State Senator Debbie Mayfield – Mayfield Minute 08/14/2022

Good Morning!

The Primary Election is for the purpose of electing your party’s nominees who will then advance to the General Election to fill a national, state, county, or district office.

Under Florida election law, only Democrats can vote in Democratic primaries, and only Republicans can vote in Republican primaries. All voters can vote in nonpartisan races, such as judicial, school board offices, and municipal elections, if they live in the jurisdiction in which the race is contested. For more information and frequently asked questions, click here. 

The Primary Election is being held on Tuesday, August 23rd but you can cast your vote early.

For Brevard County, early voting begins August 13th and will run thru August 20th (Monday thru Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) at the following locations:

  • Titusville Public Library: 2121 S Hopkins Ave, Titusville
  • Walter Butler Community Center: 4201 N Cocoa Blvd, Cocoa
  • Kiwanis Island Park Gymnasium: 951 Kiwanis Island Park Rd, Merritt Island
  • Dr. Joe Lee Smith Community Center: 415 Stone St, Cocoa
  • Viera Regional Community Center: 2300 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Viera
  • David R. Schechter Community Center: 1089 S Patrick Dr Satellite Beach
  • Wickham Park Community Center: 2815 Leisure Way, Melbourne
  • Max K. Rodes Park Community Center: 3410 Flanagan Ave, West Melbourne
  • Tony Rosa Palm Bay Community Center: 1502 Port Malabar Blvd NE, Palm Bay
  • Ted Whitlock Community Center: 370 Championship Cir NW, Palm Bay

For Indian River County, early voting will begin on August 13th and will run thru August 20th at the following locations from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily:

  • Sebastian City Hall Council Chambers: 1225 Main Street, Sebastian
  • Indian River County Main Library: 1600 21st Street, Vero Beach
  • Indian River County Supervisor of Elections Office: 4375 43rd Avenue, Vero Beach

For more information on early voting in Brevard County, click here.

For more information on early voting in Indian River County, click here.

I consider it a great honor to represent District 17. Please share this link with your friends and family so they too, can sign up for the Mayfield Minute.

 

If you or someone you know needs my assistance, please do not hesitate to contact my office. My staff and I are here to serve you.

Statewide Update

Governor Ron DeSantis Appoints Judge Renatha Francis to Serve on the Florida Supreme Court 

Last week, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the appointment of Judge Renatha Francis to the Florida Supreme Court. Judge Francis’ appointment fills the vacancy of former Florida Supreme Court Justice Al Lawson, who announced his retirement earlier this year. Judge Francis will officially take her seat on the Supreme Court on September 1, 2022.

 

“Before immigrating from the Caribbean to Florida, Renatha Francis was a small business owner in her native country Jamaica where she ran two successful enterprises while being the primary caregiver for her younger sibling. Her pursuit of a legal career began later in life than most attorneys, yet she has advanced rapidly on her merit, to serve as a judge first in Miami-Dade County and then on the 15th Circuit Court. When she takes her place on the Florida Supreme Court, I am confident she will serve our state with distinction,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.

 

“I’m incredibly honored and humbled by Governor DeSantis’ unwavering support for my ascension to the Florida Supreme Court,” said Judge Renatha Francis. “I may be taking my seat on the bench two years later than anticipated, but as a student of history I continue to be in awe of this country’s respect for the rule of law and the freedoms guaranteed in the text of the United States Constitution. As a Supreme Court Justice I will apply the law as written by the people’s duly-elected representatives, knowing that I am a member of the judiciary in a system with separation of powers.”

 

AG Ashley Moody- Digital Dangers and Protecting Kids Online

On August 8th, Attorney General Ashley Moody released Back to School: Digital Dangers, in an effort to help parents protect their children during the school year. The online series shows the dangers children can face online from predators, and scammers as well as from social media.

Attorney General Moody said, “New challenges have emerged in the tech age—including digital drug dealers selling deadly Fentanyl over social media, human traffickers who attempt to lure children online, and even texting while driving, jeopardizing road safety. As school starts, I am releasing Back to School: Digital Dangers to warn parents about these threats and encourage them to talk to their children about how to stay safe.”

