Vice President Pence at Coral Springs church this morning for service, ‘interview’

UPDATE: Vice President Mike Pence spoke at this morning’s service at the Church by the Glades in Coral Springs.

Pence, who on Saturday visited Jacksonville to discuss jobs with Gov. Rick Scott and then Palm Beach for a speech at The Breakers, held an informal conversation onstage for about 20 minutes during the church’s service with the Rev. David Hughes.

» RELATED: Trump, Pence visit Palm Beach as Democratic critic attends fundraiser

Vice President Mike Pence speaks onstage at the Church by the Glades in Coral Springs on Sunday morning. Pastor David Hughes, left, interviewed Pence on how the vice president balances his personal faith with his public calling. (Michael Ares / The Palm Beach Post)

Pence then joined other parishioners in the pews as Hughes delivered his sermon.

“Blessed to have the opportunity to worship with the friendly faces at @cbglades. Thank you for the warm welcome,” Pence tweeted after the service.

EARLIER STORY: Vice President Mike Pence will visit a South Florida church this morning, where he will attend the service and be interviewed by the church’s pastor about his faith, according to a post Saturday on the Church by the Glades’ Facebook page.

The church, which sits on the northeast corner of the intersection of the Sawgrass Expressway and West Atlantic Boulevard in Coral Springs, is cautioning guests to arrive more than an hour early for the 10 a.m. service.

Vice President Mike Pence will speak at a Coral Springs church on Sunday morning. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

» RELATED: VP Pence takes photo with actor Nick Loeb at Mar-a-Lago

“Our intent is for this NOT to be a political or partisan event, but rather an opportunity to hear how a sitting Vice President integrates his personal faith with his very public calling,” the church said in the post.

In a later post, the church’s pastor, the Rev. David Hughes, defended the decision to host Pence and have him speak at the service. That post — which is accompanied by a photo of Hughes standing on a stage with a donkey and an elephant while Hughes holds a sign that says “GOD is NOT a REPUBLICAN or DEMOCRAT” — begins with Hughes saying the church is open to all people, including “donkey people” and “elephant people,” and the church’s Sunday morning service “is NOT about political agendas but HONOR.”

“When the office of the sitting Vice President of the United States ASKED US if he would be welcome to worship with us, of course the honoring response is ‘yes,’ ” Hughes wrote.

He said he would have done the same for Vice President Joe Biden, President Barack Obama or first lady Michelle Obama.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: President Donald Trump in Palm Beach

“And, VP Pence’s office communicated his willingness to share his testimony…my thought was, if the 2nd most powerful man if the free world, regardless of party, wants to come and share with my church how he fell in love with Jesus, I’m in,” Hughes continued. “Of course I respect your right to disagree with a choice I prayerfully made. Just do so with respect.”

After the service, Pence is scheduled to fly out of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport for his return trip to Washington, D.C., aboard Air Force Two.

On Saturday night, Pence spoke at a Club for Growth gathering at The Breakers in Palm Beach. After his speech, he made his first visit to President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club since the pair took office in January. Trump invited Pence to come by for dessert after the president ate dinner with first lady Melania Trump, Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter, Laura Perlmutter and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

» RELATED: President Trump stops in at cancer charity event at Mar-a-Lago

BREAKING: Pence coming to Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale this weekend

UPDATE: Vice President Mike Pence will come to Palm Beach this weekend before traveling to Fort Lauderdale Sunday morning to attend church.

The White House confirmed Friday evening that Pence will travel to South Florida on Saturday after holding a small business listening session earlier in the day in Jacksonville.

The vice president will speak at a Club for Growth gathering at The Breakers, the lavish Palm Beach hotel noted for its celebrity visitors, on Saturday night. On Sunday morning, the White House said Pence will attend church at Church by the Glades in Coral Springs.

The White House did not say where Pence will spend the night Saturday, but it can be expected he will stay at President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, where the president is spending the weekend.

