campaign would go.

Ring noted that with candidates for Senate and Governor running, and Constitutional amendments on the ballot, spending is “already up over $200 million.”

“So, $4 million or whatever buys you maybe a week and a half of TV,” Ring said. “But we’re all going to get lost in the clutter. And the clutter’s no longer just television — it’s digital, it’s scattered, it’s everything.”

“I’m not convinced that anyone [running downballot] is going to be able to break through the amount of money that’s going to be spent,” Ring predicted. “The cluttered environment is going to make it very difficult for anyone that doesn’t have $50 million, $100 million to spend.”

Polls of the race earlier this summer reflected an undefined race. Public Policy Polling had Ring up by five points; the Patronis-friendly Florida Chamber had Patronis up by nine.

View the original article here.

North Escambia: “Florida Democratic Party Reaches Out To Voters During Century Stop”

The Florida Democratic Party brought their statewide tour to Century Wednesday afternoon as they look to gain support in Escambia County, a traditional Republican stronghold.

Only one Century resident — other than local candidates or the mayor — attended the meeting.

The tour is part of the party’s effort to ensure they are reaching voters across the state and bring attention to their candidates in rural areas that have not seen a Democratic candidate in decades.

“We are here to talk about the issues that are important to the rural areas of Florida. We know that rural counties have been particularly hard hit by the last 20 years of Republican rule,” Terrie Rizzo, state chair of the Florida Democratic Party told NorthEscambia.com. “We have a record number of Democratic candidates that have stepped up to run and present issues to the local areas.”

Rizzo said the visit to Century is part of the party’s 67-county plan, because “every county in Florida matters”.

“We deal with a lot of poverty, and we deal with a lot of infrastructure needs that go overlooked, as well as transportation to get to things such as education, transportation to health care and transportation to jobs, Vikki Garrett,  Democratic candidate for Florida House District 1, said.

“I have a real concern about our public education from the state level as far as the resources we can bring back to District 1,” Garrett said.

“We will build up Escambia,” Democratic Florida Chief Financial Officer candidate Jeremy Ring said. “Probably starting from Pensacola, especially with all the defense work. And the communities start to build opportunities moving north.”

Ring is a former state senator from Broward County and was one of the first people to work at Yahoo during the company’s early years. If elected, he would be first Democrat to win a statewide race for a Florida office since 2006 when Alex Sink won the CFO job.

The Democratic Party’s “Rural Tour” stop in Century was billed as a “Rural Education Forum”, a topic Century Mayor Henry Hawkins said he holds dear.

Carver/Century K-8 School, the last public school inside Century, closed in May 2009 as the students were consolidated into Bratt Elementary School and Ernest Ward Middle. 

“In the past 10 or 12 years with two superintendents, they have closed every predominately black school there is in Escambia County,” Hawkins said. “Century was the last one.”

Hawkins said the county spent millions more building a new facility at Ernest Ward Middle School in Walnut Hill, instead of spending millions less to move students to the former Carver Middle School in Century.

The one local resident that attended the event, Tawana Jones, told the panel that there is more to Century that most people see.

“I don’t want you guys to think we are all just needy and poor, because that is a misrepresentation of us,”  Jones said. “There’s a lot of us that work, that have great jobs, that are productive members of society. So we are not all poor, we are not all begging…..there are people that are doing well in Century. I want that to be portrayed about my community.”

“Century has a lack of resources for its citizens, and school is that resource. That is the main resource,” Jones added.  She said “the majority” of the children in Century do not attend Bratt or Byrneville elementary, Ernest Ward Middle or Northview High schools because they are too far away. In the school attendance zone that includes Century, Ernest Ward is the greatest distance away at about 16 miles.

View the original article here.

Orlando Sentinel: “Gillum, King kick off gubernatorial campaign in Orlando”

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum made his first campaign stop alongside running mate Chris King on Saturday in Orlando, touching off what is expected to be a heated race for the post with Republican candidate Ron DeSantis and running mate Jeanette Nunez.

During a roughly 40-minute speech, Gillum emphasized pay raises for teachers, a criminal justice system that re-integrates those who serve their punishment and punishing the state’s biggest polluters in the midst of the so-called “red tide,” which is marked by a reddening of seawater because of toxins.

“What you will have is a governor who actually believes in science,” he said on stage in the gymnasium of the Orlando Downtown Recreation Complex.

The 39-year-old has fallen in the crosshairs of President Donald Trump of late, with the president on Friday once again mentioning Gillum during a campaign stop in Montana.

Gillum took to Twitter shortly after that stop, saying that he had heard the president had attacked “but still didn’t have the courage to @ me by name. Mr. President, my name is Andrew Gillum and I’m going to be the next Governor of Florida because lies and scare tactics don’t vote, people do.”

