Greetings Constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans. I humbly submit to you my weekly update. It has been another fast-paced week in Florida Congressional District 22.
This past Monday, I had the honor of returning to the hometown of my youth, Atlanta. It has been two years since I have been home. It was a very emotional experience to visit the streets that I trod as a young lad. The toughest part of the trip was to return to Kennesaw Avenue and gaze upon the home which held so many memories. The next door neighbor came out and we spoke. I told him the story of my street and about Mrs. Jackson, who was the original owner of the home.
I pointed to every house and gave a synopsis of the resident and the impact they had on my life. We visited my elementary school, High School, and stopped at my church. We went past the historic Butler Street YMCA where I perfected my basketball game… ok, it was not that perfect, but I did learn to swim there, and today I am a PADI Master SCUBA diver.
That evening I addressed the Georgia GOP at their President’s Dinner, a gathered crowd of more than 600 people at the Marriott Marquis. The theme of my speech was “Coming Home.” I used the greatest story of someone coming home, Homer’s poem, The Odyssey.
Monday evening as I sat in the room after the speech with my younger brother Arlan, niece Chiquetta, and sister Jannetta and her husband, I reflected on two things; American exceptionalism and the failed liberal social welfare policies.
My former Old Fourth Ward neighborhood as well as Auburn Avenue are former shells of themselves. What was once a thriving community of families and black businesses was littered with despair, dejection, and boarded up buildings. Sure, there are some bright signs as urban renewal attempts to make inroads, but overall I witnessed an immense regression. It reinforced my belief that the liberal progressive mantra of equal achievement and dependency is failing, especially in our inner cities. The desire to create more victims by which a new form of economic slavery is promulgated is truly anathema to the ideals which Herman and Elizabeth West promoted.
We must restore and revitalize that sense of the American dream for all, and not allow the new hateful and harmful rhetoric of class warfare to destroy our Republic.
When I sat there with my relatives gazing out upon the skyline of Atlanta, to include our old neighborhood, we all laughed about how Buck and Snooks (my mom and my dad) were smiling down. See they believed in the ideal of American exceptionalism. They believed that everyone of us could achieve whatever greatness for which we dreamed. In opposition to a concept of equal achievement, they reinforced in us a sense of equal opportunity. They had been brought up in southern Georgia in some tough times; Dad was born in 1920 and Mom in 1931.
They taught us that faith, family, education, individual responsibility, and love of Country, were the foundations to living the best possible life that America could offer.
So as I departed Atlanta Tuesday morning, I took a deep breath knowing that regardless of the despair I had seen….I knew the greatness of my Country was truly yet to be seen.
Click here: My pictures from Atlanta
Now on to another subject. If I may, I would like to ponder a few simple questions about Libya. Who are the rebels? Who are their leaders? Who is providing them their weapons, ammunition, and resource support? Who fills the void if Gaddafi departs?
My concern is that there is some entity managing the events of upheaval all across North Africa and the Middle East. I do not see any of this as coincidental but rather an orchestrated series of events. The problem, is that now for the second time, Egypt being the first; America has been co-opted and now is complicit in this grand design. When I see all these protest signs in English and individuals coming forth speaking in English before the TV cameras, I recognize the power of propaganda, and media manipulation.
We cannot “protect innocent civilians” from 30,000 feet. We tried that already in Bosnia a few years ago. I remember the “humanitarian mission” of Somalia which morphed into a combat mission under UN control and went very bad. I shall never forget the deployment of U.S. Marines into Lebanon, smack in the middle of a civil war with entities who were not wearing uniforms, and the abysmal rules of engagement which led to the deaths of 234 Marines of a Marine Expeditionary Unit from Camp Lejeune.
Major Concerns: We have no budget for Fiscal Year 2011, even though we are already almost six months into this Fiscal Year. We have a debt that is skyrocketing. We have deficits that are earth shattering. We have a border that is unsecure. We have a one year anniversary of a healthcare law that is laughable….even this week Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) asked for his State to have a waiver, adding one more to the more than 1,000. We have an education system which is crumbling before our eyes where we are producing robots and lemmings, not the next generation of critical thinkers… thank you – NEA!
And this week I had a town hall meeting in the Town of Palm Beach where an African-American fella asked me what would possess me to call myself a Republican. My answer is simple….a belief in American exceptionalism, not the abject ineptness and incompetence which defines the mantra of American liberal progressives.
Here is a summary of key events from the week:
– Sunday 20 March, A 60 mile motorcycle ride for the 4th Annual Celebration of Smiles Charity Ride 4 Kids benefitting the Chris Evert Hospital. It was a spectacular ride with over 800 men and women of the Ironhorse riding to ensure we can provide the best healthcare for our children. We did have three accidents during the ride and I pray those riders are safe. For those who criticize the individuals who ride the open road you fail to recognize the strength of heart that we all possess!
Also Sunday, I spoke at the South Florida 9-12 2nd Anniversary family picnic at John Price Park in Lake Worth. Exciting and encouraging to see there is more fire and passion for the cause than ever.
– Monday 21 March, in addition to the Georgia GOP President’s Day dinner, I also met with leadership of the Georgia Black Republican Council and Atlanta Young Republicans.
– Tuesday 22 March, conducted a visit to the Davila Kidney Dialysis treatment center in Ft. Lauderdale. I also toured the Lauderdale Marine Center (world’s largest yacht repair facility), and held a town hall meeting at Coral Springs High School- more than 300 in attendance and every local media outlet including CBS Evening National News.
– Wednesday 23 March, addressed the Pompano Beach Chamber CEO Roundtable, visited with the Mayors of the Town of South Palm Beach and Town of Palm Beach (focused on beach renourishment and conservation efforts), and held a town hall meeting in the Town of Palm Beach.
– Thursday 24 March, addressed the AP American History and American Government students at Pompano Beach High School, spoke at the Young America Foundation’s Reagan 100 luncheon in Manalapan (where Senator Joe Lieberman was checking in and we chatted), traveled to Naples, Florida and spoke to the Republican Jewish Coalition Chapter, and conducted a national conference call with ACT! for America Chapter Leaders.
– Friday 25 March, addressed the Boca Raton Chamber Trustee luncheon, visited the Florida Atlantic University Research and Development Authority Park (some great technologies are being developed and incubated at this facility), and visited a new friend, Shawn Friedkin at the Stand Among Friends Disability Center on the Florida Atlantic University campus.
– Saturday 26 March, early morning 9 mile run along Ft. Lauderdale beach, sponsored a beach cleanup on Pompano Beach- 65 volunteers helped me out, and then conducted a reef cleanup dive off Hillsboro Inlet sponsored by PADI, Force E Dive Center, and South Florida Dive Headquarters. Later that night, I attended the Nat King Cole Foundation Event- bringing awareness to the importance of music education in our schools.
– Sunday 27 March, I had the distinct honor of welcoming home Delta Co. 124th Infantry Regiment, Florida National Guard. I then attended the 100th Birthday celebration for Ft Lauderdale, 1911-2011. After living all over the world during my 22 year Army career, the West Family is most proud to call this community our home!
In closing, it is always an honor to serve you. I am back to Capitol Hill next week where I shall continue to be your “Man in the Arena.”
Steadfast and Loyal,