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Boston University grad and marathon runner Kevin Rader on bombings: ‘Bad things can happen in public places’

Friday, April 19th, 2013 by Dara Kam

Marathon runner and Boston University alum Rep. Kevin Rader, D-Delray Beach, reflected on the bombings just blocks away from his old residence.

Rader, an avid runner who’s completed two marathons and many half-marathons, said he watched four of the Boston races while a student at the university. Rader said the course passed by his home on Beacon Street.

“I cheered people on, not only the people in the lead but the average people who train for the Boston marathon. It’s a race you have to qualify for. You just can’t run it,” he said.

Rader likened the bombings to the type of attacks Israelis encounter on a daily basis.

Rader, who is married to a rabbi, has been to Israel 10 times and lived there for a year, including the time when former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated in 1995.

“It feels like being in Israel to a small degree where you know that bad things can happen in public places. This is what Israelis live under 24 hours a day seven days a week,” he said. “Can you imagine the realm of possibilities if this is the way that terrorists are going to target innocent people? It’s very scary.”

Rader said that runners are physically and mentally exhausted after running the 26.2-mile race.

“When you run a marathon your body takes several days to recover, sometimes a week.
You can’t go up and down stairs after you run a marathon. You’re in a very weak physical state. And a lot of those folks who finished were then walking in that general area when the bombs went off. From a running perspective, it’s like a double physical injury all at once. It’s so traumatic. It really makes me scared in any kind of crowd now because you’ve got to be very, very careful about what people are going to do,” Rader said.

Rader recalled his first marathon, which he said he didn’t properly train for like many first-time racers.

“I was dead at 18 miles. I had a friend who met me at 21. I couldn’t talk. When I was finishing that last half mile I was actually crying because I was so overjoyed that I did it.
I’ve done a lot of things and haven’t teared up like that. But it was such a great physical accomplishment that…such a few of us do. You’re in such a delirious happy state by finishing,” he said.

The Boston University alumni association sent e-mails to members after the event, including this one sent Tuesday:

Dear Alumni and Friends:

Our hearts and prayers go out to those impacted by the Boston Marathon bombings. We just learned that among those injured were two BU students, including one who was killed. The names of these members of our BU family are being withheld, but we can relay that the severely injured student is in stable condition. Words cannot express the sense of loss felt by the entire BU community.

We know that all BU alumni around the world are deeply saddened by this news. There has been an enormous tide of support for Boston, the University and those whose lives have been changed forever.

You can find up-to-date news at BU Today along with a statement from Boston University President Robert Brown. We also encourage you to continue to support one another by sharing experiences, words of encouragement and offering support to those in need on Facebook and Twitter.

Thank you again for your continued support as our University and our BU family unite, recover and grow stronger during this time.

Your BU Alumni Association

Rader to abandon another state Senate bid, challenge Rep. Perman in Democratic primary

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012 by George Bennett


There are many potential roads back to Tallahassee for former Democratic state Rep. Kevin Rader — but all of them seem to involve running against sitting Democratic legislators in a primary.

Rader initially launched a primary challenge against incumbent state Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Boca Raton. Then he announced he was running for an open state Senate seat in a primary against a pair of sitting state House members — Reps. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, and Mack Bernard, D-West Palm Beach.

Now Rader says he is giving up the state Senate primary to run for a state House seat against incumbent Rep. Steve Perman, D-Boca Raton.

Perman was elected to Rader’s old House seat in 2010 when Rader pursued a failed bid for a state Senate seat.

“Over the past few weeks or so I’ve received much encouragement to run here,” Rader said. “This is where I work, my children go to school in the district, it’s where my family is, where I attend synagogue….Everything I do is right here in this district.”

Rader said he plans to file qualifying papers for the House District 81 later this week. The deadline is noon Friday.

Before Rader confirmed his plans, Perman said he had heard rumors that Rader would challenge him.

“I’ve worked hard to do a good job and if someone challenges me I will work hard and do what I can to be re-elected,” Perman said. He added: “I’m surprised because on more than one occasion (Rader) expressed to me that he really wasn’t interested in running for the House. If he does it’ll be a third jump to a different race.”

Wexler joins Deutch in endorsing Rader in contested Democratic state Senate primary

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012 by George Bennett


Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler has joined his successor, U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, in endorsing Democrat Kevin Rader over two other Dems for the new District 27 state Senate seat.

Rader, a former state House member from Delray Beach, is running against current Democratic state Reps. Mack Bernard and Jeff Clemens for the Riviera Beach-to-Boynton Beach Senate district.

About one-third of the district’s voters are black and many of them are represented in the House by Bernard, who is black. Many of the district’s coastal precincts are now represented in the House by Clemens.

