State Senator Debbie Mayfield – Mayfield Minute 10/24/2021

Good Morning!

This week, the Republican Caucus of the Florida Senate voted unanimously to nominate Senator Kathleen Passidomo as the Senate President-Designate for the 2022-2024 Legislative Term. I had the privilege of seconding President-Designate Passidomo’s nomination and sharing with our members why I believe she is the right choice to lead our chamber. For the official press release, click here.
On Wednesday, I traveled with Governor DeSantis to Brevard County to participate in a press conference on parental rights. During this press conference, Governor DeSantis denounced efforts by the United States Department of Justice to investigate parents who seek to speak in opposition of their local school boards. Governor DeSantis went on to say “I think one of the reasons we wanted to do this is just to make clear that any parent that may feel threatened or cowed into coming out and participating in civil discourse, they shouldn’t be, that you will be protected and that we’re going to make sure to stand with you at the state level,” he said during a news conference Wednesday.”
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Statewide Updates

Senator Kathleen Passidomo Selected as President-Designate
On Tuesday, the Republican Caucus of the Florida Senate met in the Florida Senate Chamber to officially select Senator Kathleen Passidomo as the President-Designate for the 2022-2024 Legislative Term.
Senator Passidomo was elected to the Florida Senate in November 2016 after serving in the Florida House of Representatives since 2010. Senate President Wilton Simpson appointed her to serve as Chair of the Senate Committee on Rules for the 2020-2022 Legislative Term. During the 2018-2020 Legislative Term, she served as Republican (Majority) Leader under former Senate President Bill Galvano.
Senator Passidomo graduated in 1975 from Trinity College (now University) in Washington, D.C. In December 1978, she received her law degree from Stetson University’s College of Law. She built a law practice around Real Estate and Business Law and has been practicing law in Naples for more than 40 years. Senator Passidomo was in the first group of attorneys in the state to obtain Board Certification in Real Estate Law, and her peers elected her to serve as President of both the Collier County Bar Association and the Collier County Women’s Bar Association. Senator Passidomo and her husband John married in 1979. Together, they have three adult children, Catarina, Francesca, and Gabriella, and two grandsons, William and Emilio.
Senator Passidomo will be the third woman to serve as Florida’s Senate President. The previous two women that served as Senate President were Senator Gwen Margolis and Senator Toni Jennings.
In 1990, Senator Gwen Margolis, a former realtor, became the first woman to serve as President of the Florida Senate. President Margolis retired from the Senate in 2016, concluding more than four decades of elected service in state and local government. She passed away on June 9, 2020, at the age of 85.
In 1986, Senator Toni Jennings, a former elementary school teacher who later ran her family’s construction business, became the first woman to lead the Senate Republican Caucus, serving as Minority Leader during the 1986-1988 Legislative Term. Elected Senate President in 1996, she is the only person in modern history elected to serve two consecutive terms in the role. She later became the first woman to serve as Lt. Governor. President Jennings, 72, retired from elected office in 2007, upon the conclusion of her term as Lt. Governor. She continues to reside in Central Florida.
Presidents Margolis and Jennings were both inducted into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame.
Governor DeSantis Stands with Parents Against Biden Administration’s Attempt to Silence Free Speech through Intimidation
On Wednesday, Governor DeSantis held a press conference in Brevard County to discuss a recent memo from Attorney General Merrick Garland that attempted to silence parents who speak out to protect their children. During the press conference we heard from parents that had firsthand experience dealing with government overreach regarding mask mandates in schools. Also joining the Governor were members of local law enforcement including Sheriff Wayne Ivey and State Attorney Phil Archer who stated that they are capable of assessing threats in their community without meddling by federal bureaucrats.
Our children do not belong to the federal government nor to the school boards, they belong to their parents. Parents have every right to be involved in their child’s education and should not be silenced by the federal government. I want to thank Governor DeSantis for continuing to fight for Florida’s parents and children.
To watch the full press conference, click here.
Governor DeSantis Holds Press Conference in JAXPORT
On Tuesday, Governor DeSantis held a press conference to reiterate that Florida Seaports have the capacity to meet the upcoming holiday demand. Governor DeSantis made the announcement at JAXPORT, where he was joined by Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin Thibault and Florida Seaport executives. Seaports including JAXPORT, Port Everglades, Port Tampa Bay, and Port Panama City all have availability to handle more cargo.
Officials from JAXPORT announced that incentives will be offered to any company that chooses to bring its business to the port. This will ensure that capacity at other ports in the nation is relieved and that Americans can get the goods they need quicker than before.
“Year after year we continue to invest in our seaports, in infrastructure, and in workforce education to make sure our supply chain is resilient,” Governor DeSantis went on to say “I’m especially proud of Florida’s seaports. They are crown jewels in our state. While other U.S. ports are just now announcing around-the-clock operations, in Florida many of our ports are used to serving Florida farmers, families, and businesses with 24-hour operations. As the rest of the nation faces rampant inflation and businesses stare down unprecedented supply chain problems, our message is this: Florida is here, we have the capacity, we have incentive packages to help businesses who want to move here and we are going to make sure Americans get their Christmas gifts this season.”
To read the full press release, click here.


