Having grown weary of the never ending attacks and accusations that I am but a ‘tool’ of Rep. Sandy Adams’ campaign each time I focus on Rep. John Mica, I will share my thoughts on the matter.
The one issue that his hired ‘attack dogs’ and other misguided supporters continually fall back on is that the Adams campaign advertises on my web site. That is true and the financial dealings are public record.
In the time that I’ve been running the ad, I have posted 12 articles focusing on John Mica’s actions and record (Adam’s opponent in the August primary). IF I were being paid to go at Mica, which I am not, that’s the best money Sandy Adams ever spent and on this fact alone, which again is not true, you should want her representing you in DC!
To put this in perspective, overall, I have posted 33 articles critiquing Mica, with the first being posted on Jan. 14, 2011, and there have been countless other mentions in other posts.
So why do I focus on John Mica with such enthusiasm? I could go on and on trying to explain why, however, everything I would like to say is captured in two articles I posted almost 1 1/2 years ago.
In reading the two articles below, and please pay attention to the date of each, one must look past the issues being discussed to truly capture the meaning and spirit of what is being said. Those who choose to disregard this message will simply say that was his staffer speaking, not him, or purposely get lost in the rhetoric of the issues.
This loyal staffer has been with John Mica for almost 20 years now and I submit that he not only represents his boss, but ‘channels‘ him when he speaks. I’ve also had the occasion to meet with Mica several times since this early encounter, and I have seen nothing to indicate otherwise.
Ultimately, I am a tea party activist, not a journalist – witnessing the actions and decisions of many in the movement, I am beginning to feel like a tea party of one, but that’s a different topic for a different day – and when you get down to it, it’s all about the spending!
As noted below, when John Mica first took office in January ’93, our national debt stood at $4.4 Trillion, today it stands at $15.8 Trillion. For reasons documented below, you are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem.
As for me, I have already determined where Rep. Mica falls in that equation.
*I penned the letter below on behalf of tea party leaders throughout the state, of which, 33 signed onto it in a show of support…
By Tom Tillison
March 14, 2011
The following letter was hand delivered to Rep. John Mica, Chairman of the House Transportation Committee on March 1, 2011. This took place at a meeting he requested with a Florida tea party leader who was in Washington, D.C. speaking at a House Tea Party Caucus hearing.
Mica was asked to respond to the letter…13 days later, no response has been received.
To The Honorable John Mica
Congressman, Florida D7
“If the tea party wants to oppose Mica over a single issue, then, so be it.”
Your District Rep. Dick Harkey, in uttering the above words to a leader of the tea party movement, unknowingly stumbled upon the fundamental difference between what has come to be seen as the ruling class in Washington, D.C. and we the people.
You see, Congressman Mica, from the tea party’s perspective, it has little to do with high speed rail and everything to do with the continual spending that is threatening the very stability of our great country. We can debate the practicality of ‘investing’ in high speed rail until we’re blue in the face, however, at the end of the day, that’s akin to debating whether to add another room or not while the house is on fire.
When you were first sworn in as a freshman Congressman in January ’93, our national debt stood at $4.4 Trillion, today it stands at $14.1 Trillion. In your first year in office, our national debt represented 66.1% of GDP. Today it is at 95% of GDP. The interest payments alone will soon be unmanageable.
What a shameful burden this is that we pass on to our children and grandchildren, who’ll be servicing this debt long after we have passed from this earth. When examining the motivations of the average American citizen involved in the tea party, the one consistent theme is an overriding determination not to be the first generation in American history to pass on to the next a country worse off than what we inherited.
Yet, we find ourselves on that path…and too many of our elected officials continue to perpetuate the actions that put us on this unsustainable course.
With all due respect, sir, when do things reach a crisis point in your mind? What calamities must befall us as a country and a people before our elected officials grasp the reality of the situation? Will it take the collapse of our already weakened dollar? Will it take unrest in the streets of the multiple cities and states across America that are currently on the verge of bankruptcy?
Is this to be the legacy of our generation? Your legacy as an elected official, when posterity accurately records that these things occurred on your watch? Where is the foresight, sir? The responsibility to act?
If we saw the same urgency and innovation to address the debt in this country as we now see in the effort to undermine Governor Scott’s decision to reject the federal money for high speed rail, we dare say that we would not find ourselves standing at the very precipice of disaster.
Furthermore, we find ourselves a bit dismayed at your dogged determination to continue pursuing the HSR project in complete disregard for the will of the people. It brings back unpleasant memories of the Democrat Party shoving healthcare reform down our throats. Adding to this distinction is your choice to publicly align yourself with Sen. Bill Nelson in this attempt to circumvent the Governor of Florida, a fellow Republican.
Sen. Nelson has been, from the very beginning, dismissive of the courageous actions and endearing sacrifices of the hundreds of thousands of Americans that make up the tea party movement. He is a man who arrogantly refers to himself as “the mainstream of Florida politics”, all the while, supporting the far left progressive agenda 100% of the time. We assure you, Congressman, this alliance is not the impression you want conservative voters to have in their head when they think of John Mica.
We also find ourselves puzzled at your request to meet with a leader of the tea party movement in that just two short weeks ago, one of us reached out to your office to secure just such a meeting, only to be told by Mr. Harkey that there really was no point in the two sides meeting.
One thing you can be certain of, Mr. Mica, the tea party movement in Florida is among the most active and most organized in America. There is an extensive communication network in place and a synergy that formed early on in 2009 that continues to this day. When all is said and done, sir, the American people are simple folks looking for simple solutions. We in the movement have become immune to the spit and polish of professional politicians and just look for tangible results that make a difference.
