It’s my 50th Birthday today! I am incredibly honored to be a Congressman of the United States! And honored to keep you updated:
Greetings constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans and welcome to another weekly update from your friendly neighborhood Representative.
I first want to take a moment to recognize the 100th birthday of President Ronald Reagan. President Reagan represented the epitome of an American leader; strength, vision, commitment, courage, and character. I take comfort in knowing that in troubling times, America always finds a way to produce the consummate leader. Such was Ronald Reagan. Yes, he did have his issues like Iran-Contra and amnesty, but he never wavered from his belief in American exceptionalism.
On another note, I want to offer a simple message to those who support radical Islamists and liberal progressives. No amount of personal attacks will result in my reticence in speaking the principled truth. Having the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) place me on its 2012 target list and already beginning attack ads just strengthens and steels my resolve.
To those accusing me of not being “politically correct,” here is one simple challenge: meet me on the stage for an intellectual debate. I gave my oath and commitment to be a Guardian of this Constitutional Republic
Now, let’s talk about our first “constituent work week” and hats off to our District staff for what was a very busy week.
Monday began with meetings with local business leader Andy Cagnetta and his Transworld Broker firm. We discussed the present economic issues and how I could better serve my constituents in relation to the financial sector. Afterwards, I headed over to chat with a dear friend, Mayor Minnet, of the charming City of Lauderdale by the Sea. Be on the lookout for “Snorkeling with the Congressman” sometime in April as we will do a beach snorkel event from the beaches of the city out to their pristine first reef.
Later in the day, I had the pleasure of attending the US Holocaust Memorial Museum luncheon to assist in raising funds and awareness of this dark and tragic event in our world’s history. I know we would all agree that such a horrific event must not occur again. I just want to tell them and everyone else that as long as I am in a position of leadership in America, Israel’s safety, security, and future shall be protected!
Monday evening, we had our second town hall meeting in Boynton Beach at St Mark’s Catholic School. Hat tip to Principal Joe Finley. It was a standing room only packed house and my thanks to all of you who came out. As stated, I will always tell the constituents, and all Americans, the truth. There are those Members of Congress who seek to tell the people the “politically expedient” lie to guarantee their reelection. If I cannot look at myself in the mirror at days’ end, being reelected means nothing to me. The PowerPoint slides we presented at our town halls are located on our Congressional website, www.west.house.gov. Feel free to check them out and share. They point out clearly that, fiscally, we are in a very serious situation.
Tuesday, we had a great day visiting North Palm Beach County local businesses. We started with the American Warrior Networks in Palm Beach Gardens. They supply support to our military installations for internet services. We then headed over to the Palm Beach Gardens City Hall and met with Mayor David Levy, Chief of Fire, and Chief of Police to tour their Emergency Operations Center. It’s truly a showpiece with little to no cost to taxpayers. Members of the PBG PD were there, motorcycle unit and SWAT as well, and they set me up by having a display of their weapons, to include non-lethal systems. I was challenged to fire one of the systems at a target….still got it, bull’s-eye!
I had lunch with the Chamber of the Palm Beaches Trustees and it was good to share some thoughts and hear their concerns. We then headed over to the Patten Company in Lake Worth where the US Military is supplied with rubber life rafts. This is a third generation family owned business that has been hit REALLY hard by the economic downturn, but surviving. They have some great ideas and look to them to branch off into a beach rescue idea which I shared.
We wrapped up Tuesday evening with the opening of our West Palm Beach congressional office located on South Dixie Hwy. The staff of Steve Martino, Kathy May, and John Mac are there to serve all of you. We had a really nice crowd and thanks to the local City and County elected officials who came by.
Wednesday, was a Broward County kind of day as we spent a few hours at the Broward Government Center to discuss shoreline protection (beach re-nourishment) and small business economic development. We also had a chance to meet with Mayor C K “Mac” McElyea of the City of Dania Beach.
We continued to speak to the broader South Florida population by doing a one hour segment on the Joyce Kaufman radio show, in studio. Joyce was instrumental in my becoming a US Congressman and she will certainly hold me accountable. My promise to Joyce is that every week, Wednesday preferably, we shall do a segment on her show.
The day ended with our opening the Ft. Lauderdale Congressional office, just north of the Cypress Creek/Andrews Ave intersection, first floor of the Giant Bank building. The staff there: Kate Wesner, Kelly McVey, and Marc Katz, along with our interns wait to serve you.
Thursday, we started off with meeting Davie Mayor, Judy Paul, an honorary member of the Wings of Gold motorcycle club…and yes, she is a Democrat. We pledged our support to the Town of Davie and look for me at the big Rodeo event….yes, I have cowboy boots.
