State Senator Debbie Mayfield – Mayfield Minute 09/18/2022

Good Morning!

September 20th is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Day

Approximately six million Americans and 580,000 Floridians age 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s and Dementia diseases not only impact those diagnosed with the chronic condition, but also the 806,000 Florida caregivers experiencing the heartbreaking cognitive decline of their loved ones.  

Alzheimer’s can be an aggressive or progressive disease affecting the brain, just like coronary artery disease affects the heart. You can live with it for years or it can progress in a very short term.

Governor DeSantis has prioritized treatment of patients and support for families struggling with the disease. This past June, he announced record funding for Alzheimer’s and related Dementia diagnoses with the signage of Senate Bill 806, establishing the Ramping up Education of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia for You (READY) Act. The bill also establishes the Florida Alzheimer’s Center of Excellence.  

The Governor’s Freedom First budget includes $52.3 million for the Alzheimer’s disease Initiative Program and $91.7 for the Community Care for the Elderly program.  

If you or someone you know needs assistance with Florida’s elder care programs or any other issues of concern, please do not hesitate to contact my office. My staff and I are here to serve you.  

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.


Statewide Update

Governor Ron DeSantis Awards $30 Million through Groundbreaking Initiative to Support Workforce Development in Florida’s Space Coast 

Florida Makes Strides Towards Becoming First in the Nation for Workforce Education 

On Friday, Governor Ron DeSantis announced a new $30 million grant program that will be dedicated to support workforce development in the Space Coast region as part of a multi-agency initiative to support competitive industries.

The Department of Economic Opportunity, Department of Education, CareerSource Florida, Enterprise Florida, and Space Florida have partnered in this initiative to identify high demand industries and match them with workforce education opportunities in the Space Coast region.

“I set a goal to make Florida the best state in the nation for workforce education by 2030 — and we are doing that by making investments that expand opportunity and meet industry needs,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Currently there are over 91,000 manufacturing and aerospace technology-related jobs on the Space Coast and this $30 million investment will build more opportunities for Floridians.” 


The Governor’s Job Growth Grant Funds of $11.5 million will expand and support machining, welding, manufacturing, and avionics training programs at the following regional State Colleges. 

  • Eastern Florida State College – to transition and improve its aviation maintenance programs, incorporate composite training and avionics, and expand the college’s existing aerospace technology programs.


  • Indian River State College – to design, equip, and launch the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Hub which will expand training and employment opportunities for students as well as support the growth of the advanced manufacturing industry in the region.
  • Daytona State College – to scale the college’s machining and welding technology programs, with intentional efforts to build the workforce pipeline by increasing dual enrollment and strengthening K12-to-postsecondary pathways.


The Florida Department of Education’s Pathways to Career Opportunities Grant (PCOG) program of $6.4 million will develop and expand programs in machining and welding, aerospace, cybersecurity, and electrical apprenticeship, and pre-apprenticeship programs at the following State Colleges and school districts.


  • Eastern Florida State College – to develop pathways for pre-apprenticeship and support the Space Coast Machining Apprenticeship Program, the Space Coast Consortium Apprenticeship Program (mechatronics, CNC machining, composites, and welding), and the Technology and Health Apprenticeship Program (cybersecurity).
  • Indian River State College – to develop industry appropriate advanced manufacturing apprenticeship programs and other transportation and logistics programs and expand the current Advanced Manufacturing Bootcamp and Apprenticeship program.
  • Brevard Public Schools – to offer a Certified Logistics Associate Course which provides students with the foundational knowledge needed to understand supply chain, material handling, quality control, workplace communication and problem solving.
  • School District of Indian River County – to begin a 4,000 hour apprenticeship in the aviation industry to include welders. This program will teach students major welding processes and provide on the job training. 
  • St. Lucie County School District – to introduce welding concepts and give high school students a path towards apprenticeship welding programs. Additionally, they will be implementing an 18-month pre-apprenticeship program to introduce students to supply chain and logistical technical instruction.
  • Florida Makes will serve as the Registered Apprenticeship program sponsor for an Advanced Manufacturing and Production Technology course.



The Florida Department of Education’s Cyber/IT Pathways Grant program of $3 million program was provided to develop, expand, and support cybersecurity programs at the following regional State Colleges. 

  • Eastern Florida State College – to upgrade and expand existing cybersecurity programs to include articulation agreements and industry training in the NIST/CMMC certification.
  • Indian River State College – to support training in non-credit certifications which can be used to meet the immediate needs of local employers.
  • Daytona State College – to develop a state-of-the-art Center for Cybersecurity at its Advanced Technology College campus and provide urgently needed incumbent worker training in a focused effort to keep current professionals highly skilled in an ever-changing field.

