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J. ROSS MACBETH ATTORNEY AT LAW LAKEVIEW PROFESSIONAL Bldg. 2543 U.S. Highway 27 South . Sebring, Florida 33870-2125 Bus: (863) 385-7600 . Fax: (863) 385-7911 ross@macbethlaw.com

Reminder – Salute to Naturalized Citizens Dinner Saturday June 4th at Sebring Elks Lodge

May 27th, 2016

final naturalized flyer 2016_Image

Please support this Salute to Naturalized Citizens dinner by purchasing tickets or by donating tickets today.  Please RSVP by calling 863 382-1346 or by email to Kathy Rapp at rapp1422@gmail.com or 863 381-1390.  The RSVP time has been extended to May 29th.

Someone Poisoned the Water Bill

May 26th, 2016

From Tony Perkins’ Washington Update

Someone Poisoned the Water Bill

May 26, 2016

House Democrats don’t care about passing the Energy and Water bill — only carrying the water for the radical Left. That was more than obvious over the last 24 hours, when the president’s party launched an all-out assault on what should have been one of the least controversial appropriations debates of the year. In a desperate attempt to make a political point, Rep. Sean Maloney (D-N.Y.) decided to muddy the Water bill with a controversial LGBT amendment.

The saga started last week on a military construction bill and continued yesterday when he and other liberals managed to slip language onto H.R. 5055 that would have essentially disqualified any faith-based group from doing business with the federal government. It wasn’t Maloney’s idea — but President Obama’s, who, in 2014, issued an executive order elbowing religious contractors out of government work unless they surrendered their views. Under his rule, any company that wanted to contract with the federal government had to adopt special LGBT rights first — including policies on genderless bathrooms and showers. Essentially, organizations had a choice: they could swallow their beliefs to get a government job or make themselves ineligible by operating according to their faith.

For two years, Rep. Maloney and his party have been trying to turn that order — which doesn’t have the force of law — into a U.S. statute that does. And last night, it seemed like they’d succeeded. In a stunning turn of events, the Maloney amendment passed — thanks to 43 Republicans, who turned their back on the First Amendment and voted with the far-Left. Conservatives were shocked. Almost four dozen members of the GOP had gone on the record, agreeing with President Obama that: 1) religious liberty has no place in the public marketplace; and 2) support for gay rights and transgenderism should be a condition of government work.

No free country — least of all America — should punish faith-based contractors like the Salvation Army for exercising their First Amendment freedoms in hiring and firing. Yet that’s exactly what the measure would have done. Fortunately, conservatives managed to push back on Maloney at the last minute by reaffirming the religious liberty of these faith-based groups in an amendment from Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.). (No thanks to seven Republicans — Reps. Mike Coffman (Colo.); Carlos Curbelo (Fla.); Charlie Dent (Pa.); Robert Dold (Ill.); John Katko (N.Y.); Frank LoBiondo (N.J.); and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.) — who outed themselves as enemies of America’s First Freedom.) In a nod to the national firestorm over transgender “rights,” conservatives also took a swipe at President Obama’s war on states that refuse to adopt his genderless bathroom, shower, and locker room policy. By a 227-192 vote, they barred the administration from withholding federal funds to punish any state that did not comply.

Despite those two bright spots, it didn’t take long for the bad news about the Maloney amendment to spread. Within hours, phones on Capitol Hill started ringing off the hook. Angry voters demanded to know why Republicans had helped to pass a measure that was eerily similar to the transgender bathroom policy Obama is trying to force on the nation’s schools. Suddenly, moderate Republicans started to panic. So much so that when the final bill came to the floor today, the bill crashed and burned 305-112. Ironically, it was killed by people on both sides: conservatives opposed to the Maloney amendment and Democrats, who despite floating their LGBT agenda onto the bill, had no intention of supporting the legislation in the first place. They only hijacked it to make a political statement. Even Sean Maloney, whose language created this mess, voted against the bill!

