State Senator Debbie Mayfield – Mayfield Minute 10/30/2022

Good Morning!

November is National Native American History Month

At the turn of the 20th century (January 1, 1901), a single day in November was established to recognize the significant contributions the first Native Americans made in the growth of the United States. That one single day evolved into a month dedicated to National Native American History.  

Decades later in 1990, President George H. W. Bush approved a joint resolution designating the month of November, “National American Indian Heritage Month.” Similar proclamations, under variants on the name (including “Native American Heritage Month” and “National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month”) have been issued each year since 1994.

First Lady Casey DeSantis recognized the national month of awareness by stating, “I’m excited to recognize Native American Heritage Month. Our state is rich in contributions from the Hispanic, Native American, and Black communities throughout Florida. We are honored to highlight their achievements and impact on Florida’s history.”

For more information about National Native American History Month, click here


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Statewide Update

Florida Ranks 3rd in the Nation in Grade 4 Reading and 4th in Grade 4 Mathematics

Last week Governor Ron DeSantis announced the results of the 2022 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), which demonstrates once again that keeping kids in school throughout 2020 and 2021 has put Florida students well ahead of their peers, especially with younger and educationally at-risk students who were harmed the most from distance-learning in other states.

In 2022, Florida’s 4th and 8th grade students earned the state’s highest ever rankings in each assessment and demonstrated historic achievement gap closure for at-risk students at all levels. Florida’s Hispanic students, black students, and students with disabilities all scored in the top 10 in every category. 

NAEP assessments are the only assessment taken consistently across the nation and therefore serve as the nation’s report card. Last administered in 2019, the NAEP is administered every two years, although the 2021 assessments were delayed to 2022.

“We insisted on keeping schools open and guaranteed in-person learning in 2020 because we knew there would be widespread harm to our students if students were locked out. Today’s results once again prove that we made the right decision,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “We also knew that younger and at-risk students would be the most impacted if schools were closed, and the results speak for themselves. In Florida our 4th grade students rank #3 in Reading and #4 in Math, achieving top 4 in both English and Math for the first time in state history, while lockdown California and New York aren’t even in the top 30.”

While Florida boasts historic rankings in all four NAEP tests, Florida’s achievement gap closures were profound across the board upon closer inspection, and these results are a clear indication that Florida’s strategy to focus its recovery on early grades and at-risk students paid off. 

For more information about Florida’s 2022 NAEP results, visit NAEP Results or The Nation’s Report Card


Attorney General Ashley Moody Warns Parents Again About the Dangers of Rainbow Fentanyl this Halloween

We’ve covered this issue in the Mayfield Minute a few times but it is a critical reminder that cannot be stated enough.  Law enforcement nationwide is seizing bright colored Fentanyl that resembles candy—some of these deadly drugs are being found in toy and candy boxes. Last week, Attorney General Moody held another news conference to spread the word about the danger rainbow Fentanyl poses to kids and young adults.

“Halloween can be scary, but nowhere near as scary as rainbow colored fentanyl that looks like candy and can be lethal in minute doses. Whether these drugs are being transported in candy boxes or mixed with other common drugs and sold to unsuspecting users, the threat posed to the safety of kids and young adults is very real. Just one pill laced with fentanyl can kill, so parents please talk to your children about the dangers posed by this extremely lethal drug,” stated AG Moody. 

The statistics are staggering and frightening. Illicit Fentanyl is already the number one cause of death among Americans ages 18 to 45, and now there is an alarming increase in news reports of toddlers deaths as parents are unaware of what they’re ingesting.

For the latest update on this crisis from Attorney General Moody’s office, click here

 Agency Highlight

Space Florida, Inc.

Space Florida was established to strengthen Florida’s position as a global leader in aerospace research, investment, exploration, and commerce. With its highly trained workforce, proven infrastructure, and unparalleled record of achievement, Space Florida is committed to attracting and expanding the next generation of space industry businesses.  

