I’m at St. Petersburg College where Jill Biden will hold a “drive-in” rally with supporters. It’s her first visit to the area since the pandemic started (it’s also one of if not THE last place she campaigned before the pandemic began during the Democratic primary).
Here’s what the scene looks like at Jill Biden’s event. About 50 cars are here for the 6:40 event. They’re expecting about 200.
Event begins with reminder to wear masks and remain socially distanced.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is first at the mic, who mentions how unusual the set up is for a campaign rally. "You gotta admit, this is pretty cool, isn't it."
Kriseman: "As mayor, here's what I know about Joe Biden. He cares... He knows the importance of cities ... Joe actually believes in science."
Next up is Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin (but first, someone ran up to sanitize the podium).
Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch: "The stakes could not be higher. The choice could not be more clear."

"The difference is self evident. We can see it. America can see it. And their opponents can see it" and that's why you're seeing voter suppression, he said.
Welch: "As Pinellas goes, there goes the I-4 corridor, and as the I-4 corridor so goes the state of Florida."
State Rep. Ben Diamond: "I want to have that feeling again when I turn on the TV and see my president and feel proud of what we're doing and proud to be an American."
The safety measures compared to the Trump events in Florida this week are striking.

-Speakers wearing masks (including sometimes when talking).
-Lectern disinfected between speakers.
-Crowd socially distanced and in their cars (all wearing masks).
-Press separated by 6ft
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist now speaking: "Have you had enough of that? Are you ready for a change?" Car horns blaring.
Crist: "I know Joe Biden. I've campaigned with Joe Biden. He's a good decent man of integrity. Doesn't that sound a little different than what we have now?"
Ag Commissioner Nikki Fried now at the mic: "Did you have an opportunity to watch ABC last night? Were you able to see what a president looks like?"
Fried: "We have hope. We've got an opportunity to change and to turn the page of this horrific chapter of American history. Joe Biden has a real plan to beat COVID-19."
Fried: "I won by less than one percent and I know first hand that every vote matters."
Fried: "We have 18 days to save our democracy. You don't want to wake up the day after the election wishing you had done more."
Fried introduces surprise guest Gwendolyn Reese, President of the African American Heritage Association of St. Petersburg.
Reese: "I along with my 89 year old mother along with my 92 year old father have already voted by mail for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Because we cannot wait. All of the progress we have made as a nation is at stake."
Former Second Lady Jill Biden now addressing the St. Pete crowd.
Oops. Biden calls Mayor Kriseman: “Mayor Chris-man”
Biden: "His faith is in your, in us. And I promise you, Joe Biden will be a president for all Americans."
Biden: "Together our voices are more powerful than they (the cynics) every could be. We have to show them that power."
Biden: "Over a million Democrats have voted but we have to keep on pushing."
Biden: "Will you be that one vote? Will you join this movement? Will you show the world this nation still believes in justice and compassion and unity and leadership?"

• • •

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More from @scontorno

16 Oct
"In 2016, two preschool girls said their Sarasota County foster father molested them. The state sent him 13 more children, stopping only when a third toddler reported that the 64-year-old had forced her to put his penis in her mouth."


"In reaction to one USA TODAY records request, DCF officials pressed legislators to pass a law making foster parent names secret from the public – an effort that ultimately failed."

Also horrifying but not entirely surprising.
Gov. DeSantis' DCF chief blames privatization of Florida foster care under Gov. Bush for "a fractured system that is not appropriately resourced, lacks bandwidth for increases in children in care and is not performance-driven."

When does this NOT happen w privatization of govt?
Read 5 tweets
2 Jul
I’m at USF Health in downtown Tampa where Vice President Mike Pence and Gov. Ron DeSantis will address reporters after discussing the state’s coronavirus response. The meeting comes on a record-breaking day in Florida with 10,000 new positive cases and rising rate of death.
Just got word that the motorcade has left Tampa International Airport and is on its way toward us. Pence and DeSantis will meet with doctors and hospital officials here and then speak with reporters for 35-40 minutes, we're told.
Pence and DeSantis briefly spoke with pool reporters before their meeting. @KirbyWTweets has some of the details:

Read 24 tweets
6 Dec 18
A new review of Florida's concealed weapons program has found more problems and more licenses issued erroneously . Here are some the findings:

1. Adam Putnam gave inaccurate information to the public about the scope of the problem & never corrected it.

Putnam's agency discovered a massive breach in background checks while state auditors were reviewing his concealed weapons program and NEVER TOLD THE AUDITORS about the problem.

The first time state auditors learned about the background check problems in concealed weapons was in June of this year, i.e. when the @TB_Times first reported on the investigation. This was more than a year after they started auditing the agency.

Read 8 tweets

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