The district also includes the Democrat-leaning condos of Century Village, Cypress Lakes and Golden Lakes, which have been represented in Congress by Wexler and now Deutch. The condos were part of an old Senate district where Rader won a 2010 primary but lost in the general election to Republican Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto.

Rader, who had been challenging Democratic state Sen. Maria Sachs in a Palm Beach-Broward district, jumped into the District 27 race this week.

Says Wexler in a statement released today: “I am proud to endorse Kevin Rader and look forward to actively helping him win this election. Kevin is the Democrat we need in the State Senate!”

Endorsementpalooza in Senate District 27 Democratic primary

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012 by George Bennett

Former Democratic state Rep. Kevin Rader made an endorsement splash by jumping into the Senate District 27 primary this week with the backing of U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton.

Rader’s rivals — Democratic state Reps. Mack Bernard and Jeff Clemens — have rolled out their own endorsement lists studded with local elected officials.

Bernard’s backers include Palm Beach County Commissioner Priscilla Taylor, former county commish Addie Greene and school board members Marcia Andrews and Debra Robinson.

Clemens’ supporters include County Commissioner Paulette Burdick and Mayors Sam Ferreri of Greenacres, Dave Stewart of Lantana, Don Clayman of South Palm Beach and Bev Smith of Palm Springs.

See a complete list of Bernard and Clemens endorsements after the jump…


Florida Democrats offer Supreme Court a Senate map

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 by John Kennedy

With the Florida Supreme Court set to hear arguments this month on the Legislature’s second attempt at redrawing Senate boundaries, the state Democratic Party weighed in Tuesday with a proposal of its own.

Democrats are offering justices an alternative after concluding that what the Legislature has drawn “reveals an intent to favor incumbents and contains multiple districts that plainly and directly violate constitutional standards.”

Effectively, the Legislature’s round two includes many of the same flaws that led justices to reject its first attempt in a 5-2 decision last month, Democrats maintain. And while justices sent the rejected plan back to lawmakers to revise in a special session, a second turn-down will result in a court-drawn plan.

Democrats clearly are banking on justices seeking guidance with their map-making by reviewing alternative plans that have been put before them. 

The Democratic Party plan evenly divides the 40-member Senate along partisan lines — with a proposed 20 seats having a voting history that favors Democrats, and 20 Republican-leaning. The Legislature’s plan before justices includes a 23-17 GOP edge in voting performance, analysis shows.

While the latest legislative plan before justices also only puts two current incumbents in the same district — Senate Majority Leader Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, and Sen. David Simmons, R-Maitland — the Democratic plan makes three likely matchups, including Gardiner against neighboring Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando.

In South Florida, Sens. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale, and Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, would be paired. So, too, would be Sens. Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, and Sen. Jeremy Ring, D-Margate.

In Palm Beach County, the Democratic proposal also would add a little more political uncertainty.

The Legislature’s proposed central county seat, with a majority black-Hispanic voting population, would be changed to span the upper half of Palm Beach County, from the coastline to the Glades. Reps. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, Mack Bernard, D-West Palm Beach, and former Rep.  Kevin Rader, a Delray Beach Democrat, have all been eyeing that seat.

A south county Senate district, already targeted by Rep. Joe Abruzzo, D-Wellington, looks like it stays largely intact, in the Senate plan.


Former state Rep. Kevin Rader to challenge Maria Sachs in Democratic state Senate primary

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012 by George Bennett

Former Democratic state Rep. Kevin Rader today announced he’s challenging state Sen. Maria Sachs, D-Boca Raton, in a Democratic primary.

“I am running because I believe we need an unwavering Democrat in the state Senate and, simply put, Maria Sachs is not a real Democrat,” a Rader press release says. He notes that Sachs contributed to George W. Bush (she made $500 contributions in 1999 and 2000) and says Sachs “steadfastly praised Governor Jeb Bush.” Rader also notes that Sachs voted in December for a Republican redistricting plan. Sachs said that was a “procedural vote” to move the process along; her explanation was accepted by Palm Beach County Democratic Chairman Mark Alan Siegel.

Sachs wasn’t immediately reachable for comment this afternoon.

Rader served in the state House for one term, leaving in 2010 to make an unsuccessful state Senate bid against Republican Lizbeth Benacquisto.

Pro-Rader committee faces $15,250 fine for tardy report; appeal planned

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011 by George Bennett


A committee that boosted former Democratic state Rep. Kevin Rader‘s unsuccessful 2010 bid for state Senate is facing a $15,250 fine for failing to file a campaign finance report just before last year’s Aug. 24 primary.

