A professor at Florida Southern College wants Billy Townsend’s job. William Allen, 45, has filed to run for the Lakeland-based District 1 seat on the Polk County School Board currently held by Townsend, 48. More
Tampa Bay Times political writer William March talks with Lakeland City Commissioner Scott Franklin about his bid to unseat a fellow Republican, U.S. Rep. Ross Spano of Valrico. One example of Franklin’s “tough task,” he says, is that Franklin’s announcement prompted endorsements for Spano from the GOP Congress members representing neighboring districts.
In today’s primary election, Polk County Democrats favored Joe Biden 61.12% over Bernie Sanders’ 22.7%, nearly mirroring the statewide 61.7%-to-22.8% split.
Turnout in Polk was 26.9% — far below the 40% to 50% rate Supervisor of Elections Lori Edwards predicted several months ago and even below the 30% to 35% rate she predicted last week after the coronavirus threat became more serious. More
Lakeland City Commissioner Scott Franklin is challenging incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Ross Spano, a first-termer representing Florida’s 15th District, which includes northwest Polk, east Hillsborough and Clermont. More
A “Parents’ Bill of Rights” sponsored by Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, appears tabled for this legislative session as the Senate Rules Committee let the clock run out as it was being discussed. Stargel says the bill just assembles current statutes in one place. Critics say the bill would create avenues to prevent minors from being treated for STDs or get mental health services without their parents’ knowledge.
Early voting has begun for the March 17 Florida presidential primary. The two Lakeland locations — Polk County Government Center, 950 E. Parker St., and Simpson Park Community Center, 1725 Martin L King Jr. Ave. — are open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through March 14. More
As the Florida House prepares to take up legislation that would fold Florida Polytechnic University into the University of Florida, Tampa Bay Times reporter Emily L. Mahoney looks into the bill sponsor’s assertions that the 2012 founding of the Lakeland STEM school was driven by politics. At the time, departing Senate Appropriations Chairman J.D. Alexander pushed the creation of Florida Poly, saying its predecessor school was being ignored by the University of South Florida, which oversaw it. Some say Alexander was motivated by building a destination for a then-proposed toll road that would enhance the value of land owned by his company. ALSO:
- Bill’s backers present no proof of cost savings (WFSU News)
- Tampa Bay Times editorial opposes hasty action on university mergers
The bill to merge Florida Polytechnic University and New College into the University of Florida is headed for the House floor after being passed following abbreviated discussion by the Appropriations Committee Tuesday evening. Opposed by both schools and committee Democrats, the bill could become embroiled in “smoky back rooms where lawmakers trade priorities at the end of session,” a committee member said.
MORE COVERAGE: Miami Herald | News Service of Florida | WFSU
Former Lakeland Mayor Gow Fields, a registered Republican, has endorsed billionaire media mogul Mike Bloomberg, a Democrat, for president. He joins a growing list of prominent Florida Democrats endorsing the former New York City mayor, Florida Politics reports. “As a nation, we need someone in the White House who can bring class, decorum, and clear-headed thinking into our political discourse,” he said.