Met With Our New Congressman Today

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Old 04-18-2011, 05:46 PM
Posts: n/a
Default Met With Our New Congressman Today

Rich Nugent, the U.S. Congressman representing the Fifth District including The Villages, had meetings regarding the budget proposals in Bushnell in the morning and The Villages this afternoon (at Laurel Manor Rec Center). I went 45 minutes early and had the opportunity for almost a half hour of pretty close to one-on-one with him. I was pretty impressed.

My basic reaction is that I like him a lot. I wasn't sure that I would. He seems to be an independent sort of conservative, probably fiscally more closely aligned with the Tea Party than anything else, although he's not listed among the members of the Tea Party Caucus. He described the dysfunctional government and Congress that he's found after arriving in Washington as a freshman Congressman. He's introduced some legislation that has caused the GOP leadership to advise him that if he kept acting so independently, he'd likely be a one-term Congressman. He responded that he was going to do what he thought was right and if he only spends one term in the House, so be it.

On a couple of occasions he expressed disappointment at the almost total inability of the members from the two political parties to reach any sort of consensus on almost any subject. He described a relationship wherein there's simply no willingness on the part of either party to negotiate and legislate solutions, even to commonly agreed upon issues--like the dire financial situation the country is in right now. He expressed surprise at the disdain shown by members of the Senate towards the House, and vice versa as the result. On a couple of occasions already he said that he's been told not to even try to get certain legislation passed--he was a co-sponsor of the Balanced Budget Act--because the Senate certainly wouldn't pass it and even if they did, the President would veto it. He said he keeps trying anyway, which he said he would continue to do until he failed to be re-elected.

At one point he commented that if the framers of the Constitution had another crack at it today, they almost certainly wouldn't create the kind of government that currently exists in Washington now.

In response to my question, he said he was definitely in favor of term limits. He thought two terms for the Senate and six terms for the House, a total of twelve years for both, would be a wise idea. He said there were lots of members of both houses of Congress who have been there a long time and simply "won't rock the boat" because they might run the risk of not being re-elected. He explained that changing the structure of the government--and the cost--would never be done by Congress itself. The structure of committees, chairmen, staffs and committee budgets was so entrenched that no one would willingly give up their position of power. He said any such changes to the structure of the Congress will have to be the product of Presidential leadership.

He also described in some detail the dire financial straits faced by the country and the relatively short time we have to turn it around--probably time measured in only a couple years. He hadn't heard much about the Standard & Poors placement of the U.S. on their "credit watch list" in preparation for a possible downgrading of our AAA debt rating. But as we all pretty much know, such a downgrade would have immediate and disastrous effect on the way this country operates and our way of life. He pointed out that if there's any slowdown in the appetite for our debt by foreign countries, unlike Greece, Ireland and Portugal, there's no European Union to bail us out. If that happens giant spending cuts and possibly tax increases would be necessary almost immediately. We'd be bankrupt with no one to lend us any more money to keep on spending.

Anyway, he seemed to be a pretty good guy. And he's a native Chicagoan like me and a former south suburban cop before coming to Florida. Impressively, as a parent he's raised three boys, all of whom are Army officers and two of whom are West Point graduates. That doesn't happen without some pretty doggone good parenting.
Old 04-18-2011, 10:37 PM
Posts: n/a
Default Kind of bland

Nugent does not offer any great shakes. He is a decent guy with a decent background. I have no quarrel with the guy - but he has not offered up any solutions to Florida's problems.

There is still very high unemployment in this area; there is still too much violent crime in the area just outside The Villages; and Florida's education system is in shambles (outside The Villages area).

Nugent does not bring anything new to the table. Just expect more of the same from him. Business as usual is not what we need in Washington at this time.
Old 04-19-2011, 06:30 AM
Posts: n/a

I think you missed the point, Tbugs. I think the point is that NOBODY can offer up anything for FL's problems or ANY state's problems because DC is paralyzed with powermongers.
Old 04-19-2011, 06:50 AM
Posts: n/a
Default VK Thanks for the update

To me it is encouraging because we do have to start somewhere,
Old 04-19-2011, 08:00 AM
Posts: n/a
Default "Reading" The Man

Over the years, I sometimes was pretty accurate at "reading" the feelings and/or intentions of people, sometimes when I didn't even know them very well. Here's a couple of thoughts that passed thru my mind as I sat and listened to Rich Nugent's presentation yesterday...
  • He is an open, honest, well-intended man. While he speaks from a definite conservative idealogy, he did not dodge questions or parse words. He seemed to have well-defined principles and was willing to act on those beliefs, even if might not be the politically-popular or politically-correct thing to do. I liked that.
  • While his message was a serious one--the imminent financial disaster facing the country as the result of irresponsible spending--he seemed to be trying to maintain a 'glass half full' attitude. (WInston Churchill's comment that "...the Americans will do the right thing, but only after they've tried everything else" crossed my mind.) But taken in the context of his entire presentation and answers to questions, his attempt at a positive attitude began to sound a little like whistling on the way to the graveyard.
  • He didn't mince words that he was surprised, deeply disappointed and frustrated by the system of governance that he found when he arrived in Washington. He used the word 'dysfunctional' several times.
  • The only real hope he held out for change was that if one party, the Republicans, were able to gain firm control of all three branches of government in the 2012 elections. His wasn't a campaign speech for this happening, rather a statement that not much can or will happen in Congress until it does.
  • I came away thinking that I would not be the least bit surprised if he decided not to run for re-election in 2012. Part of such a decision might result from re-districting--the Fifth District will be downsized and the boundaries re-drawn before 2012. (Since the 2000 census, the growth of the District to a million+ residents is about one-third too big, so the district boundaries will be re-drawn to get the resident population closer to 650,000 or so.) My thoughts were that the deep frustration he was feeling in seeing the members of either party in Congress unwilling to compromise to do either the right or necessary things as not being worth whatever benefits accrued to a member of the U.S. Congress.
I'm pretty certain about all but my last point. Lest's see what happens.

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