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Earth Day politics roundup: Hold hearing, tour recycling plant, celebrate Everglades, profess concern

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014 by George Bennett

Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera (left) with "Alligator" Ron Bergeron, Sr. at a recycling facility in Broward County.

Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera toured a recycling plant in Broward County. Sen. Bill Nelson held a hearing on sea-level rise in Miami. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, took time out from her visit to Ukraine to bemoan rising temperatures on Twitter. And a slew of other elected officials and candidates used social media to offer hashtagged expressions of concern for the environment and future generations on Earth Day 2014.

Some examples after the jump…


Frankel headed to Ukraine, says ‘my mother is not happy’

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014 by George Bennett

Frankel speaking at a 55+ community west of Delray Beach today.

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, will head to Ukraine on Thursday along with other members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“My mother is not happy” with her visit to the international trouble spot, Frankel told about two dozen retirees at the Bridgeview community west of Delray Beach.

Frankel said she doesn’t know many details about her itinerary.

In an interview, Frankel said she’s had several meetings on Ukraine, including a dinner last week with about a dozen members of Congress and about six ambassadors from Eastern Europe.

“Their take is they are very worried,” Frankel said of the Eastern Europeans. “Some of them are just worried about us getting back into a Cold War kind of situation. I don’t think anybody really trusts (Russian President Vladimir) Putin.”

Frankel added: “There’s absolutely no talk of any military action at all. I don’t even think that’s possible. But there’s other discussions: What do we provide to people in Ukraine? But that’s something I hope we’re going to explore on the ground when we talk to some of the leaders there.”

Murphy, Frankel cite ’77 cents’ statistic on women’s earnings; their staffs have bigger gender pay gaps

Monday, April 14th, 2014 by George Bennett

Democratic Reps. Patrick Murphy and Lois Frankel

Democratic Reps. Patrick Murphy and Lois Frankel joined President Barack Obama and other Democrats last week in promoting “Equal Pay Day” and its much-repeated statistic that women earn 77 cents for every dollar men are paid.

In Murphy’s and Frankel’s congressional offices, the gap between the average earnings of male and female staffers is even greater. Subscribers to can find more detail and context in this week’s Politics column.

A review of House records shows Murphy and Frankel provide similar pay to men and women who hold similar jobs. But women outnumber men in lower-paying jobs on both staffs, dragging down the overall female average compared to men.


Democratic dudgeon: Nelson, House members blast Supreme Court’s campaign finance ruling

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 by George Bennett

In this photo provided by Rep. Ted Deutch's office, the congressman criticizes the McCutcheon ruling while People For the American Way field director Diallo Brooks holds the electronic bullhorn outside the U.S. Supreme Court.

The U.S. Supreme Court today struck down limits on the total amount of federal campaign contributions a donor can give, prompting criticism from Democrats.

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and three Democratic members of Palm Beach County’s U.S. House delegation slammed the McCutcheon vs. FEC ruling. Donors still cannot give more than $5,200 to a federal candidate ($2,600 for a primary and $2,600 for a general election), but today’s ruling eliminates a federal law that capped overall donations to candidates at $48,600 and limited aggregate donations to political parties and committees at $74,600.

The Democratic dudgeon begins after the jump…


Sanctions backer Frankel tells broker to unload $4,276 in Russian holdings in her IRA

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 by George Bennett

Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, who joined colleagues on the House Foreign Relations Committee Tuesday in approving a sanctions bill against Russia for its Ukrainian aggression, said today she has asked her broker to get rid of holdings in six Russian companies that a Morgan Stanley account manager purchased for her Individual Retirement Account.

The Russian holdings of Frankel and five other members of Congress were noted by The Huffington Post Tuesday.

“I support, and voted for, the bipartisan sanctions against Russia for their aggressive actions against Ukraine,” Frankel said in a statement released today.

“My holdings were purchased by a Morgan Stanley Account Manager, for many clients, long before the current crisis and are among hundreds of stocks in said portfolio that are managed by that manager. The total value of these Russian-related positions have a total value of $4,276. I have requested my broker to liquidate those interests forthwith,” Frankel said.

Obama to speak on economy in Orlando, raise money at Alonzo Mourning’s house in Miami

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 by George Bennett

President Barack Obama will speak about the economy on Thursday afternoon at Valencia College in Orlando, then head to Miami for fundraisers that include a $16,200-a-head Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event at the home of former Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning.

U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, helped organize the DCCC fundraiser, which will also feature House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and DCCC Chairman Steve Israel, D-N.Y.

The event’s $16,200 price tag includes a cocktail reception, photo opportunity and dinner.

