State Senator Debbie Mayfield Mayfield Minute 01/29/2023

Good Morning!

February is Heart Health Awareness Month. Heart disease, the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, took the lives of 697,000 Americans in 2020. 

The American Heart Association (AHA) was created on June 10, 1924 by physicians and social workers who believed individuals with a heart condition could overcome the deadly disease with early diagnosis, treatment, and proper care. Over the past nearly 100 years, the AHA has grown into an organization of more than 35 million volunteers and supporters dedicated to improving heart health and reducing deaths from cardiovascular disease and stroke. Although the AHA has made huge strides in prevention, early diagnosis, treatment, and the pursuit of a cure, more work needs to be done.

Cessation of tobacco use, reduction of salt in the diet, eating more fruit and vegetables, regular physical activity, and avoiding harmful use of alcohol are lifestyle habits that have been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. 

To learn more about the warning signs of cardiac arrest or a stroke and when to contact 911 for yourself or a loved one, click here.

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.  

Committee Week Four Highlights

During Committee Week 4, I met with Wilfred Hart, Community Liaison Specialist for the Indian River County School District, and Germaine Johnson, Athletic Director and Physical Education teacher at Oslo Middle School, as they were touring our State Capitol.

Peter Lagomarsino, Senior Architect with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Alice Schultz, Senior Manager for Launch Support Facilities with RS&H Architects, visited to discuss AIA’s architectural interests and projects on the Space Coast.

Dr. Jane Benton and Johnette Grindling from the Space Coast Health Foundation stopped by to advocate for access to mental and behavioral health care, particularly for vulnerable and underserved populations.

Key O’Keefe, Partner with O’Keefe, Somerville, and Associates, and additional representatives of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants, visited to discuss their priorities for the 2023 legislative session.

I also met with Satellite Beach City Manager Courtney Barker and Councilmember Mindy Gibson to discuss affordable housing. 

Many other District 19 constituents and advocacy groups made appointments or stopped by and I greatly appreciate the time, effort, and proactivity each are undertaking for the betterment of our communities.

Career and Technical Education Programs are Building the Workforce of the Future

The Florida Department of Education joined the Senate Committee on Pre-K–12 Education last week to deliver a presentation on Florida’s robust Career and Technical Education (CTE) Pathways program.

Currently, there are 17 CTE pathways that offer students educational programming on business management, construction, health science, manufacturing, and many other subject matters and career fields. CTE Programs begin as early as the 6th grade in an exploratory phase, then progress into career preparatory, and technical education.

CTE Programs in Florida are evaluated on a number of quality components such as workforce alignment and business involvement, engaging instruction, effective staff, and equal access, among others. These quality components help to ensure that every CTE student in the State of Florida is receiving a quality education that will lead to applicable workforce skills.

Since the 2009-2010 school year, Florida has seen tremendous growth in both the percentage and number of students who graduate with an industry certification. From around 6,000 students who graduated with a certification in 2009 to the 56,000 students that graduated earning 1 or more certifications in 2022, Florida is preparing its students for success whether they enter into the workforce or enroll in a postsecondary educational institution.

Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo Unveils Comprehensive Statewide Workforce Housing Strategy

President Passidomo announced Senator Alexis Calatayud, Chair of the Committee on Community Affairs, will sponsor “Live Local” legislation (Senate Bill 102) creating attainable housing options, convenient for Florida workers who want to live in the communities they serve. 

Demand for additional rental units has increased across the state. Mortgage rates remain higher than in recent years, and many new residents, younger working Floridians, and seniors do not want the added costs and responsibilities that come with home ownership. These factors and others are driving the current demand for rental housing, which is outpacing supply, keeping both rents and occupancy rates high, and pushing rental prices beyond affordable prices for families with low-to-moderate incomes.

The proposed SB 102 addresses the following:

  • Continuing historic funding for workforce housing
  • Encouraging private sector investment to accelerate new workforce housing construction
  • Expanding workforce housing options for low and moderate incomes through new incentives
  • Reducing regulations and providing transparency to promote housing options

For the full press release, click here.

Statewide Update

Governor DeSantis Announced Unprecedented Legislation to Empower Educators, Protect Teachers from Overreaching School Unions, and Raise Teacher Pay

Governor DeSantis announced an unprecedented legislative proposal to create a Teacher’s Bill of Rights that empowers educators to be leaders in their classrooms, enact paycheck protection, reduce terms for school board members from 12 to eight years, and invest another $1 billion in teacher pay.

“This is a huge package to increase teacher pay, support teacher empowerment, and protect teachers’ paychecks by ensuring they have control over their hard-earned salary,” said Governor DeSantis. “We want more transparency into how school unions operate, and we are going to fight against school union haggling that holds teachers and their salary increases hostage. Partisan groups should not be given special privileges.”

