Not much to report this week that you haven’t already heard. The House was set to consider the annual Energy and Water Appropriations bill, but between increased spending levels over last year and a poison pill amendment successfully inserted by a House Democrat, the bill went down in flames (112-305). It’s unclear whether or not the Appropriations Committee will make the necessary changes and try again. It’s probably just as likely that they give up on the rest of the individual appropriations bills and instead roll all of them into a giant package once again. I’m not sure how many times over the last five years I’ve had to write you all lamenting these massive single spending bills, but it’s far too many. It’s a sorry way to do business, but it’s the status quo / path of least resistance in DC. Hopefully it will change for the better next year.
In the meantime, I just want to take a moment to recognize what Memorial Day means for this nation. For many people it’s the beginning of summer. A trip to the beach. Some hot dogs on the grill. For military families though, especially those who have lost a loved one, it is a solemn occasion as well. It’s a time when we recognize and memorialize those who have fallen. So if you know a family who has lost somebody in service to this nation or even if you only find a quiet moment by yourself, please keep those soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines in mind. Bow a head and remember that our military is an all-volunteer force and that it isn’t just those individuals who wear the uniform who sacrifice for us. It’s their children, their spouses, their parents, their siblings and their friends as well.
Thank you all again and have a safe and restful Memorial Day weekend.
Member of Congress
We’ve got a few big items for you this week: House passage of the National Defense Authorization Act, the Military Construction/VA appropriations bill and a significant federal resource package to combat the impending Zika threat.
I’ve talked plenty in recent weeks about the Defense Authorization, so I won’t take up your time with it this morning. For the most part, the big top line details about the MilCon / VA approps bill is a substantial increase in resources for VA over last year’s level. That’s a positive and I sincerely hopeCongress keeps after them about some lingering accountability issues.
The real news of the week that I think merits some consideration is Zika and how we should be responding to it. As I am sure you are aware by this point, the mosquito-borne virus causes serious birth defects and has already created a rolling emergency in the countries to our south. The sheer prevalence of Zika is so great in Brazil that it stands a serious health threat to those attending and competing in the upcoming Olympics. In fact, many athletes have already stated they will not attend for fear of contracting the virus. Needless to say, Zika is very serious.
Given that Zika can be spread through contact with both mosquitoes and humans, it’s easy to understand why Americans are beginning to worry Zika is only a short flight away from becoming a widespread issue on our soil and we are already seeing traces of this evolving health threat. To date, there are 503 cases of Zika in the United States and 701 more cases reported in American territories. A total of 113 pregnant women have been infected. If we break it down by state, Florida leads the confirmed Zika cases with 103, closely followed by New York (98), California (40) and Texas (32). The point is, Zika is exploding in slow motion and if we don’t do something soon especially with the height of the mosquito season upon us our expectant mothers and unborn babies are in grave danger (if you’ve ever seen a picture of the devastating effects of Zika, you know exactly what I am talking about).
In any case, the House had a contentious vote this week over how the federal government should proceed with funding how much for vaccines, how much for education, how much for mosquito control, how much to spend here, how much to spend there. In short, there is broad agreement about the top line number that the administration requested. The main dispute came over whether to provide the full amount all at once or in stages. The bill we passed provides $622 million in immediate Zika combat funding for the HHS, State Department and USAID. There is another $600 million or so we’re reallocating from an unused Ebola account. These are emergency “supplemental” dollars. Supplemental, of course, indicating that it’s outside of the normal budget for these agencies. The final tranche of funds will come in a few months during the normal budgeting process.
Every penny is paid for by cuts or reprogramming elsewhere, not a single new taxpayer dollar is needed. And the reason why the funding has a hard stop at the end of September is because October 1 marks the beginning of appropriation disbursement for 2017. This dual approach gives us more time to carefully consider what the federal government’s next step and additional support should be. Think of it as a tiered roll out, a significant down payment to eradicating Zika for good.
If it were solely up to me, we’d be doing this a little differently - a little more consensus building and a little less partisan shot-taking. We all agree on the urgency and the top line total amount. We agree more or less on where it needs to go. It seems like we should be able to figure it out from there. Frankly, given the urgency for Florida, I would like to go ahead and knock it out. It doesn’t need to take 5 extra weeks to get the resources into the field because we disagree on timing. Some of my colleagues voted against this 2/3 package because they wanted the final 1/3 to be included now as well. I understand where everybody is coming from, but this is classic Washington on both sides.
