Greetings constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans. It is time for another weekly update. We have completed our first month and it seems that so much has transpired.
In the past few weeks, many of you have been calling our offices and sending in notes of support encouraging me to run for President in 2012. Thank you so much for your kind words of support! The calls and letters are humbling and truly honorable, still I must stay focused on the prevalent issues facing our Republic. We shall earnestly begin our quest for Congressional reelection within the next 60 days. My objective is simple; become a consummate American statesman and political leader. I will do that by among other things developing a thorough competence of the procedures to be an effective member of Congress.
Now onto our update. This was a momentous past week for not just me, but for my wife, Angela. On Monday evening we had the distinct pleasure of attending the President’s reception for the new members of the 112th Congress. I had not been in the White House since I taking a tour as a child. To walk those halls and see the history of those who have occupied that residence was truly awe inspiring.
What I loved the most was seeing the young Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps officers who were our hosts. When you see them in their best dress uniforms, standing proud, and distinguished, it reminds you of what makes America great… the men and women willing to don the uniform of service to their country.
The following day was the State of the Union address, my first live and in person. Angela was sitting there in the gallery and just knowing she was sharing the experience made it unforgettable. However, what tainted the evening was that due to the petulant antics of the Democrats’ “date night,” America did not see a Republican majority in the House chamber. It was a clever tactic, one which resulted in many GOP House members not being able to find a seat on their traditional side…me included.
Funny, when the Democrats were in the majority they never suggested the bipartisan pairing.
The address itself was interesting. We witnessed a President attempting to exist in two worlds. First, the world of reality. This world was a result of the mid-term election defeat. There were times when President Obama sounded just as conservative as Representative West. However, there is still the world of appeasing and placating a liberal base. In the end, the State of the Union address evidenced a confused President who was doing his best to make the American people believe he now believes in American exceptionalism and strength, while offering no solutions, just more empty rhetoric.
Oh, and did you all recognize that there is a new expression for government spending? It’s called “investment.”
Legislatively, this week proved to be beneficial. We successfully voted to reduce FY 2011 spending to 2008 levels. That vote was bipartisan as 17 democrats voted for the reduced levels. The President’s proposal to freeze spending at current levels is not a viable solution. We also passed a bill, part of YouCut, to terminate taxpayer funding of presidential election campaigns and grants for national party elections, saving $617M over ten years.
The following are the pieces of legislation which I co-sponsored:
– H Con Res supporting a Memorial to Jewish Chaplains at Arlington Cemetery (Sponsored by Rep Weiner, D-NY)
– HR 186 Military Retired Pay and Veterans Disability Compensation Act (Sponsored by Rep Wilson, R-SC, this was preclude Veterans from having to sacrifice retirement compensation because of Veterans disability compensation)
– HR 372 Cuba Oil drilling Block (Sponsored by Rep Buchanan, D-FL, this will block Cuba from conducting deepwater oil drilling within 50 miles of the Florida coast)
– HR ___ Broadcaster Freedom Act (Sponsored by Rep Pence, R-Ind, this is to preclude institution of the Fairness Doctrine)
– HR 389 End the Stimulus Advertisement Act (Sponsored by Rep Schock, R-Illinois, this will end the taxpayer funding of the stimulus projects signs which result in over $1M in savings)
– HR 121 Congressional Budget Accountability Act (Sponsored by Rep Gingrey, R-Ga, this bill promotes Members of Congress to save funds from their MRA and restore back to the US Treasury for debt payment)
This week we had our first hearing before the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) which entailed the Department of Secretary Defense testifying on the DoD proposed budget cuts, along with the Vice Chiefs from the Armed Services. My inquiry to the Dep SecDef was the rationale and criteria used to offer personnel reductions to the Army and Marine Corps.
We gutted our forces post the collapse of the Soviet Union for no very apparent reason other than to make the military a bill payer for domestic programs. I shall not allow us to make that same mistake.
We also had our organizing meeting for the Small Business Committee where we approved our rules and oversight plan. My subcommittee assignments are: investigations, oversight, and regulation and contracting and workforce.
Wednesday evening, at the request of former Speaker Newt Gingrich’s American Solutions organization, we held our first conference call with National conservative grassroots organizations, TEA Party and 9-12 groups. It was a great opportunity to share some insights and hear from these great Americans. We shall continue to do this monthly.
