Uber is hitting Senate President Andy Gardiner and Mears Transportation in their home turf Wednesday with a mailer accusing him of thwarting ride-sharing legislation in order to help old friends and patrons at the tax company.

The mailer, called “Connect The Dots,” is being sent to homes in Gardiner’s home district in Orlando. It follows a TV spot Uber launched earlier this week in Orlando and Tallahassee.

Both ads make the same case, that Gardiner has a cozy relationship with owners of Orlando-based Mears Transportation and is following its demand that Uber be stopped.

The mailer shows Gardiner and Mears President Paul Mears III in friendly poses, calling them “lifelong friends.” It lifts a quote from the Orlando Sentinel from Paul Mears Jr. calling Uber “an existential threat to the legacy taxi industry, and from the Miami Herald, noting that Mears Transportation has donated more than $150,000 to Gardiner and the Republican Party of Florida.

Then it notes that Gardiner won’t let the Senate vote on a ride-sharing enabling bill.

It ends with, “It’s easy to connect the dots. Don’t let the Taxi industry put the brakes on Uber. Call Senator Andy Gardiner today.

Uber is unhappy with Senate President Andy Gardiner, who they say has failed to bring up to a vote in the Senate a companion bill to a bill, passed overwhelmingly in the House, that was sponsored by Fort Walton Republican Matt Gaetz.

Gardiner responds that there isn’t a companion bill in the Senate, because the bill sponsored by Altamonte Springs Republican Dave Simmons does not address the issue of preemption. That provision would require that local government could not regulate companies like Uber and Lyft.

Mears Transportation controls most of the tax industry in Orlando, as well as much of the contract and charter bus service.

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 Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused.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 scott@floridapolitics.com.

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