Two Southeast Florida Democrats Gain “A” Grades From Jeb Bush’s Foundation

Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Florida’s Future, a pseudo think tank that promotes school vouchers, standardized testing and Republican education budgeting priorities has issued their 2012 Legislative scorecard.

As expected most Democrats scored “poorly” from the foundation. All but three House Democrats earned an “F,” and only three Senate Democrats earned higher than a “D.” Even Conservative House Democrat Leonard Bembry of Madison County earned just a “D.”  So it is especially disappointing to see several Democrats from urbanized areas supporting the right wing education “reform” agenda.

The highest scoring Democrat in either chamber of the Legislature is Jeremy Ring from Northwest Broward County. Representing a district where Barack Obama got over 65% of the vote, Ring has become in his six Senate years a forceful advocate for various school “choice” schemes. John Patrick Julien who represents an urban Miami-Dade County House district also received an “A.” Ring and Julien were both singled out in the Foundation’s report for compiling an “excellent” voting record.

Rick Scott’s election thrust the school choice and reform efforts pushed by Bush and other right wing advocates back to the forefront.  Previously, under Governor Bush, Florida became a laboratory for every right wing school choice idea floated by out-of-state think tanks. While school choice was being seen as a failure in other states, Florida was expanding its program on an almost yearly basis. Owing itself to the weakness of the Democratic Party in the state and the willingness of Democratic legislators like those named below to make deals with the GOP, school choice has become accepted in Florida as the Foundation’s ratings indicate. This is in direct contrast to Democratic lawmakers in other states who have rightfully fought these dangerous measures to destroy the public school system. In many of these states, Jeb Bush himself is being brought in as an “expert” to push the changes he made in Florida on what are often times reluctant Republican legislators.

Bush’s hand is strengthened by his continued claims of “bi-partisan” support when pushing these dangerous initiatives. Below the jump you’ll see the list of Democrats who have given support to Bush’s agenda.

We are listing all the Democrats who had grades of A, B or C from the Foundation for Florida’s Future


Jeremy Ring (D-Margate) A

Gary Siplin (D-Orlando) B

Bill Montford (D-Tallahassee) B

These three Senators all had higher scores than Repulicans Paul Dockery (R-Lakeland), Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey), Dennis Jones (R-Seminole), Nancy Detert (R-Sarasota), Evelyn Lynn (R-Ormond Beach), Steve Oelrich (R-Gainesville), and Charles Dean (R-Inverness)


John Patrick Julien (D-Miami) A

Darren Soto (D-Orlando) C

These two Reps had higher scores than Republican Reps Tom Goodson (R-Titusville) and Mike Weinstein (R-Orange Park)

46 thoughts on “Two Southeast Florida Democrats Gain “A” Grades From Jeb Bush’s Foundation”

  1. Concerned Palm Beach Democrat

    Jeremy Ring is a total disgrace. What do Eric and Wexler and even this blogs author have to say about working so hard to get him elected????????

  2. Alex Johnson, DFA Broward

    That is why Broward County Democracy for America refused Mr. Ring’s request for an endorsement.

  3. I strongly support Ring but will admit his education votes are not very good. I hope he will listen to the Democrats in the area and change his voting pattern.

  4. Darren Soto also a disappointment!!!





  5. I am surprised Mac Bernard is not on this list. He is awful and was honored by Associated Industry as a champion of business, one of only a handful of Democrats to get that award.

  6. longtime reader first comment here.
    not only is ring a bad vote but he is probably the most arrogant and self entitled person in the democratic party today. a true jerk.
    i love the site. this is best liberal blog going.

  7. As much as I suspect Ring of disloyalty this is still stunning. A grade from Jeb Bush?


  8. Nancy from Ft. Lauderdale

    Credits go to…drum roll please!
    Eric Johnson and Robert Wexler
    They got involved in this race and they should of backed Graber
    Why didn’t they
    Because Eric needed to make as much money as he could from Ring (and continues) and we know the Wexler doesn’t like anyone who doesn’t kiss his ass and hire Eric.

    You get exactly what they sell you.
    Wake up and stop being sheeps
    Still love my Patrick Murphy
    Please walk away from them Patrick! You are a rock star and they are just scum!

  9. Nancy they were never going to back Graber. Ring has been close with Wexler and Eric for a long time.

  10. Thats the point exactly Sunshine. It is about money and friends…and Wexler and Eric has destroyed this party and our state to fill their own pockets.
    I dont give a shit who their friends are. WE care how we are representated in Tallahassee. So you can take your Crist and your Ring and stick it where the sun does not shine or you can come back to reality.

