Pensacola, Florida
Friday October 31st 2014

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Winners & Losers 6/5/14

Winners
Jeff Miller
The chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee took a stand against the long waiting lists at VA medical facilities and investigated allegations that those lists did not include all the veterans requiring care. Rep. Miller did not grandstand. Instead he reached out to the Democratic committee members and pressured the VA to come forward with the facts.

Lumon May
When fellow Escambia County commissioners voted last year to take over the Escambia County Jail, May was the lone vote against it because he believed the facility should remain under Sheriff David Morgan and the county should give him the funds needed to meet the Department of Justice’s findings. For the past month, he has struggled to help the guards, prisoners and their families deal with an explosion at the Central Booking and Detention Center. The other commissioners have quietly stepped out of the limelight.

Margo Stringfield
Over the past 20 years, the University of West Florida archaeologist has shared the history and archaeology of Pensacola’s past with the public. She has seen her research come alive on the big screen. Her master’s thesis was on the first Englishmen to own property in Pensacola, British Naval Captain Sir John Lindsay, and a slave named Maria Belle. The recently released film Belle highlights the life of their daughter, Dido Elizabeth Belle.

Losers
Gene Valentino
As chairman of the Escambia County Commission, he led last summer’s effort to take over the Escambia County Jail, publicly attacking Sheriff David Morgan and his leadership team. Morgan had requested $6.3 million to hire 83 detention deputies and 12 detention assistants. Last month, Escambia County issued emergency purchases orders totaling $13.3 million as the result of the late April flooding in the corrections complex and the explosion at the county jail. The sheriff’s request does not look that out of line anymore.

Eric Shinseki
The Secretary of Veterans Affairs resigned on May 30 over scandals inside his departments. The retired Army general served as secretary of the Army under President George W. Bush. He is a wounded Vietnam veteran and had his foot amputated after being injured by a landmine. A true leader, Shinseki is taking the “hit” for the bureaucrats who have mistreated veterans for years.

Jeb Bush
The former Florida governor’s support for Common Core, the tough standards to measure the performance of K-12 teachers, is putting him at odds with the conservative Republican base. Bush has been a visible advocate for the standards, and his Foundation for Excellence in Education has collected millions of dollars from those supporting Common Core. Conservatives have criticized the standards as a federal intrusion into school operations that should be handled locally.