Selected in 2009 to lead Space Florida, Frank DiBello serves as President and CEO. Mr. DiBello has spent the last 13+ years ensuring Space Florida is the principal state agency for aerospace-related economic development. He creates and executes programs designed to attract and retain workforce talent while advancing aerospace business opportunities across the state, the nation, and internationally.

Mr. DiBello has over 50 years of direct aerospace, defense and emerging space industry-related experience. He served on President Reagan’s Private Sector Survey on Cost Control, also known as the Grace Commission. He was responsible for management of the teams reviewing the Departments of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and NASA.

Space Florida’s vision states, “The future is a place where Florida is the leading global and interplanetary center for sustainable aerospace commerce.”

Their vision is supported by the mission, “Make Florida the Place for Space” which leads to their focus on the following areas:

  • Increase Investment Activity in Florida’s Aerospace Ecosystem
  • Maximize Capacity and Capability of Florida’s Spaceport System
  • Accelerate Innovation in Commercial Aerospace Applications
  • Enable Statewide Industry Growth

Florida employs over 151,460 aerospace professionals and related space workers. Diversified launches originate from Cape Canaveral Spaceport and the City of Melbourne serves as a leading location for business jet research, development, manufacturing, and aviation industry growth. It is no surprise the Space Coast is nationally recognized as the “Leader in Global Aerospace Industry.”  

For more information about Space Florida, click here

Constituent of the Week

Robert Matthew “Tyler” Dunham

Robert Matthew Tyler Dunham is President of the Indian River State College (IRSC) chapter of the Student Veterans of America (SVA). He was recently selected as one of only 100 student veterans from more than 1,500 SVA chapters nationwide to attend the prestigious SVA Leadership Institute in Washington, D.C. 

Tyler graduated from high school in 2012 and initially attended IRSC to pursue a career in physical therapy. Like many first year college students, ‘life got in the way’ for Tyler. Family matters made college unaffordable at that time, and his desire to serve the nation became his priority. 

Tyler is an only child and it was important to him to prove to his parents that he could do something special with his life, even if funding for college was no longer available.  He thoughtfully considered his options, first the U.S. Navy, second the U.S. Air Force, and ultimately he determined the U.S. Army would be his best fit.   

Tyler served in the U.S. Army’s Unit 4-160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) as a Radio and Communications Security Repairman. He was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State until 2020.

“It [enlisting in the Army] was the best decision I could have made,” he said. “It provided a cushion for my life that I would not have had. It reopened the doors again to higher education.”

After honorably completing his military service, he re-enrolled in IRSC, where he is studying public administration with a discipline in public policy. Tyler’s post-military, collegiate life continued to progress. 

Last spring, IRSC joined the national Student Veterans of America Association.  Chris Armstrong, IRSC’s Military and Veterans Advisor, said that Tyler was the obvious choice to serve as the first president of the college’s inaugural chapter. Mr. Armstrong’s intuition about Tyler’s leadership was proven again when Tyler was selected to attend the prestigious national SVA Leadership Institute. The goal of the immersive SVA Leadership Institute is for chosen participants to develop their core values and refine the leadership skills learned in the military. Ideally graduates will utilize the experience to excel in their careers and in service to their communities.  

On campus, Tyler’s leadership has been recognized in many ways. He was chosen from his Associate Degree graduating class to hold IRSC’s Military and Veterans Services Flag during the Spring 2020 commencement ceremony. Continuing his education, Tyler was accepted into the Baccalaureate Degree program where he is expected to graduate in 2023. As SVA President, Tyler grew IRSC’s SVA first chapter from one to 60 active members.

His ultimate goal is to capitalize on his military and SVA presidency experience and his educational accomplishments to seek future, elected public office. 

Senate District 17 appreciates Robert Matthew Tyler Dunham’s military service, his perseverance in overcoming adversities to complete his college degrees, and as a student leader advocating on behalf of student veterans. 