The Florida Elections Commission approved the fine Tuesday against the Committee to Improve Florida’s Economy. The committee plans to appeal the fine, attorney Mark Herron said this morning.


The committee is chaired by veteran Democratic operative Eric Johnson. Johnson was also Rader’s consultant last year.

While the committee was two months late filing a report that was due Aug. 20, Herron argued that a “significant portion” of the information required on the report had been mistakenly included in a previous report that was available for public inspection on the Division of Elections website.


Hot trend: GOP chair’s suit seeks to knock Dem Rader off ballot; Rader might sue back

Friday, October 22nd, 2010 by George Bennett

Palm Beach County Republican Chairman Sid Dinerstein has filed a lawsuit seeking to get Democratic state Rep. Kevin Rader removed from the ballot over alleged financial disclosure failures in the highly competitive state Senate District 27 race against Republican Lizbeth Benacquisto.

It’s part of a new trend inspired by a judge’s decision last week to toss Tampa-area Republican state Senate candidate Jim Norman off the ballot because of disclosure deficiencies. Backers of Democratic congressional candidate Joe Garcia are trying the same legal strategy against Republican David Rivera in Miami.

Dinerstein’s suit follows the lead of a tea party activist’s ethics complaint that accuses Rader of trying to hide his ownership interest in an insurance underwriters group when he filled out financial disclosure forms.

Rader consultant Eric Johnson told The Post‘s Jason Schultz that a Rader supporter has filed an ethics complaint against Benacquisto and the Rader campaign might file a lawsuit over her use of campaign funds to pay rent on an apartment in Lee County.

Hobo makeover for Rader in Democratic primary rival’s mailer?

Thursday, July 29th, 2010 by George Bennett

Stubbly Rader

Stubbly Rader

There’s nothing unusual about a candidate putting an unflattering picture of his rival in a negative mailer. But a recent piece from Democratic state Senate hopeful Pete Burkert slamming primary rival Kevin Rader on insurance issues deserves special note.

The photo of Rader (above right) makes the state House member look like he went a week or so without a shave and borrowed Michael Corleone’s Nevada mobster suit from The Godfather II.

Rader, unaltered

Rader, unaltered

It’s as if someone enhanced Rader’s stubble, added some ear hair and sprinkled in some black forehead dots that look like failed hair plugs.

At left is what appears to be the original Rader photo (with a reversed negative) from a different Burkert mailer.

Burkert today said he wasn’t aware of any attempt by his campaign to alter Rader’s image.

Crist issues executive order allowing out-of-work Floridians to get extended unemployment benefits

Friday, July 23rd, 2010 by Dara Kam

With a stroke of his pen, Gov. Charlie Crist just accomplished what lawmakers refused to do earlier this year – give long-time jobless Floridians the ability to get extended unemployment compensation benefits approved by Congress yesterday.

Democratic lawmakers, including Palm Beach County’s Sen. Dave Aronberg of Greenacres and Rep. Kevin Rader of Boyton Beach, were among those who pushed their colleagues to extend the June 5 deadline for the benefits during the regular session that ended in May. That didn’t happen.

Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, worked behind-the-scenes with Crist on the executive order granting the benefits to about 100,000 Floridians whose unemployment benefits have run out and others whose benefits will dry up before Congress’ reauthorization ends.

“Unemployed Floridians are struggling in this challenging economic climate, trying to figure out how to pay their bills and support their families. We simply cannot desert the 250,000 Floridians who qualify for the extended federal assistance signed into law yesterday. I am committed to exercising my Constitutional duty to authorize the use of available federal funds to help out-of-work Floridians who qualify for this help,” Crist wrote in a release this afternoon.

Congress initially established the extended benefits program in 2008 to provide federal funds for jobless workers who exhausted their state unemployment benefits. Congress has since reauthorized the program several times.

Dems want special session to include unemployment benefits

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Two Palm Beach County lawmakers are pushing a measure to implement an expansion of unemployment compensation benefits Congress is expected to pass as early as today. The bill could bring about $270 million in unemployment benefits for about 200,000 long-term unemployed Floridians whose extended benefits dried up on June 5.

But there’s little chance GOP leaders will expand the special session on oil drilling that kicked off at noon and is already coming to a close in the House.

Gov. Charlie Crist called lawmakers into town to pass a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow voters to decide if offshore oil drilling in Florida should be banned.

The Senate wants to pass the measure but the House is expected to convene briefly and adjourn without even voting on it.

Congress appears to have settled its own impasse over unemployment benefits and is expected today to approve another expansion for the long-term unemployed.

But Floridians won’t be able to get the additional funds unless state lawmakers sign off.

