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Florida GOP Newsletter – Week ending May 26th in Review

In Case you Missed it : WEEKLY WRAP UP

Message from Chairman Joe Gruters

The Florida model continues to grow attention on a national level. Specifically, the Governor’s targeted approach to protecting vulnerable populations in long-term care facilities. Those efforts are now being touted as one of the most important ways to mitigate the impacts of the virus. See our “In the News” section for state and national stories and articles about Governor DeSantis and Florida’s response to COVID-19.

Last week at a news conference  in South Florida, Gov. DeSantis discussed why testing remains central to Floria’s ongoing response to COVID-19.  More than 90% of people getting tested for COVID-19 in Florida are negative as our state moves forward with re-opening. To date, nearly one million individuals have been tested for COVID-19.  However, the percent of tests that come back positive for our new cases has ranged between 0.67% and 3.3%. That means more than 90% of people who are testing are coming back negative.

In other news, the Governor spent the week traveling the state highlighting Florida’s efforts to safely head down the road to economic recovery. Several major announcements were made, including his two selections to the Florida Supreme Court; Florida’s Pandemic EBT program for families that rely on free and reduced-price school meals; a key land acquisition to protect our state’s environmental heritage; hurricane recovery updates and hurricane preparedness measures; and a new COVID testing partnership with Home Depot and Publix. Lastly, this past weekend marked the breathtaking launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket carrying NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley in the Crew Dragon capsule.

I was honored to have witnessed NASA’s first commercial launch with American astronauts, on an American rocket ship, on American soil since 2011 right here in the Sunshine State. With Governor Ron DeSantis’ steadfast commitment to the space industry, we will once again see human space flight from the Great State of Florida. We thank President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence for coming back to Florida to take part in the historic accomplishment at the Kennedy Space Center.

A Week in Review

Tuesday, May 26 Governor Ron DeSantis traveled to South Florida where he announced his two appointees to the Florida Supreme Court. He announced the appointment of Judge Renatha Francis and she will fill the vacancy of former Florida Supreme Court Justice Robert Luck, who now serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit after being appointed by President Donald Trump. Francis will officially take her seat on the Supreme Court on September 24, 2020. Judge Francis will be the first Jamaican-American named to sit on the Florida Supreme Court. He also named John Couriel to the Florida Supreme Court. Mr. Couriel’s appointment fills the vacancy of former Florida Supreme Court Justice Barbara Lagoa, who now serves on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit after being appointed by President Donald Trump.

While in South Florida the Governor was also asked about the possibility of Florida hosting the Republican National Convention after tweets by President Trump expressed concerns about North Carolina still being in shut-down mode. Gov. DeSantis said that he would welcome the Republican National Convention to Florida and that he was sure several cities would love to host it.

“Florida would love to have the RNC. Heck, I’m a Republican, it would be good for us to have the RNC in terms of the economic impact when you talk about major events like that. So my posture on all this is we should try to get it done as best we can in accordance with whatever safety requirements.” 

~~ Gov. Ron DeSantis

Wednesday, May 27  Governor Ron DeSantis announced federal approval for the implementation of Florida’s Pandemic EBT Program (P-EBT) in partnership with the the Department of Children and Families (DCF), and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS). The P-EBT program automatically issues benefits during the month of June to more than 2.1 million children who have temporarily lost access to free and reduced-price school meals during COVID-19-related school closures.  Gov. DeSantis thanked President Trump and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for allowing states to identify gaps in services and develop new and needed programs that will allow parents to continue to receive healthy lunches throughout the summer months. For more information and Frequently Asked Questions about the P-EBT benefit program, please visit https://www.myflfamilies.com/covid19/access.shtml.

Thursday, May 28 Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet approved a 17,080-acre land acquisition within the Dickerson Bay/ Bald Point Florida Forever project from The Nature Conservancy. Acquisition of this property, which is also known as The Bluffs, provides a permanent means of protecting and restoring the estuaries that recreational and commercial fishers rely on for finfish and shellfish species that are the economic lifeblood of the region. For more information and to hear what Florida conservation leaders are saying about this acquisition please click here.