District Highlights

Orange Blossom Village in Vero Beach Demonstrates Success Providing Affordable Housing

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to visit Orange Blossom Village, an affordable housing community in Vero Beach. I joined David Hall with the Florida Housing Corporation as we met residents and toured the property, observing the upgrades purposely designed for the residents’ safety, accessible amenities, and convenience. Orange Blossom Village is a 62+ community with 80 affordable housing units. All units and the physical property have been recently renovated utilizing Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Tax Exemption Bonds.

To learn more about OBV, please visit their website.


Eastern Florida State College Hosted an Interactive Brevard Re-Entry Program Event

On Friday, I attended the Brevard Re-entry Program event with Dr. Cadore, EFSC Director of Community Engagement, and Pastor Jarvis Wash, CEO of My Community Cares, Inc. 

The Community Engagement Reentry Project event provided participants the opportunity to experience some of the real-life issues encountered by citizens who successfully complete incarceration and reenter society. Common obstacles include: reentry into the workforce, securing a driver’s license, obtaining healthcare, complying with supervision obligations, finding affordable housing, and much more.

Working with Senator Wright and Representative Sirois, we were able to secure an appropriation of $750,000 for the Brevard Re-Entry Program during the 2022 Legislative Session. With the additional funding, My Community Cares will be able to to expand their service from 200 to 400 re-entry participants. Statistics show the program is critical in reducing recidivism, successfully rehabilitating offenders, decreasing crime, and providing a safer community. 

For more information about the Brevard Re-entry Program, contact My Community Cares at 321-305-6027.  


Brightline Train Testing Dates Announced for Brevard County

Brightline will continue critical work on its Orlando extension with test trains traveling in northern Brevard County up to 79 mph this month, and up to 110 mph in early 2023.

The work, known as a signal and track cutover, will integrate a new second railroad track into the existing corridor and will take place along a 13-mile section of track, spanning 18 railroad crossings from Sharpes through City Point, Cocoa and Rockledge. Flaggers will be present at the crossings continuously from October 29th thru November 5th from 6:00 a.m., to 6:00 p.m. while the new rail signal system is commissioned. Testing is expected to bring additional wait times at railroad crossings. Brightline reminds motorists and pedestrians to stay off the tracks and never go around crossing gates.

For specific intersections and roadways impacted, and safety precautions, click here


Dassault Falcon Jet to Build Major Maintenance Facility in Melbourne

Dassault Falcon Jet announced it will build a new maintenance facility at Melbourne Orlando International Airport as part of the company’s global expansion of its maintenance, repair, and overhaul network. Their facility will be built on undeveloped acreage just north of Sheltair Aviation’s and northward to Embraer’s delivery center. Over 400 new jobs are expected with an average annual salary of $86,120.

According to Enterprise Florida, Inc., “Dassault Falcon will serve customers across North and South America and beyond.  The new 175,000 square-foot complex will accommodate all current Falcon models, (including the new, ultra-long range Falcon 10X, the largest purpose-built business jet), and will be capable of performing major maintenance and modifications on up to 18 Falcon models simultaneously.”

Construction in Melbourne is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2023 and the official opening is set for late 2024.

“We have made it our priority to invest in our workforce to attract the world’s top companies to Florida. Today’s announcement from Dassault Falcon Jet shows how these investments are paying dividends,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. 

“Florida is an unbeatable location where companies get access to everything they need to see tremendous growth,” said Frank DiBello, president and CEO, Space Florida.  “Dassault Falcon Jet’s decision to move their operations to our state is yet another example of the strength of Florida’s aerospace industry and the unmatched, competitive financial toolkit Space Florida offers.”

For more information, click here


Sebastian Inlet District Announces Completion of the Sebastian Inlet North and South Shoreline Stabilization

“This project has reinforced the inlet shorelines, making them more resilient to severe storms,” said James Gray, Executive Director of the Sebastian Inlet District.