Obviously, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) claim that the GOP is responsible for sinking the Water bill is ridiculous, since a higher percentage of Democrats voted against H.R. 5055 than Republicans. Her party either sacrificed their great civil rights victory for the cause of “clean energy” or decided that the addition of even a modest religious freedom provision was too tough to stomach. Either way, when both Pelosi and Maloney voted against final passage, it shows that all the theater surrounding this amendment was much ado about nothing. The LGBT crowd should take note that even the Democratic Party will sell them out in a heartbeat. And what did Republicans who were anxious to cater to them get? Nothing. Shame, shame, shame indeed.

Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

For the rest of this article and others, see: http://www.frc.org/updatearticle/20160526/poisoned-water

Pictures from meetings in May and schedule of upcoming meetings in June

May 20th, 2016
Pictures from recent meetings in May:
1) RPOF Spring Quarterly Meeting May 13th and 14th in Tampa at the Hilton DoubleTree.

Trump Hat Pic

RPOF State Committeemen and State Committeewoman in a show of unity for the presumptive nominee Donald Trump at the conclusion of the State Committeeman/State Committeewoman caucus Friday May 13th at the Republican Party of Florida Spring Quarterly Meeting.

2) Highlands County Republican Monthly Meeting Monday May 16th

931197_117691235099417_381330850_n Monday May 16th Monthly Highlands County Republican Meeting at 6:30 PM at the Sebring Elks Lodge. Special Guest Speakers were the announced candidates for Highlands County School Superintendent, Mr. William “Pep” Hutchinson III and Dr. Brenda Longshore.  The speeches and Q&A session were moderated by HCREC Vice Chairman Virgil Beato.



Upcoming Meetings in June
931197_117691235099417_381330850_n  Tuesday May 31, 2016 – HCREC Board Meeting, Republican Headquarters, Sebring, 5 PM.
HRWN-LogoSaturday June 4th – Salute to Naturalized Citizens – 5 PM Social Hour, 6 PM Buffet Dinner, 7 PM Program at the Sebring Elks Lodge, 2618 Kenilworth Blvd. Sebring sponsored by the Highlands Republican Women’s Network . $25/person, RSVP by May 27th by calling 863-382-1346.  “Heritage Page” Ad – $10, Ticket Sponsors, $25, Sponsorships starting at $100.

 931197_117691235099417_381330850_n  Thursday June 9th – Monthly Highlands County Republican Meeting at 6:30 PM (optional dinner service 5 – 6:15 PM) at the Elks Lodge 2618 Kenilworth Blvd. in Sebring.  Special Guest Speakers will be announced Republican candidates for Highlands County Sheriff, Paul Blackman, James Fansler, Candido Garcia, and James Sottile.  The sheriff’s forum event will be moderated by Commissioner Don Elwell.
Note:  The Highlands County REC does not endorse or take sides in a Republican Primary Election. All are encouraged to become educated on the candidates. Meeting announcements and articles of interest will be posted to allow you to become as informed as possible before you vote.
Paid for by the Highlands County Republican Executive Committee P.O. Box 7987, Sebring, FL 33872

Pictures from today’s National Day Of Prayer Observance at 11 AM on the Highlands County Courthouse lawn

May 5th, 2016


It was  a picture perfect day for the Highlands County Clerk of Courts National Day of Prayer Observance on the courthouse lawn! The annual event organized initially back in the early 90’s by former Clerk of Courts, L.E Brooker, and continued annually by him and now his able successor Bob Germaine was very well-planned and organized.  The posting of the colors by the Highlands County Sheriff’s Honor Guard and the singing of our National Anthem added to the beauty of the day.


