RPOF Newsletter May 18, 2020


Message from Joe Gurters – Chairman of the RPOF

May 18, 2020

I could not be prouder of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis who, last week continued traveling to all corners of the state – including Northwest Florida, Jacksonville, Sarasota, Palm Beach, and Miami. In case you missed any of these announcements, you can watch them on the Governor’s TwitterFacebook and YouTube pages. Over the past weeks he has met with dozens of local and community leaders as he continues to remain laser-focused on reopening Florida by using his Safe, Smart, Step-by-Step approach for Florida’s recovery. But first, some good news — his actions to protect and jump start Florida’s economy have earned him an “A” in a report from the Committee to Unleash Prosperity and FreedomWorks titled, “Grading Our Governors: A Report Card on Reopening States’ Economies.” In RPOF news, I continue to participate in Zoom meetings and conference calls with you — our supporters and it has given me great pleasure to highlight our Governor’s accomplishments and our efforts to keep Florida red as we head into the November Election.  I recently participated in an interview on the One America News Network which you can watch here. I cannot emphasize enough how fortunate we are to have such a strong leader like Governor Ron DeSantis and we thank him for his steadfast commitment to keeping Floridians safe and our economy strong. 

Last week Governor DeSantis announced that Florida would be moving to a roll out of a Full Phase 1 by today, Monday, May 18.  He outlined his objectives — and bulleted how Florida will be able to get there. To learn more about the full Phase 1 roll out please click here. His announcement also includes the long awaited reopening of gyms today. The Governor has continued to encourage Floridians to take advantage of opportunities to go outside for fresh air and exercise stating it is good for mental health and overall well-being.

Week in Review

Friday, May 15 Governor Ron DeSantis held a press conference at Ascension St. Vincent’s Hospital in Jacksonville.  He was joined by Mayor Lenny Curry and health experts who wanted to strongly remind Floridians to seek medical help if they are not feeling well.  

Thursday, May 14 Governor DeSantis kicked off the day by joining the Fox and Friends crew to share some good news with all sports fans. He stated that Florida will be welcoming the return of professional sports. You can watch the announcement here

Governor Ron DeSantis also traveled to Miami and joined with several South Florida Mayors and discussed his Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step Plan for Florida’s Recovery. He shared the news that Miami-Dade and Broward would be joining the rest of the counties that are currently implementing Phase1 of the reopening.

Wednesday, May 13 the Governor held a meeting at the Florida State Capitol to discuss measures that the state has taken to protect Florida’s most vulnerable residents — the elderly, and how together the state has been able to limit the spread of COVID-19 at long-term care facilities. The Governor also referenced several slides that can be viewed here

Sunday, May 10 Gov. DeSantis travelled to West Palm Beach where he announced that they would be able to enter Phase 1 on Monday, May 11th. The Governor was joined by Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner. 

Saturday, May 9 Governor DeSantis directed DEO to waive the work search and work registration requirements for claimants through May 30, 2020. In accordance with federal law, claimants will be required to return to the CONNECT system every two weeks to request their benefits. 

Friday, May 8 Governor DeSantis was joined by Orlando barber shop owner J Henry who helped the Governor announce the much anticipated re-opening of barber shops, hair salons and nail salons with enhanced safety protocols for all counties currently in Phase 1, including Palm Beach County, effective Monday, May 11th. The announcement was made by the Governor on twitter with the help of barber shop owner J. Henry.

Bill Braswell – Polk County Commissioner District 3 and Chairman

Meet Bill Braswwell:

Polk County Commissioner Bill Braswell retired from the Air Force after 22 years of service and wants to make veterans’ issues a priority. As a blueberry farmer, Commissioner Braswell understands the significance of urbanization of agricultural lands as Polk continues to grow and the need for a balanced approach to planning and development. He was elected to serve as Board Chairman for the 2019-2020 fiscal year. Water issues will also be a priority issue for Commissioner Braswell.

Prior to his election to the Board of County Commissioners, Bill Braswell served on the Polk County Planning Commission for three years.



  • Born in Bartow
  • Resides in Auburndale
  • Wife, Cathy, one son and one granddaughter


  • Flying
  • Travel


  • Bachelor’s degree in agronomy from the University of Florida

John E Hall – Candidate for Polk County Commissioner District 5

Meet John E Hall: 

John Hall is the current Polk County Commissioner representing District 5.  Fiscal responsibility, efficiency, community service and transparency in government continue to be Commissioner John Hall’s top priorities while in office. Elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2016, Hall also is committed to furthering economic development, improving the overall business climate and increasing public involvement.

Commissioner Hall is a certified public manager who worked for Polk County government for 34 years. He served 24 of those years in a management positions within the facilities management, code enforcement and building divisions.

Hall is a cattle rancher and the president and owner of Polk Community Association Management. He was elected chairman in 2015.


  • Born in Red Level, AL
  • Resides in Auburndale
  • Wife, Gwen, three children and four grandchildren


  • Family
  • Reading
  • Golfing
  • Coaching
  • Vintage cars
  • Hunting


  • Bachelor’s degree in business administration from St. Leo University
  • Associate’s degree in engineering technologies from Polk State College

George Lindsey – Polk County Commissioner District 1

Meet George Lindsey

Commissioner George Lindsey is a leader on our Polk County Commission.  Elected in 2012 after serving on the Polk County Charter Review Commission and as its Chairman in 2009, he was re-elected in 2016.  During his tenure he served as Chairman of the Polk Regional Water Cooperative and has twice served as Chairman of the County Commission, in 2014-2015 and again in 2018-2019.