According to Dr. Andy Risi, VP, Project Management of Sea & Shoreline, “The project’s benefits have proven successful after being put to the test recently by Hurricane Ian on September. 28th.”

The five-month $1.1 million project, which began in May, was funded by ad valorem taxes. Sea & Shoreline rehabilitated and reinforced approximately 655 linear feet of the North Shore, covering a relic, steel sheet piling with limestone rip rap, and repaired and replaced a rip rap revetment. On the South Shore, limestone and granite rip rap was used to repair areas beneath the catwalk under the A1A Bridge and proceeding west to the T-Dock.

Click here for the full news release regarding completion of the Sebastian Inlet North and South Shoreline Stabilization Project. 

Upcoming Events

Annual Native Rhythms Festival Set for November 11th thru 13th

The 2022 Native Rhythms Festival will be held at the Wickham Park Amphitheater in Melbourne on Friday, November 11th thru Sunday, November 13th beginning at 9:00 a.m. each day. The event is family friendly, free of charge, and activities including cultural arts and crafts vendors, day and evening concerts, food and beverages, and a variety of workshops for children and adults.  

For more information on the three-day Native Rhythms Festival schedule of events, click here


Palm Bay 2022 Annual Veterans Day Parade

On Saturday, November 5th from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. the City of Palm Bay will hold its annual Veterans Day parade. The parade route will start at City Hall located at 120 Malabar Road and head East on Malabar Road to Emerson Drive, turning South on Emerson Drive, and ending at Copley Street Southeast. There will be viewing areas for the public in the median of Malabar Road as well as along the sidewalk on the South side of Malabar Road.

Malabar Road will be completely closed, in both directions, from Emerson Drive to Minton Road, and Emerson Drive will be closed between Malabar and Grandeur Street. The roads will re-open as soon as barriers and pedestrians are cleared from the roadway and clean-up is complete.

Area businesses and organizations are encouraged to participate in the parade in support of our veterans. Organizers are also looking for military groups and clubs to join the parade to be honored by the community. For more information, click here


Florida Institute of Technology STEMpower Day

FIT’s STEMpower Day has been scheduled for November 8th at Florida Tech’s Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Design (2495 Palm Bay Road Northeast) from 2:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. 

Brevard County high school students, high-school-level home-schooled students, parents, guardians, teachers, and guidance counselors are invited to Florida Tech’s STEMpower Day. The event is a celebration of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and offers participants memorable, hands-on experiences and a glimpse of collegiate life at Florida Tech.

Everyone attending the event should register in advance here.  Each student who registers will get to choose three specific sessions to attend. Seating is limited to 10 seats per session to maximize the personalized experience. 


The Annual Space Coast State Fair Opens at Space Coast Daily Park in Viera on November 4th

The annual Space Coast State Fair is scheduled for November 4th through November 20th at Space Coast Daily Park (6091 Stadium Parkway) in Viera. This year the fair is offering a “Pay-One-Price” value each day and night at the entry which includes unlimited rides and shows from open to close. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, the unlimited price is $25, and on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays the unlimited price is $30.  

A special VIP FAST-PASS will be available for $10 more, which includes all the rides and allows the VIP to enter rides at the FAST-PASS entry avoiding the regular lines at the rides.

To purchase advance tickets, view a list of shows, rides, and exhibits, and other details, click here.  


Downtown Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

The annual Downtown Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, located in the heart of Historic Downtown Melbourne, will be held on Saturday, November 12th from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. 

The event highlights the local community and provides attendees with a culinary adventure while strolling the quaint streets and listening to live music. 

Tickets are required to participate in the festival and sample the food, wine, spirits, and beer, however, Downtown Melbourne is open to non-ticket holders to visit the local restaurants, entertainment and shops during the event. Tickets for the festival can be purchased here

The event is 21+ and ID is required. Parking is limited and rideshare is encouraged.   

If you are interested vendor space or sponsorship, click here.


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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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