The rousing music by the “Fire and Steel Band” comprised of student’s from Walker Memorial Academy and the uplifting music by the Wings of Faith Choir from the Wings of Faith Church and by Joe Lewis with his magnificent voice set the tone.  Heartfelt messages and prayers for our nation were voiced by several local pastors including Pastor Robert Shannon of Wings of Faith Church, Pastor Steve Trinkle of Whispering Pines Baptist, and Worship Pastor Jezimar Nuno Norberto of First Baptist Sebring. IMG_3559IMG_3562IMG_3554IMG_3558IMG_3563IMG_3541IMG_3557


From the RPOF – Statements on Donald Trump and on Senator Ted Cruz

May 3rd, 2016


Statement on Donald Trump

Tallahassee, FL – Chairman Blaise Ingoglia released the following statement on Donald Trump following his win in the Indiana primary:

“The Florida GOP would like to congratulate Donald Trump on his big win in Indiana tonight and becoming the presumptive Republican nominee for President. Now, we must all come together as a party and complete the task at hand, which is defeating Hillary Clinton in November. A Clinton presidency would be disastrous for this country, our military, our debt, our freedoms and the Supreme Court”.


Statement on Senator Ted Cruz

Tallahassee, FL – Chairman Blaise Ingoglia released the following statement regarding Senator Ted Cruz’s announcement that he will be suspending his campaign:

“The Florida GOP would like to thank Senator Cruz for his spirited effort during the Presidential primary and keeping the focus where it should be…on the Constitution. We look forward to him continuing to defend that cherished document, as well as our freedoms, in the U.S. Senate”



The Highlands County REC does not endorse or take sides in a Republican Primary Election. All are encouraged to become educated on the candidates.  Articles of interest will be posted to allow you to become as informed as possible.

More photos from the Highlands County Republican 2016 Lincoln Day Dinner

May 2nd, 2016

More photos from the 2016 Lincoln Day Dinner April 28th at the Chateau Elan in Sebring.  Special thanks to our Keynote Speaker, Representative Jennifer Sullivan (R – District 31) for her excellent Keynote Speech, State Representative Dr, Cary Pigman for his outstanding presentation of the Gettysburg Address, Sherry McCorkle, Field Director for Congressman Tom Rooney for the special video message from Congressman Rooney, Marty Mielke, Legislative Assistant to Senator Denise Grimsley for representing Senator Grimsley, Staff Sergeant Denise Williams our County Veteran Service Officer for the Pledge of Allegiance, Sarah Norberto, our soloist for the National Anthem, and our excellent emcee, Sebring Jaycee Trey Griffin .

And very special thanks also to our many  guests, table sponsors, donors, and program advertisers for your attendance and support.



IMG_3888IMG_3911IMG_3883IMG_3889IMG_3893IMG_3907_86C7618_86C7614686C7642_86C7658_86C7655_86C7609_86C7612_86C7600_86C7651_86C7690_86C7637_86C7709_86C7592 Bianka Smith_86C7699 Trey Griffin




Our Highlands County Republican 2016 Lincoln Day Dinner – the best in memory!

April 29th, 2016

IMG_3926  The Highlands County Republican 2016 Lincoln Day Dinner had to compete with several other events in Highlands County last night, however the large crowd at the Chateau Elan were treated to the best Lincoln Day Dinner in the memory of most.  The crowd that included almost all of the elected Republicans in Highlands County and those currently running for elected office were very appreciative of the inspired speech by State Representative Jennifer Sullivan (R- District 31) from the Mt. Dora/Eustis area.  Representative Sullivan was the youngest female ever elected to the Florida Legislature when elected in 2014 at the age of 23.  Her comment on how she managed to get elected in a race with four well-funded much older opponents was  “all it takes is hard work!” She became a rising star with her leadership on important legislation last year including the 24-hour waiting period before an abortion and with her nationally televised speech at the Sunshine Summit last November on “Reaching Millennials”.  As per the comments from millennials in the audience, and several who volunteered after her speech “she inspired me to get involved”.