Also on Thursday, Gov. DeSantis announced the appointment of Kyle Cohen to the Twentieth Circuit Court which includes Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee Counties. Cohen, of Estero, has been an Assistant United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida since 2008 and currently serves in the Civil Division of the office.

Friday, May 29 Governor DeSantis announced the Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) has partnered with Home Depot and Publix to establish six additional COVID-19 testing sites. Governor DeSantis made this announcement at the first Home Depot testing site in Boca Raton. The Florida Division of Emergency Management is providing staffing and personal protective equipment. Each of these test sites will be able to conduct up to 100 tests per day. Tests will be sent to Quest Diagnostics and results will be available within 5 – 7 days. Under the direction of Governor DeSantis, the state has established more than 15 drive-thru and 15 walk-up testing sites across the state. To date, more than 210,000 individuals have been tested at these sites. Floridians can find a site near them here.

Gov. DeSantis also encouraged Floridians to prepare for Hurricane Season by taking advantage of the Sales Tax Holiday: May 29th – June 4th. Floridians are urged to prepare for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season by taking advantage of the Florida Disaster Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday, during which critical supplies for hurricane preparedness such as water, medicine, flashlights, batteries, and generators, are tax free. For more information click here.


Florida GOP Newsletter May 26, 2020

Governor Ron DeSantis’ COVID Response:
Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step.
Plan for Florida’s Recovery

May 26, 2020

A NOTE FROM CHAIRMAN JOE GRUTERS:

Last week, the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the Republican Party of Florida intervened in a radical lawsuit that Democrats filed in Florida as part of their nationwide assault on the integrity of our elections.This case is a prime example of Democrats and their liberal allies seeking to exploit coronavirus as an excuse to attack popular election integrity measures by asking judges to legislate from the bench. Democrats sued Florida and all 67 of its county supervisors of elections, demanding they willfully ignore and violate Florida election law by prohibiting enforcement of the state’s ban on ballot harvesting and by allowing ballots to be counted after Election Day. I issued the following statement and will continue to keep you — our members and supporters — apprised.

“Once again national Democrats are coming into Florida trying to change our election laws by judicial fiat right before the 2020 election in an attempt to steal as many votes as possible in President Trump’s home state.  We will do whatever we can to defeat this partisan lawsuit and ensure that every eligible voter in Florida has the opportunity to vote safely and securely.”  

This past weekend we also joined millions of Americans and reflected on Memorial Day — a time to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedom. We honor all those who courageously fought and died for our country.

Weekly Highlights

Florida continues leading the way to America’s recovery under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis. Florida’s COVID-positivity rate continues on a downward trend despite an increase in overall testing which is allowing Florida businesses and families to move forward with the safe and phased re-opening of our economy and state.

Last week was action packed with both the Governor and First Lady Desantis sharing several announcements outlined below.

Expanded Walk-Up Testing Sites: Florida continues to expand testing – and has added 5 new walk-up sites located in Daytona Beach, North Lauderdale, Miramar, Opa-Locka and Sarasota. These sites support underserved communities and can test 200 individuals per day. To find a site near you, visit  floridadisaster.org/covid19/testing-sites/.

Senior Meals: The Department of Elder Affairs continues providing thousands of meals to seniors. Working with the 11 Areas Agencies on Aging they provided over 428,000 meals throughout the state last week, including over 94,000 from the Restaurant Meal Initiative. The weekly meal delivery represents a 223% increase over a week of meals served pre-COVID19. DOEA’s restaurant meal initiative has served 312,850 meals through 83 participating restaurants over the span of one month.

Vacation Rentals: And some good news for Floridians, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation has received and approved the requests by 16 Florida counties to operate vacation rentals pursuant to the safety plan submitted by their respective County Administrator. For a list of those counties click here.