What worries me now is the potential inability to find a compromise. Zika is not some imaginary sci-fi threat, it’s a real life-damaging virus that is devastating families at an ever-increasing rate right here at home. If it’s allowed to get out of hand, we’re going to be looking at significantly more money later.
Everyone believes that something needs to get done. Everyone pretty much agrees on what needs to get done. It’s a sign of the times that even on something so widely supported, we can’t get to a solution without pulling our hair out.
End of the the day, this is about mothers and babies to me. I look forward to a quick compromise and I remain ready to work to make that happen.
I’d love to hear from you on this issue. Is this something your family is watching? Do you feel like you’re getting the information you need on Zika? Is there more we could be doing there?
Thanks as always and please let me know if there’s anything else on your mind as well.
Member of Congress
Well, this marks another week that we actually got something done in Washington (trying not to let arms tire from patting selves on back). In yet another moment of bipartisan and bicameral support, the Senate and the House came together to pass meaningful legislation aimed at addressing the ever-growing opioid epidemic. Even the President is on board with our plan.
Sadly, it’s a testament to the scale and severity of the problem that so many of us were able to get on the same page about changes we could make to help (the House passed the Opioid package by a vote of 400-5). Opioid abuse is truly crippling communities and destroying families across this Nation. Chances are you may know someone struggling with this fight. As a cop, I saw opioid abuse on a near daily basis – it’s a highly addictive substance that sometimes stems from very innocent beginnings – a prescription. And it’s not just criminals or youths that succumb to the damaging power of opioids, many of our senior citizens and veterans are also affected as well.
From helping babies born with a dependency and approving grants for overdose reversal drug programs to assisting police in curbing illegal trafficking and requiring the VA to improve its painkiller disbursement procedures – we passed 18 different bills this week that will absolutely make a difference in the opioid fight. This is another example of good legislation that returns oversight and control to state and local agencies as they know what’s best for their own communities.
As it happens, it’s also National Police Week this week. As you might expect, this is always a very moving time for me in Washington. Every year, thousands of police officers, troopers and deputies from all over the country travel to the nation’s capital to memorialize the officers who have fallen in the line of duty during the previous year. Given my many years in law enforcement, I have known far too many friends and colleagues who were struck down out in the field. A few of us went down to the House floor and spoke for a bit to bring some awareness about what it’s like to wear that uniform or to have a family member wear the uniform. If you’re interested, you can watch it by clicking here.
Finally, we also passed a piece of legislation this week that will enable members of the House and Senate to have a flag flown over the Capitol building to be given to the families of fallen first responders. It’s a small gesture, but I think it’s an important gesture. They asked me at the last minute to usher the bill through on the floor and it was a genuine honor to do so.
In any case, that’s the news of the week from Congress. If you ever need anything or have any questions, please let me know. Thanks again.
Member of Congress
I’ve got a rare bright spot to tell you all about this week. In the midst of an extraordinarily unproductive time in Washington, one vital piece of legislation is still being thoughtfully crafted, carefully deliberated, and overwhelmingly approved. That bill, my friends, is the annual National Defense Authorization Act. Any longtime readers of this newsletter will know how this process works, but for the sake of any new readers, I’ll give you the basic overview.
Most committees in Congress approve dozens of bills over the course of the year. Some are partisan, some are unanimous. Some are single page and some are massive. The House Armed Services Committee (which I am a very proud member of) only passes one single bill a year – the “NDAA”.
A year’s worth of work goes into it. We pour over every line item in the military’s budget. We consider policy changes, resource allocation, new programs, old programs, regional issues, global issues. We break everything down into subcommittees so we can specialize in various aspects of defense – personnel matters, sea power, emerging threats, nuclear deterrence, and so forth.
By and large, it works. The committee has a long and distinguished record of consensus building and genuine cooperation. We’ve passed our bill with bipartisan support and had it signed into law 54 years in a row. There is nothing comparable anywhere else in Congress.
Politics largely stops when it comes to the defense of this nation and that’s exactly as it should be. Of course there are some cheap shot amendments along the way and always a few gotcha votes, but compared to the rest of what goes on in Washington, it’s nothing short of a miracle each and every year.
On Wednesday morning at 10:00 AM, we began the marathon markup of the 794 page bill. We kept right on going, page by page, issue by issue until 2:45 am Thursday morning. We stopped only for votes on the House floor.
By the time the committee was done, having considered over three hundred separate amendments whittled down from 2,000 plus initial proposals, we voted on the bill as a whole and sent it to the full House for consideration by a vote of 60-2.