Other highlights from the evening included a special recorded video message from Congressman Tom Rooney, State Representative Dr. Cary Pigman’s outstanding presentation of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the flawless rendition of the National Anthem by Sarah Norberto and the very entertaining emceeing of Sebring Jaycee Trey Griffin.

IMG_3914IMG_3906 IMG_3905 IMG_3938  Chairman Kathy Rapp’s remarks on the Highlands County Republican Executive Committee outreach activities to new and potential Republicans and the stunning growth of the Highlands County Republican Party in the last three months received rounds of applause.

But capping the evening and a major highlight was the  very well deserved recognition of the many years of dedicated and faithful service to Highlands County Republicans of our long-time State Committeewoman and former Treasurer, Joan H. Hartt.  Joan will not seek re-election after her current term expires. She received a very well-deserved standing ovation in appreciation of her contributions in both leadership and support. The inscription on her award: “Presented to Joan H. Hartt In grateful appreciation for your many years of outstanding dedication, commitment and leadership while serving as State Committeewoman. Thank you for sharing your time, talent, and treasure for the betterment of our community, the Republican Party of Highlands County, and the Republican Party of Florida.”Highlands County Republican Executive Committee April 28, 2016.

Here are a few more phone pictures from last night with better ones to follow:       IMG_3946 IMG_3953 IMG_3957IMG_3899


The Conservative Legacy of Antonin Scalia

April 10th, 2016
Christopher N. Malagisi

After the recent passing of Antonin Scalia – a lion who served on the US Supreme Court for almost three decades, many are realizing the influential impact he had on the court itself, the legacy of Originalism, Judicial Restraint, and on preserving the Constitution.  In Kevin Ring’s new book, he lets Scalia speak for himself in Scalia’s Court: A Legacy of Landmark Opinions and Dissents.

Congratulations Mr. Ring on your new book, Scalia’s Court: A Legacy of Landmark Opinions and Dissents! Can you give us an overview of your book, and what was your inspiration putting this collection together?

I was one of many conservative lawyers and Supreme Court watchers I knew whom, upon hearing about a new Supreme Court decision, would always ask, “Did Scalia write it?” I looked forward to reading his opinions every term, especially in the big cases on the most contentious subjects.

While there are a couple of comprehensive biographies of the justice, and many books and law review articles that dissect his record, there were no books that simply allowed Justice Scalia to speak for himself. I wanted the public to read entire Scalia opinions and not be distracted by the filter and biases of the media or liberal law professors, or commentators who tend to write about the court.


What three takeaways would you like readers to leave with after reading your book?

I hope people take away from the book, first, how principled and consistent Justice Scalia was in applying his judicial philosophy. He sometimes reached conclusions that differed from his personal policy preferences. Most justices on the court today and in recent history have interpreted the Constitution in ways that allowed them to always find their preferred outcome to be the right legal outcome. Justice Scalia subordinated his personal policy positions and put the law first.

Second, I want readers to understand just how unique Justice Scalia was for having a judicial philosophy. Very few justices hold themselves to a standard by which their opinions can be judged by their fidelity to that standard. Justice Scalia was rare in this regard.

Finally, I hope readers appreciate what a gifted writer and communicator he was. His opinions are eminently readable and often funny, two qualities rarely attributed to Supreme Court opinions.


What is Antonin Scalia’s legacy with the courts, and perhaps the conservative movement at large?

Justice Scalia’s opinions demonstrated a reverence for the U.S. Constitution and the system of government created by it. Today, we see some self-proclaimed conservatives pay lip service to important constitutional values such as separation of powers, federalism, and fundamental individual rights, but Scalia did more to preserve those values than any conservative in recent times.

For the conservative movement, he was the North Star – the intellectual leader who showed conservatives how to advance the Constitution and do so with brilliance and passion.


Can you define Originalism, and discuss why it’s important?  How does it differ from Judicial Activism?