Rep. Kevin Rader, D-Boynton Beach, filed a bill that would extend the state’s June 5 expiration date for the long-term unemployed benefits and wrote a letter yesterday asking Crist to expand the session.

More than 35,000 Floridians a week are losing out on the extended benefits, Rader said.

“These are families who need this money because of the economic crisis in our state,” said Rader, who failed to convince lawmakers to pass a similar measure during the regular session to avoid having to come back during a special session to extend the deadline for the benefits.

Jobless workers spend $1.70 for each $1 in unemployment fund they receive, according to some estimates.

“It’s outrageous we would not act so that Floridians get the funds that they are entitled to,” said Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, one of the bill’s co-sponsors. Gelber’s Democratic attorney general opponent, Sen. Dave Aronberg of Greenacres, is also backing the measure. “It’s money for people who need it the most and who will spend it immediately.”

Rader acknowledged it is highly unlikely the session will be expanded but that “I am always hopeful that common sense and reason will prevail.”

GOP state Senate candidates face off Thursday in West Palm Beach

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010 by George Bennett

Republicans running for the Florida Senate District 25 and 27 seats are scheduled to appear at a “Town Hall Debate” Thursday sponsored by the Republican Club of the Palm Beaches and South Florida 912. The event is at 6:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church at 1101 South Flagler Drive.

In District 25, state Reps. Ellyn Bogdanoff of Fort Lauderdale and Carl Domino of Jupiter are running for the GOP nomination to succeed Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, who is running for chief financial officer. The Republican winner will face Democratic state Rep. Kelly Skidmore and no-party candidate Miranda Rosenberg in November.

The District 27 GOP race features former Wellington councilwoman Lizbeth Benacquisto, retired pilot Michael Lameyer and former state Rep. Sharon Merchant. The seat is now held by state Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, who is running for attorney general. Democrats Pete Burkert and Kevin Rader are also running.

Rader drops ‘Greenstein,’ fixes check, qualifies for Senate race

Friday, June 18th, 2010 by George Bennett
Good check

Good check

Bad check

Bad check

State Rep. Kevin Rader, D-Delray Beach, beat today’s noon deadline and qualified for the District 27 Senate race this morning, according to the Florida Division of Elections. Rader, who serves as his own campaign treasurer, had to return early from a trip to Israel after the Division wouldn’t accept a check drawn on his old state House campaign account. His new check, signed Thursday, was submitted this morning.

Rader appeared on the ballot in his 2008 House race as “Kevin Greenstein Rader.” This time around, the Division of Elections lists him as “Kevin Rader.” Rader couldn’t be reached this morning.

Filing deadline drama for state Senate candidate Rader

Thursday, June 17th, 2010 by George Bennett



Junkies keeping an eye on the Florida Division of Elections online candidate tracking system might have noticed that state Rep. Kevin Rader, D-Delray Beach, hasn’t qualified yet for the District 27 state Senate seat he’s been seeking since last year. The qualifying deadline is noon Friday.

Read about it here.

The problem? When Rader, who serves as his own campaign treasurer, signed a $1,781.82 check to pay his filing fee, he didn’t draw from a Senate campaign account as required by state elections law, but from the “Campaign Account of Kevin Greenstein Rader State Representative District 78.”

Rader signed a correct check today after returning to the U.S. from Israel, consultant Neil Schiller said. Schiller said he did not know whether Rader ended his trip early to sign the new check. The check should be submitted before Friday’s deadline, Schiller said. Rader couldn’t be reached.

Who ‘crossed the line’ in Democratic state Senate primary?

Monday, May 31st, 2010 by George Bennett



In the heated Democratic state Senate District 27 primary, attorney Peter Burkert says state Rep. Kevin Rader “crossed the line” by voting for an insurance bill when he’s an insurance agent.



Rader and his allies say it’s Burkert who crossed the line with a “false and reckless” attack in a race where Dems are already nervous about the GOP taking the seat in the fall.

Speaking of line-crossers, remember when Gov. Charlie Crist was a Republican and tapped Democrat Priscilla Taylor for a Palm Beach County commission vacancy? Now that Crist is an indie Senate candidate, find out if Taylor is willing to cross the line for him.

Read about it in this week’s Politics column.

UPDATE: House passes ‘Corruption County’ priority ethics bill, Senate committee OKs tougher approach

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 by Dara Kam

UPDATE: The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee unanimously approved (SB 902) a tougher measure than the House’s version.

The Florida House approved a measure that would allow counties and cities to go beyond current state law in fines and jail time for county officials and staff who violate local ethics ordinances or financial disclosure requirements.