Paycheck Protection: The Governor’s proposal will create more accountability and transparency for public sector unions, including K-12 teacher unions and higher education unions. This proposal will require school unions to represent at least 60% of employees eligible for representation, an increase over the current 50% threshold, and allow state investigations into unions suspected of fraud, waste and abuse.

Teacher Empowerment: Since the Governor took office, education has been at the forefront of policy making decisions. Florida law currently contains comprehensive legislation related to students’ rights and parents’ rights in education but does not have a clear compilation of teachers’ rights and authorities.

Raising Teacher Pay: Since 2020, the Governor has secured more than $2 billion in funding for teacher pay, the largest pay increase for teachers in Florida history. The Governor is proposing an additional $200 million to continue raising teacher pay, bringing the total to $1 billion for teacher pay in his recommended budget for the next year.

For a summary of the legislation, click here.

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson Highlights Benefits of Prescribed Burns

Last week, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson and the Florida Forest Service highlighted the importance and benefits of prescribed burns during Florida’s Prescribed Fire Awareness Week.

“Florida leads the nation in the use of prescribed fire as a safe and controlled way to protect the lands we love and the communities we live in,” said Commissioner Wilton Simpson. “Prescribed burns are a vital tool that protects our communities by clearing overgrowth that fuels catastrophic wildfires and our natural resources by fostering new growth to keep our forests healthy and biodiversity protected.”

In 2021, the Florida Forest Service administered the largest and most active prescribed fire program in the nation, issuing nearly 93,000 open burn authorizations for public and private land managers to treat more than 2.3 million acres with prescribed fire.

Managing these forests is essential to powering Florida’s economy, sustaining the ecosystem, and supporting the state’s infrastructure. Florida’s landscape is a fire-adapted ecosystem, depending on recurring fire to renew the forest and habitats that support native plant and animal species.

To learn more or to view scheduled prescribed burns, visit here.

AG Moody Joins Multistate Action Against President Biden’s New Unlawful Immigration Program

AG Moody is taking action to stop President Biden’s latest unlawful immigration move. AG Moody said, “Biden wants to stop illegal immigration by attempting to legalize unlawful entry for hundreds of thousands of immigrants.”

Just days before AG Moody took Biden to court for refusing to enforce federal immigration laws, the President announced a new parole program that could allow up to 30,000 previously inadmissible immigrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela into the U.S. monthly.

AG Moody went on to say, “Biden’s new solution to his self-created crisis at the border is to allow illegal immigrants to travel directly into the interior of the country without crossing the southern border—in direct violation of federal law. His unlawful actions will not go unchecked, and we will continue to fight in court to force this President to follow public-safety immigration laws.”

In addition to Attorney General Moody, 20 states’ attorneys general signed onto the complaint which can be read in full here.

Governor DeSantis Announces Hometown Heroes Program Reaches Milestone of $50 Million Awarded

Last week, Governor DeSantis announced that the Hometown Heroes housing assistance program has awarded more than $50 million in down payment and closing cost assistance to Florida’s hometown heroes. The program, which has awarded over 3,500 Hometown Heroes, assists individuals such as law enforcement officers, educators, healthcare professionals, and active military personnel or veterans in purchasing their first home in Florida.

“Law enforcement officers, first responders, veterans, nurses, and other hometown heroes have dedicated their lives to serving their communities, and deserve our thanks,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “I am proud that in just over six months we have been able to help nearly 3,500 hometown heroes purchase their first home.”

Eligible homebuyers will receive up to 5% of their first mortgage loan amount (up to a maximum of $25,000) in down payment and closing cost assistance in the form of a 0%, non-amortizing, 30-year deferred second mortgage.

To qualify for this program, homebuyers must connect with one of Florida Housing’s participating loan officers, have a minimum credit score of 640, provide certification for one of the eligible occupations, and meet the income threshold for their county.

For more information on the Florida Hometown Heroes Housing Program, please visit here.

Agency Highlight

Florida Department of Citrus

The Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) is an executive agency of Florida government charged with the marketing, research, and regulation of the Florida citrus industry. They are funded by an assessment paid by citrus growers on each box of citrus that moves through commercial channels. The industry employs more than 33,000 people, provides an annual economic impact of $6.762 billion to the state, and contributes hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues that help support Florida’s schools, roads, and health care services.

The FDOC also has extensive regulatory responsibilities, covering every aspect of the industry, including research, production, maturity standards, licensing, transportation, labeling, packing, and processing. The FDOC is governed by the Florida Citrus Commission, a nine-member board appointed by the Governor of Florida to represent citrus growers, processors, and packers.

