Adam Putnam Weighs In On Gun Control, Education Reform In Tampa Campaign Stop
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam made his pitch for governor before a group of civic leaders in Tampa Friday morning.
Putnam laid out his vision for education reform before taking questions from the audience at Cafe Con Tampa. He called for increased funding for technical colleges and vocational training in Florida's middle and high schools.
"I think that all of our students ought to know what all of their options are," he said. "We aren't telling our kids that welders at the Port [Tampa Bay] are making six figures."
Putnam said his education plan would require an investment, but refused to commit to higher spending levels when asked by an audience member.
Putnam, who has previously called himself a "proud NRA sellout," fielded tough questions about his stance on gun control. He told the audience at Cafe Con Tampa that he did not support local control over gun laws and would focus state money on mental health programs.
"I think it's important you have consistency, so that you don't have an otherwise law-abiding person who moves through multiple jurisdictions with multiple definitions of what illegal possession of a firearm is," Putnam said.
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman announced this week that he is considering joining a lawsuit of Florida cities hoping to regain the power to regulate guns.
The most recent polls show Putnam is neck-and-neck with U.S. Representative Ron DeSantis in the Republican gubernatorial primary. House Speaker Richard Corcoran of Land O'Lakes is also widely expected to enter the race.
Putnam said Friday that he believes he has a campaign message that will connect with Republican primary voters as well as Democrats in more urban areas such as Tampa.
"Everyone in Florida shares the same vision," he said. "They want to have better economic opportunities for their kids, they want jobs and a diverse economy."