State Senator Debbie Mayfield – Mayfield Minute 01/08/2023

Good Morning!

Last Tuesday, Governor Ron DeSantis, Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nunez, Attorney General Ashley Moody, and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis were sworn into office for their second term during the 2023 Inauguration Ceremony at the Florida State Capitol. Former Senate President Wilton Simpson was also sworn in as the newly elected Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

During his inaugural address, Governor DeSantis highlighted the State of Florida as a national leader in education, economic prosperity, as a law-and-order state, a protector of our children and parental rights, and stated that Florida is in the “golden era for conservation of our treasured natural resources”. For or full coverage of the inauguration ceremony and Governor DeSantis’ speech, click here.

On Wednesday, January 11th, the 2023 Brevard Legislative Delegation Meeting will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the Brevard County Commissioners Chambers (2725 Judge Fran Jamieson Way, Building C) in Viera. The meeting is open to the public.

I consider it a great honor to represent District 19. 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

Committee Week Update

Last week, the Florida Legislature returned to Tallahassee for the second of seven committee meetings in preparation for the 2023 legislative session beginning March 7th thru May 5th. 

Two of the nine committees I’m proud to serve on, Agriculture, and the Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government, met to introduce new members and discuss priorities. 

The Florida Senate’s busy week also included several other committee meetings with highlights captured below:

Community Affairs Committee:

In the Senate Community Affairs Committee meeting, Trey Price, Executive Director of the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC), presented on their work to increase housing affordability across Florida.

Mr. Price highlighted the legislature’s appropriation of $363 million last session to fund housing initiatives and an additional $150 million during Special Session 2022A for hurricane recovery efforts specific to affordable housing.

Kevin Guthrie, Director of the State Division of Emergency Management (DEM), presented information on the status of Florida’s hurricane recovery efforts following Hurricanes Ian and Nicole which made landfall late last year. Recovery efforts have been extensive and DEM has been successful in meeting its outlined goals of helping Floridians. Despite the devastation caused by these storms, the State Emergency Response Team completed over 7,000 rescue mission requests. DEM is also continuing work to restore fire stations, water treatment plants, and other government buildings to ensure restoration of infrastructure and standard operations.

Postsecondary Education Committee:

Suzanne Pridgeon, Deputy Commissioner for Finance and Operations of the Florida Department of Education, presented to the Senate Postsecondary Education Committee. She highlighted the continued need and merit-based scholarships, the Law Enforcement Academy Scholarship Program, and the Law Enforcement Basic Recruit Training Program. 

Military, Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security Committee:

Florida Department of Veterans Affairs (FLDVA) Deputy Executive Director, Bob Asztalos, provided information on Florida’s ranking in the Veterans population. Florida is home to the third largest Veteran population in the nation, and to the nation’s second largest female Veteran population. Director Asztalos emphasized that Veteran suicide prevention continues to be a priority and a number of programs are in place to prevent these tragedies. 

Senate Select Committee on Resiliency: 

Wesley Brooks, Florida’s Chief Resiliency Officer, reported that the Statewide Office of Resiliency works with local communities to implement strategic initiatives intended to support ecosystem restoration, develop natural infrastructure and support long-term growth benefits. The Office of Resiliency also found that flooding and infrastructure damage was heavily mitigated as a result of recognized floodplain areas and natural infrastructure.

For more information on the committee week meetings taking place in Tallahassee, please do not hesitate to contact my staff at 321-409-2025 or 850-487-5019 for assistance.

January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month

Attorney General (AG) Moody is imploring more Floridians to join in the fight against human trafficking by knowing how to identify and report suspected activity. According to the U.S. Department of State, there are an estimated 24.9 million victims of human trafficking worldwide at any given time.

AG Moody said, “Ending human trafficking in Florida is a top priority and while we made great strides toward this goal during my first term as Attorney General, we cannot relent in our efforts to prosecute traffickers and help victims.”

Since taking office in 2019, AG Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution has secured sentences for 95 defendants in human trafficking cases.

Some of the AG’s partnerships to combat human trafficking include:

Children can also be at risk of human trafficking through online predators. AG Moody also created an Online Safety Toolkit to empower parents to teach their children about the dangers of online human trafficking.

To report any suspicion of human trafficking, contact local law enforcement and the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1(888) 373-7888.

Agency Highlight

Florida Department of Health

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) was officially established by the Florida Legislature in 1996, yet the agency’s history dates back to1888 with the creation of the Florida State Board of Health.

In 2007, the first-ever State Surgeon General was established to spearhead the efforts of DOH and oversee all matters of public health. The Surgeon General is appointed by Florida’s Governor with confirmation required by the Florida Senate. The Surgeon General’s primary role is to serve as the State’s leading advocate for wellness and disease prevention.