Back to School: Digital Dangers touches on the following subjects:

  • Drugs are much more dangerous due to Fentanyl being prevalent in the illicit supply. Just one counterfeit pill laced with the substance is enough to kill.
  • Criminals lurk on social media to prey on unsuspecting children.
  • Never use mobile devices while operating a vehicle and other safe driving habits.
  • Additional resources and tips for parents to help further educate their children about online safety.

To view Back to School: Digital Dangers, click here.

 

Governor Ron DeSantis Encourages Veterans to Apply for Temporary Teaching Certificates

Governor Ron DeSantis announced the launch of a new webpage to help recruit qualified military veterans to join schools across the state. On August 17th, the State Board of Education will consider a rule to formally implement a program for veterans to receive a five-year temporary education certificate while they finish their bachelor’s degree, provided they meet certain criteria.

 

This rule implements SB 896, which Governor DeSantis signed earlier this year after it received unanimous bipartisan support throughout the 2022 Session.

 

To learn more about this program, visit www.fldoe.org/veterans.

 

To watch a video of Governor DeSantis discussing the program, click here.

 

“Florida is the most veteran- and military-friendly state in the nation,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “We also know that our veterans have talents and skills that they can offer our students. This new opportunity expands Florida’s existing programs that help our veterans take their talents to our schools, and it will help Florida remain a national leader in education.”

 

“With the skills and experience that our 1.7 million veterans bring to Florida’s workforce, this new pathway to teaching will positively impact Florida students,” said Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “Veterans and service members can now work toward their full professional certificate while imparting their unique knowledge and valuable experience in the classroom.”

 

Military Veterans Certification Pathway 

 

The State Board of Education will consider a rule to allow military veterans to obtain a five-year temporary teaching certificate without a bachelor’s degree, providing the following criteria are met:

  1. Minimum of 48 months of military service with an honorable/medical discharge;
  2. Minimum of 60 college credits with a 2.5 grade point average;
  3. Passing score on a Florida subject area examination;
  4. Employment in a Florida school district, including charter schools; and
  5. Cleared background screening. 

 

Per SB 896 (2022), which unanimously passed the Florida House and Senate, veterans who successfully obtain their five-year temporary teaching certificate will be assigned a mentor teacher for a minimum of two years to support their classroom teaching endeavors. They must also earn their bachelor’s degree during the five-year period to be eligible for a full professional certificate. Veterans utilizing this temporary certificate may not teach subject areas that require a master’s degree.  

 

The temporary certificate cannot be renewed once it expires, nor does it apply to military spouses or families. 

Agency Update

Florida Department of Education

Last week, I introduced you to Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. of the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE). With students and teachers returning to the classroom, I thought it would be beneficial to provide you with FLDOE’s responsibilities.  

FLDOE serves as the repository of education data from school districts, state and community colleges, universities, and independent postsecondary institutions. They serve approximately 2.8 million students, 4,400 public schools, and 28 colleges throughout Florida.

The department prides itself on its enhancement programs to support the economic self-sufficiency of Floridians through college and workforce education, apprenticeships, job-specific skills, and career development. They also oversee programs to assist individuals with impairments or disabilities to reach success in school and career settings, encouraging independence and self-sufficiency.

FLDOE administers a statewide reading initiative for Florida’s public schools, and along with community groups and volunteer organizations that support them, their goal is to have every child able to read at or above grade level.

Their work supporting students and families begins at Pre-K and continues through post-secondary education. Parents can be assured that FLDOE supports the academic achievement of our students by requiring that our educators are professionally qualified for highly effective instruction. Click on the links below to learn more about just a few of the services and programs FLDOE provides:

Constituent of the Week

Scott Morgan

City Manager Scott Morgan’s career in local government management spans over 42 years. He was appointed City Manager by the West Melbourne City Council in July 2009, and currently is the longest serving City Manager in Brevard County. Mr. Morgan led West Melbourne’s financial turnaround, producing sustainable budgets, building significant reserves, reducing debt, and receiving rating agency upgrades. These financial results were accomplished while maintaining one of the lowest ad valorem tax rates in Brevard County.

