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Ag commish-elect Putnam administration set to go

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 by Dara Kam

Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner-elect Adam Putnam has his new team ready to go with less than two weeks until he takes office on Jan. 4.

Putnam has hired Sterling Ivey, who’s been Gov. Charlie Crist’s spokesman since Crist took office, as his press secretary. Ivey also served as spokesman for the Department of State under Gov. Jeb Bush.

Putnam’s tapped more than a dozen long-serving government workers such as his chief of staff Mike Joyner, who spent more than 25 years working for the state including a stint as chief of staff at the Department of Environmental Protection.

And Putnam’s hanging on to several of current Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson’s employees, many of whom have worked in the department for years.

See who’s on Putnam’s administrative team after the jump. (more…)

Scott Maddox: Double your money! On me!

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009 by Dara Kam

header_leftDemocratic Agriculture Commissioner candidate Scott Maddox’s campaign didn’t get off to a slow start although he didn’t begin collecting money until yesterday.

The former head of the state Democratic Party put off raising campaign cash until Sept. 1 – nearly two months after he jumped into the race – for a reason: that’s when matching public money kicks in.

“But today is not just the first day of our fundraising campaign, today also marks the first day that you can more than double your impact! If you contribute today, the State of Florida will match your donation on a 2 to 1 basis up to $250! If you give $50 dollars, the state will match with an additional $100. If you give $100, the State will match an additional $200, and if you give $250, the match will be an additional $500! Please help us take on this challenge and make a difference for Florida’s consumers…and watch your donation grow!” reads an e-mail Maddox sent to supporters yesterday.

Maddox is faces two other contenders in the Democratic primary. Former state Rep. Rick Minton, a Ft. Pierce realtor, and former Suwanee County Commissioner Randy Hatch both want the job. Audubon of Florida lobbyist Eric Draper dropped out of the race after Maddox stepped in.

Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam, also a former state House member, from Bartow is the favorite in a GOP primary. Putnam was one of the youngest politicians elected to Congress in 2001 at the age of 26. Opponents in the primary include state Sen. Carey Baker, a gun shop owner from Eustis.

Current Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles Bronson is leaving office because of term limits.

Protect the piggies – from swine flu!

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009 by Dara Kam

pigFlorida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles Bronson last week asked folks to stop giving pork a bad rap by calling the H1N1 virus “swine flu” because of the devastating impact it’s having on the pork industry.

But the threat of spreading the virus between pigs and people is a real threat, according to yesterday’s New York Times.

Not in the way most might think, however.

Vets fear that humans will spread the virus to the animals and are instituting precautions at state fairs and other places where the porcine creatures come into contact with those higher up on the food chain.

“When the Oregon State Fair opens next week, the pigs will be kept behind an elaborate configuration of plastic and ribbon barriers, taller-than-usual fences and off-limits walkways. The state veterinarian is also urging visitors to stay six feet away.

The worry? The spread of swine flu, but with a twist: state officials hope to insulate the pigs from sick people.

‘Help us protect the piggies,’ signs at the fair will read in pink,” the story begins.

“The whole idea of the animals getting sick from people is a foreign concept to people, but that’s what we’re looking at here,” said Iowa state veterinarian David E. Marshall said in the story.

Pork getting bad rap because of swine flu

Thursday, August 20th, 2009 by Dara Kam

pigPork producers are being devastated by the H1N1 pandemic, commonly known as “swine flu,” which is responsible for the deaths of 59 deaths in Florida, including five in Palm Beach County.

Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner Charles Bronson wants officials to quit using the term “swine flu” to get the public to separate the virus, unrelated to the consumption of meat, from things like pork chops.

“It is unfortunate that pork producers and processors have been impacted so negatively by the inaccurate characterization of this virus,” Bronson said in a press release issued today. “But the fact is there have been no detections of swine flu in any swine herds in this country, and people cannot get this flu from eating pork.”

The virus is continuing to spread and health officials fear it a resurgence of it as schools re-open after the summer break. Gov. Charlie Crist traveled around the state this week to warn school officials to heed safety precautions, including frequent hand washing.

A 12-year-old Palm Beach County girl died yesterday from complications from the virus.

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