After the call, shortly before 9 p.m., I had the pleasure of taking the METRO to my batcave in the midst of the snowstorm. I was reminded of what it feels like to have your toes numb from a wet cold…doggone sucks!
Thursday, I traveled back to South Florida and of course we had a two hour plus delay and three gate changes at Reagan National Airport. We finally departed and faced a 50 mph headwind. I was seated between two ladies ( no first class for this ole soldier) who watched me review my notes for our first town hall meeting. Of course, they both finally made an inquiry, making the flawed assumption that I was a Democrat. Yep, the fun and games soon began. It ended up being a great practice session for the town hall meeting.
The best part of our discussion was their recalcitrance to admit that three years of $1.42T, $1.29T, and $1.48T of deficits has nothing to do with President Obama’s economic policy. However, the $1.85T of deficit, over an 8 year period of the Bush Administration was all due to Bush’s failures.
As a married man, I wish I could find out where President Obama purchased his “get out of jail free” card. I could use that handy piece of paper!
Our first town hall meeting went very well, attended by close to 500 people and covered by local media. As promised we shall conduct monthly town halls in both counties of District 22 to ensure we are responsive to our constituency. The focus this month is on our economic situation.
Speaking of our economic situation, Friday morning I attended the Florida Atlantic University 20th Annual Business Leader of the Year breakfast. Chairman/CEO of AutoNation, Mike Jackson, was the recipient of the honor and I am proud to know him as a constituent, supporter, and most of all an advisor. Sitting there at that breakfast in the presence of Mr Jackson and other distinguished South Florida business leaders, H Wayne Huizenga Sr, Mike Maroone, and Keith Koenig, I realized that these men are my ‘Field Generals’ in this economic war in which we must be victorious.
It is only through our setting the conditions for private sector growth and investment….not public sector……that we shall create job opportunities and long term sustainable economic growth for America.
Saturday morning, it was up early at 5 am for Angela and I to participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure run in West Palm Beach. We met with Ambassador Nancy Brinker, the visionary leader and founder of the cause, after the death of her sister Susan, launched this monumental effort to seek out a cure for breast cancer.
I did the men’s competitive 5K race, finishing in 23:40 and realizing that I am close to 50 years of age…..too old to be chasing these skinny little 20 and 30 somethings.
After the race was honored to give an address at Pastor Tom Mullin’s Christ Fellowship Church 10th Anniversary Men’s breakfast. I spoke on the theme of “Stand”, which I borrowed from my own Pastor Scott Eynon of Community Christian….don’t tell him please, he will charge me a fee. The treat at the breakfast was to hear the Men’s fellowship acapella group, incredibly inspiring.
Sunday morning, my ride buddy, CPT Bobby Allen, Palm Beach Sheriff”s Office SWAT leader, and I, did the 97 mile 1st Annual Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers Motorcycle Ride. We started in Royal Palm Beach, rode to Pahokee, rested at Lake Okeechobee marina, then returned and ended at Delray Beach. It was a blast to do this ride for a tremendous volunteer organization with over 200 of my brother and sister riders.
As I close this report, I just want to offer my thoughts on a very serious issue, the riots in Egypt. I was asked to appear on the Huckabee Show with the Governor to discuss this topic. There is a very disturbing parallel which we must not disregard;
History does indeed have a funny way of repeating itself to those who fail to learn its lessons. We can ill afford to allow the “father of the modern radical islamist movement”, Muslim brotherhood, to fill the void in another chaotic political/social environment in the Middle East.
This has occurred, as noted above, in Iran, Somalia, and Afghanistan where the Taliban assumed power after years of civil war. The Clinton administration sought to recognize and appease the Taliban only to have them provide sanctuary to Al Qaeda. We have witnessed Hamas and Hezbollah make themselves into political organizations and wield powerful influences upon regional security situations.
What is occurring in Egypt, Yemen, and Jordan is not like what occurred in Tunisia, what must recognize that reality and think about the long term ramifications of a growing radical Islamist movement.
In closing, I must ask the question, am I the only one asking why did President Obama not support the protesters in Iran….but has lent his voice in support of the protesters in Egypt?
The results of this protest, if it ends as I believe, and historic trends indicate, are eternally damning for our greatest ally in the Middle East, Israel.
Steadfast and Loyal,