Originalism is the view that the Constitution should be interpreted to mean what it meant to those who wrote and ratified it. That does not mean the Constitution is stuck in the past; Scalia skillfully applied the protections in the First Amendment to modern innovations, such as the Internet.

But he did not think that judges should create new rights that were not included in the Constitution. That regrettable practice is judicial activism.

What were one or two interesting things about Justice Scalia you learned during this process that you didn’t know before?

I always loved Justice Scalia’s fiery dissents. When he was speaking for himself and not for a majority, he was free to really take the bark off his opponents’ arguments. He was biting, cutting, and just plain funny at times.

What I learned was that his most memorable opinions were written so they would be, well, remembered. He knew that dissenting opinions might become majority opinions in the future if the makeup of the court or the culture changed.

In order to make sure law students and the public understood the depth of his disagreement and knew that there was a different way to approach an issue, he wrote opinions that demanded attention and would be remembered in the future.


What were one or two cases that Justice Scalia thought were the most important of his career?

I think two of the decisions he was most proud of were Heller and Morrison v. Olson. In his 2008 Heller opinion, Justice Scalia wrote for the majority opinion that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to keep and bear arms. This right was not reserved for members of the National Guard or militias; it was a right that belonged to individuals.

I think this opinion was especially gratifying for two reasons. First, Justice Scalia was able to stand up for a constitutional freedom that is actually in the text of the Constitution that many so-called liberals were willing to write out of the document. Second, his opinion was an awesome display of his originalist judicial philosophy. He examined the origin and history of the Second Amendment. Notably, even the justices that dissented in the case engaged in Scalia’s originalist analysis. While they reached a different conclusion, they fought on his terms.

Morrison v. Olson was a very different opinion. In 1988, just two years after joining the Court, Scalia wrote his masterful dissent in which he set forth the constitutional and practical problems of the Independent Counsel law. Scalia argued that the law creating a process for appointing independent prosecutors violated the Constitution’s separation of powers.

He went further, however, and predicted that the law would have terrible real-world consequences, as well – specifically, runaway, unaccountable prosecutors with huge budgets who would investigate individuals for years and years until they found something. Sure enough, after Republicans saw independent counsel Lawrence Walsh conduct a partisan investigation into Iran-Contra and Democrats experienced independent counsel Ken Starr investigate President Bill Clinton on a broad range of misdeeds, both sides realized that Scalia was right and let the statute expire in 1999.

Learn more about Justice Scalia and Kevin Ring’s new book at the Conservative Book Club!

For the rest of this article and others, see: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/christophernmalagisi/2016/04/10/the-conservative-legacy-of-antonin-scalia-n2145412

U.S. Senate Candidates in Hardee County Saturday at the Friends of Florida Agriculture Barbecue

April 3rd, 2016

Despite the threat of possible rain yesterday, a huge crowd of over 800 showed up at the “Friends of Florida Agriculture Barbecue at Ben Hill Griffin’s Peace river Ranch south of Zolfo Springs.  The event was hosted by Commissioner of Agriculture, Adam Putnam and the Ben Hill Griffin family and a large group of central Florida hosts and co-hosts.


The barbecue was some of the best ever and the music was excellent.   Adam Putnam was in great form and his remarks brought numerous rounds of applause.  He then introduced U.S. Senate candidates, Congressman Ron DeSantis, Businessman Todd Wilcox, and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera who were warmly received by the large crowd.  Each candidate had opportunity to speak although their available time was reduced due to the impending rain.  See the candidates  web-sites for additional information: https://www.desantis2016.com/, http://www.toddwilcox2016.com/, and  http://www.carlosforflorida.com/  Congressman Ron DeSantis spoke to Highlands County Republicans in February, Businessman Todd Wilcox spoke at our March meeting, and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera has been invited to speak at our May 12th meeting.