A Week in Review

Thursday, May 21:  Governor DeSantis met with Vice President Mike Pence, CMS Administrator Seema Verma and U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia in Orlando to discussFlorida’s Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery. The Governor and Vice President delivered personal protective equipment (PPE) to Westminster Baldwin Park, a local long-term care facility and participated in an economic roundtable with state tourism and hospitality leaders. They also showed their support for local businesses and stopped to have lunch at Beth’s Burger Bar.

Gov. DeSantis also pushed back against false narratives, setting the record straight with the media about fake claims that were being circulated about the Florida Department of Health dashboard. You can watch the video HERE.

Tuesday, May 19th: Governor & First Lady DeSantis declared the month of May 2020 as Foster Care month in Florida. Despite COVID-19, foster families are demonstrating resilience, providing invaluable emotional support, and ensuring foster children and youth can safely connect with their biological families, as appropriate. Most are also overseeing distance learning, which was extended through the end of the school year – motivating the young people in their care to remain focused and achieve educational success.

“All children deserve a loving home. As we continue to navigate through this public health emergency, we can’t lose sight of that; we must keep our foster families and youth top of mind,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “Offer to drop off groceries at the front door or schedule a time to video chat – any kind gesture large or small can have a meaningful impact.”

Over 6,700 foster families have opened their hearts and homes to more than 8,150 children, with some committing to care for youth impacted by COVID-19.

Reemployment Assistance: Governor DeSantis held a press conference with Florida Department of Management Services Secretary Jonathan Satter and provided an update on Florida’s reemployment assistance program and the state’s COVID-19 testing efforts.

The state remains committed to getting eligible Floridians paid as quickly as possible. As of May 19th, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has paid 97.6% of eligible applicants and distributed more than $2.6 billion in reemployment assistance for Floridians. While more work remains to be done, it is important to highlight that DEO has paid out more in the last 10 weeks than it has in the last five years combined. The state’s ultimate goal is getting eligible Floridians paid as quickly as possible. DEO also launched an updated Florida’s Reemployment Assistance Claims Dashboard providing even more transparency and insight into Florida’s reemployment assistance process. To see the updated dashboard, visit: Floridajobs.org/raclaimsdashboard

Monday, May 18th: It was a busy Monday for the First Family, as Governor DeSantis traveled to Central Florida to announce the opening of the I-4/S.R. 408 Interchange Ramps three months ahead of schedule. This was as a result of Gov. DeSantis’ directive to accelerate work on the I-4 Ultimate project due to a decrease in the volume of traffic as a result of COVID-19.

DCF Emergency Grants: Also on Monday, First Lady Casey DeSantis announced that the Department of Children and Families had received a $1.9 million emergency grant to address behavioral health disorders resulting from the current public health emergency. The funding, awarded by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, will provide crisis intervention services, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and other related recovery support for children and adults impacted by COVID-19.

Quote of the Week

“Because of the choices you’ve made, the truth is that we’ve stopped the spread, we’ve flattened the curve, we’ve saved lives,” Pence said in the opening moments of a roundtable discussion with Gov. Ron DeSantis and leaders of the state’s tourism industry at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando.

ICYMI

Tweets

 

 

Videos

Gov. Memorial Day Message:

Ron Says ‘Enough’: DeSantis Rips Media:


Sean Hannity on the Florida Model:


Marco Rubio on Fox & Friends:

Graphics to Share

Follow Governor DeSantis on twitter and facebook as he shares daily case results:

What They Are Saying

Statements by Florida’s elected leaders regarding Governor’s Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step. Plan for Florida’s Recovery Full Phase 1 Plan which went into effect on May 18, 2020.

 

Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez said, “Today, under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, we are taking another important step towards prudently re-opening our state. Florida has not taken a one-size-fits-all approach and the numbers are showing a downward trend. The health and well-being of our residents remains our highest priority, and I am encouraged by the manner in which Floridians and businesses have come together throughout this pandemic. I’m grateful to be part of such an incredible undertaking and look forward to seeing the Sunshine State thrive once again.”