  11. Deerfield Dem

    We all agree with you Susie but at this point we just have to hope for Obama to win, Nelson, Lois or Kristen, (Lois) and Patrick. We will get new people in after this election. Wexler is done with this parter (fingers crossed) and the rest of his leftovers will go out with the trash too. Deutch will be the new leader. I think it is his time to finally rise to the occasion. He will have to!

  12. This process is built on personal relationships more than partisanship or ideological preference. Those who don’t realize that like the author of this blog, his buddy Laxer and others have fallen prey to the real leadership. Nobody is pure in the process, but it is guilty on friendships, loyalty and trust.

  13. Julien has a legit excuse.

    Ring however represents a Jewish area totally against vouchers. He’s on the take or something. What a disgrace!

  14. BlueDeminCoralSprings

    Laxer….you are still focusing on Laxer MS. She didn’t run. Why are you obsessed with her? She should have ran. So if people don’t pay Eric or Wexler are you saying what everyone in North County has been claiming for years is true about Wexler and Eric? I heard that from a few North County elected officials and a few South County.

    You have to pay them off in order to run? Pretty sad maybe that is why we have no leadership in this state with Wexler, Johnson and Segal. It is not about idealogy obviously…do you see how stupid these people are in our own party. No one is pure especially if what MS is saying is true about relationships….I can’t believe that what Rep. XXXX and Senator XXXX said was true.

    That explains it! WOW!

  15. Many of the Ds voted bad. What about Sanders telling the Democratic Caucus that they didn’t have to stand up for choice? It needs to be about the bills and how they vote. It is clear that is the reason why we have more Ds in the state as voters but 1/4 in Tallahassee.

    Things do need to change from the very top in this state to the bottom. It will. Just get out the vote and tell Scott to stop purging the voters. Hastings, Deutch and Bucher are doing an awesome job on this!

  16. Lewis in Lauderdale

    Ring has been such an incredible disappointment.

    Arrogant, aloof and completely unaccountable for his HORRIBLE voting record.

  17. Delray Democrat

    Do not act surprised!

    Julien has been cited by them before as a top voucher advocate.

    Ring is in the pocket of business.

    The good news is previous voucher supporters like Sachs, Abruzzo, Porth, Clarke-Reed, Rogers, and Slosberg all scored badly. Abruzzo had a 20% according to their website, not only an F but an F minus in reality. Only a handful had lower scores!!!

  18. They change base on where they run….I guess Ring has not caught on as of yet. Time to switch up this game a bit. It is going to be interesting give it a month or so. Change you can believe and 4 more years!

  19. Don’t forget at the same time Wexler was telling Ben Graber he was with him, Wexler shows up on a Ring mailout endorsing him. And you wonder why people stopped trusting Wexler, Eric, and the rest of those clowns.

  20. If that was true Wexler would have backed Graber and not gone behind his back and endorsed Ring. That was a surprise since Ring did not personally like Wexler to begin with,

  21. Other than some statements to the press, what have Hastings,Deutch, and Bucher actually done? Just some hot air. There is no real leadership at this time. We are just floating.

  22. Sounds like MS is excusing Dems. who support and endorse Republicans. We all know how PURE Wexler, Aaronson, and Eric are. Now you know why this party is so screwed.

  23. Concerned Palm Beach Democrat

    I believe Slosberg has a perfect record on vouchers since returning to the legislature but he voted if I recall correctly for a voucher plan in 2004 or 2005.

    The rest on that list have all voted for vouchers more recently. Perman also voted for the foreclosure bill and Rader voted consistently with business and insurance in his previous term. Laxer should have run as she claimed she would but as always she is a great hope but does nothing but talk big and disappoint.

  24. Didn’t Graber publicly endorse Wexler in the 1996 runoff against Weinstein after being eliminated in the first primary? Graber’s support mostly in Broward went to Wexler and was arguably decisive in the race.

  25. I agree that the process is largely built on relationships but that is party of the problem. Ideology and issues are lost and many Democrats say “oh I like (Republican X) because he/she is a nice guy and is really a moderate.”

    This ignores reality that unlike the late 1990s when the GOP was a new majority and some Republicans were still scared of electoral consequences that every single House Republican now votes in lock step and with the moderate core of the Senate term limited, that body will be like the House now. More on this in tomorrow’s posting.