It may not seem it, but when you consider how divisive politics tends to get, how scarce the resources are, how big the budget is, how different the philosophies tend to be, to get that many people on the same page is pretty extraordinary. By and large, as I reflect on what I’ve seen during my time in Congress, I think it’s a pretty good model for how things should work.
We spend an entire year slowly and carefully moving through the weeds. When we hit a snag, we either work it out or we table it and revisit later. We build consensus one person at a time and one issue at a time. Everybody gets to have their voice heard and their suggestions considered. In many cases, including some policy provisions of my own, you spend years building that consensus. The first year you take a small step, perhaps asking the DOD to conduct a study on the feasibility of something. The next year, you ask some questions in committee hearings start to raise awareness and general knowledge. You spot the flaws and refine your own idea. The next year, having earned some support, you establish a pilot program and spend the year watching carefully to see how it goes. You make some tweaks, you talk to your colleagues, you talk to DOD and you see where things stand. Sometimes the support is there to move forward, sometimes you realize what you set out to do just isn’t feasible. Either way, because the process is so deliberate and careful, you tend to arrive at the correct conclusion and pretty much everybody is in agreement.
Too often in Congress, bills are written by a small group of insiders and the text is released at the very last minute. The bill then gets promptly rammed through without much input and with very little effort made to reach a real point of agreement. Nobody likes being on the receiving end of that. It’s basic human nature.
In addition, the more eyes you have on something, the more likely it is that you’ll spot the weaknesses. When you allow your critics to weigh in, instead of limiting input to a bunch of yes men, you’re going to end up with a better work product. It’s as simple as that.
The Armed Services Committee has a long history of working this way and that’s a huge part of the reason why it has continued to be successful – even in the midst of highly partisan spats over the wars we may be fighting or the commander in chief overseeing them.
Congress as a whole used to have that kind of collegial respect. We may fight like hell over just about everything (that’s what the Founders intended), but there was at least a real effort to build some trust and respect. I don’t think anybody in Washington feels that’s the case now. People are either intractable or left out of the process. They hate each other on TV and in real life. There is no sense of greater purpose for a lot of people. It’s all about winning the news cycle in an effort to win the election cycle. And while it would be unrealistic to think politicians will ever ignore such basic realities, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect some actual results along the way.
In any case, the institution had a good week. By extension, the nation it represents also had a good week. I’ve always been very proud to be a member of the House Armed Services Committee, but this week more than most.
Member of Congress
Over the past five years I have received countless letters from constituents expressing a general distaste for the Internal Revenue Service. And let me tell you, I share in the frustration. Although another tax day has come and gone, the IRS is always lurking.
Let’s recap some highlights (rather, lowlights) briefly. I think we all remember when the IRS deliberately targeted and audited groups based on their political beliefs. How about when they distributed nearly $50 million in fraudulent tax returns? Just last year, hundreds of IRS employees were found to have neglected the agency’s own guidelines when filing their own taxes. What’s worse, a handful of IRS employees failed to even file their taxes in the first place! To top it all off, the IRS recently issued millions in bonuses to its employees.
Give me a break.
The American people shouldn’t be afraid of their government. The government should be focused on serving the people. When bureaucratic agencies continue to abuse taxpayer dollars (and their power), it's no wonder that we the people distrust an agency like the IRS.
In light of all this, I am happy to report that your United States House of Representatives went to bat for you this week. Among other things, we passed a bill prohibiting the IRS from rehiring employees who have been fired for misconduct (probably shouldn’t have been necessary in the first place). We voted to eliminate the agency’s internal slush fund that was being filled by taxpayer user fees. We blocked the IRS from issuing employee bonuses. We’ve also passed legislation creating real incentives for the IRS to turn around its horrendous customer service record. Finally, if the Senate passes our bills and the President signs them, the IRS will be forbidden from hiring any new employee until it can certify that no IRS employees are delinquent on their own taxes.
While all of these measures are helpful, I’d really prefer to just get rid of the IRS in its entirety. I am one of the dedicated sponsors of a bill to do just that. The FairTax (which I think many of you already know) is an idea that I have been championing since the day I stepped into Congress. Frankly, I think it’s about time for our country to see taxation in a more sensible, just and transparent way.
As policymakers, our aim should be to make paying taxes as painless as possible, the burden as low as possible, and the efficiency as great as possible. The tax code we’re operating under now achieves none of those goals. Instead, it supports an agency vulnerable to bad actors, abuse and mismanagement. It’s time we scrapped the current code and started over with something better. The FairTax is that solution.
Taxes ensure a strong national defense and a robust infrastructure system along with the well-being of Social Security and Medicare programs. Taxes are a civic duty and the reality of a safe and secure country. As Benjamin Franklin once quipped, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” But the latter should not have to feel like the former.
