February Lunch Featured DEP Secretary and Madison Institute CEO

Our February meeting featured Herschel Vinyard, Florida Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection, and Dr. Bob McClure, CEO of the Madison Institute.

After the Invocation and Pledge led by Virginia Brooks, Rick Kozell (Club President) kicked off the meeting by describing the successful Lincoln Day Dinner. Many in the group had attended the sell-out event.

Rick is on the board of the Palm Beach County Chapter of the James Madison Institute, a conservative think tank, and personally knew both keynote speakers. After introducing both, Mr. Vinyard took the podium.

He began by giving a boost to Governor Rick Scott. The Governor has had a tremendous impact on bringing Florida’s economy back from the depths of the recession. Mr. Vinyard said that the Governor’s ‘laser-focus’ on jobs was deeply personal to the Governor. The Secretary of DEP then segued to two examples of ‘federalism in action’, where Florida was able to wrest control back from the Federal government with Florida-based solutions.

The first, water body nutrient levels, has been an ongoing issue with the EPA. Rather than accept the federal solution, Vinyard’s team came forward with an alternative proposal that was found acceptable, yet customized for the state.

The second was Everglades water management, another long-term conflict with the federal government. Florida had been embroiled in a lawsuit since the 1980s and Governor Scott, solutions-oriented as he is, found that unacceptable. The DEP was able to offer an acceptable, Florida based solution to satisfy all the federal administrative organizations.

Admitting it is not always easy, Secretary Vinyard has shown that it is possible for states to engage productively with the Federal regulatory bodies.

In closing, he also encouraged us to partake of the wonderful Florida State Park System which also falls under the DEP.

Dr. McClure, President of the James Madison Institute, talked about “bending the river current” towards greater freedom in this country. His theme was the “great sorting out” of the states that is in progress, with red states led by conservative governments attracting people and money away from the high-taxes, oppressive regulations, and infringements of our freedoms of the Progressive-led Blue states.

There are four states to watch that could be a harbinger of all our futures. Will we emulate Texas, with its supercharged economy, low taxes, and minimal government? Or will we go the way of California, Illinois or New York – arguably examples of crumbling infrastructure, excessive debt and failing governments after years of Progressive policies.

Believing that “everyone is conservative, privately“, he pointed out that “Freedom works every time it is tried./em>”

Present at the meeting were CD18 candidates Alan Schlesinger and Ilya Katz, and a spokesperson for Carl Domino. Alan spoke with respect about the admirable candidacy of Ellen Andel, who recently withdrew from the race.

Some pictures from the event:

  • Brad and Shannon Ball, Herschel Vinyard Brad and Shannon Ball, Herschel Vinyard
  • Rick Kozell with Fran Hancock Rick Kozell with Fran Hancock Fran was honored at Lincoln Day with a lifetime achievement award.
  • DEP Secretary Herschel Vinyard DEP Secretary Herschel Vinyard
  • Madison Institute CEO Dr. Bob McClure Madison Institute CEO Dr. Bob McClure
  • Carol Hurst, Herschel Vinyard, Rick Kozell Carol Hurst, Herschel Vinyard, Rick Kozell
  • Sharon Merchant, Herschel Vinyard Sharon Merchant, Herschel Vinyard
  • CD18 candidate Alan Schlesinger with Sharon Merchant CD18 candidate Alan Schlesinger with Sharon Merchant
  • Bob McClure, Rick Kozell, Herschel Vinyard Bob McClure, Rick Kozell, Herschel Vinyard


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