Ms. Shannon Shepp serves as Executive Director of FDOC. Appointed to the position in 2015, Ms. Shepp previously served as Deputy Director and has more than 27 years of experience in Florida agriculture, including 12 years with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS).

Before joining the FDOC, Ms. Shepp served as the Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture responsible for the divisions of Plant Industry, Fruit and Vegetables, Marketing and Development, Animal Industry, and Food Nutrition and Wellness. Previously, Ms. Shepp worked as a public affairs manager at Florida Citrus Mutual and as a legislative assistant and government affairs director in Tallahassee.

Ms. Shepp holds a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications and Public Relations from the University of South Florida and an associate degree from St. Petersburg Junior College.

To learn more about Florida’s Department of Citrus, visit here.

Constituent of the Week

Manny Shaw

Our constituent of the week is Mr. Manny Shaw (third from left). Many in our community may be familiar with his story, yet it is well worth repeating during National Heart Health Awareness month. 

Mr. Shaw moved to Brevard County at the age of 11. He is a graduate of Cocoa Beach High School, and Brevard Community College (EFSC). He completed his bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology at the University of South Florida and returned back home to the Space Coast. 

Mr. Shaw had a long career as an Exercise Specialist at Health First. He credits his Health First training for his life saving skills and the ability to remain calm and in control when managing life and death situations. Mr. Shaw emphasized that the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) can also be credited with saving lives, and the proper use of an AED was a significant part of his training. 

During the COVID pandemic, Mr. Shaw’s position was downsized and he soon found new employment as the Manager of Fitness Club Merritt Island. Little did he know, his training would be called upon to save the life of gym regular, Cocoa resident, Frank Buzzo. Mr. Shaw was notified by gym staff and guests that something was wrong with “Big Frank”, a 70-year-old world champion weight lifter well known by all. 

Mr. Shaw says he thought maybe Mr. Buzzo had fallen or hit his head. Within seconds it was clear Mr. Buzzo was experiencing a cardiac episode, not breathing and exhibiting no pulse activity. With the assistance of a retired firefighter and nurse, Mr. Shaw immediately deployed one of the gym’s two AEDs and Mr. Buzzo was resuscitated.

This is the second time Mr. Shaw has saved a life. Nearly a decade ago, using an AED, he resuscitated Paul Berner, a healthy younger man with no known heart conditions. Mr. Berner and Mr. Buzzo, decades apart in age, each succumbed to cardiac episodes. Mr. Shaw continues to encourage regular heart health screenings for everyone regardless of age, lifestyle habits, or health history. He also strongly advocates for AED’s everywhere people visit and work as the medical device can instantly make a difference between life and death.

Mr. Shaw resides in Merritt Island with his wife. They have three adult children and two grandchildren. He encourages the community to follow “Who We Play For” to learn more about opportunities to sign up for local heart health screening events.

District 19 appreciates Manny Shaw for his quick action in saving lives and for serving as an advocate for AEDs and heart health awareness throughout our communities.

District Highlights

Melbourne Airport Unveils $72 Million ‘Coastal-Casual’ Terminal Expansion Amid Historic Traffic

The Melbourne-Orlando International Airport unveiled its $72 million terminal renovation and expansion with notable upgrades to enhance the customer experience. The 86,000 square feet expansion was launched in November 2019 when TUI Airlines announced the Melbourne-Orlando International Airport as the new gateway for their United Kingdom customers traveling to Central Florida. The historic announcement provided the catalyst needed to undertake the terminal renovation and expansion project with TUI anticipating an additional 150,000 passengers in their first year of service.

The new facilities and improvements to existing areas are:

  • Spacious new departure area
  • New four lane security checkpoint
  • Three new jet bridges
  • Expanded U.S. customs facility
  • New international arrivals center
  • Four new restroom facilities
  • VIP business lounge
  • New food, beverage, and retail options
  • New ticket counters and atrium entry

For a virtual tour of the upgrades to the Melbourne-Orlando International Airport, click here. To book flights, click here.

Brevard Public Schools Announce Annual Award Winners

Administrators of the Year, Volunteers of the Year, Employee of the Year, and the Teacher of the Year were announced last week in addition to two new categories including Rookie Teacher of the Year (first year teachers) and Emerging Teacher of the Year (second year teachers).