Usually at this point I would ask to hear your thoughts about how you feel about the IRS – but, let’s be honest, it’s an agency that has little fanfare. Even though we may disagree from time to time, I think we can all stand in a shared disdain for the Tax Man.
And to that end, if you are having trouble with the IRS or any other federal entity, feel free to reach out to my office. We are here to help.
Member of Congress
Earlier this week, and in an unconvincing fashion, the President tried to tell the American people (again) that permanently closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay would be a good idea. Since stepping into office, he has released 147 prisoners, stopped the admission of new detainees and now is looking for a way to bring a large number of them into the American prison system. This, by the way, is against the law. Quite a few of the released detainees have returned to the battlefield and there is a good reason Congress has made transferring detainees to the U.S. illegal. But that hasn’t stopped the Administration from looking for a way to get around Congress.
The President claims that keeping GITMO open “weakens our national security.” I wholeheartedly disagree.
Members of al-Qaeda and others terrorist groups do not get to enjoy the same freedoms as you, me and our neighbors. They aren’t criminals. They are sworn enemies. Period.
We must continue to fight the war on terror with all available resources, and this includes Guantanamo Bay.
Moving on to some local news, you may remember that last month I wrote about Arlene Sollis, a Spring Hill resident who suffers from cerebral palsy and has been fighting for a much needed sidewalk and crosswalk since 2012. Right now, she and dozens of other senior residents in her community, have to walk down a dangerous road just to get groceries, just to get to the hospital. We are talking about a 1,000 feet of sidewalk and a small amount of paint for a crosswalk, not a big ask in my opinion and certainly not a project that should take four years to get noticed and another two to complete.
So this past Tuesday, as promised, I appeared before the Hernando County Board of Commissioners along with Arlene and many of her neighbors to discuss the dangerous situation on Quality Drive. The county informed us that this particular sidewalk project is underway and has been approved for funding, but won’t be completed until 2018. That’s pretty hard to fathom and as some senior citizens stated in the meeting, a few years can mean a lifetime.
The Hernando County School Board expressed a dire need for building this sidewalk system as it impacts their students’ safety as well. That fact alone should make it clear that this needs to be a top priority for the county. Even local radio host Mike Reeves suggested starting a private crowdfunding campaign as a way to help expedite the funds for the 1,000 feet needed. Let’s not let bureaucracy grind this to a halt. As Arlene put it at the hearing after years of raising concern, “Why do we have to wait six years for a sidewalk? This is not too much to ask.”
To close things out, I want to highlight one more time a warning about scam calls coming from criminals claiming that they are the IRS asking for the person to send a check or they’ll be arrested. Many constituents have contacted my office stating that they have received such fraudulent calls. My wife and I were also recent targets of this phishing scheme. Let me be clear, the real Internal Revenue Service will only ever contact you via paper mail, they will never actually call you, especially asking for a check and threatening jail time. Its terrible that this type of predatory activity continue to take place. Let’s not give the bad guys any additional reason to carry on their scams. Please do not fall for this.
That’s about it for this week. I hope you continue to reach out with your thoughts and concerns regarding local, national and international issues. Even if we may disagree, its important that I know where you stand. Thanks again and have a great weekend.
Member of Congress
The President released his budget on Tuesday and it was much of what we have come to expect out of his office: more taxes, more spending, and more debt. It even included an inexplicable $10-a-barrel tax on oil. You think the oil companies will incur this cost? Absolutely not. They will no doubt pass this financial burden on to consumers, potentially increasing the price per gallon you pay at the pump by nearly 25 cents. And you can imagine what this tax might do to airline, tourism and shipping customers. The point is, the Administration continues to punish the middle class by siding against America’s energy resources.
But, we have to remember that this budget proposal is just that, a suggestion.
So it's now up to us in Congress to find a realistic and affordable solution, one that balances job creation and a strengthened military with improved economic prospects for each and every American.
In other news, the Supreme Court dealt another blow to the President’s executive overreach. Essentially, the justices ordered a halt to his unilateral “Clean Power Plan,” a failed strategy that would close coal power plants, cut jobs and increase the cost of energy. Marking the third time in the last few months that the court has ruled against the Administration, this legal opinion is significant because it further confirms the abuse of executive powers that we have been pushing back against for years.