Constituent of the Week

Our Constituent of the Week is Sidney “Sid” Banack of Vero Beach. Mr. Banack has been actively involved in Indian River County community service organizations for over 50 years, along with his late wife, Donna Sue. Just to name a few of those organizations, the Banacks have been members of the Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity, Vero Beach Association of Life Underwriters, Vero Beach Beautification Society, Elks Club, Kiwanis Club, and the Chamber of Commerce. Along with this, the Banacks made a crucial donation of land to Indian River State College Mueller Campus located in Vero Beach.
Mr. Banack and his family have been involved in agriculture for generations dating as far back as to the 1800s. Mr. Banack was born and raised in Panama because his dad worked for United Food Company in Puerto Armuelles, Panama. After graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in agronomy, Mr. Banack planned to start a plant nursery, however, he began a career in the insurance field. Mr. Banack worked for the Florida Farm Bureau for 25 years until he opened his own independent insurance agency, Sid Banack Insurance, in 1983. Concurrently, Mr. Banack had been pursuing his agriculture hobby. Mr. Banack planted his first citrus grove in the early 1960s and over the course of several years he turned this hobby into a second career. At the age of 89, Mr. Banack is still actively working in the family citrus business.
Thank you, Mr. Banack, for your contributions to economic development and agriculture in the Indian River County area. District 17 and our great state is blessed to have you as members of the community.

Upcoming Events

2021 Sea Turtle Friendly Certified Awards
Coastal Connections, Inc. will be hosting the 2021 Sea Turtle Friendly Certified Awards on Tuesday, November 9th at 5:00PM. The event will take place at the Costa d’Este Hotel and Spa located at 3244 Ocean Drive Vero Beach, Florida. This award highlights a hotel’s dedication towards protecting Florida’s sea turtles and bringing awareness to their guests about the natural resources around them. 

District 17 Highlights

Brevard County
City of Melbourne Recognizes Volunteer Board Members
On October 19th, the City of Melbourne held their annual reception honoring volunteer board members. The annual event provides an opportunity for the Mayor and City Council to recognize volunteer board members for their contributions to the city. In 2021, approximately 131 members served on 17 committees that guide a range of city services from architectural standards and affordable housing to code enforcement and pension planning.
Indian River County
Halo Animal Rescue Holding October Adoption Incentive
Halo is having “Adopt Your Boo” through November 1, 2021. All adoption fees are waived for all adult animals over 1-year-old. Halo’s rescues are spayed/neutered, up to date on all vaccines, heartworm tested, fecal tested and microchipped before being placed in a new home. They also come with the rabies tag required by Indian River County.
Halo Animal Rescue is a no-kill animal shelter located in Sebastian, Florida. Halo was created in 2006 with a mission to create a no-kill safe haven for abused and abandoned animals in Indian River County. Halo has successfully reduced euthanasia by 92%.
To view Halo’s adoptable animals, click here.

Contact Information

Melbourne Office

900 East Strawbridge Avenue
Melbourne, FL 32901
(321) 409-2025
Tallahassee Office
330 Senate Office Building
404 South Monroe Street
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1100
(850) 487-5017
Vero Beach Office
Administration Building B
1801 27th Street
Vero Beach, FL 32960
(772) 226-1970