Obama also visited Mourning’s house for a 2010 fundraiser for the DCCC and former Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton.

Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, plans to attend the Thursday fundraiser but Reps. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, and Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, do not.

Florida Democratic Party ‘investing’ in nonpartisan Wellington council races

Monday, February 17th, 2014 by George Bennett

For the Florida Democratic Party — shut out of the governorship and all three atatewide cabinet posts, heavily outnumbered in the state House and Senate — one place to cultivate future talent is in nonpartisan municipal elections.

It’s been going on since at least 2003, when the state party funneled more than $100,000 into Lois Frankel‘s successful bid for the nonpartisan mayor’s job in West Palm Beach.

Now state Democrats are spending money on mailers for Wellington council challengers Matt Kurit and Sharon Lascola, who are trying to unseat incumbents (and registered Republicans) Howard Coates and Anne Gerwig, respectively, in the March 11 elections. Coates received county GOP support in a past Wellington council race.

“For the past several years, the party has been investing in local races, and this represents a continuation of those efforts,” said Florida Democratic Party spokesman Joshua Karp.

Subscribers to can read more about the Wellington race and other partisan involvement in nonpartisan municipal elections in this week’s Politics column.

Rubio comes face to face with troops from ‘repressive and paranoid’ North Korea during Asia trip

Friday, January 24th, 2014 by George Bennett

A North Korean soldier takes a picture of Sen. Marco Rubio through the window as Rubio stands in a conference room in the De-militarized Zone between North and South Korea.

Photos released Thursday night by Sen. Marco Rubio‘s office show the Republican Senator visiting the De-Militarized Zone between secretive, communist North Korea and U.S. ally South Korea.

Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is on an official trip to Asia that has included stops in Japan and the Philippines.

“There are few places in the world where the stark differences between two neighboring countries is as evident as the line that divides the Korean peninsula,” Rubio said in a statement released by his office. “As one soldier patrolling the DMZ told us, it is the edge of freedom.”

Rubio added: “I believe some day in my lifetime that edge will no longer exist and North Korea’s people will live freely. Coming face to face with agents of a repressive and paranoid communist regime was a reminder to me of how important it is that we not only stand with our South Korean allies but also remember the innocents in North Korea whose lives are being destroyed.”

As described by Rubio's office: "Rubio stands with a guard in what is technically considered North Korea. North Korean guards stand on the other side of the door."

Frankel breaks with other local House members and votes against budget deal

Friday, December 13th, 2013 by George Bennett

Concerns about Medicare, military pensions and unemployment insurance led Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, to vote no on budget deal.,

A bipartisan budget deal passed the House by a lopsided 332-to-94 margin on Thursday with three members of Palm Beach County’s delegation — Reps. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton; Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar; and Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter — joining the majority. Former Palm Beach County delegation member Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee, also supported the deal.

Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, voted no, joining a coalition of liberals (including Democratic Reps. John Conyers of Michigan and Jan Schakowsky of Illiniois) and tea party conservatives (including Republican Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Raul Labrador of Idaho) in opposition.

Said Frankel: “This budget deal is better than the status quo and it’s good to see bipartisan cooperation. With that said, because of the cuts to Medicare, reduction to military retirement payments and leaving millions of Americans desperate without any source of income because of failure to renew unemployment insurance, I voted no.”

On House ‘Keep Your Health Plan Act,’ Murphy one of 39 Democratic defectors

Friday, November 15th, 2013 by George Bennett

Rep. Patrick Murphy, who represents a GOP-leaning district, was one of 39 Democrats to vote for Republican 'Keep Your Health Plan Act.'

Bucking President Barack Obama‘s veto threat and his party’s House leadership, swing-district freshman Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, was one of 39 Democrats to vote today for a Republican a bill to allow insurers to continue offering health insurance plans that don’t meet the standards of the new federal Affordable Care Act.

Murphy was one of only five Democrats to co-sponsor the “Keep Your Health Plan Act,” which passed on a 261-157 vote. Four Republicans voted against the bill, which some conservatives derided as a lifeline for Obamacare.

Palm Beach County’s three other House members — Democratic Reps. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton, Lois Frankel of West Palm Beach and Alcee Hastings of Miramar — all voted against the measure.

Challenger out-raises Hastings in individual contributions, but PACs boost incumbent

Monday, October 21st, 2013 by George Bennett

PAC checks pad the re-election account of U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings and other incumbents.

The latest batch of Federal Election Commission reports confirms one of the many advantages of incumbency — the tendency of PACs to shower money on sitting members of Congress.