In September of 2021, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the appointment of Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo as Florida Surgeon General. At that time, Dr. Ladapo was a professor at the University of Florida College of Medicine after having served as an associate professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles.

Dr. Ladapo graduated from Wake Forest University, earned his M.D. from Harvard Medical School, and a Ph.D. in Health Policy from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. His primary research interests include clinical trial interventions and reducing cardiovascular disease. He has also served as a faculty member in the Department of Population Health at the NYU School of Medicine and as a Staff Fellow at the US Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Ladapo leads the DOH which is comprised of a state health office in Tallahassee; Florida’s 67 county health departments; 22 Children’s Medical Services area offices; 12 Medical Quality Assurance regional offices; nine Disability Determinations regional offices; and three public health laboratories.

Under his leadership the DOH takes a comprehensive approach to improving public health systems and the well-being of all Floridians, mentally and physically. Some of their priorities include:

Ending Substance Use Disorder and Overdose

  • Fentanyl is now the leading cause of death in the US for individuals age 18 to 45. In partnership with the Department of Children and Families, and the Agency for Health Care Administration, DOH has implemented a network of addiction care called the Coordinated Opioid Recovery Network (CORE). CORE, a first of its kind program in the US, has been initiated in 12 Florida counties, including Brevard.


  • Along with Governor DeSantis, DOH has worked tirelessly to protect those at the highest risk of COVID-19 while realistically assessing vaccine safety and precautionary measures. Through the establishment of the new Public Health Integrity Committee, the State Surgeon General works with a team to assess federal public health recommendations and guidance to ensure that Florida’s policies are tailored for our State’s communities and priorities.

Protecting Mothers and Babies

  • DOH is working to ensure the health and safety of mothers and babies following birth. Partnering with the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Healthy People 2030 goal was established to reduce C-section births among low-risk women to prevent unnecessary complications. 

Rapid Disaster Response

  • Prior to, during, and after the impacts of Hurricanes Ian and Nicole, DOH partnered with the Florida Health and Human Services team to successfully prepare and respond to those in need. DOH helped evacuate over 9,000 individuals from more than 200 health care facilities affected by the storms and coordinated the staging and deployment of roughly 500 emergency management service vehicles for victims in need of land and air travel.

Supporting a Strong Health Care Workforce

  • DOH has advanced its practices to include even greater use of data and technology to license qualified health care practitioners and facilities in times of shortages, enforce statutory regulations, and provide accurate and timely information to patients and family members. 

For more information about the services and programs Florida’s Department of Health provides, click here.

Constituent of the Week

Kimberly Smith

Our Constituent of the Week is Ms. Kimberly Smith. 

Ms. Smith retired from the Space Coast Transportation Planning Organization (SCTPO) as an Education Safety Coordinator this past December after 23 years of service.

In her role at SCTPO, she was responsible for educating thousands of children and adults in Brevard County about bicycle, pedestrian, and traffic safety. She created a wide network of community partners from all different industries elevating SCTPO’s mission to save lives.

Ms. Smith’s areas of expertise included oversight of the Vision Zero program, and SCTPO education, outreach, and community safety events including: Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety education programs, traffic safety trainings, helmet fittings, and Walk/Bike to School Day events.

Ms. Smith remains a certified League of America Bicyclists instructor and a regional trainer for the Florida Traffic and Bicycle Safety Education Program. She has also served on the Alert Today Alive Tomorrow Coalition.

Prior to joining SCTPO, Ms. Smith had an 11-year career as a City of Cocoa Beach Police Officer. As a patrol officer, she was part of the reactive and responsive side of the criminal justice system. Seeking a more proactive and preemptive role, she became a Drug Awareness Resistance Education (DARE) officer in the public schools, where she helped misguided youth and teens. 

Ms. Smith was originally born in Polk County, Florida and quickly relocated with her adoptive family to Brevard County. Growing up, she attended Holy Trinity and graduated from Melbourne High School. After graduation, she enrolled in BCC (now Eastern Florida State College). Ms. Smith attended the Police Academy and finished her college degree at the University of Central Florida. 

In speaking with Ms. Smith, she shared it was her adoptive mom, Ms. Jimmie Louise Godwin, former Vice President of Godwin Groves, Inc., who taught her the importance of giving back and being an integral part of one’s community. She also remembers this advice from her late father, “Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability.”

Ms. Smith was recently asked to take on a new challenge as volunteer program manager for the the Mark Wandall Foundation which provides support and assistance to grieving children who have lost a parent, family member, or guardian.

Senate District 19 truly appreciates Ms. Smith’s years of service in law enforcement, public transportation safety, and also her empathy for those struggling through grief and loss.   

