The Florida Police Benevolent Association has added its endorsement to other first-responder groups backing state Sen. Darren Soto in his Democratic run in Orlando-based Congressional District 9.

The PBA declared Soto a proponent in the Florida Legislature of police and firefighters, in particular noting his legislative efforts to close loopholes that had denied full benefits to the families of some fallen responders.

“Senator Soto has been a proponent of ours in the Florida Legislature,” said “Darren helped us pass a bill for families of fallen law enforcement officers that would give their families ongoing survivor benefits through the State’s pension plan,” Paul Smalley, President of the Central Florida PBA, stated in a news release issued Thursday by Soto’s campaign.

“Our first responders and public safety officials go to work willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to provide a safe place for us to work and live,” said Senator Darren Soto. “It’s just common sense that we should make a promise to them to protect their families if they unfortunately lose their lives while protecting us.”

Soto is running against Susannah Randolph, Valleri Crabtree and Dr. Dena Minning in the August 30 Democratic primary. They seek to run to replace U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Orlando, who is running for the U.S. Senate instead of for re-election.

In 2010, Soto passed the John J. Curry Act, which provided death benefits to eight families of fallen firefighters who had been killed in training. Although the bill received 68 cosponsors, it was not moving through the process and time was running out. In the final hour of the 2010 legislative session, Soto was able to work with law enforcement to amend their bill and pass the John J. Curry Act.

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at

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