Crowds gather for 11 a.m. Hillary Clinton rally at Palm Beach State


Bruce Bennett/The Palm Beach Post
Bruce Bennett/The Palm Beach Post

LAKE WORTH — More than an hour before Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was set to speak at 11 a.m., crowds were filling in the floor of the gymnasium at Palm Beach State College, west of Lake Worth.

They lined a barrier in front of the podium where Clinton will speak, while others filled bleachers behind the rostrum and beneath a stored-away basketball hoop assembly.

Before doors opened at 9 a.m., lines wound around the sprawling campus. Youngsters, millennials, retirees and people in wheelchairs stood, wearing signs and buttons with the candidate’s “H” icon or signs saying “Love trumps hate,” a dig at GOP challenger, and part-time Palm Beacher, Donald Trump.

Patricia Ortiz-Guittierez of Delray Beach, an immigrant from Colombia, stood with his nephew, MIchael Ortiz of Coconut Creek in Broward County, who was voting for the first time — and already had, by mail,

“America is a country that welcomes everybody,” she said, taking a shot at Trump’s immigration stances. She’s a citizen, and already has voted as well.

For the last few days, Trump and Clinton have been criss-crossing the state, a critical battleground in the Nov. 8 presidential election.

On Tuesday, as Clinton worked a crowd in Broward County, Florida GOP chair and State Rep. Blaise Ingoglia was hammering her on reports that premiums for the Affordable Care Act are shooting up.

“On the heels of Obamacare premiums increasing at an average of 25%, Secretary Clinton’s visit to the Sunshine State will be a stark reminder of how big government policies like Obamacare will continue stifling our economy, restricting small business expansion and killing jobs,” he said.

Hillary Clinton to hold rally Wednesday at Palm Beach State College

Hillary Clinton in West Palm Beach in March. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)
Hillary Clinton in West Palm Beach in March. (Allen Eyestone/The Palm Beach Post)

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has added to this week’s Florida swing a stop at Palm Beach State College at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Clinton will hold rallies Tuesday afternoon at Coconut Creek, in northwest Broward County, and then Wednesday afternoon in Tampa following her suburban Lake Worth appearance, her campaign said Monday.

She’s timing the rallies to Monday’s start of early voting in Florida. It runs through Nov. 6 in Palm Beach County.

“Clinton will urge Florida voters to take advantage of in-person early voting,” a campaign release said.

The suburban Lake Worth event  is at Palm Beach State is at 4200 S Congress Ave. The event is at its Elisabeth W. Erling Gymnasium. Doors open at 9 a.m.

Mast, Perkins to debate on live TV Oct. 5 in Palm Beach Gardens

Republican Brian Mast (left) and Democrat Randy Perkins.
Mast (l), Perkins
Carla Spalding

Two candidates for U.S. Congress District 18 have agreed to a debate.

Republican Brian Mast and Democrat Randy Perkins will face off from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 5 at Palm Beach State College Eissey Campus Theatre in Palm Beach Gardens.

The debate, hosted by the  Palm Beach North Chamber of Commerce and Palm Beach State College’s Student Government Association, will air live on WPEC-TV Channel 12.

The moderator and media panel haven’t yet been announced.

Mast and Perkins, who are virtually tied in recent polls at about 40 percent each, defeated five and two opponents, respectively, in the Aug. 30 primary for the seat U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Jupiter, vacated to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida.

“No party” candidate Carla Spalding, who is polling 6 percent, is not listed as participating. A spokesperson for the chamber couldn’t immediately say if she was invited.


Palm Beach County budget wish list familiar — and still up in the air

$80 billion state budget soon to begin taking shape
$80 billion state budget soon to begin taking shape

Florida lawmakers will soon begin hammering into shape an $80 billion state budget, with millions of dollars in environmental, social spending, arts and just plain old bricks and mortar projects for Palm Beach County hanging in the balance.

Much of the county’s wish list is familiar. But advocates say they are still finding fresh ways to make appeals to those who can make or break a deal.

“We’ve had members of our Board of Trustees and our president, Ava Parker, speak to the governor,” said Grace Truman, a spokeswoman for Palm Beach State College, which is seeking $9 million for continuing work on its Loxahatchee Groves campus this year. “We certainly are trying to speak with everybody we can to make our case.”

PBSC’s money is not yet in either the House or Senate budgets, although college and university funding is expected to be among the last sectors settled by lawmakers.

Last year, the college was shut out with a similar request. But a year earlier it drew $6 million to launch classroom construction on the campus.

The Loxahatchee Groves campus looms like a kind of political El Dorado on the county’s western edge, an almost mythic, not-quite-attainable goal that perennially commands attention from county lawmakers and school advocates.

Money for PBSC has been included three times in earlier years, but vetoed by Florida governors, including twice by Gov. Rick Scott. But supporters think – again – this time they may find gold in the final state spending plan.

As Florida lawmakers head into the final scheduled three weeks of this year’s session, that’s the nature of much of the spending included – or still to be added – in the budget blueprints.

Full story here:


Scott wants college graduation rate to more than double

Gov. Scott wants to more than double college graduation rate
Gov. Scott wants to more than double college graduation rate

Gov. Rick Scott quickly got what amounts to a salute and a ‘yes, sir,’ from presidents of Florida’s 28 state colleges Thursday — with all pledging to work toward his newly announced goal of a 100 percent graduation rate.

The current rate for schools to have full-time students earn their associate’s degrees and move on toward bachelor’s degrees is 43 percent.

“It is concerning that the average graduation rate at our colleges is only 43 percent for students getting their degree in three years,” Scott said.

“We want to diversify our economy and have the most skilled workforce so more businesses will want to move to Florida. That means we must have an educated workforce ready to fill jobs in competitive fields.”

Scott didn’t outline any proposals or steps he planned to enact to help more than double the college graduation rate. But college presidents meeting Thursday in Tallahassee, said they would try to make it happen.

“We understand what is at stake for our students, and we are committed to their success,” said Ava Parker, president of Palm Beach State College. “Our commitment to their success includes: a quality academic experience, graduation and a job.”