  26. I regret having worked for him. I did not think he would have this sort of voting record. I assumed his voting record would resemble that of Robert Wexler or his predecessors Skip Campbell and Peter Weinstein.

    I most certainly will not be supporting him for statewide election unless he is the Democratic nominee.

  27. Lewis in Lauderdale

    The real issue is that Ring’s failure to properly understand his constituents preferences on issues means he cannot possibly run statewide for any office as a Democrat. He is so arrogant and out of step with his liberal district.

  28. While ring is terrible if Dem voters don’t hold him account table why should he vote with us. No fear, no accountability, no consequences. He was unopposed AGAIN this year.

  29. Laxer was smart not to run same as Skidmore. Everyone wanted them both to run but Laxer didn’t want to pay Eric and like I said before. You pay us in the process or you don’t run….sorry honey!

  30. Enough about Laxer. She didn’t run because she is an I not a D. She is a D when it comes to social issues but she does not agree with Obama on foreign policy. Good for her!

  31. Laxer is hardly a D. She has pushed a likud-nik posture similar to leading Republicans and Dick Cheney.

    Trust me when she worked with us on Ted Deutch’s matters she had no compromise in her and even implied Obama was not an American. Once he got the nomination she did not work hard for him whining about how Hillary was treated.

    We agree on many issues but honestly she is out of the mainstream totally on Israel. The policies she supports lead to more American military involvement, more lives lost and more long term trouble for us.

    If Obama did not have a Muslim sounding name, her and her allies in AIPAC and other right leaning organizations may not have gained as much traction as they have.

    Most Jewish voters know that Obama is good on the issues we care about. Social justice, separation of church and state, choice, and actually quite good on Israel, and protecting Israeli peace.

    Robert Wexler and Slim Fast Founder Danny Abraham have created the Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace which will actually help protect Israel’s interests instead of creating more wars, running up greater defecits and costing more American lives as Laxer wants.

    She cannot run as a Democrat with her views locally. I doubt the Republican want her either. Her work record with Rep. Deutch was awful.

    As for Jeremy Ring, pressure him to change his views. He wants to run statewide and getting him to change on school issues is the key.

  32. Laxer is with AIPAC?

    I thought she was a good D all the activists would back????????????

  33. As a supporter of the Democratic Party, a fan of the great electeds like Deutch, Hastings, DWS it is sickening some of these comments I read. You attack Laxer time and time again MS (whoever you are) and she is wonderful! She was great for Deutch and he always spoke & continues to speak highly of her. She is a Democrat that is GREAT on the issues of women’s choice and the economy. She has done great things for the troops and with Deutch & Republicans on Israel. She is not running because she thinks she can do more by supporting Ds and changing the conversation. For you I would suggest you continue to blog, bad mouth and hide behind a “fake” name for whatever political reason you care to disguise yourself as or grow up. We need to encourage dialogue, policy initiatives and the future in our party.

    Tara is bright like so many I see who have worked for elected officials and who volunteer their passion on issues in our community. They give their time to issues and not party alone. People like Ashley who works for the Obama campaign, Craig B., Judith Selzer from Planned Parenthood and this great young man I met at the YD meeting a month or so ago dark hair and short. You MS are the reason why our country is so divided. We stand by Israel and we stand by Obama…and we vote for Obama. Your issue with Laxer seems to be a personal one. She is NOT a candidate which is a CHOICE we still believe in as Democrats. Votes will be earned and won by all the issues WE care about and simpy by some blogger who still wishes Wexler was the Congressman. Get over it and start dividing the party and slandering individuals.

  34. Hey Jane,

    I agree I know you too and you are right on. Wexler? Slimfast? Come on. Move on. Great blog by the way. She is not running and they are attacking her….pretty sad. Let’s move on. Can we talk about Keith for Congress. Now I am exciting about that one!

  35. Laxer has done hardly anything for any Democratic candidates. I agree she is young and bright, but her stand on Israel and AIPAC is out of sync with our party and Obama.

    You activists who support her don’t know any better. She has misled her.

    She has personally attacked Obama using below the belt rhetoric in 2008.

    Deutch didn’t take her to DC. The only staffer he did not hold over from his Senate staff.

    No one was willing to support her in any of the multiple times she floated her own name to run.

    Hint, hint…..

  36. Are you saying that our party is anti-israel?
    You are an idiot and you don’t make any sense. I hope you don’t work for Deutch Bc you sound crazy

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