Volume 8 | March 7, 2023
Florida State House District 4
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District News
Intrepid Spirit Center

On Wednesday, I had the privilege of speaking to military service members, doctors, and staff at the Intrepid Spirit Center on Eglin Air Force Base for Brain Injury Awareness Month. The Intrepid Spirit Center (ISC) provides care to active-duty personnel and veterans with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).

It was humbling to hear the stories of the 7th Special Forces Group members who have served, and continue to serve our country, dealing with their invisible wounds every day. The impact that the ISC has had on their lives, and countless others, is not something that can be fully explained. The work that is done day in and day out by the doctors and staff at ISC is truly groundbreaking and saves lives, relationships, careers, and more.

We toured the facility after the presentation to see firsthand some of the technology at their disposal. Eglin's Intrepid Spirit Center is a premier facility for this cutting-edge work right in our backyard. I only wish we had this kind of technology when I was at Walter Reed!

I would especially like to thank Dr. Aldana and Dr. Piazza for the invitation and CSM Benjamin Grzeszak, CSM Afshin Aryana, and SGM Robert Listau for speaking about their experiences at the ISC and how it has impacted them.
Dr. Ben Carson Talk
Dr. Ben Carson paid a visit to Niceville this past month as part of Northwest Florida State College's President Speaker Series. Caroline and I were elated to spend a little time with Dr. Carson before his speech.

Dr. Carson about his vision for America moving forward and what we can do to influence and inspire it. He shared about his humble upbringing in a single-parent home, living in public housing, and how his voracious reading as a child was spurred by his mother, who was unable to read. He also described his choice to attend Yale instead of Harvard was due to a game show he once watched where Harvard students lost to Yale students, and he didn't want to go to school with a bunch of dummies. (Tongue-in-cheek, of course.)

As you well know, Dr. Carson went on to become a world-renowned neurosurgeon who performed the first surgery to separate conjoined twins in 1987. He later served as the 17th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and ran for President of the United States in 2016.
Reverend Thigpen Retirement
After 42 years of service, Reverend Scottie Thigpen has decided to step away from the Senior Pastor role at Beulah First Baptist Church in Fort Walton Beach. Reverend Thigpen has been a fixture in the Fort Walton Beach community for almost 50 years and a friend of mine for many years. Giving the occasion at Beulah First Baptist was an honor and a privilege.

Reverend Thigpen's time as Senior Pastor has seen tremendous growth in the Church and it's outreach efforts. First Beulah provides scholarships for graduating high school students and maintains an education assistance program for adults. This is in addition to the Church's after-school and graduation readiness programs. Under Reverend Thigpen's leadership, the McGriff Community Development and Services Corporation, a 501c3, was established. The Corporation has several land holdings and provides a number of affordable housing options for residents in the area.

Reverend Thigpen served as the Chaplain for the Fort Walton Beach Police Department. His work also extends overseas, where as Chair of the National Baptist Convention's Foreign Mission Board, they helped start a church in Ghana. He has been married to his wife, Delores, for 50 years and has two sons and four grandchildren. I want to thank Reverend Thigpen for his years of service to our community and for his years of friendship.
Legislative Update
Representative Maney's Sponsored Bills
  • HB 71 (Violent Offenses Committed Against Criminal Defense Attorneys) - HB 71 made it through both the Criminal Justice Subcommittee and the Justice Appropriations Subcommittee favorably. It's third and final committee stop is the Judiciary Committee.
  • HB 73 (Termination of Agreements by a Servicemember) - HB 73 passed favorably through the Local Administration, Federal Affairs, & Special Districts Subcommittee. It's third and final committee hearing will also be the Judiciary Committee.
  • HB 201 (Criminal Defendants Adjudicated Incompetent to Proceed), HB 635 (Dental Services for Veterans), and HB 1085 (Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles) have yet to be heard in committee yet.
  • You can read more about the bills HERE.
Other Bills on the move:

  • HB 543 (Concealed Carry of Weapons and Firearms Without a License) - HB 543 has generated interest recently due to it's subject matter. Click the picture for a full screen look at the explainer sheet.
  • HB 1 (School Choice) - HB 1 has generated similar interest but for different reasons. See the explainer sheets below for an in-depth look at the legislation.
Looking Forward
  • Legislative Session begins today
  • Will run for approximately two months (60 days)
  • Our district office will remain open and ready to assist
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"Thank you for allowing me to represent you. It is truly an honor to serve you and the State of Florida." - Representative Patt Maney