Joe Gruters

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Joe Gruters
Chair of the Florida Republican Party
Assumed office
January 12, 2019
Preceded byBlaise Ingoglia
Member of the Florida Senate
from the 23rd district
Assumed office
November 6, 2018
Preceded byGreg Steube
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 73rd district
In office
November 8, 2016 – November 6, 2018
Preceded byGreg Steube
Succeeded byTommy Gregory
Personal details
Born (1977-07-06) July 6, 1977 (age 41)
Tampa, Florida, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Sydney Gruters
EducationFlorida State University, Tallahassee (BS)
University of South Florida, Tampa (MBA)

Joe Gruters (born June 7, 1977) is an American politician and businessman. He is Chairman of the Florida Republican Party,[1][2] and a member of the Florida Senate representing the 23rd District which consists of Sarasota County and part of Charlotte County.  

He worked on the campaign of U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan as campaign manager, was president of the Sarasota Young Republicans, was vice Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, and for 10 years was the chairman of the Republican Party of Sarasota — a post he has held longer than any other Chairman in Sarasota County’s history.[3] Gruters also co-chaired Donald Trump's campaign for President in Florida and served as the co-chairman of the 2016 Republican National Committee's Platform Committee on Restoring the American Dream.[4]

Political History[edit]

Gruters lost his first two elections. He worked behind the scenes on several more losing campaigns.[5] He joined Vern Buchanan’s original successful 2006 campaign for the United States Congress. "He has been on a hot streak ever since, winning the job of Sarasota GOP chairman in 2008, gaining clout as an early backer of Gov. Rick Scott in 2010 and becoming vice chairman of the Republican Party of Florida this year."[6]

Republican Party of Sarasota[edit]

In 2008, a  month after Barak Obama came within 237 votes of beating John McCain GOP majority Sarasota County, Gruters became chairman of the Sarasota County. In 2012, Mitt Romney won Sarasota County by 15,400 vote margin over the incumbent, Obama. In 2016, Sarasota County went for Trump by a margin of more than 26,000 votes.[7]

Gruters’ political success with Gov. Rick Scott earned him a high-profile appointment to the Florida State University Board of Trustees and strong political backers when he ran for the Florida House of Representatives' seat in 2016.[8]

Early Donald Trump supporter[edit]

Gruters was an early Trump supporter and became Co-Chairman of the 2016 Trump for President campaign in Florida.[9] Gruters forged a relationship with Donald Trump in 2012 after GOP leaders snubbed the New York celebrity at the Republican National Convention in Tampa,[10] north of Sarasota. He cold-called Trump to invite him to speak in Sarasota the night before the convention. Trump agreed. "This Joe's some piece of work," Trump said when he took the stage that night.[11]

In 2016, the same year he delivered Sarasota County resoundingly for Trump, Gruters won his election to the Florida House of Representatives, representing the 73rd District, which includes Eastern Manatee County and Northeastern Sarasota County, from 2016. In 2018, he won election to the Florida Senate representing the 23rd District, consisting of Sarasota County and part of Charlotte County.

Republican Party of Florida[edit]

Gruters was elected Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida by a huge margin January 11, 2019 at the Republican Party of Florida's annual meeting in Orlando, handing out red “Keep Florida Great” hats ahead of the vote. His easy election was a result of the re-unification of the Republican Party of Florida after a split during the Governor Rick Scott's terms.[12]

The Miami Herald reported on the election the next day, "One of Donald Trump’s closest allies in Florida has been named chairman of the state party, strengthening the president’s already strong grip on the nation’s largest swing state ahead of his reelection bid in 2020." [12]

“We have a singular focus over the next two years,” Gruters said. “And that’s getting our president reelected.”