Gillum echoed that tone in Saturday’s speech, calling the president “cowardly” for not tagging him on the site, an action that gives Twitter users a heads up that someone is posting about them.

“We are going to show them that this type of government doesn’t work in 2018,” Gillum said of what he called a divisive approach to politics.

“We are not going to get in the gutter with them but when it comes to what we believe in, we will fight fiercely,” he said during Saturday’s speech.

In a statement, Republican National Committee spokesperson Taryn Fenske called Florida Democrats “hypocritical” for supporting the Gillum-King ticket.

“Andrew Gillum has used his public office for private gain – he’s been caught accepting gifts from undercover FBI agents, gave his campaign treasurer profitable contracts from the City of Tallahassee, and used taxpayer funded software to send political messages. Gilllum has no idea how to run the city of Tallahassee, let alone the entire state of Florida,” Fenske said.

The estimated crowd of about 1,200, which filled the gym’s balcony and most of the gymnasium floor, watched as a parade of Democratic politicians, including U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and U.S. Rep. Val Demings, praised Gillum.

Chris King, a primary opponent-turned-lieutenant governor nominee, turned some of his attention to criminal justice.

“Today, in Florida, we still have a problem with institutional racism,” he said. “We believe that, regardless of the color of your skin, who you love, who you worship, this state must present the same opportunities for justice for all.”

But Democratic candidate for chief financial officer Jeremy Ring brought the biggest laugh of the afternoon, saying that many in the crowd may not even have known that his position exists.

“I’m 48 years old and I’m the oldest person on this ticket,” he said.

Gillum said he would respond if provoked – as he did on Twitter – but that the campaign would focus on laying out their plan.

“Somehow, we have allowed the other side to convince us that the only way to win is by stepping on the necks of other people,” he said. “I reject that kind of politics.”

Gillum positioned the campaign as a proving ground for Democrats across the nation, saying winning the Governor’s Mansion in Florida would give them “the opportunity to show the rest of the nation what is possible.”

The enthusiastic crowd repeatedly broke into chants of “Bring it home” and once even started a “Yes we can” chant, echoing the slogan made popular during U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign.

Wesley Davis, 25, a field organizer for Equality Florida, noted Gillum’s emphasis on promoting different groups’ rights throughout the speech.

“He is advancing rights to people who have been told they don’t have these rights,” Davis said. “Gillum and King will take this state in a direction we have needed.”

View the original article here.

Florida Politics: “Nikki Fried, Jeremy Ring campaign on algae solutions on Caloosahatchee River”

Democratic Cabinet candidates Jeremy Ring and Nikki Fried held a town hall on the Caloosahatchee River and committed, if elected, to bring stakeholders together to combat the dual plagues of blue-green algae and red tide.

At a joint North Fort Myers campaign stop, Ring, a candidate for Chief Financial Officer, stressed the need for all parties involved with pollution problems around Lake Okeechobee to rally around a unified solution.

“I don’t think you have to win by demonizing anybody,” Ring said.

Both Ring and Fried, the Democratic nominee for Agriculture Commissioner, said the executive branch could take immediate steps to prevent further harmful algal blooms.

“It’s time for leadership,” Fried said. “We just need knowledge on what has been done and what needs to be done.”

The candidates met with Southwest Florida scientists and environmentalists, including some seeking seats in the Florida Legislature, at the Three Fisherman Seafood Restaurant overlooking the algae-plagued Caloosahatchee in North Fort Myers. It’s the same venue where Sen. Bill Nelson met with some of the same leaders in July.

The gathered experts placed the bulk of the blame for the disaster not on any industry as much as on Gov. Rick Scott’s focus on deregulation and industry appeasement during the past eight years.

“We’ve removed environmental protections we’re supposed to have according to the Environmental Protection Agency. We removed water monitoring and then said we didn’t know what was happening,” said Annisa Karim, a wildlife ecologist and Democrat running in Senate District 28.

But in addition to hammering on Republican policies regarding environmental protection, the experts also discussed the practical challenges.

“One thing I’ve learned from 10 years in the Florida Senate, when you bring the Legislature a finished product you don’t have a problem,” Ring said. “They will pass that bill. When you bring them gridlock, you’re not going to get legislation passed.”

Former Cape Coral Mayor Marni Sawicki said everyone should acknowledge the role they have to play and noted efforts in the nearby city to contain water runoff.

John Capece, chairman of the Democratic Environmental Caucus of Florida’s Southwest Chapter, said much of the pollution into Lake Okeechobee, frequently credited with blue-green algal blooms, comes as much from land formerly used for cattle farming as it does from other blamed sources.

But John Scott, a Sierra Club activist and co-leader of the Clean Water Initiative, said the sugar industry remained the “biggest polluter of the political system,” standing in the way of land acquisition for a new reservoir and of other regulations that could make discharges from Lake Okeechobee into the Caloosahatchee and St. Lucie rivers less toxic.