Mr. Morgan negotiated a new long term water supply agreement with the City of Melbourne and a reciprocal emergency water supply agreement with the City of Palm Bay. Through his consistent efforts, West Melbourne’s municipal operations are considered to be especially efficient and effective.

Prior to being selected City Manager for the City of West Melbourne, he served as City Manager for the City of Anderson, California for 11 years, and as Senior Assistant to the City Manager for the City of Orange for eight years. He also served as a Chief Executive Assistant for the County of Orange, and as the Housing and Community Development Coordinator for the City of Fountain Valley. 

Mr. Morgan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a Master’s degree in Administration, both from the University of California, Irvine. He and his wife of 30 years, Nancy, live in West Melbourne and have two adult children. Their son William is a graduate of the University of Central Florida and their daughter Adeline is a graduate of the University of Florida.

District 17 has benefited from Scott Morgan’s service as a fiscally responsible, compassionate, and skilled leader in the City of West Melbourne for the past 13 years. We wish him well in his retirement.

District Highlights

Back to the Moon- Artemis I Countdown

NASA has announced that the new moon rocket, known as Artemis I, could launch as soon as August 29th. The flight will be an unmanned three-month lunar test flight and mark the beginning of NASA’s Artemis Program. The 30 story Space Launch System rocket is currently docked at the Kennedy Space Center undergoing maintenance in preparation for the launch.  

“Why Go Back To The Moon?”

  • To demonstrate new technologies, capabilities, and business approaches needed for future exploration including Mars.
  • To study the moon to learn more about the origin and history of Earth, the moon, and our solar system. 
  • To establish American leadership and a strategic presence on the moon while expanding our U.S. global economic impact. 
  • To broaden our commercial and international partnerships. 
  • To inspire a new generation and encourage careers in STEM.

The launch team at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and supporting teams across the country, will begin the launch countdown two days before liftoff. The team at Kennedy Space Center has made it possible for the public to watch the countdown to lift off live online. 

NASA’s Artemis I will launch within a two hour window, beginning at 8:33 a.m. on August 29th. In the case of launch failure, or inclement weather, the launch will take place on September 2nd or September 5th.

To learn more about the Artemis I Program and launch updates, click here.

To follow all NASA activity on Earth and in space, click here.

Eastern Florida State College Announces Plan to Invest $87 Million into Cocoa Campus

Eastern Florida State College (EFSC) announced plans to invest $87 million to build new academic buildings, student housing, and make improvements to the Cocoa campus. This investment will be the largest capital plan the college has undertaken to date. 

EFSC President Dr. Jim Richey said, “This plan will transform the campus and help move our community forward in important ways, giving students first-class learning facilities and helping spur economic growth,” 

The new campus enhancements will ensure that the college becomes a center for higher education, focusing on programs in technology and education.

To learn more about the Eastern Florida State College Cocoa campus, click here.

Indian River State College Mueller Campus President to Retire

Mr. Casey Lunceford, President of the Indian River State College Mueller Campus, will be retiring at the end of August. Mr. Lunceford began his career with Indian River State College in 1997 and has held various leadership positions. His most recent was his appointment in 2014 as President of the Mueller Campus. Mr. Lunceford has a total of 39 years as an educator in Florida and Louisiana. 

Mr. Lunceford was asked what makes him happy and he responded, “I was in charge of student commencement for a number of years and I still ask to read at commencement. A lot of times in education, we start initiatives that we don’t see come to fruition, but at commencement you see the completion, the fulfillment. You see the students and their parents smiling and happy, sometimes crying, and it is a feeling of great satisfaction.”

When asked what is most remarkable about the sprawling 141-acre Vero Beach campus Mr. Lunceford has led since 2014, his response was, “Our connection to the community.” 