The Palm Beach Post reported earlier Friday that Pence would visit, based on Federal Aviation Administration flight restrictions issued for Fort Lauderdale on Sunday.

EARLIER STORY: It looks like Vice President Mike Pence may make a trip to Fort Lauderdale this weekend, as President Donald Trump spends a few days at his Mar-a-Lago Club just an hour north.

After visiting Jacksonville on Saturday to hold a small business listening session with Gov. Rick Scott, it appears Pence then will go to Fort Lauderdale on Sunday morning, according to temporary flight restrictions issued Friday morning by the Federal Aviation Administration.

» COMPLETE COVERAGE: President Donald Trump in Palm Beach

President Donald Trump, accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, speaks during a meeting with the Republican Study Committee, Friday, March 17, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The restrictions cover Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, as well as an area out west near the Everglades, by the intersection of the Sawgrass Expressway and Atlantic Boulevard. Details on Pence’s plans once in Fort Lauderdale are not yet available.

In Jacksonville, Action News Jax TV station reports Pence will visit Mac Papers Envelope Converters with Scott to “discuss the President’s economic agenda, the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, and the American Health Care Act.”

This story will be updated when more information is available.

Gov. Scott’s budget would tighten state control over Tri-Rail money

Gov. Rick Scott has waded into a growing debate over Tri-Rail funding, and it could mean less money for the agency responsible for the trains.

Amid debate over a controversial contract awarded last week, Scott’s budget proposal released this morning includes a paragraph that would crack down on the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority’s spending.

Passengers board the Tri-Rail train at the West Palm Beach station, Friday, June 12, 2015. (Joe Forzano/The Palm Beach Post)
Passengers board the Tri-Rail train at the West Palm Beach station, Friday, June 12, 2015. (Joe Forzano/The Palm Beach Post)

The state and the authority, which operates Tri-Rail, have been at odds for months over how the authority spends its money. The issue came to a head in recent weeks as the authority awarded a $511 million contract for operating services for the next seven years to the highest bidder – something Politico Florida reports that rival bidders say is unfair, while the authority argues the contractor, Herzog Transit Service, was the only company to correctly submit a proposal meeting the authority’s requirements.

Under the Florida Department of Transportation’s section of Scott’s proposed budget, there is a paragraph saying the SFRTA is to be given no money until it has terminated the contract with Herzog and submitted in writing to the state a new procurement and contract for the operating services.

The section goes further to change how state money is distributed to the SFRTA in the future. Right now, the authority is dispensed money and then submits expenses. The proposed budget would change that, so that “no funds shall be provided to the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority by the department without the prior review and written approval by the department of the authority’s proposed expenditures.”

The Legislature must ultimately approve the governor’s budget, but lawmakers have been closely overseeing state agency spending — VisitFlorida and Enterprise Florida are just two agencies that have come under close scrutiny in recent months.

Read Scott’s budget proposal.





Republicans meet in South Florida amid Trump rules fight


Cgkrfw2WYAAXDhO.jpg-largeHOLLYWOOD, Fla. — National Republicans gathering today in South Florida are wrestling with what rules will apply in August in Cleveland when it votes for its nominee.

Front runner, and part-time Palm Beacher, Donald Trump, is far ahead, but might not reach the 1,237 delegates needed to win on the first ballot.

The two men who hope to step in if a failed first ballot leads to a free-for-all second vote, Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, came Wednesday to the RNC’s quarterly meeting. at the Diplomat in Hollywood to woo members in hopes of wrestling the nomination from Trump.

Trump has said the Cruz and Kasich scenarios are evidence of a system “rigged” against him by the GOP establishment. Amid Trump’s constant criticism, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and many of the party officials here appeared skittish about taking any action that might smack of favoritism toward a candidate.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is set to address the meeting at midday followed by the rules committee meeting.

This morning, the Democratic National Committee, in advance of a press call by DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, said, “with Republicans all over the map pledging to skip this summer’s Republican Convention, it’s clear the GOP is in a full-scale freak-out.”