Jennifer Boddicker, the Democratic candidate for state House in District 80, said while no party should be demonized, it remained critical to have scientists leading discussions, not lobbyists. “You have to have scientific guidelines or they [industry lobbyists] will run the meeting,” she said.

Fried and Ring both agreed it was important to bring stakeholders together, but not lobbyists.

Of course, Fried’s policy background includes years of lobbying work. “But that’s exactly why I decided to run for office this year,” Fried said.

“I saw first-hand on the issues I was fighting for—public education, foster care of children and obviously medical marijuana—and saw how at the last minute when trying to get good police, big corporations and big lobbyists would come in and destroy whatever good things are happening.”

How can further failure be avoided in the future? Ring says the next step for candidates is obvious.

“I’ve got to get elected. And Nikki’s got to get elected,” he said. “Once we get elected we can do everything we spoke about today.”

View the original article here.

The Star: “Ring, candidate for Florida Chief Financial Officer, to Speak in PSJ”

Jeremy Ring, a former Florida State Senator and one of the early innovators at Yahoo, will speak 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13 at Provisions restaurant, located at 222 Reid Avenue.

Ring will dine at Provisions and speak with fellow patrons at the restaurant. If you would like to attend this event, please make reservations with Provisions at 229-9200 by Sept. 11 and tell them this is for the Jeremy Ring lunch. This is a dutch-treat lunch setting not a keynote speaker event.

Ring is a start-up tech pioneer, innovator, and committed public servant with a sterling record of accomplishment in business and in the Florida Senate.

After opening the first East Coast office of the internet company Yahoo out of his apartment at age 25, Jeremy spent several years as an executive in the tech and innovation sector before moving to Florida to raise his family and winning election to the state senate. He served in the Florida Senate from 2006-2016, when his district was redistricted.

Ring is now running for Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO).

“We’re thrilled to welcome Senator Jeremy Ring to Gulf County to share his vision for moving Florida forward,” said Andrea De La Vega, newly elected Chair of the Gulf County Democrats. “Chief Financial Officer is a crucial, but often overlooked cabinet position that touches the lives of all Floridians.

“As a former technology executive and state legislator, Senator Ring has the business and legislative experience and skills that we need in our CFO.”

Florida Politics: “Jeremy Ring ad calls out ‘Chief Fraud Officer’ Jimmy Patronis”

Florida’s gubernatorial race isn’t the only statewide contest in which sparks are already flying.

You can add to that list the battle between Jeremy Ring and Jimmy Patronis for Chief Financial Officer, which is getting particularly rougher after a digital ad from the Ring campaign dropped Thursday.

Titled “Redefining CFO,” the 30-second spot seeks to put a new spin on that acronym when it comes to incumbent Patronis’ time on the job.

“Jimmy Patronis misusing taxpayer resources: Florida’s Chief Fraud Officer,” the ad’s narrator begins.

“Patronis thought he could get away with breaking the law, using taxpayer resources for his own crass political purposes. That got him slapped with a formal ethics complaintPOLITICO even caught him red-handed lying about it after the fact. Jimmy Patronis, CFO: Chief Fraud Officer.”

The ad refers to reporting by POLITICO which showed Patronis crashed a state-owned vehicle while “heading to a business whose address corresponds with that of his political consultant, Melissa Stone.” That’s despite his agency generally prohibiting the use of those vehicles for personal use.

POLITICO’s report says a response from the agency indicated Patronis’ use of the vehicle was permitted because he reimbursed the state. However, that reimbursement only came seven months after the crash, on the same day POLITICO reached out to the agency regarding the story.

That appears to be what Ring’s ad references when it says Patronis was “caught red-handed lying,” though Patronis himself did not seem to have lied about the accident.

Patronis was also fined $173 by Tallahassee police for his role in the accident.

The reports prompted Ring to file an ethics complaint, alleging Patronis used the state vehicle for “personal and political activities.”

Ring’s new spot isn’t the only point of contention between the two.

Earlier Thursday, Patronis’ campaign accused a Democratic opposition researcher of “posing as Patronis to obtain his personal information through a third-party state vendor in May.” The campaign cited a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation.

As of Thursday afternoon, Ring has not directly addressed the allegations.

Stone did reference the reports in response to Florida Politics reporting on the ad targeting Patronis.

“Jeremy Ring paid someone to impersonate CFO Patronis, and now he will do anything to try and cover up what he did,” Stone said before touching on a previous line of attack against the Democrat — one which Ring firmly addressed in an Aug. 9 op-ed.

“He is a risky businessman, with many ‘business flops’ under his belt, and a reckless politician.”

View the original article here.