From there we were off to the Ft. Lauderdale airport where we met with Director Kent George and his staff. The airport brings in over $2.5B in revenues to our area and I fully support the second runway expansion plan. The best part of that visit was to take part in a firefighter aircraft emergency drill training evolution as I rode in the largest fire truck east of the Mississippi river.
We did a visit and interview with Ed Pozzouli, President of the Tripp Scott Law Firm in Ft Lauderdale. They will be posting the 5-7 minute interview on current economic and national security issues to their website.
The day ended with a fantastic joint town hall meeting with State Senator Ellyn Bogdanoff at the Galt Ocean Mile community center. Of course, there were those with signs accusing me of wanting to see an environmental disaster to our beaches because I do support oil and natural gas exploration. Energy independence means our “full spectrum” development of energy resources in America. How much longer shall we go on sending our taxpayer dollars to those who seek our destruction? Gasoline prices are slowly creeping towards $4 and as I stated to one individual, the price of doing nothing is reprehensible and unacceptable. I have co-sponsored legislation to prevent Cuba from drilling within 50 miles of our coast. If this is to be done, and done safely, it can only be done by the U.S.
Friday, we were back in Palm Beach, on the island, and addressing the Palm Beach Business Group breakfast. I am deeply appreciative to Mayor Coniglio and Council President Rosow for attending. We continue to articulate the message of the ideological divide which we confront in America. The preeminent question is, “Can America go forward to survive as a bureaucratic nanny-state or shall we resurrect our private sector and true investment, innovation, and ingenuity”?
We visited the Agilis Group, a leader in turbine engine diagnostic testing technology, located right here in Palm Beach Gardens. With Pratt Whitney, Florida Turbine Technology, and the Agilis Group, I believe that we can launch a visionary objective to make South Florida the leader in turbine engine technology for America….this is now my quest.
I had the distinct honor of being the opening speaker at the Council for National Policy conference held at the Ritz-Carlton in Manalapan. The attendees read like a Who’s Who in the conservative movement. The topic was “The Challenge of Governing in Dividing—is it A Divided?—Government.” Actually we are seeing more of an ideological divide in America, definitely in Washington DC. This speech will serve to prepare me for the opening morning address I shall make at CPAC in Washington DC this Thursday.
Friday ended was The West family dinner night out at Sweet Tomatoes, where I ran into many supporters and my Pastor, Scott Eynon. We then headed over to Cardinal Gibbons High School to watch Aubrey’s Archbishop McCarthy girls’ basketball team in the district semi-finals. They defeated Pines Charter.
One of the great things about being here this week was the ability to get my running schedule back on track. It is certainly a whole lot nicer to wake up at 0515 to run and not freeze. So I was able to do my normal Saturday morning 10 mile run with my Friends in Training (FIT) crew along Ft. Lauderdale beach. After the run, I had an opportunity to share with my running buddies the week’s activities and get their “ribbing” about the media appearances….everyone has a joke.
Saturday was a significant emotional event for the West Family, an event when a father realizes that his daughter is finally all grown up. We purchased Aubrey her first car. She is driving a nice 2007 Scion. I think of back on 9 April 1993 at Reynolds Army Hospital, Ft Riley when tiny little 5lbs 4oz Aubrey Elizabeth West was born….and now she has her own car. Now that was a proud moment for Dad.
I got credit for a “date night” not like that gimmick in DC, but Angela and I attended the Ft. Lauderdale Council of the Navy League annual gala. Those fellas in the Sea Services sure do have nice fancy dress uniforms, and Angela was quick to remind me. Hats off to Rudy Oetting, his wonderful wife, and the local Sea Cadets who just remind you of what makes America great. It is imperative that we recognize that command of the sea lanes of commerce are so vital to our economic and national security and strength. Yes, even an ole Army doggie realizes how important our Maritime services are and the role they play…..still mad at them for beating Army in football however.
So it was a very eventful first constituent work week and beneficial. As I sit here after enjoying a great sermon at Church I consider all that we accomplished in this week. We have a phenomenal staff assembled between here in South Florida and in DC.
In closing, the events in Egypt and all across the Middle East are a grave concern for America and our greatest ally, Israel. “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”…..It was 1979 when this played out in Iran and I was a senior in high school. And here we are with a parallel situation in Egypt as my oldest daughter is a high school senior. One of the greatest of American traditions is that the current generations always seek to improve the quality of life for subsequent generations. I will not leave less economically or a worsening global security situation for Aubrey or Austen. Will you do the same for your children and grandchildren?
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Steadfast and Loyal,