I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Senator Bill Nelson Coming to Town Again.....AKA Let the RESTORE Act Victory Dance Begin

In April, Senator Bill Nelson came to PSC to address a group of local leaders and elected officials.  It was billed as a question and answer session with the Senator.

I showed up and the small conference room held roughly three dozen citizens.  Right away, the forum turned into a one-way lobbying session for the passage of the RESTORE act--and the demonization of those Republicans in the House of Representatives and Senate that were opposed.

After a lengthy dissertation from the Senator about how good RESTORE would be, his handlers opened up the floor for questions.  The Senator took a total of five (5) questions and then his staff called the meeting.

Several participants seemed peeved about not getting an opportunity to ask questions of the Senator.  My sense was it (the meeting) was just an effort to lobby for the act and get some good press during this campaign year.  Nothing wrong with this, but I wanted a better answer to my question about the dangerous level of student loan defaults in our country--and what I got was a weak, canned response that was so generic and bland it could have been labeled "Great Value" like a Wal-Mart house product.

He is the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee's sub-committee on fiscal responsibility---and he couldn't answer this one question of significance and great importance?

On Monday,  I've been invited to attend another "meet and greet" with Senator Nelson at the same bat-time, same bat-channel (PSC President's conference center, 8:00-9:00AM). But I'm on the fence about going this time--I don't necessarily want to sit around for another campaign commercial in real-time and listen to the Senator gloat and pound his chest about RESTORE.  Who knows, he might even do a quick bow celebrating  the Supreme Court's ruling on the Affordable Care Act-which Nelson strongly supported. (Uh, he probably won't mention the healthcare law, as I'm sure his focus panels have told him it is not popular around the panhandle, and he already has a luke-warm yet effective response crafted and honed to regurgitate when asked about the health care law---I'll paraphrase it here:  "There are problems with the law, but the system is broken and something had to be done so I supported the Affordable Care Act"...It will be some form of that type of answer to any questions about healthcare, you heard it here first!.

I want the ability to ask questions if I go to this meeting; not just  to sit there listening to sea stories about RESTORE act passing and how great Healthcare Reform will be....  Okay, it passed, good job, now how about getting a budget passed in the Senate this year?  How about passing a Balanced Budget Act?  How about tackling entitlement reform? How about fixing the broken tax code?  How about fixing Medicare and Social Security so the funding can be solvent?  How about addressing the dismal job gains of the last three months?  How about articulating a plan to tackle the runaway spending and massive $16Trillion Federal Debt? How about solving illegal immigration and violence at the border?  How about weighing in on Eric Holder and Fast and Furious?  How about answering a question of substance with a reasoned, intelligent response instead of a canned, distilled, and homogenized campaign talking point?

If I do go to this dog and pony show, and that's a big IF because I have an important standing meeting on Mondays at 9:00 at NAS Pensacola, I once again will not fall in line and limit my questions to the RESTORE act.  If I go, I'm not going to throw a softball as most others in the room will be doing.  IF I go, my point blank question to the Senator will be this:

"How come the Senate and the House cannot get a budget passed for three years running, and putting aside partisan politics, can you, as an important committee chairman, commit to the voters this year that you will work to get this done?"

He is the Senate Finance Committee's fiscal responsibility sub-committee chairman--can he answer this  one question without simply pointing fingers and/or equivocating?

They probably won't let me in the room this time.

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