Highlands County Republicans were very well-represented with all members of the HCREC board in attendance including Kathy Rapp, Virgil Beato, Ida Jackson, Penny Kocarek, Joan Hartt, and Earl Claire.  Others attending from Highlands County included Sylvia Beeks, Dee Dee Stidham, Sally Claire, Fred and Jennifer Hartt, and Marvin Kahn.

IMG_3811IMG_3808IMG_3812Ron DeSantis

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The Highlands County REC does not endorse or take sides in a Republican Primary Election. All are encouraged to become educated on the candidates.  Meeting announcements and information and articles of interest on the various candidates are provided to allow you to become as informed as possible.

Kathy Rapp elected as a delegate to the Republican National Convention

March 31st, 2016

Breaking News – Kathy Rapp, Chairman of the Highlands County Republican Executive Committee, was elected as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in a meeting of Congressional District 17 representatives in Bartow this evening.

The process for becoming a delegate is included for reference as follows: 

Become a Delegate

Instructive Materials for Potential Delegates to the 2016 Republican National Convention

Following Florida’s March 15 presidential preference primary, the Republican Party of Florida will elect delegates and alternate delegates to the Republican National Convention. The delegate election, allocation, and binding methods are governed by state and national Republican Party rules, the requirements of which are summarized below.

Who is eligible to serve as a delegate?

Each candidate for election as a delegate or alternate delegate must be a legal resident and registered Republican voter of the State of Florida. Each candidate for election as a delegate or alternate delegate from a Congressional District Caucus must additionally be a legal resident of that Congressional District.

No candidate for delegate or alternate delegate shall be required to pay an assessment or fee to become a candidate or to serve as the elected delegate or alternate delegate. No candidate for delegate or alternate delegate shall be discriminated against for reasons of sex, race, religion, color, age, national origin or physical disability.

How do I become a candidate for election as a delegate?

Before the election of delegates and alternate delegates, any eligible registered Republican voter who wishes to be a candidate for election as a delegate or alternate delegate shall certify that he or she is duly qualified to serve by filing the 2016 Republican National Convention Delegate Qualifying Form. The Delegate Qualifying Form is available upon request from, and must be filed with, the Republican Party of Florida.

No later than one week after the presidential preference primary, each Republican presidential candidate whose name appeared on the ballot may submit a list of proposed delegates and alternate delegates from among that candidate’s supporters to be considered as candidates for election. These proposed delegates and alternate delegates must also file the Delegate Qualifying Form to be considered for election.

When will delegates be elected?

Delegates and alternate delegates will be elected at duly-called meetings of the Republican Party of Florida’s Executive Board and its Congressional District Caucuses held between March 22 (one week after the presidential preference primary) and June 3, 2016 (45 days before the Republican National Convention). All meetings to consider the election of delegates and alternate delegates must be called by the Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida and are subject to applicable notice requirements under the Rules and Constitution of the Republican Party of Florida.

The specific dates for each Congressional District Caucus and Republican Party of Florida Executive Board meeting at which delegates and alternate delegates will be elected will be published on the website of the Republican Party of Florida as they are scheduled.

What map will be used?

The current RPOF Congressional District Caucuses were organized under Congressional District map (H000C9057), which was adopted by the Florida Legislature in August 2014. Here is a link to a page with the statewide map and several maps of specific regions: http://www.floridaredistricting.org/2014A.aspx

Although the Florida Supreme Court adopted a new map to be used for the 2016 general election and thereafter, Florida’s delegates to the RNC are elected from the current districts. The map referenced above is the one that potential delegates should refer to in determining the congressional district caucus in which they are eligible to run.


 Delegate Selection Caucus Dates & Information

CD 17 March 31, 2016
Perkins Restaurant
150 E. Van Fleet Dr.
Bartow, FL 33830


    Kathy Rapp
Vice Chairman
    Virgil Beato
    Ida Jackson
    Penny Kocarek

State Committeeman
    Earl Claire

State Committeewoman
    Joan Hartt