Under the measure, counties like Palm Beach could double the current fine from $500 to $1,000 and extend jail time from 60 days to one year for corrupt officials.

The House approved the bill (HB 1301) – one of Palm Beach County’s top priorities this session – by a 111-1 vote today, but the Senate is taking a different approach.

The Senate Ethics and Elections Committee is about to combine the ethics proposal with two measures that would impose much harsher penalties on corrupt officials pushed by Palm Beach State Attorney Michael McAuliffe.

Both anti-corruption proposals are being blended with a measure (SB 902) that would increase the legislature’s oversight over state agencies’ contracting, a priority for powerful Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander, chairman of the committee.

One of the harsher measures would make it a crime for any public official to knowingly withhold information about a financial interest in something on they vote or cause to take place. It would would also require disclosure of financial interests that could benefit a family member.

Another would enhance penalties for crimes, such as official misconduct, that public officials commit in their official capacity.

The two stricter measures are sponsored by Sen. Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach, a former federal prosecutor who specialized in corruption cases. The PBC-backed proposal is sponsored by Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres. The two colleagues are running against each other in a Democratic primary for attorney general.

McAuliffe said the changes in the law would make it possible for the state rather than federal officials to prosecute officials like the three former Palm Beach County commissioners and two city commissioners who went to prison on federal corruption charges.

Palm Beach County officials said those bills aren’t a priority and aren’t working to make sure those bills (SB 1076, 734) pass.

Wexler & Co. unload on Burkert for criticizing their candidate Rader in Democratic state Senate primary

Monday, April 5th, 2010 by George Bennett

Democratic state Senate hopeful Peter Burkert says he’s merely offering some legitimate, issue-based criticisms of his primary rival, state Rep. Kevin Rader, D-Delray Beach.

But after Burkert rapped Rader for an insurance vote and for failing so far to fulfill his promise of Acreage tax relief legislation, Rader’s campaign accused Burkert of “desperate…vicious and misleading” attacks. And some of Rader’s big-name backers — former U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, Palm Beach County Commissioner Burt Aaronson and state Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach — accused Burkert of endangering the party’s chances of hanging onto the seat now held by Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres.

Read about it in this week’s Politics column.

Dem Sheriff Bradshaw endorses GOP state Senate hopeful Sharon Merchant

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010 by George Bennett



Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, a registered Democrat whose office is nonpartisan, is endorsing Republican Sharon Merchant’s bid for a state Senate seat that’s expected to be a partisan battleground in November.

Bradshaw said his endorsement of Merchant is for both the GOP primary and for the general election if Merchant advances.

Former state Rep. Merchant faces a tough GOP primary against former Wellington Councilwoman Lizbeth Benacquisto for the seat of state Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres. Aronberg is leaving the seat to run (also with Bradshaw’s endorsement) for attorney general.


‘Corruption County’ crackdown cruises through House committee

Monday, March 22nd, 2010 by Dara Kam

A “Corruption County”-inspired bill that would beef up penalties for county officials who violate ethics ordinances moved forward in a House committee this afternoon.

The changes that would allow counties to go beyond current state law in fines and jail time for county officials and staff who violate local ethics ordinances or financial disclosure requirements.

Under the measure, counties like Palm Beach could double the current fine from $500 to $1,000 and extend jail time from 60 days to one year for corrupt officials.

The House Public Safety and Domestic Security Policy Committee unanimously approved Rep. Kevin Rader’s bill (HB 1301) today.

Rader, D-Delray Beach, and fellow Palm Beacher Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, sponsored the proposals at the request of Palm Beach County officials.

A $1,000 fine may not seem like much of a price to pay for politicos who’ve been convicted of taken thousands of dollars in bribes, steering hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts to their buddies or voting on multi-million dollar deals in which they have a financial stake.

But, Rader said, the fine “and a year in jail is a step in the right direction.”

Palm Beach County recently established an ethics panel in an effort to shed its “Corruption County” image. In the past four years, three former county commissioners and two West Palm Beach city commissioners were sent to prison on corruption charges.

Rader remains in Senate 27 race, but will district remain after 2012?

Sunday, December 6th, 2009 by George Bennett
Senate District 27: classic gerrymandering

Senate District 27: classic gerrymandering

kevinrader1So state Rep. Kevin Rader, D-Delray Beach, is remaining in the Senate District 27 race after some aggressive flirtation last week with the Senate District 30 contest.

But will the treadwear-testing Fort Myers-to-West Palm Beach district survive the 2012 redistricting?

Read about it in this week’s Politics column.
Also, catch the latest on state House musical chairs, GOP Second Amendment love and Hal Valeche’s fence-mending with the Rooney family.

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