District Highlights

SpaceX Successfully Launches First Rocket of 2023

Last Tuesday, the first launch of 2023 occurred at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station when SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket into orbit. This is the sixth event dedicated to the SpaceX Small Satellite rideshare mission.

“SpaceX’s rideshare program will allow smaller satellites — some as small as a mailbox – to be sent into orbit at a lower-cost option for private companies and public institutions,” according to SpaceX. 

The company intends to launch a crew of four to the International Space Station in February, and hold a private spaceflight mission, Polaris Dawn, no earlier than March 2023.  

Port Canaveral and the Mardi Gras Cruise Ship Take Top Awards in Cruise Hive’s 2022 Passenger Poll

For the third year straight Port Canaveral was voted the “Best US Cruise Homeport” and Carnival Cruise Lines’ Port Canaveral-based Mardi Gras was voted the best overall cruise ship for the second year. The Mardi Gras also took top honors for its Bolt roller coaster as the best cruise ship feature, and its Cucina del Capitano Italian restaurant was named best dining venue. 

“We’re thrilled to have earned this valued distinction three years in a row,” Port Canaveral Chief Executive Officer John Murray said in commenting on the ranking. “What an honor for us and our cruise partners to be so well-recognized for providing a high-quality guest experience. It’s tremendous gratitude of our efforts from the millions of cruise guests sailing from Port Canaveral year after year.”

The Mardi Gras set sail in 2020 and is the first US-based cruise ship to be powered by liquefied natural gas, and the first cruise ship with a roller coaster at sea.

Port Canaveral-based Royal Caribbean’s Wonder of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship finished second in the best overall cruise ship category, followed by Celebrity Cruises’ Los Angeles-based Celebrity Solstice.

In 1990, Carnival Cruise Lines became the first international cruise line to establish Port Canaveral as its permanent home port. In 1998 and 2000, the Disney Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean followed, respectively. 

Cruise Hive was launched in 2008 and has grown to be a leading site for breaking cruise news, developing industry trends, cruise travel tracking, and much more. It covers all major cruise industry news in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Europe.  

To view all 2022 top award recipients in all categories, click here

The Indian River County School District and IRSC Received New State Funding for Nursing Education 

Last week, Governor DeSantis awarded $79 million to high-performing nursing education programs in Florida. The Indian River County School District and Indian River State College were included among the 27 recipients. 

The funding rewards public secondary and postsecondary nursing programs that have gone above and beyond to train Floridians for a nursing career. Further, matching funds can be provided for scholarship awards, faculty recruitment, equipment, and additional educational support.

“These awards will meet a critical need of our state by ensuring we continue to have high-quality nursing graduates and by creating new opportunities for Floridians interested in healthcare,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “I am grateful to the colleges and universities who have gone above and beyond to train the next generation of nurses in our state.”

The Florida Hospital Association recently projected a shortage of 59,100 nurses by 2035. The DeSantis administration remains proactive in their commitment to address healthcare worker shortages and to make Florida the number one state for workforce education by 2030.

For more information on Governor DeSantis’s announcement, click here.

Upcoming Events

City of Palm Bay to Hold Ribbon Cutting at Palm Bay Fire Rescue Station Five

On Saturday, January 14th at 10:00 a.m. the City of Palm Bay will unveil Palm Bay Fire Rescue’s new Training Tower and Burn Building located alongside Fire Station 5 at 1525 Foundation Park Drive SE. The event is free of charge and open to the public.

The Training Tower and Burn Building will facilitate basic fire ground skills training and live fire burns, and can also accommodate advanced technical rescue training. The addition of this new training facility will allow the department to conduct more frequent trainings on a wide variety of skills while saving the City more than $10,000 a year in training facility rental fees.

The current focus is training the department’s instructors on the intricacies of fire behavior burns and live fire training guidelines. Ultimately, this facility will strengthen all member’s skills and abilities through proficiency training and enhance firefighting tactics and deployment through live fire evolutions.

For more information about Palm Bay Fire Rescue operations, facilities, and services, visit here.

LaPorte Farms in Sebastian to Hold Fishing Tournament for Kids

Saturday, January 14th from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., LaPorte Farms located at 7700 129th Street in Sebastian will hold a “Kids Fishing Tournament” for children up to age 14. 

The entry fee is $10 per person. Refreshments and drinks will be available. LaPorte Farms will provide bait and participants are invited to bring their own pole or rent a pole on site for $5.00. 

To sign up your child for the tournament, click here.

The Friends of LaPorte Farms, Inc. was established by Laura LaPorte who grew up on the farm with cattle, goats, chickens, and horses. Her love for animals is carried out today on the five acre estate where she welcomes visitors. The property is handicap accessible and welcomes service dogs.

For more information, call (772) 633-0813.

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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


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