As we approach a close to 2018, there are multiple priorities that have become bottlenecked during this lame-duck session of Congress. A 2018 Farm Bill awaits urgent action before program funding expiration in December. The federal government as a whole has a crucial appropriations deadline of Dec. 7. Our careworn producers in the Panhandle continue to labor through the recovery of Hurricane Michael, and current disaster provisions will not sufficiently address the substantial damages. At Florida Farm Bureau, we are not short on action items in the next couple of weeks. As Jerry Reed’s hit Eastbound and Down puts it, “We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there.”
Looking to the 116th Congress, Florida’s delegation sees five House seats change hands to freshman lawmakers:
- Congressman-Elect Michael Waltz replaces the vacant CD-6 seat (Flagler, Volusia, Lake, St. Johns) formerly held by Governor-Elect Ron DeSantis.
- State legislator Ross Spano wins the CD-15 seat (Hillsborough, Lake, Polk) currently held by Rep. Dennis Ross.
- State Senator Greg Steube takes the CD-17 seat (Charlotte, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands, Okeechobee, Lee, Polk, Sarasota) held by outgoing Rep. Tom Rooney.
- Debbie Murcarsel-Powell defeated Rep. Carlos Curbelo in the CD-26 race (Monroe, Miami-Dade).
- Former Clinton appointee Donna Shalala flips the CD-27 seat (Miami-Dade) to take over for retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
Finally, current Governor Rick Scott ekes out a win over three-term incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson by roughly 10,000 votes in an election of 8.1 million votes cast. Florida Farm Bureau appreciates Sen. Nelson’s longstanding and steadfast service to Florida agriculture, and we look forward to working with the Senator-Elect.