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While Peter Schorsch holds many titles — blogger, consultant and editor-in-chief of Florida Politics, the most influential political website in the Sunshine State — the one which he’s proudest is “husband and father.” That’s what makes his new podcast so exciting: Peter’s co-host, a woman every bit as accomplished as he is — his wife, Michelle Todd Schorsch. “He Said, She Said” has Peter and Michelle — previously a respected political consultant, now the CEO of the bustling Schorsch household — discussing the driving topics of the day, especially how politics really goes down in Florida. But the political talk is just a jumping off point to a wide-range of subject matter, from the latest in pop culture to some very strong opinions on family life and parenting. Listen in to hear how one political couple balances it all. 

03/06/2019 | Episode 003 | 1:27:49

He Said, She Said: Legislative Preview

Legislative Session’s here: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis energizes Tally; CFO Jimmy Patronis talks Hurricane Michael; Top 10 political food fights

On this episode of He Said, She Said, Peter and Michelle take a break from pop culture to deep dive into the upcoming Florida legislative session. They talk the demands of the eight week session, the renewed energy in Tallahassee, and the DeSantis administration. They break down the top ten issues to watch in the session, including school safety, school choice, medical marijuana, health care, and the budget. Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis joins Michelle and Peter as their first Republican politician and their first official elected statewide. They speak on the forgotten devastation of Hurricane Michael and what the legislature and everyday Floridians can do to help with ongoing recovery efforts.

Key Insights

  • On this episode of He Said, She Said, Michelle and Peter celebrate 8 years together. They interview their first Republican and statewide elected official, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, and preview the legislative session that kicked off March 5th.
  • The start of the legislative session sends Peter back to Tallahassee, where he says there is a renewed energy and engagement with the new DeSantis administration.
  • Peter talks the two Tallahassee's portrayed in media. The mainstream 'big oxygen' issues like education and the death penalty. And the 'food fights' like insurance, regulatory issues, and gambling.
  • Up first: The sole guest of today's episode: Jimmy Patronis. Patronis is the most experienced cabinet member in the DeSantis administration and is especially notable because he hails from Northwest Florida.
  • Patronis speaks to the aftermath of Hurricane Michael, which has left the panhandle devastated five months later. He notes the scarcity of workforce housing, and says many continue to live out of hotels.
  • Patronis calls Hurricane Michael the "storm that people forgot." Compared to Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Michael produced 22 million more square yards of debris and devastated the population of North Florida. Bay County Schools enrollment has decreased 24 percent.
  • "I wake up every day to ensure anything and everything that we do to take care of the taxpayers' money is done right ... I care about our folks getting taken advantage of." - CFO Jimmy Patronis
  • Most surprising part of being CFO: The clemency process has been one of the most rewarding parts of the job, says Patronis, "I've seen people who have truly turned their life around."
  • Michelle on Matt Gaetz, who is now under investigation by the Florida Bar for threatening tweets directed at Michael Cohen: "Does someone need to take his Twitter away from him?" Peter says Gaetz is playing the dangerous "all press is good press" game.
  • Florida Politics has previously reported on the sway that Matt Gaetz has had over the DeSantis administration as part of his transition team and the schism between Gaetz and the rest of the team.
  • Michelle and Peter go deep on some of the major issues coming up in the first legislative session of the DeSantis administration.
  • Guaranteed for a fight (though not right away): The budget. DeSantis has proposed a 91.3 billion dollar budget including money for water quality projects and education.
  • Michelle says she's not that interested in the budget now, but is looking forward to future budget battles later in the session (i.e. How will DeSantis' administration respond when their priorities are threatened?).
  • On the environment: Peter says blue-green algae and Red Tide will be major issues this year. Michelle is excited to see DeSantis' leadership on environmental issues, "I like that a republican administration is going to be able to take the narrative away [from Democrats]."
  • Healthcare: Peter expects to see Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva present a more free market approach to health care. Another fight: DeSantis proposing to import cheaper prescription drugs from Canada.
  • Medical marijuana: DeSantis has asked for a smokable medical marijuana bill by March 15, and advocated for the possible dismantling of vertical integration system. That gives the legislature two weeks to get a bill together.
  • Peter on medical marijuana: "The vertical integration system... where medical marijuana dispensaries grow, process, test, distribute, sell the whole product from start to finish ... If you get rid of vertical integration like our friend Jeff Brandes wants to do and open it up to the Wild Wild West, then you become Denver."
  • Education: Perhaps the biggest issue of the session. DeSantis is advocating for school choice, through a voucher system. Peter argues that private schools will just raise tuition. Michelle argues that along with taking state money comes more regulation, state access to the classroom, testing requirements.
  • Peter on implications of school choice: "You would have so many kids exiting the public schools for the private schools that it would force public schools to radically alter how they conduct business because of the competition ... There are a lot of parents who, if there was an attractive A or B-level school in their neighborhood, that would be the first choice for them. They don't go to that school because it doesn't exist."
  • Michelle: "I fear that it will just destroy our public schools. I need to hear the policy more flushed out, I need to hear what our friends at the Florida Education Foundation have to say."
  • Most controversial nationwide issue: School safety and the proposal to expand the Guardian program to allow trained classroom teachers to be armed. Michelle: "Security theater is all bullshit ... I'm opposed to it, I don't think it's going to make my child any safer, in fact, I think it's going to harm the fabric of our community."
  • Michelle: "I don't feel safer for a second. I look at them and think, 'You're not going to be your life on the line for my kid, and there's only one of you.' ... Do I think a rent-a-cop is going to save my child's life? The answer is no."
  • Transportation: Peter's favorite bill of the entire session is the proposed expansion of the Suncoast Parkway. The reason? It would cut down his trip to Tallahassee from 4 hours and 15 minutes to like 3 hours and 45 minutes.
  • Today's hot takes: College sports & the cultural dilemmas of our time like Michael Jackson, R. Kelly, and Kevin Spacey.
  • Michelle's challenge: "Find a way this week to support our friends in the panhandle. Log online to Volunteer Florida and donate to their Hurricane Michael relief, or go to Bay Ed Foundation and find a way that you can support a school. Go to Habitat for Humanity and help our neighbors efforts to rebuild."

"As Floridians we should be ashamed at how much people are still suffering in the panhandle, it's really inexcusable. When it comes down to doing what we need to do for Hurricane Michael recovery, if some legislators' pet projects in their home districts are going to suffer, then they should suffer." - Michelle

Jimmy Patronis’ swearing in.

"If you get rid of vertical integration [of medical marijuana] like our friend Jeff Brandes wants to do and open it up to the Wild Wild West, then you become Denver, you become California." - Peter

 

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About the host

While Peter Schorsch holds many titles — blogger, consultant and editor-in-chief of Florida Politics, the most influential political website in the Sunshine State — the one which he’s proudest is “husband and father.” That’s what makes his new podcast so exciting: Peter’s co-host, a woman every bit as accomplished as he is — his wife, Michelle Todd Schorsch. “He Said, She Said” has Peter and Michelle — previously a respected political consultant, now the CEO of the bustling Schorsch household — discussing the driving topics of the day, especially how politics really goes down in Florida.


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