Issue 25, June 19th

If you missed last week’s luncheon, you REALLY missed out!  Following several months of hard work by our illustrious scholarship committee, Howard Caplan awarded 10 scholarships totaling $12,500!  5 of the recipients were present to come forward for introductions and tell us where they were attending college, and what program of study interested them.  One in fact was a renewal from last year who decided to pass on partying her Freshman year of college and earned a 4.0 GPA at UF!!!  Unfortunately, the other 5 were already away at college for the summer (overachievers), but they sent Howard letters which he read aloud.  The scholarship committee is one that’s seen several of its members continue on year-after-year, and Howard has run it like a Swiss watch for as long as I can remember.  Its members are passionate about their duties, and they work hard especially since they have to read all the applications in their entirety and rank them accordingly.  Howard is always open to new members, of which we had a few this year, so please reach out to him if you have an interest in the future.

Then at New Member induction, for the first time as long as I can recall, we inducted our speaker Senator Aaron Bean as our newest member!  Now I mentioned previously that Aaron has a talent we had plans to utlilize last week.  His auctioneering skills are well polished and incredibly entertaining.  Jepp Walter, who has become our weekly auctioneer, invited Aaron to help him with the week’s door prizes.  Members in attendance were in hysterics, and Aaron already knew many of them so it was easy to call them out by name and “encourage” more bidding.  Aaron was familiar with our program from prior appearances and brought a door prize of his own.  Coincidentally it was a Golf Themed Martini glass which our own aficionado and Olive Juice proprietor Jepp led the bidding on initially.  Aaron also paired the item with something he’s sure is going to “Catch on” he referred to as a “picture pole” for taking pictures of yourself with a mobile phone; where does he get these ideas?!?!?!?

Next Erin Eiras gave us a little bit of background info on Aaron, and the Senator took the podium to tell us about the recent legislative session.  He gave a brief tutorial on their duties, procedure, and the overwhelming number of bills considered by both chambers (1,800+) which are reviewed over the 3 months preceding their 60 days in session.  I knew our friends Reps McBurney, Ray, and Renner were very selfless and hardworking individuals, but this certainly puts things into perspective.  In fact, I Googled “Florida Legislature Salaries” & found it interesting our elected officials in the House and Senate make less than the Aides who support them!

Aaron also shared some of the major bills that were considered, but one he mentioned he’s considering to propose next session I found quite interesting.  He compared it to the Truth in Lending disclosure you get during a mortgage process.  This would be a disclosure stating the job rates coinciding with various programs of study to better guide students on what they can expect out of their education.  It would require the listing of salary range of each Major as well as the percentage of graduates who found jobs in those fields their first years out of college.  I’m all for minimizing regulation, but when we see graduates with nearly $100k in student loans struggling to find employment, it makes you wonder if they’re being properly counselled by their advisors.  I look forward to seeing this idea progress next year, and how it evolves to potentially change our education system altogether.  For years’ people have said the 4-year college system was broken, this might just turn things around.

On Thursday our new members Jeff Hubbard and Dennis Laguador hosted the first Meet-a-Member of the year and it was FANTASTIC!  As promised they had a drawing about every half hour and quite an impressive showroom.  It was great to see all the modern officer furniture options, as well as their ability to customize for their customers as needed.  In true SBMC fashion the refreshments were plentiful, the caterer was excellent, and it’s pretty safe to say they set the bar high for those that follow later in the year.  I think we had about 50 people based on ticket sales at the meetings and through our website; and of course a great time was had by all.  Thank you Jeff and Dennis for a great evening, and getting involved so quickly into your membership.  We look forward to getting to know you better and hopefully exchanging business opportunities in the future!

This week Dr. Matthew Corrigan, who is a local political expert, professor, and Chairman of UNF’s Political Science department, will share his perspective on the current election cycle.  We’re seeing something at the national level like never before.  On the left many thought Sen. Sanders didn’t have a chance, but when it came down to it were it not for their “Super delegates” things came a lot closer than anticipated.  On the right we started out with nearly 20 major candidates for the GOP nomination, many having been firm that “Donald Trump will not be the nominee” and here he is with more votes than any Republican previously.  Also we have long-time Congressmen like Speaker Boehner and our own Congressman Ander Crenshaw choosing not to run for reelection.  Dr. Corrigan is often interviewed and quoted by our local media on political matters so he’s sure not to disappoint.

Looking forward through our own election season we have a pretty packed summer of stellar programs. Specifically, we have debates scheduled for both our outgoing House Reps. McBurney and Ray’s seats in the state legislature.  We’ll begin on July 6th with District 16 which is Charles McBurney’s seat, for which our own Dick Kravitz, (who previously served in the legislature) and School Board Member Jason Fischer are running.  Channel 4’s Kent Justice has kindly offered to moderate this debate, as at the time of scheduling we were still awaiting an answer on Charles’ judicial appointment from the governor.  Judges need to be impartial and not show favoritism in races like these and although I’m sure we’d agree Charles is one of the most honest people we’ve ever met, he needs to prevent even the question from arising….hopefully the next time I mention him in a newsletter it’s as “His honor, Judge McBurney.”

Then on August 3rd since he’s not running for Judge, but rather a higher legislative office, Rep. Lake Ray will moderate a debate for HIS seat in District 12 which has drawn several candidates.  Both events are sure to be informative and entertaining.  My appreciation goes out to Bill Bishop who has been kind enough to coordinate these programs for us.  As we try and plan as much time as possible, as well as the most substantive programs, all questions for the events will be prepared in advance.  If you’d like to suggest a question to be included, please email Bill directly at in order for him to relay to the moderators for consideration.

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