Two of her fellow Florida mayors have launched 2018 campaigns for governor, but West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio is endorsing former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham in the Democratic primary.
Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum entered the Democratic race early this year and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is expected to formally announce his gubernatorial bid this morning. Winter Park businessman Chris King is also seeking the Democratic nomination.
Muoio is going public with her support for Graham, who served a term in Congress and is the daughter of former Florida Gov. and Sen. Bob Graham
Says Muoio: “After 20 years of Republican dominance in Tallahassee, too many Florida families are struggling to find good paying jobs, to make ends meet, to stay in their homes. Gwen Graham understands the challenges they are facing and has bold ideas to put our state on a brighter path forward. Gwen has a proven record of standing up for middle-class and working families. As governor, she’ll fight to create jobs, raise wages and build an economy that works for every Floridian.”
West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio is seeking $1.1 million for new police equipment to handle increased public safety demands brought on by President Donald Trump’s visits to his Mar-a-Lago estate in neighboring Palm Beach.
Muoio is hoping the state will pony up $525,000, and she has enlisted state Rep. Rick Roth, R-West Palm Beach, to try to secure the money in Tallahassee.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office is the lead local law enforcement agency in helping the Secret Service protect Trump when he visits, but Muoio notes that West Palm Beach is regularly part of the presidential motorcade route and is often the staging ground for demonstrations supporting or opposing the president.
President Donald Trump summed up his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord by saying “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”
But Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto took immediate exception on Twitter. And some Florida mayors — including West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio — criticized the president’s decision as well.
“As the Mayor of Pittsburgh, I can assure you that we will follow the guidelines of the Paris Agreement for our people, our economy & future,” Peduto tweeted after Trump mentioned his city.
Pittsburgh and surrounding Allegheny County voted for Hillary Clinton in November. But the rest of Western Pennsylvania was carried by Trump, who flipped the previously Democratic state on his way to the White House.
Muoio, a Democrat who holds a nonpartisan office, also blasted Trump’s decision.
“The announcement that the U.S. is withdrawing from the historic Paris Climate Accord is more than a disappointment. It is downright troubling,” Muoio said in a prepared statement. “This move signals that the U.S. will no longer be a leader on climate change and rolls back the commitments made to protect South Florida and the world from the harmful effects of CO2 emissions that lead to climate change. The City of West Palm Beach will continue to move forward as a model of resilience. We will continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.”
PALM BEACH — Standing within sight of President Donald Trump‘s Mar-a-Lago estate, U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-West Palm Beach, today called on Trump to “step up” and help Palm Beach County taxpayers recover millions of dollars in expenses associated with the president’s frequent visits here.
Palm Beach County Sheriffs Office costs have already topped $1.7 million and could total $3.3 million to $5.8 million for the year, Frankel said, while business losses could hit $1 million at the county’s Lantana Airport, which is forced to shut down when the president visits.
Frankel was joined by West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio, who said Trump’s visits will require the city to add more than $4 million a year for “additional personnel to monitor possible threats” and $400,000 a year to “harden” its information technology system.
Muoio also said the city needs $4.5 million worth of “specialized equipment to handle a critical incident.”
Muoio mentioned potential threats to the city’s water supply and its waterfront, but her office didn’t immediately provide details on the extra personnel or equipment the mayor says the city needs.
Of the increased IT costs, Muoio said, “I can’t go into it too deeply but we’ve been working with the FBI on attempted hacks…I think because we are in the spotlight and because people think of Palm Beach and West Palm Beach when they think of the president, it brings more attention to us.”
Frankel and Reps. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, and Alcee Hastings, D-Delray Beach, sent a letter to Trump last week asking for his help securing federal money.
“If compensation is not assured of being forthcoming, we respectfully ask that you curtail your visits until such time as that matter is resolved favorably to our area,” the letter says.
Trump made extended visits to Mar-a-Lago in November and December as president-elect and has visited on five weekends since becoming president.
“It would be very unfair if help doesn’t come from Washington and if help doesn’t come from this president because the president can make choices,” Frankel said. “He has very nice secure, safe, lovely places he could be even though we live in paradise. But certainly he could save the White House – he could go to Camp David, he can make that choice to limit the expense on our area…This is really a request to the White House to say, listen, step up to the plate and help us get this money.”
Assistant Palm Beach County Administrator Todd Bonlarron also attended the news conference and tried to strike a balance between welcoming Trump and seeking federal money.
“It has real impacts to our county’s budget. The other side of it, too, is we see some real economic benefits as well,” Bonlarron said.
“So we do enjoy when the president is here. We like that he’s made this the winter White House. We think it’s a great selection, Palm Beach County, and we encourage more people to keep coming out, heads in beds, people in restaurants. But those dollars don’t always equate to dollars that are coming to the county budtget to pay for some of the security and costs to pay for those visits…We hope that there is an opportunity for us to work with the White House and Congress.”