We take this opportunity to call on you to see the errors of the ways of old and to join, while there’s still time and while it matters, with brave men like Gov. Scott who are taking the bold and necessary actions to secure a better tomorrow for America.
While speaking with Mr. Harkey, he made it a point to say that if the tea party were willing to vote against you on a single issue that “we accept that”.
We the undersigned duly inform you that we will indeed vote on a single issue. That issue being a secure future for our children and grandchildren, so that when our time comes to be called Home, we can rest assured in the knowledge that they will continue to enjoy the same blessing from Providence that we have enjoyed. The blessing of living in the most free and prosperous nation in the history of all the world. Thank you.
By Tom Tillison
February 16, 2011
Republican Congressman John Mica (FL7) held a ‘meet and greet’ this past weekend in his district office in Maitland that was attended by a half dozen local tea party leaders, including myself.
Somewhat surprisingly, the event was held in the lobby of the building, which equated to a long hallway with small openings at each end. The turnout was very respectable and the hall was more or less full from one end to the other. As Congressman Mica arrived, folks were asked to stay put and told that Mica would work his way toward everyone, which he did, working the crowd much like a reception line.
The tea party was present to discuss the rail issue with Mica. To his credit, upon reaching our entourage, Mica did spend considerable time with us explaining his vision of rail. We were under the assumption that the event would be more of a traditional town hall where questions could be posed and, even though we were able to ask a few questions, it was loud and difficult to hear.
Sizing up the situation, I could see that this was not a productive environment and I proceeded to pull one of his aides aside and, identifying myself as a member of the tea party, I politely asked to have a meeting set up with the Congressman so we’d be able to discuss rail in a more appropriate environment.
I did not catch the aides name, however, she was very attentive to my comments, asking questions and taking notes as I spoke.
She then took me to the other end of the hallway and introduced me to John Booker, identified as a ‘Special Projects Coordinator’ on the business card he produced. Again, Mr. Booker was very cordial, and upon repeating my request for a meeting, he assured me that I would be contacted.
Well, John was true to his word as I was contacted today by District Representative Dick Harkey. The conversation that ensued left me dumbfounded upon it’s completion.
Having interacted with dozens of elected officials and their staff by this point, I’ve come to learn that respectful, productive dialogue is critical if you hope to have your concerns heard. Being very conscience of this, I was quick to defer at all times throughout the conversation, giving Mr. Harkey every opportunity to do the right thing.
Upon identifying himself, he inquired as to what I was hoping to achieve in having a meeting with Congressman Mica. I explained that the tea party was interested in discussing the rail issue, as a considerable gap existed between Mica’s position and the majority of those who make up the tea party movement.
In paraphrasing the conversation, Harkey seemed to be more intent on deflecting this meeting than he was on actually scheduling it. He stated several times that he did not see what there was to discuss as we were on the opposite side of the issue as Mica and “that’s not going to change”, all the while being very careful to suggest that the meeting could still take place.
Harkey said, “He’s (Mica) spent 15 years working on this, it’s moving forward and we’re just waiting on the Governor to make his decision. I’ve been with him for 18 years and I know him and he’s not going to change his mind.”
I attempted to sell him on the idea that a dialogue with the tea party could be a positive step for the Congressman, suggesting that with his knowledge and experience, perhaps he could help us better understand why rail is a good idea. His response was to refer me to a web site.
He made several comments that led me to believe Mica does have somewhat of an understanding of where folks stand on rail. He acknowledged that Sun Rail will not pay for itself and that it will require government subsidies. He also said, “we realize a lot of people don’t support rail.”
At the same time, he was quick to point out that there was a unanimous vote for commuter rail and that “if you get enough people to vote for it, you win.”
I asked him to clarify this vote and he referenced the votes by the elected officials in the four counties that Sun Rail will cover. Upon suggesting that this did not necessarily represent the will of the people, he replied that we have a “representative democracy”.
I reminded him that the Democrats had the votes to pass ObamaCare, but that did not represent the will of the people. He replied, “yes, and the Democrats were voted out”. Not sure if that was a suggestive comment on his part or not.
It would be untrue to say that Mr. Harkey was rude or condescending, however, he was very candid and matter-of-fact in his demeanor. He was quick to point out that “there’s always two sides to every issue, that’s politics”, adding that if we did not support Mica’s position on rail that we could “vote for someone else.”
He also added that if the tea party was going to vote based on a single issue, without taking into consideration Mica’s over all track record, “then so be it”.
I attempted to deflect any notion that the tea party’s goal was to oppose Mica, just to present our position on the issue, upon which Harkey replied that Mica won his last election with 70% of the vote and that “if the tea party wants to oppose Mica, OK, we accept that.”
I mentioned earlier that this conversation left me dumbfounded. I say this because I was at a loss as to how to respond constructively to an elected official who gives the impression, through his staff, that he doesn’t care if you agree with him or not, that he has the power and doesn’t think there’s much you can do it about it’.
I wanted to inquire as to how much influence the lavish amounts of money that flows into Mica’s campaign coffers has to do with the rigidness of his position, but felt it would have been a waste of time.
It’s worth mentioning that, as a member and now chair of the Transportation Committee, Mica has been a magnet over the past four years of PAC donations related to the industries the committee regulates. That includes $40,000 from BNSF Railway Company, $33,000 from Union Pacific Corporation, and $25,000 from CSX Corporation.
I’m sure upon hanging up the phone, Mr. Harkey dutifully crossed the task off his list, feeling confident in his ability to maintain a tight perimeter around his boss and protect him from awkward encounters with unseemly opposition.
I hung the phone up feeling that another small part of the Constitutional Republic our Founding Fathers bequeathed us died today…
Cross-Posted at Florida Political Press