The synergistic network he created includes academic, business, veterans groups, and non-profit entities including the Gifford Youth Achievement Center, Quail Valley River Club, John’s Island, Cleveland Clinic, Piper Aircraft, and universities around the state. Mr. Lunceford opened the door for the Veteran Council to move its headquarters onto the Mueller campus. He is well known as a resource in terms of classroom design and technology specifically in working to inspiring middle and high school students toward education through the Gifford Youth Achievement Center. In 2016, he created a hospitality vocation program on the Vero campus to train workers for employment through collaboration with Quail Valley River Club and John’s Island. Today, over 30 IRSC graduates are employed at the Quail Valley River Club.

Mr. Lunceford’s contributions to the legacy of IRSC is admirable and truly appreciated by the entire campus community and residents of Indian River County. He will continue to serve in education in his retirement, participating on the board, as a mentor, teaching college music classes, and helping out with a local high school band.

Congratulations on your retirement Mr. Lunceford.

Upcoming Events

Greater Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce
Space Coast Symposium

The Greater Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Space Coast Symposium on August 26th from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Space Coast Convention Center, 301 Tucker Lane, Cocoa. Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared Perdue will serve as the keynote speaker.  

The Greater Palm Bay Chamber has brought together the most cutting-edge and powerful international and local industry innovators. The event is an opportunity to hear from them directly about their accomplishments and vision for the future in the areas of science, technology, manufacturing, and communications.

For more information regarding the organizations presenting at the event and to register, click here.

The fee for the event is $35 for current Greater Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce partners and $40 for future partners.  

Space Coast Burger Battle

The Space Coast Burger Battle is an all day food festival taking place on August 20th beginning at 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Wickham Park in Melbourne. Brevard County’s first and only burger fest is featuring a-la-carte menu items priced from $1 to $5 per item and offering the opportunity to sample a vast variety of restaurants from the Space Coast all in one place. This family friendly event will also host activities such as axe throwing, hover ball archery, tennis ball darts, as well as live music. 

All burger vendors will be competing to win the title of this year’s BEST Burger decided by a blind taste-test conducted by a panel of vetted judges.

For more information on the Space Coast Burger Battle, click here.

Home Depot to Honor the Memory of West Melbourne Police Captain Carlos Navedo

On Monday, August 15th at 9:00 a.m., 40 to 50 volunteers from the Home Depot West Melbourne store, West Melbourne Police Department (WMPD), City of West Melbourne Mayor Hal Rose, and city officials will join together at WMPD (2290 Minton Road in West Melbourne) to create a Memorial for West Melbourne Police Captain Carlos Navedo. 

Captain Navedo passed away unexpectedly on June 4, 2022 as a result of an off-duty medical episode. He was sworn in as a police officer in 2003 and achieved the ranks of Sergeant, Lieutenant, and Captain. Captain Navedo leaves behind a wife, son, and countless brothers and sisters at the City of West Melbourne Police Department. 

After meeting with Mayor Rose and Police Chief Richard Wiley, and learning more about Captain Navedo, Home Depot West Melbourne Store Manager, Frank Branson, offered to mobilize volunteers to build a Memorial and outdoor space for officers and employees.

Mr. Branson noted that police officers are often cooped up in their vehicles or offices all day or all night. Home Depot wanted to create a welcoming space with outdoor seating at the department where they could remember Captain Navedo, have meals together, and enjoy more comrarderie, given the challenges of the job.

Home Depot has a long history of supporting organizations in need, particularly those serving Veterans.

  • More than 35,000 associates are veterans or active-duty military – so giving back to veterans is personal to The Home Depot.
  • The Home Depot Foundation supports veteran housing initiatives for our nation’s combat-wounded, homeless and senior veterans.
  • Thousands of our store associates volunteer with Team Depot in communities across the country to help ensure our veterans have safe, reliable housing.
  • To date, The Home Depot Foundation has donated more than $375 million to veteran causes – and the Foundation is committed to investing half of a billion dollars by 2025.

If you are interested in volunteering for the project build on Monday at the WMPD or donating financially, please email my legislative assistant, Kelli Lane, at lane.kelli@flsenate.gov, and she will assist you.  

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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

Staff:

Kelli Lane

Yvette Campbell

Joshua McWilliams