Gruters said expects Florida Republicans to be unified and focused on 2020. “I think we’ll have the resources we need. I think people understand the importance that Florida has on the national election,” he said. “Donald Trump can’t be our president if he can’t win Florida.”[12]

Politics and Legislation[edit]

Gruters is a pro-business, pro-life, pro-environment conservative.[13] He is supported by the Florida Chamber of Commerce.[14] He introduced pro-environment legislation regarding red tide and other water quality issues in Florida, such as restoring septic tank inspection rules that had been lifted during the recession. [15]

Two days after a fatal shooting at a California synagogue April 26, 2019, the Florida Senate unanimously passed a bill by Gruters requiring schools to deal with anti-Semitic behavior the same way they do racial discrimination. The bill also defines anti-Semitic behavior as “accusing Jewish citizens of being more loyal to Israel, or the alleged priorities of Jews worldwide, than to the interest of their own nations.”[16] Gruters made his views clear on the issue, saying: “He knew nothing about the victims, other than that they were Jewish. That was enough for them to die in his own mind...anti-Semitism is on the rise, and we have the ability to do something about it. No one is born with hate in their heart.”[17]

Gruters was a driving force behind Florida's 2019 law outlawing sanctuary cities and requiring all Florida jurisdictions to comply with federal immigration law and cooperate with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He sponsored Senate Bill 168 that passed the Florida Senate 22-18.[18] This marked a change of direction for Florida from a few years earlier when the state had enabled illegal immigrants in several areas.[19] Gruters’ bill was altered near the end, including no longer requiring local authorities to hold ICE detainer subjects indefinitely. Those people will be released after 48 hours if ICE doesn’t take them into custody.[20] After passing the Florida House, the bill is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who ran on the issue in November 2018. [21]

Gruters sponsored Senate Bill 796 requiring electric utilities to create and follow long-term plans to bury electric lines and harden the state’s power grid against hurricanes, which the Senate voted 39-1.[22] Gruters said lawmakers are taking a “long-range approach” to strengthen the state’s electric system. Gruters and other supporters pointed to economic losses caused by major power outages. “It’s a public safety issue. It’s a resiliency issue,” he said.

Gruters filed a Senate Bill 558,[23] called that "Florida Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act" that would ban abortions that are 20 weeks after fertilization due to what proponents says its a growing body of scientific evidence that the unborn child feels pain,[24] including physical and emotional distress. The bill is controversial because it could test where the courts stand on the 20-week cutoff.[25]

He sponsored Senate Bill 230 that would required the supervisor of elections in each Florida county to enter into a local agreement with court officials to obtain a list of jurors who have self-identified as non-citizens. That list would then be compared to the registered voter rolls and the non-citizen names would be purged.[26]

Gruters filed Senate Bill 216, which would require Florida cities and counties to alert customers to sewage spills within 24 hours of a sewage spill, and levies fines on those municipalities dependent on the size of the spill. The proposed fine is $1 for every gallon of sewage that is spilled, paid to the state. Or the municipality may spend $2 per gallon of sewage spilled to fix the problems leading to the spill and improve utility infrastructure.[27]

He has co-sponsored the Florida Competitive Workforce Act to update the 1992 Florida Civil Rights Act to include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. [28] In 2019, after being elected chair of the Republican Party of Florida, he introduced the Florida Inclusive Workforce Act to ban discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace. [29] The bill was quickly endorsed by SAVE (a leading Florida LGBT group) and Rand Hoch (President of the Palm Beach Human Rights Council). [30]

Gruters is also proposing legislation that would ban smoking at public beaches statewide. Violators would be fined up to $25 or given up to 10 hours of public service.[31]

Personal life[edit]

Joe Gruters is a fourth generation Sarasotan. His great grandfather William Hobson moved the family to Sarasota in 1922 to serve as the chief tent maker for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Gruters graduated from Cardinal Mooney High School in 1996 and is a graduate of both the Florida State University (undergraduate degree) and the University of South Florida (Masters in Business Administration, MBA). He is a licensed Certified Public Accountant[32].