U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, raised only $7,425 from individual donors during the quarter that ended Sept. 30. His Democratic primary challenger, Port of Palm Beach Commissioner Jean Enright, snagged $19,065. But Hastings enjoys a big fundraising edge thanks to PAC contributions.

Freshman Reps. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, and Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, have seen a big boost in PAC money since winning their seats last year. And Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, has received nearly one-third of his 2014 contributions from PACs.

Subscribers can read more about it in this week’s Politics column. One-day passes to are available as well.

Also in this week’s Politics column:

– Former state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff sets a timeline for deciding on whether she’ll seek a rematch against Democratic Sen. Maria Sachs.

– Former U.S. Rep. Allen West is launching a new website, but he doesn’t own the domain name. Find out who does and what the owner says about giving it up.

– Find out which local official incorporated a Standard & Poors statistic into the opening prayer at last week’s Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting.

Palm Beach County’s House members all back deal to end government shutdown, raise debt ceiling

Thursday, October 17th, 2013 by George Bennett

Democratic Reps. Ted Deutch and Lois Frankel with Palm Beach County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor earlier this month in Boynton Beach.

The four Democrats who represent Palm Beach County in the U.S. House of Representatives all voted for the deal to end the government shutdown and increase the federal debt ceiling on Wednesday night.

After the Senate approved the deal earlier in the day on an 81-18 vote — with Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in favor and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio opposed — the House gave its OK with a 285-144 vote.

Reactions from Palm Beach County’s congressional delegation after the jump…


Frankel, Deutch say Boehner allowing ‘reckless’ minority of GOP to drive shutdown

Monday, October 7th, 2013 by George Bennett

U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, and Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, talk with Palm Beach County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor outside a Head Start facility in Boynton Beach before a news conference about the federal government shutdown today.

BOYNTON BEACH — On the seventh day of a partial shutdown of the federal government, U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, and Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, stood outside a Head Start center this morning to urge House Speaker John Boehner to call a vote on a no-strings-attached spending bill to keep the government running.

Palm Beach County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor joined Deutch and Frankel to highlight Head Start, which gets $16.4 million a year in federal money. The commision last week approved $1.2 million in county money to replace the federal share for three weeks in hopes of getting reimbursed when a federal spending bill is approved.

The elected officials were accompanied at a news conference by representatives of Florida Atlantic University’s medical school, a food bank, a government employees union and a foundation that supports Everglades preservation. All said a prolonged shutdown will hurt their programs and the people they serve.

The Republican-controlled House has insisted that bills to continue funding the government include provisions gutting or delaying the federal health care law. The Democrat-controlled Senate and President Barack Obama have insisted on a “clean” funding bill. The impasse led to a shutdown of many government functions when the new fiscal year began last Tuesday.

“This shutdown is irresponsible, infuriating and reckless. Congress has been hijacked by 30 or 40 radical members who oppose a reasonable solution……Because of a tea party tantrum, the whole country’s been paralyzed,” said Frankel.


Move over Ted Cruz: Frankel becoming go-to congressional source for Seuss

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 by George Bennett

Theodor Seuss Geisel

Texas tea party Sen. Ted Cruz sparked a Theodor Geisel (a/k/a Dr. Seuss) awakening on Capitol Hill last week when he read from Green Eggs and Ham during his anti-Obamacare filibuster last week.

But Cruz has been eclipsed in Seussian invocations by Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, who quoted from Fox In Socks during Saturday’s shutdown debate and followed up today with a reading from Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

There are 43 more books in the Seuss oeuvre, enough for a lengthy shutdown.

Former Rep. Clay Shaw remembered with bipartisan tributes

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013 by George Bennett

Republicans and Democrats have paid tribute today to former Rep. Clay Shaw, who died of lung cancer Tuesday night at age 74. Fort Lauderdale Republican Shaw represented a South Florida district from 1981 to 2007 and authored landmark welfare reform and Everglades restoration bills.

Some statements on Rep. Shaw:

Former Gov. Jeb Bush: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Emilie and all of Clay’s family and friends. He was a dedicated public servant with a big heart who loved family, country and his beloved state of Florida. He leaves behind a legacy of service that is an example to many.”

Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach: “We have lost a great statesman for South Florida. I will always fondly remember Clay Shaw from my time as Mayor of West Palm Beach, as someone who you could work with in a bipartisan manner and as a true gentleman. My heart goes out to his family at this difficult time.”

Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar: “I have a heavy heart today. Clay was a good friend of mine. My overall feelings turn to the extraordinary work he did on behalf of South Florida…I consider that we’ve lost a great American and a real dynamic congressperson who I would describe as a cross-aisle politician.”


