Meeting with Congressman Dan Webster

Congressman Dan Webster's (FL-8) local office contacted me a couple weeks ago inviting me to gather a few fellow patriots and meet with the congressman when he visits his congressional district office. First off, what an absolute joy it is having a respectable congressman. It was a sincere and determined focus of ours over the past two years to retire and replace the disgraceful Alan Grayson. On election night, we proudly hung a sign across from Grayson's Orlando office that read, "Mission Accomplished".

Congressman Webster's local office is located the City Hall building in Winter Garden, FL.  One thing we noticed right away was that he doesn't have an office, per say.  He said he doesn't like to sit behind a desk when talking with constituents and therefore designed a "living room" type of office arrangement where everyone can sit comfortably and relaxed and simply engage in a conversation without the feel of a cold corporate office.  This is certainly a concept I'll incorporate into any future offices in which I work.

Today's visit was what we intend to be the first of many.   I believe it's important to have a dialogue with your congressman, one based on respect and mutual recognition of principles.  Everyone must first accept that the only person you'll agree with 100% of the time is yourself, and until you run for office, you must understand that there will be differences in opinion.  Some may be high level differences while others may be mere nuances.  A cordial conversation and open dialogue is certainly capable of nudging your congressman in the right direction while hostile dialogue will certainly get you nowhere while ruining opportunities for future dialogue.

One thing he mentioned was how impressed he is with the freshmen class.  He said there are so many members that are simply new to politics.  He talked about one congressman from IL that has 10 children and runs a pizza shop.  He also said there's quite a few doctors that ran for congress for the first time so they could get to DC and tell everyone about what ObamaCare will do to the healthcare industry.

With that in mind, here are a few bullet points on today's discussion:

  1. He called the meeting, and I certainly appreciate that.
  2. He's not confident that High Speed Rail will move forward. He's against the government running it. He's okay with them building the infrastructure, like building a road, or building an airport, but he says the gov doesn't own the cars on the highway or the airplanes, so why would the gov want to own the trains and operate them. With that in mind, he doesn't see any private sector company or consortium entering a money losing proposition. He did speak as if the federal rail money was cash already set aside, which we didn't agree with that outlook.
  3. He's against raising the debt ceiling, which he explained is just an arbitrary number set by congress anyway, unless there's a major trade off. His preference for a trade off is full repeal of obamacare. Other's have other forms of major spending cuts, but he'll support it for a repeal of obamacare.
  4. He thinks we need to concentrate on cutting spending before talking balanced budget amendment.

We gave him a list of items that we're interested in him getting behind and seeing where he stands.  The letter is copy/pasted below. - Audit the Fed. - Cut off money for private entities (planned parenthood, NPR, etc.) - Full review of foreign aid. - Balanced Budget Amendment. - Debt ceiling. - Immigration reform. - High Speed Rail.

Bottom line:  We like the fact we have a congressman that is not Alan Grayson, that doesn't end up chasing us out when we visit, ...and one with which we can have an open dialogue. Congressman Dan Webster is a good man, and I don't think he'll get the DC bug. In fact, I think DC should get the Dan Webster bug.

MEETING MEMORANDUM

DATE: February 3, 2011

TO: The Honorable Daniel Webster House Rules Committee & Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

FROM: Members of: The Central Florida Tea Party Council & West Orlando Tea Party

SUBJECT: Partial List of Issues of Interest

Dear Representative Webster:

Thank you for your gracious invitation to meet with you today. We look forward to hearing of your work in the early days of your term and learning more about your legislative goals in the months ahead.

Sir, as we did during your candidacy, we support you now in the hard work ahead. We know that the principles and values that you bring to this office are those that are the foundation of our Movement – Protecting The Constitution, Fiscal Responsibility and a Limited Federal Government.

If we can be of any assistance to you in your work, whether using our networks to communicate your messages, or in advancing your agenda through writing, faxing or calling campaigns, please call on us – “we have your back”. If you would like us to organize a monthly or quarterly conference call with our people so that you can address them directly, we would be happy to work with you on that.

Obviously, there are dozens of issues that are important to us, all of which need to eventually be addressed by Congress. However there are a few issues that we are thinking about at this time that we would like to bring to your attention, though we realize that these issues may already be on your radar: (not in order of priority, we feel that they are all worthy)

HR 459 - “AUDIT THE FEDERAL RESERVE” – To require a full audit of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Federal Reserve banks by the Comptroller General of the United States before the end of 2012. Currently there are 55 sponsors. Have you or will you co-sponsor and support this Bill?

ENDING OR LIMITING FEDERAL FUNDING OF PRIVATE ENTITIES – There are many, but a few examples are Planned Parenthood, National Public Radio, National Endowment for the Arts, and hundreds of other entities that the Federal Government has no business subsidizing with Federal tax dollars.

A FULL REVIEW OF FOREIGN AID COMMITMENTS – It appears that China is receiving $2.5 Billion in foreign aid. Why? 73% of Americans support scaling back foreign aid (Reuters) and we are among those that feel this way.

BALANCED BUDGET AMENDMENT – We believe that this is an important step in reining in our nation’s spending and finding true fiscal discipline.

RAISING THE DEBT CEILING - With discussions opening about raising debt ceiling, (apparently now in May) is possible to tie such an action to very deep and specific cuts, including, for example cuts in the EPA and Dept of Education and/or even a Balanced Budget Amendment?

IMMIGRATION REFORM – Most importantly, the securing of our borders. What is the difficulty, as you see it, in dealing with this important issue.

HIGH SPEED RAIL IN FLORIDA – We oppose any “borrowed” Federal money or any Florida Tax Payer money going into this boondoggle. Some politicians are arguing that if 90% of the money comes from the Federal government and the remaining 10% is provided by the private sector, that this would allow them to support “rail” in Florida. Where do they think that Federal money is coming from? We really don’t need HSR and the State and the Federal government simply does not have the money for this project. What role can you play from your position on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to help derail this effort by the “special interest groups” to push “rail” on Floridians?

Sir, there are many other issues that are worthy of attention, but these are just a few that we are thinking about at this time. Thank you again for inviting us to meet with you. We look forward to working with you in the future and wish you all the success possible in helping to save our nation and “fix what is broke in Washington”.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family Representative Webster.

Respectfully,

The Central Florida Tea Party & The West Orlando Tea Party