Additionally, in a separate action, a major expansion of Florida’s Commercial Drivers License (CDL) training and the creation of new opportunities for apprenticeships in Florida was announced. Governor DeSantis awarded $8.2 million to five state colleges to expand the capacity of CDL training programs by at least 1,200 students per year. With this expansion, state institutions will have the capacity to train more than 3,500 students every year.

To further support the Governor’s workforce development initiatives, nearly $12 million will be allocated to Florida school districts, colleges, state universities, and private training entities to start or expand registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs throughout the state through the PCOG.  

For more information about Florida’s apprenticeship opportunities, click here

To learn more about all of the PCOG Space Coast programs, click here.



Governor DeSantis Rewards Florida’s First Responders for the Second Year

Last week Governor Ron DeSantis delivered $1,000 bonus checks to reward and recognized first responders for their dedicated public service. These recognition payments are part of the Freedom First Budget signed by the Governor earlier this year.  


“Florida supports our first responders because these men and women put on their uniforms every day to serve and protect,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “These bonuses are a token of our appreciation for the work that they do and the sacrifices they make to keep Florida safe. I am happy to deliver the bonuses for a second year in a row!”


For more information about the First Responder Recognition Bonuses, click here.


First Lady Casey DeSantis Highlights Success of ‘Continue the Mission’ Initiative to Recruit Veterans to Care for Florida’s Most Vulnerable Children

First Lady Casey DeSantis highlighted the success of her ‘Continue the Mission’ initiative, which launched in June 2022 to recruit veterans, military spouses and former law enforcement officers to be child and adult protective investigators and case managers, as well as mentors to children in need, new case managers and child and adult protective investigators. Since the start of the initiative, nearly 250 individuals have applied to work to protect Florida’s most vulnerable children.


“This initiative is an incredible opportunity to introduce our veterans, their spouses and retired law enforcement to the many rewarding career paths that are available to protect and serve Florida’s children,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “We hope these opportunities provide a continued sense of purpose for those who have already done so much for our great communities, state and nation.”


Through DCF, the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, other state partners, local veterans’ organizations and community groups, the initiative serves as a call to action for veterans, military spouses and former law enforcement officers who still have a desire to serve their communities.


More information about ‘Continue the Mission’ including upcoming hiring fairs, can be found here.


Florida Leads the Nation with the Lowest Unemployment Rate among the Nation’s 10 Largest States and the Most New Business Formations


 Florida’s Labor Force and Private Sector Employment Maintains Steady Growth While National Unemployment Rate Increases


On Friday, Governor Ron DeSantis announced Florida’s unemployment rate remained strong at 2.7 percent, the lowest unemployment rate among the nation’s 10 largest states and a full percentage point lower than the national rate of 3.7 percent in August 2022.

Florida also leads the nation in new business formations with 1,534,221 new businesses, outpacing second place California by more than 250,000. For 25 consecutive months, Florida’s statewide unemployment rate has either declined or remained unchanged, and for 21 consecutive months, since December 2020, Florida’s unemployment rate has been lower than the national rate.

“Florida has the lowest unemployment rate among the 10 most populous states and the highest number of new business formations because we have encouraged workforce development, kept the economy open, and put Florida families first,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. 

Agency Update

Florida Department of Elder Affairs

This year, the Florida Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA) celebrates 30 years of service to Florida’s nearly six million residents age 60 and older. Florida currently ranks first in the nation in terms of population aged 65 and over.

The major focus of DOEA is to provide home and community-based services to seniors who are at risk of being placed into a long-term care facility. Their goal is to efficiently use resources to ensure that the greatest number of elders can choose where they live whilemaintain a safe and healthy life style.

The DOEA mission is to promote the well-being, safety, and independence of Florida’s seniors, their families and caregivers, and their vision is for all Floridians to live well and age well.

Secretary Michelle Branham was appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis in 2021 to lead the DOEA, bringing more than 20 years of experience in public policy, public health, and public relations including advanced healthcare and Florida senior initiatives. Prior to her appointment, Secretary Branham was Vice President of Public Policy for the Alzheimer’s Association for nine years. She served as Chair for Florida’s Alzheimer’s Disease Advisory Committee and was an Advisory Member for the State Plan on Aging Task Force.