This year’s top winners are:

Teacher of the Year – Pamela Brockmeyer, Mathematics Teacher, Cocoa High School

Employee of the Year – Roderick Foster, Technology Associate, Ronald McNair Magnet Middle School

Administrators of the Year

  • Blair Lovelace, Coquina Elementary School, Principal Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership
  • Kelly Grugan, Riviera Elementary School, Outstanding Assistant Principal Achievement Award

Volunteers of the Year

  • Youth – Emma Aiken, Heritage High School
  • Volunteer of the Year, Adult – Robert Koehler, Rockledge High School
  • Volunteer of the Year, Senior – Andrew Daniher, Titusville High School

Rookie Teacher of the Year– Recognizes outstanding educators in their first year of teaching.

  • Jana Doss, Ralph M. Williams, Jr. Elementary School – Rookie Teacher of the Year- Elementary
  • Megan Hutera, Herbert C. Hoover Middle School – Rookie Teacher of the Year- Middle
  • Brooke Davis, Cocoa Beach Jr./Sr. High School – Rookie Teacher of the Year-Secondary

Emerging Teachers of the Year– Recognizes outstanding educators in their second year of teaching.

  • Ashe-Leigh Wells, West Melbourne Elementary School for Science, Emerging Teacher of the Year – Elementary
  • Sharona Franklin, Stone Magnet Middle School, Emerging Teacher of the Year – Middle
  • Melanie Richardson, West Shore Jr./Sr. High School, Emerging Teacher of the Year – Secondary
Some Indian River County Beaches Remain Closed for Dune Repair

Indian River County is working at a record pace to replace sand and repair dunes on 22 miles of beaches before the start of sea turtle nesting season. The damage was caused by back-to-back Hurricanes Ian and Nicole late last year. 

Staggered beach closures began January 9th and currently, all beaches are scheduled to reopen by March 1st. Some of the most recent updates include:

  • Seagrape Trail Beach, 8302 North A1A, will reopen January 31st. 
  • Golden Sands Beach, 10240 North A1A, will be closed until February 13th. 
  • Wabasso Beach, 1820 CR 510 and A1A, will close February 13th and reopen March 1st.

To view a regularly updated calendar showing when each beach is closed, visit here or call (772) 226-1872 for more information.

Upcoming Events

Space Coast Surfriders Foundation to Host Ocean Treasures Festival

On Saturday, February 4th from 9:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., the Space Coast Surfriders Foundation will hold their Ocean Treasurers Festival. The event takes place at the Barrier Island Center located at the Archie Carr Refuge in Southern Melbourne Beach at 8385 South Highway A1A. 

The Barrier Island Center is managed under Brevard County’s Environmentally Endangered Lands Program referendum. The referendum was established by voters in 1990 to protect and preserve the rich biological diversity of Brevard County for future generations. 

To sign up to protect and preserve the ocean and beaches with the Space Coast Surfriders Foundation, click here. Once you register, you will be provided a volunteer program with a variety of convenient times to participate. 

CareerSource Brevard to Hold Veterans Job Fair

In partnership with the City of Palm Bay, CareerSource Brevard is hosting a Veterans Job Fair on February 8th from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Tony Rosa Community Center, located at 1502 Malabar Boulevard, in Palm Bay. Nearly 40 employers representing Aerospace, Aviation, Engineering, Healthcare, Hospitality, Manufacturing, Construction, Administration, Information Technology, Warehousing, Logistics, Transportation, Education, and Law Enforcement.

Hiring managers are offering interviews on site and participants are asked to be ‘dressed for success’ and to bring a resume. Appointments are not required.

For more information, visit CareerSource Brevard.

Florida Space Days at the State Capitol Scheduled

The 2023 annual Florida Space Days at the State Capitol will be held on Monday, February 13th and Tuesday, February 14th. Florida Space Days serve as an opportunity to educate and bring awareness to Florida legislators on the significance of the aerospace industry and its impact on Florida’s economy.

If you are planning to attend Florida Space Days and my staff and I can be of assistance, please contact the Tallahassee office at 850-487-5019. For more information about Florida Space Days, email [email protected].

Eastern Florida State College Foundation to Host Seventh Annual Backyard BBQ Cook-Off

The Seventh Annual Backyard BBQ Cook-Off and Family Fest will be held on Saturday, February 18th from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the Eastern Florida State College Campus located at 3865 North Wickham Road.

Tickets are $10 per person and available for purchase at the gate. Children age five and under are free, parking is also free. The ticket cost includes BBQ tastings, entertainment by the Alter Ego band, and many more activities including the Red, White and Wheels Car Show on-site.

Funds raised will support student scholarships and other college initiatives through the EFSC Foundation. For more information, visit online at bbq or call (321) 433-7055.

Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and visit my Senate website

Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  

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


Kelli Lane

Yvette Campbell

Joshua McWilliams

Ian Nolan