Pensacola, Florida
Friday October 31st 2014

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Winners & Losers 11/29/12

Winners
Don Gaetz
The new State Senate President did what many considered impossible. He got the Florida Senate to unanimously adopt the 2012-2014 Senate Rules that strengthen the requirement to disclose conflicts of interest, add a voting abstention obligation and require that all Senators complete an ethics training course. Senators have agreed to expand this requirement to include disclosure of a conflict if the special private gain or loss applies to an immediate family member or business associate. Will Pensacola City Council and Escambia County Commission agree to do the same?

Cathy McMorris Rodgers
The Oregon Congresswoman and Pensacola Christian College graduate was selected by her peers to head the House Republican Caucus, which is the fourth highest leadership in the House of Representatives for the GOP majority.  Rodgers got her bachelor’s degree from Pensacola Christian College in Florida and a master’s degree at the University of Washington. She has served in the House since 2005.

Martha Saunders
The former Gulf Breeze High School teacher and later president of the University of Southern Mississippi has been appointed the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at the University of West Florida. Saunders will serve as the chief academic officer of the university, as well as chief executive officer in the President’s absence. She officially begins on Jan. 2, 2013.

Losers
Wal-Mart
Yes, the nation’s largest retailer was hit on Black Friday with walk-outs and picket lines of employees protesting low wages and lack of benefits, but that wasn’t the only protest that it had to handle. Dog and cat owners have organized a “Black Friday for Pets” to convince Wal-Mart to stop selling chicken jerky dog treats made in China. Owners have attributed the deaths of at least 360 dogs and one cat, usually from kidney failures, to the product.

Food and Drug Administration
Documents recently released under the Freedom of Information Act have revealed the federal agency’s ineffective efforts to regulate the New England Compounding Center, the Massachusetts company implicated in a national meningitis outbreak that has sickened nearly 500 people, including seven in Escambia County, and killed 34. The FDA apparently made several threats to the company over its operations, only to later back off. Sort of sounds like the Pensacola mayor and city council’s relationship.

Robert Murray
The chairman of Murray Energy, an Ohio-based coal company that is the country’s largest privately owned coal mining company, read a prayer to his staff on the day after President Obama was reelected. He then laid off 54 people at American Coal, one of his subsidiary companies, and 102 at Utah American Energy. Murray blamed the Obama administration’s energy policies for the move.