With a primary focus on business and job creation, Commissioner Lindsey has been a tireless fighter attracting new employers and removing barriers to the expansion of existing businesses and creation of jobs.

Leading by example, he has worked diligently to ensure that Polk County works together with other cities on matters like planning, water supply and transportation.  This cooperation results in better facilities and services for the residents of Polk County, while reducing waste and protecting taxpayer dollars.

A small business owner, George runs a real estate company, Lindsey Realty and Development Corp. As an active member of the Polk County business community, he is perfectly positioned to understand the unique issues that affect small businesses and to advocate on their behalf.

George has been a resident of Lakeland for 40 years. Please make sure to wave when you see George out in the community on is Harley-Davidson Motorcycle.

George Lindsey official campaign website:  https://georgelindsey.com/

Greg Steube – US House FL District 17

Meet Greg Steube

A fifth-generation Floridian, Greg Steube has dedicated his life to service. Greg earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Florida, majoring in Beef Cattle Sciences and minoring in Agricultural Law. Upon completing law school, Greg decided to enlist in the U.S. Army after the September 11th attacks.

In the Army, Greg spent one year as a commissioned Airborne Infantry Officer, and three years in the U.S. Army JAG Corps, serving as a Captain with the 25th Infantry Division in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Greg’s service continued with his election to the State House in 2010, and the State Senate in 2016. In the Florida legislature, Greg used his background in agriculture, law, and the military to build a record of accomplishment and strong defense of conservative principles. 

Greg is bringing these conservative credentials to Congress, where he was elected in 2018 to represent Florida’s 17th District. The district is the largest citrus producing district in the country, covering all of Charlotte, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Highlands, and Okeechobee counties, as well parts of Sarasota, Lee, and Polk counties.

Greg lives in Sarasota with his wife, Jennifer, and son, Ethan.

Martha Santigo – Polk County Commissioner District 4

Meet Martha Santigo

Polk County Commissioner Martha Santiago, Ed. D. recently retired as provost for Polk State College’s Winter Haven campus, Center for Public for Safety, Lake Wales centers, and Northeast Polk satellite location. Prior to being named Provost in 2014, Santiago was the dean of academic affairs for Polk State’s Winter Haven campus and Lake Wales centers.

Santiago was elected to the County Commission in November 2018 and plans to focus on economic development, growth & Infrastructure and Community Safety.

Santiago is the owner of Leadership Consultants, LLC. serves on various community boards including the United Way of Central Florida, Good Shepherd Hospice, Heart of Florida Hospital, Polk Vision, Women’s Resource Center and the Haines City and Winter Haven Chambers of Commerce.


  • Born in New York
  • Resides in Winter Haven
  • Husband, Alex, two children and four grandchildren


  • Spending time with family
  • Traveling
  • Reading


  • Doctorate degree from the University of South Florida
  • Master’s degree from Florida International University
  • Bachelor’s degree from the University of Puerto Rico

Grady Judd – Elected Polk County Sheriff

Meet Grady Judd:

Grady Judd began his career at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office in 1972 as a dispatcher. After transferring to the Patrol Division in 1974, he quickly progressed through the ranks – holding every rank from Sergeant to Colonel. In 2004, Polk County overwhelmingly elected Grady to serve as Sheriff by a 64% majority vote against two opponents. In November 2008, he was re-elected, with 99% of the vote.

Sheriff Judd has earned higher education degrees through the Masters level – having obtained both a Masters and Bachelor degree from Rollins College. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy, the Senior Management Institute for Police, the FBI Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar, and the FBI National Executive Institute.

Sheriff Judd has taught as an adjunct professor at both the University of South Florida and Florida Southern College. He is a past recipient of Polk Community College’s prestigious Distinguished Alumni Award and the 2008 Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Citizen Award. He continues to serve the community on several boards and committees, including the Drug Prevention Resource Center and VISTE. In 2005, Governor Bush appointed him to the State of Florida Medical Examiners Commission, where he served for four years. In 2008, Governor Crist appointed Sheriff Judd to serve on the Florida Parole Commission’s Parole Qualifications Committee. He also currently serves as the Chairman of the Florida Sheriffs Association Board of Directors and as the Florida Sheriffs Emergency Task Force Chairman.

Grady is married to Marisa, his wife of 39 years. He has two grown sons and eight grandchildren.

Grady Judd official website:  http://sheriffgradyjudd.org/

Brian Haas – State Attorney


Brian Haas serves as the State Attorney for the Tenth Judicial Circuit of Florida. He is responsible for the prosecution of crimes in Polk, Highlands, and Hardee Counties. Brian leads an office of prosecutors, investigators, and staff who are dedicated to protecting the citizens of the Tenth Circuit.

Brian grew up in Polk County and is a graduate of Bartow High School. He received his bachelor’s degree from Flagler College in St. Augustine and his law degree from the University of Florida.

Prior to being elected State Attorney in 2016, Brian was an Assistant State Attorney. He prosecuted crimes ranging from Misdemeanors to Capital Felonies and was assigned to the Special Prosecution Division, where he prosecuted those who committed sexual crimes against children. Brian has represented the State of Florida in many jury trials, including the prosecution of violent crimes.

As a husband and a father, Brian Haas is committed to working hard every day to protect the citizens of the Tenth Circuit. As State Attorney, Brian put an emphasis on prosecuting cases involving violence, drug trafficking, abuse of children and elderly exploitation. The Tenth Circuit has a very low crime rate; thanks to the hard work of so many people. The State Attorney’s Office’s partnership with law enforcement is the key to our success in fighting crime and protecting our citizens.

Brian Haas official campaign web site: https://stateattorneybrianhaas.com/#top