 

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “As we move to a Full Phase 1, I applaud Governor Ron DeSantis’s decisive yet guarded leadership. The fact-based approach Florida has followed throughout this crisis has withstood and outperformed speculation and projected models thus far. A Full Phase 1 of the Governor’s plan for Florida’s recovery should allow Floridians to begin to safely return to their communities and ways of life.”

 

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis said, “This step is wonderful for our hospitality, retail, and tourism industries while ensuring Floridians can get back to work safely. The effects of COVID-19 have forever changed our way of life, but step-by-step, I believe Floridians are excited see the state gradually reopen. As we move forward, I remain committed to addressing the revenue impacts this virus has had on Florida’s economy and working together towards protecting our state’s Triple-A bond rating and overall fiscal health. Thank you to Governor Ron DeSantis for his leadership in protecting the health and safety of our communities while deploying a measured re-open plan.” 

 

Senate President Bill Galvano said, “This week Governor DeSantis has continued to advance his Safe, Smart, Step-By-Step Plan for Florida’s Recovery in a strategic and data-driven manner. Day after day, the Governor has demonstrated his commitment to reopening Florida as quickly as possible, while maintaining a focus on public safety as our number one priority. As we move into a Full Phase 1 Reopening on Monday, the small businesses our communities cherish, from gyms, to hair salons and barber shops, to favorite restaurants, are re-opening and implementing key safety protocols. Hospitals, outpatient surgery centers, doctor’s offices, and dental clinics are open and back to providing the routine medical appointments and screenings that keep Floridians healthy. Long term care facilities continue to take the steps needed to keep our elders safe, while at the same time making plans to re-open for visitors, which will mean so much to families across our state eager to reunite with their loved ones. Meanwhile, the Governor has made certain that testing efforts continue to ramp up across Florida, as we remain vigilant in containing the spread of this virus. As Floridians, we must each continue to do our part to ensure we keep up this great momentum.”

 

House Speaker José Oliva said, “I am encouraged by the Governor’s continued march towards normalcy for the entire state. Emergency Orders are meant to be limited and temporary. The Governor’s early and pinpointed actions directly mitigated the threat to the most vulnerable populations and undoubtedly saved lives. Governor DeSantis has been guided by the facts in this important step to recovery.”

Senate President-Designate Wilton Simpson said, “Governor DeSantis’ measured re-opening is the right approach to getting Florida’s economy back on track, while protecting the health and safety of Floridians. These incremental steps give us a chance to make sure we are continuing to flatten the curve as we work toward restoring our normal daily activities. We must all continue to do our part to follow health guidelines as we protect our most vulnerable family members, friends, and neighbors. These are challenging times, but I believe we will return to the prosperity our state experienced prior to COVID-19.”

 

House Speaker-Designate Chris Sprowls said, “Governor DeSantis continues to keep Florida on a steady path to recovery while being vigilant in protecting our public health. Amid all of the rhetoric and confusion, Florida has taken a fact-based, data-driven, outcome-oriented approach to managing this crisis. We can be cautious and responsible without being paralyzed or afraid.”

News Roundup

Rubio tapped to serve as Senate Intelligence chairman

Florida universities plan for Fall reopening

Senate President Bill Galvano praises DeSantis’s response to the coronavirus pandemic

Governor announces ramp openings at I-4/408 interchange months ahead of schedule

Where does Ron DeSantis go to get his apology?

Rebekah Jones’ firing is the COVID clickbait the media dreams of- but its all fake

Florida ‘leading the way’ Vice President Mike Pence says in talk with state tourism leaders

Horowitz: Science and liberty over power: Ron DeSantis delivers for the people of Florida

Public remarks prompted Florida virus data curator’s firing

State of Florida Resources

Want more information? Florida has been hailed as one of the most transparent states in the nation during the response to COVID-19. Here are the top resources accessible to all Floridians:

PAID FOR BY THE REPUBLICAN PARTY OF FLORIDA. NOT AUTHORIZED BY ANY CANDIDATE OR CANDIDATE’S COMMITTEE. WWW.FLORIDA.GOP

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