Additionally, she co-chaired the State Health Improvement Plan Alzheimer’s priority area and was appointed by Governor DeSantis to serve on his Safe and Limited Return Task Force during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Recently Florida established the Florida Alzheimer’s Center of Excellence (FACE) under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis. This program focuses on enhancing the infrastructure available to support impacted seniors, families and caregivers. As a new form of support, FACE assists caregivers and people with dementia by placing local, knowledgeable Care Navigators in communities across Florida. The Care Navigator’s role is to offer ongoing care-planning services, expert referrals, counsel, and encouragement. Support from a Care Navigator will take a uniquely individual shape with each family interaction.

If you are a senior or a caregiver and would like to be connected with resources or services provided by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, call 1-800-96-ELDER or visit here.

Constituent of the Week

Mayor Carol M. McCormack

Mayor McCormack is our Constituent of the Week. She has served the quaint Town of Palm Shores with integrity, leadership, and dedicated public service for the last 20 years. When she took office in 2002, Palm Shores, comprised of just 2.2 square miles, was a struggling town. Today, it is a thriving gem amongst the 16 cities of Brevard County with a booming residential community and flourishing business sector. 

Mayor McCormack worked to develop and construct Shoreside Park, clearing land, removing pepper trees and invasive shrubs along the Scenic Highway 1 to expose the beautiful view of the Indian River Lagoon.  She dedicated her time to Palm Shores as Mayor while also working tirelessly for the Florida League of Cities, serving on the Board of Directors, the Executive Committee, the Finance and Tax Committee, the Advocacy Committee, and the Resolutions Committee. She also served on the Florida Municipal Insurance Trust Board of Directors.

She received the prestigious Home Rule Hero Award in 2012, 2014, and 2022 and was a finalist for Mayor of the Year in 2007. Mayor McCormack has lobbied extensively in Tallahassee and in Washington, D.C. on behalf of legislative priorities benefiting Palm Shores. Mayor McCormack was a founding member of the Florida League of Mayors and served as their President in 2016-2017. She is member of the Florida League of Mayors Nominating Committee and has served as the President of the Space Coast League of Cities. 


In her spare time, Mayor McCormack participates in the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life, Boy Scouts of America, Civ-Mil, as a Teen Court Judge, in the Mayors Meals on Wheels program, and the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Charity Board as Vice Chair. She fundraises for the Florida Wildlife Hospital by hosting Annual “Baby Showers” for the animals at Town Hall and provides assistance to the elderly on identity theft and elder fraud.

District 17 appreciates her tireless effort, commitment, and compassion to serve in so many areas. Congratulations Mayor on your 20 years of dedicated service.



District Highlights

51 Days to the Midterm General Election

Election for Florida’s Governor, United States Senator, and many Congressional seats will be on your voter ballot for the November 8th general election. Other races for Florida State Senate, the House of Representatives, County Commissioners, and some School Board seats will also be on the ballot.


You must register with the Supervisor of Elections by October 11th to be eligible to vote in the 2022 General Election. 

If you prefer to vote by mail, the Supervisor of Elections must receive your request by October 29th to vote in the 2022 General Election. 



To vote in Florida, the following eligibility requirements must be met: 

  1. Citizenship in the United States of America; voters must be 18 years of age;
  2. Legal resident of Florida; and legal resident of the county of your voter registration;
  3. Not be a person adjudicated mentally incapacitated with respect to voting in Florida or any state without having right to vote restored; and,
  4. Not be a convicted felony without having voting rights restored. 

For more information on registering to vote, identifying your precinct, or to request a mail-in ballot, visit the Brevard County Supervisor of Elections here and the Indian River County Supervisor of Elections here

Sunwing Airlines to Launch Service from Melbourne to Canada

Beginning December 10th, Sunwing Airlines will begin nonstop flights between Melbourne Orlando International Airport and three Canadian cities, providing opportunities for Space Coast residents to fly direct to Canada, and for Canadian residents to vacation on the Space Coast.

In December, Sunwing will launch seasonal nonstop routes from: 

  • Halifax, Nova Scotia, via Halifax Stanfield International Airport.
  • Toronto, Ontario, via Toronto Pearson International Airport.
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba, via Winnipeg James Armstrong International Airport.

At this time, Sunwing Airlines is expected to offer the direct flights on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays through April 2023.  

“We are incredibly excited about the new service being offered by Sunwing. It opens up an important market for us,” Peter Cranis, executive director of the Space Coast Office of Tourism, said in the news release.

“Canada is the No. 1 country sending visitors to our area and now we have a great opportunity to serve them as they come directly to the Space Coast. We look forward to a long-lasting partnership,” Cranis added.