Gruters lives in Sarasota County, is married to Sydney Gruters and they have three children.[33]

Gruters is a licensed Certified Public Accountant by training and is a principle in Paoli & Gruters Certified Public Accountants, which has offices in Venice and Sarasota, Florida. [34] Previously, Gruters was the Chairman of the Sarasota County Planning Commission, on the Board of Directors for the Florida Sports Foundation and on the Executive Board as Treasurer for the Sarasota Humane Society.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Joe Gruters elected Florida GOP chair". Sarasota Herald.
  2. ^ "Joe Gruters Overwhelmingly Elected RPOF Chairman". Sunshine State News | Florida Political News. Jan 12, 2019.
  3. ^ Anderson, Zac. "Joe Gruters stepping down as Sarasota GOP chair after 10 years". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 2019-01-24.
  4. ^ admin. "Joe Gruters - Paoli & Gruters Certified Public Accountants". Paoli & Gruters CPA. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  5. ^ Anderson, Zac. "Joe Gruters elected Florida GOP chair". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 2019-01-24.
  6. ^ Zac; erson; Herald-Tribune. "Gruters hitches his wagon to Trump | December 26, 2015 | Zac Anderson | HT Politics". politics.heraldtribune.com. Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  7. ^ "Florida Election Results 2016". The New York Times. 2017-08-01. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  8. ^ Anderson, Zac. "Joe Gruters elected Florida GOP chair". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 2019-01-24.
  9. ^ "Donald Trump's Florida Man". Archived from the original on |archive-url= requires |archive-date= (help).
  10. ^ "Trump's man in Florida a believer from start of long-shot bid". Tampa Bay Times. 2016-11-02. Retrieved 2019-01-24.
  11. ^ "Trump's man in Florida a believer from start of long-shot bid". Tampa Bay Times. 2016-11-02. Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  12. ^ a b c "One of Trump's closest allies in Florida takes control of the state Republican party". miamiherald. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  13. ^ Anderson, Zac. "Sanctuary city bill clears big threshold with Florida Senate approval". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 2019-05-14.
  14. ^ "Florida Chamber is Proud to Endorse Joe Gruters – Florida Chamber of Commerce". www.flchamber.com. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  15. ^ Ogles, Jacob. "Joe Gruters files water quality bills ahead of session". Retrieved 2019-01-23.
  16. ^ By. "Two days after deadly synagogue shooting, Florida Senate passes anti-Semitism bill". miamiherald. Retrieved 2019-05-14.
  17. ^ By. "Two days after deadly synagogue shooting, Florida Senate passes anti-Semitism bill". miamiherald. Retrieved 2019-05-14.
  18. ^ Anderson, Zac. "Sanctuary city bill clears big threshold with Florida Senate approval". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 2019-05-14.
  19. ^ Anderson, Zac. "Sanctuary city bill clears big threshold with Florida Senate approval". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 2019-05-14.
  20. ^ "Wednesday's letters: 'Sanctuary cities,' Big Pharma, more". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 2019-05-14.
  21. ^ Anderson, Zac. "Sanctuary city ban passes Florida Legislature, heads to governor for approval". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 2019-05-14.
  22. ^ Powers, Scott. "Push for underground power lines passes". Retrieved 2019-05-14.
  23. ^ "Senate Bill 558 (2019) - The Florida Senate". www.flsenate.gov. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  24. ^ "Fact Sheet: Science of Fetal Pain | Charlotte Lozier Institute". Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  25. ^ Anderson, Zac. "Sarasota state Sen. Joe Gruters files 20-week abortion ban". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  26. ^ Anderson, Zac. "Bill would revive Florida's controversial efforts to identify noncitizen voters". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  27. ^ Anderson, Zac. "Sewage spills would lead to big fines under Sarasota lawmaker's bill". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  28. ^ https://www.flcompetes.org/18-republicans-and-counting-support-the-florida-competitive-workforce-act/
  29. ^ Ogles, Jacob. "Joe Gruters bill focuses on ending workforce discrimination against LGBTQ employees". Florida Politics. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
  30. ^ http://www.save.lgbt/workplace
  31. ^ Anderson, Zac. "Sen. Joe Gruters files bill to ban smoking on Florida beaches". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  32. ^ admin. "Joe Gruters - Paoli & Gruters Certified Public Accountants". Paoli & Gruters CPA. Retrieved 2019-06-14.
  33. ^ "Joe Gruters announces bid for state senate | Sarasota". Your Observer. 2018-03-08. Retrieved 2019-02-02.
  34. ^ admin. "Paoli & Gruters CPA's: Sarasota Certified Public Accountant, Bookkeeper..." Paoli & Gruters CPA. Retrieved 2019-01-23.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Blaise Ingoglia
Chair of the Florida Republican Party
2019–present
Incumbent