Freshman Reps. Frankel, Murphy remain cautious on Syria after Biden briefing

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 by George Bennett

Freshman Reps. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, and Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, offered cautious statements on Syria after getting a briefing this afternoon from Vice President Joe Biden and other officials at the White House.

Neither Frankel nor Murphy has taken a position on President Barack Obama‘s request for authorization of military strikes in response to Syrian President Bashar Assad‘s use of chemical weapons.

“This is probably one of the most agonizing decisions that I’ve ever been asked to make in my life and I take it very seriously. I have not yet decided,” Frankel said.

“I’m like most Americans. I go in with a bias against war,” said Frankel, whose son served in the Marines in Afhganistan and Iraq. “I certainly would like to be able to support the president. I think the use of chemical weapons is just an outrageous crime against humanity…The best result is a diplomatic solution.”

Murphy released this statement:

“The use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime must be stopped. Military action must always be the last resort and I am encouraged that the Administration is working toward a diplomatic solution. I have attended several closed briefings this week with the Vice President, other Administration officials, and top military officials. Because of the gravity of this situation, I continue to carefully weigh all options, consider all information, and closely monitor new developments.”

Undecided on Syria, Frankel to hold ‘listening session’ teleconference with constituents Wednesday

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 by George Bennett

Freshman U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, will hold a telephone “listening session” with constituents on Wednesday night to hear their views on Syria and President Barack Obama‘s request that Congress authorize military strikes there in response to President Bashar Assad‘s use of chemical weapons.

Frankel says she hasn’t decided whether she supports the use of military force.

Frankel just returned from a bipartisan congressional trip Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Japan and Belgium. During the trip, Frankel’s office said, the congresswoman met with world leaders and discussed Syria and other issues.

Wednesday’s teleconference is scheduled to go from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. About 50,000 automated calls will be placed to constituents in Frankel’s Palm Beach-Broward District 22, inviting them to participate in the call. Constituents can also sign up for the call by visiting by 12 noon on Wednesday.

Frankel hosts ‘telephone town hall’ Wednesday; constituents can assure spot through 5 p.m. today

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013 by George Bennett

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, will conduct a “telephone town hall” with constituents in her Palm Beach-Broward District 22 on Wednesday night from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

People who live in District 22 can sign up for the teleconference by clicking here and registering before 5 p.m. today.

Shortly before the teleconference begins on Wednesday, automated calls will be placed to about 50,000 constituents inviting them to participate. A similar teleconference in April drew about 6,600 participants.

Before the teleconference, Frankel and Reps. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, and Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, will participate in a town hall meeting sponsored by immigration reform advocates at the Lake Worth campus of Palm Beach State College. That event begins at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Duncan Theatre on campus.

After the immigration event, Deutch will hold an in-person town hall with constituents at 7 p.m. Wednesday at John I. Leonard High School.

Vote on blocking NSA phone data collection produces strange alliances, splits Palm Beach County Dems

Thursday, July 25th, 2013 by George Bennett

An effort to block the National Security Agency from collecting hundreds of millions of phone records narrowly failed in the House of Representatives Wednesday in a vote that saw some libertarian and conservative Republicans join with liberal Democrats against the Obama administration.

Reps. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, and Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, voted for the amendment by Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., a tea party favorite who’s been likened to libertarian icon Ron Paul. The Amash amendment failed on a 217-205 vote.

Reps. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, and Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, voted with the majority to defeat the amendment, as did Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Okeechobee. Republican and Democratic House leaders — including Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz — sided with the Obama administration and voted against the amendment.

In all, 94 Republicans and 111 Democrats voted for the amendment, with 134 Republicans and 83 Democrats opposed.

Frankel urges House to pass Senate’s immigration reform

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013 by George Bennett

Charlene Rupert, who said she came to the U.S. from Venezuela as an 11-year-old, urges passage of comprehensive immigration reform while Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, looks on.

WEST PALM BEACH — Standing in front of a banner that said “Immigration Is A Human Right,” U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, urged the House to approve the Senate’s version of immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship for millions of people now in the country illegally.

She acknowledged the Senate bill faces a tough road in the Republican-controlled House, where Speaker John Boehner and others favor a series of smaller bills with more emphasis on border security. Frankel urged a few dozen supporters who attended today’s event to phone and e-mail House members.

“I will tell you that representatives do look at their e-mails, we do look at our letters, we do know about our phone calls and right now I believe that the American people have to move this U.S. House of Representatives to do the right thing,” Frankel said.


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