Opportunities to begin booking Melbourne to Halifax, Toronto, or Winnipeg one-way direct and roundtrip flights will soon be available here

Over $1.5 Million in Additional Local Grants Awarded to
District 17

Last week, I traveled to Tallahassee as a member of the Joint Legislative Budget Commission to vote on requests from the 67 counties seeking “local support grants.

In Brevard County, Canaveral Port Authority received $760,000 for the Jetty Park Improvement Project and Circles of Care Central Receiving Facility received $700,000. The Indian River County School District was awarded $50,000 for Outdoor Classroom and Learning Lab Space for STEAM Lessons.

Upcoming Events
2022 Space Coast Walk to End Alzheimer’s

The 2022 Space Coast Walk to End Alzheimer’s will be held Saturday, September 24th at Cocoa Riverfront Park (401 Riveredge Boulevard, Cocoa). Registration opens at 8:00 a.m. and the opening ceremony begins at 9:00 a.m. Interested participants should register in advance here. On site registration is also available. Amanda Harris is the Brevard walk organizer and she can be reached at [email protected]

The Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest fundraiser for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Proceeds from the walk benefit the Alzheimer’s Association’s efforts to provide 24/7 care and support, and advance research toward methods of prevention, treatment and, ultimately, a cure.

National Estuaries Week is September 17th thru September 24th

National Estuaries Week will be observed this year from September 17th to September24th.  Each year a celebration is held to highlight these incredible ecosystems and the benefits, including recreational opportunities, which are especially important to physical and mental health.  

The Indian River Lagoon (IRL) is the most biodiverse estuary in North America. Its home to more than 4,300 species of plants and animals and serves as a spawning and nursery ground for fish, dolphin, and many endangered or threatened species including sea turtles and manatees. The Environmental Learning Center in Indian River County located along the Wabasso Causeway is a great place to learn more about the IRL, monthly and seasonal events, and environmentally focused festivals.  

Founded in 1896, Historic Landmark Green Gables Kicks off its 5th Harvest Festival

On Saturday September 24th, Melbourne’s Historic Home, Green Gables (1501 South Harbor City Boulevard) will hold their 5th Annual Harvest Festival from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Green Gables is a unique, historic landmark right here in our community and the state of Florida has taken notice.

A $482,500 Florida Division of Historical Resources matching grant was awarded to Green Gables to preserve the late 19th Century Victorian house built by William and Nora Wells. The Forgotten Enchantress documentary is the true story of Green Gables narrated in the voice of Queen Anne and documents the contributions of the Wells family and their Florida legacy.  

In celebration of the Kick-Off of the Green Gables 5th Annual Harvest Festival, local vendors will be selling their homemade baked goods, craft items, jewelry, plants, and more. Food trucks, entertainment, and tours of the historic home are all available with a small donation.

To learn more about Green Gables and the 5th Annual Harvest Festival, click here


Keep Brevard Beautiful to Host Battle of the Causeways Coastal Clean Up

Join the Keep Brevard Beautiful (KBB) Team Saturday, October 1st from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Kelly Park (2550 N. Banana River Drive, Merritt Island) for an event to help battle pollution, protect wild and marine life, and keep local beaches and waterways beautiful. 

Volunteers are advised to sign in at Kelly Park’s East pavilion at 8:00 a.m. and participants will be divided into two teams. The East Team will collect trash near the East Causeways, and the West Team will collect litter on the West Causeways. The KBB team will weigh in all the trash collected, and winners will be announced at the luncheon. Good luck to all!  

To sign up in advance, click here

The Cocoa Beach Chamber of Commerce Announces Two Golf Tournaments for Charitable Causes

The 2nd Annual Golf Tournament benefitting the Brevard Family Partnership Foundation will take place Saturday, September 24th at Suntree Golf Course located at One Country Club Drive, in Melbourne. The fee for individual golfers is $125 and sponsorship opportunities are available. An awards dinner will be held onsite following the completion of play.  

Proceeds will benefit the the Brevard Family Partnership Foundation and their mission to create opportunities to transform the lives of children and youth in foster care for future development into successful adults. For more information about the tournament, click here.  

The 1st Annual Brevard County Firefighter Benevolent Golf Tournament will be held on Saturday, October 1st at the Cocoa Beach Country Club located at 5000 Tom Warriner Boulevard, in Cocoa Beach. Check in time is 7:00 a.m. and the shotgun start is 8:30 a.m.

For registration, prize information, and to support the firefighters, please contact Richie Stine at 321-610-0041 or Chris DiSciascio at 321-863-1690.  

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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


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