Friday, December 7, 2018

Florida veterans showing up for others

Florida Veterans in the News

David Smith riding new wave of veteran-advocates in the Florida Legislature

Orlando Rising
Scott Powers

Republican state Rep. David Smith will be heading to Tallahassee with a broad platform of ambitions covering education, the economy and the environment, but the retired U.S. Marine Corps colonel gets particularly excited about prospects he sees to improve the lot for Florida’s military veterans.

Smith was elected Nov. 6 to succeed Jason Brodeur in representing House District 28 in east Seminole County. Riding in with him in this class are state Reps. Anthony Sabatini of Howie-in-the-Hills, Elizabeth Fetterhoff of Deland, Tommy Gregory of Sarasota, and Spencer Roach of North Fort Myers, all military veterans, joining returning lawmakers such as Paul Renner of Palm Coast.

They have restarted a veterans’ caucus in the Florida House, Smith said.

“I think there is going to be new excitement to address issues for veterans,” Smith said. “The one thing I’m committed to is systemic solutions. I don’t want band-aid solutions or give-away programs. They don’t work and they’re insulting to veterans.”

Specifically, Smith is looking at creating a state contracting set-aside preference for veteran-owned businesses, much as currently exists for women- and minority-owned businesses. There are plenty of models out there, including a federal program, state programs in Texas, California, and North Carolina, and a patchwork of local programs.

Smith said that the University of Central Florida’s contracts for construction of its downtown campus features a 10 percent set-aside for veterans’ businesses. Smith’s willing to start much smaller at the state, perhaps 1 percent, and work toward 3 percent.

He has filed no bills yet, saying he’s taking his time. Like other state representatives, he’s also waiting for his committee assignments.

“That’s one of the things I campaigned on,” Smith. “One of the differences I have even with Gov. [Rick] Scott is I think Florida is not as veteran-friendly as it could be as relates to veterans’ businesses. I want to be an advocate for those veterans in the Legislature.”
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Meet the Palmetto resident who was inducted into Florida Veterans Hall of Fame

Bradenton Herald
December 7, 2018

Carl Hunsinger of Palmetto, chairman of the Manatee County Veterans Council, was among 20 vets inducted into the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame this week in Tallahassee.
Carl Hunsinger has been inducted into the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame. He is shown above with Lee Washington, Manatee County veterans service officer, Gov. Rick Scott, and the Florida Cabinet. Hunsinger is retired from 30 years service in the U.S. Air Force, and is a tireless advocate for the Manatee County veterans community, provided photo

Hunsinger, 63, a retired U.S. Air Force chief master sergeant and veteran of 26 months of combat service in Iraq and Kuwait, was the only Manatee County resident among the 20 inductees honored by Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet.

“I was surprised when I got the call that I had been selected about 9 a.m. one morning around Thanksgiving,” Hunsinger said. “I said, ‘What?’ ”

In 2004, he led a team of 160 enlisted airmen providing gun truck security in Mosul, Iraq.

Hunsinger was in Mosul when one of the American dining facilities was bombed, killing 24 and wounding 70 others.
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