With sons serving in the military and in law enforcement, national security is always top of mind. So, a few days ago, I met with a group of Sheriffs from 50 of the largest counties in the country to chat about this very issue. A common concern among the group was how the advent of social media has helped terrorist groups push their propaganda messaging right into every corner of the planet. This means that local police have now become the de facto first line of defense to the war on terror. Law enforcement and government officials have been calling for technology companies to step up in the fight against ISIS and others for some time. That is why I am pleased to finally hear that Facebook and Twitter have removed hundreds of thousands of accounts that promote and facilitate terrorism. This is the sort of private-public cooperation that will begin to erode the very core of those who wish to do us harm.
That’s about it for now. As the 2016 budget season gets into full swing in Washington, please continue to reach out with any questions, concerns and comment that might be on your mind. Even if we disagree, it is important to let me know where you stand.
Thanks again and enjoy the weekend.
Member of Congress
(WASHINGTON, DC) – Following the release of the President’s proposed budget, Rep. Rich Nugent (FL-11) issued the following statement:
“President Obama’s last ditch budget manifesto will contribute trillions of dollars to our nation’s debt while directly undermining the needs of our economy and armed forces.”
“It’s the House’s job to put forward a workable alternative. As an institution, we cannot fail to pass a budget. I am confident that under Speaker Ryan’s leadership – bringing the entire conference together – the House will put forth a realistic and balanced approach, one that values job creation, a strengthened military and improved economic prospects for each and every American.”
This upcoming Tuesday, the President is set to unveil his budget proposal for 2017. With reports seeping out over the past week, it appears this plan is shaping up to be one of the most costly yet – cutting where we are most vulnerable and spending where we cannot afford another dime.
But if you’re the President and you've got nothing to lose – and we’re already $19-plus trillion in debt – why not bet the farm and spend a little more? In his final year in office, don't let the White House communications staff fool you – under this scheme, the federal deficit will jump by more than $100 billion from last year and this will be the first time since 2009 that it will increase relative to its portion of the economy.
In any case, stay tuned for a breakdown on the specifics next week.
In other legislative news, the House this week took an override vote on the President’s veto of an Obamacare repeal bill that Congress sent him in January. The final tally was 241-186. Although falling short of the mandatory two-thirds threshold, this vote demonstrated that repeal and replacement is possible in 2017.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, UN-brokered peace talks regarding the conflict in Syria and its related humanitarian crisis broke down on Wednesday. Why? Because Russia continues to view an autonomous military solution, one void of international consensus, as the preferred diplomatic tactic. Obviously the region continues to be a hot bed for ISIS terrorism, which is fueling massive refugee migrations, so the international community must be unified in its commitment to end the human toll and defeat the ever real threat of terrorism.
Speaking of protection, I met with the good men and women of the Fraternal Order of Police this week. Congratulating the organization on their 100th anniversary, it served as another reminder that law enforcement and their families are the lifeblood and safeguards of our communities. We owe our greatest of freedoms, that seemingly are under constant attack, to folks who put their lives on the line everyday to keep us safe and secure. I am proud to have been a part of this brotherhood and encourage everyone to join me in thanking them for their constant commitment to serving the public.
Please continue to reach out to me with questions, concerns and comments regarding anything that might be on your mind. The biggest of issues will be on display throughout 2016 and even if we disagree, it is important to let me know where you stand.
Thanks again and enjoy the cooler temps over the course of the weekend.
Member of Congress
Just a quick recap for you of a very eventful week. First off, the President delivered his final State of the Union address. If you’ve seen any of the other ones, you probably could have skipped this one. As I told the press afterwards, seventy percent of Americans think the country is on the wrong track, even the President’s biggest supporters have trouble defending his foreign policy decisions, and the threats just keep getting worse. Instead of taking some responsibility, he just did what he always does lecture, lecture, and lecture. The most striking thing was actually seeing the television coverage panning the room showing virtually every congressional Democrat looking tired and bored. It was a pretty sad sight for our country. In any case, the speech happened and I am sure it was a big deal somewhere.
In other news, ten American sailors were captured by Iranian forces. We’re still not sure exactly what happened. I expect to know more soon. Bottom line, the Iranians boarded the American vessels, arrested our personnel, then paraded them around in front of the cameras and clearly had a good time doing it. This came right on the heels of the Iranians flagrantly violating UN Security Council resolutions with their ballistic missile tests. The White House indicated they were going to reapply sanctions, then they back-peddled, now they might do the sanctions again. As for the arrests, Secretary Kerry had nothing but nice things to say about how the Iranians treated our sailors. See above reference to questionable foreign policy decision-making.
Also in the news, a refugee from Syria blew himself up in the tourist section of Istanbul taking the lives of nine Germans and one Peruvian. The bomber’s fingerprints were scanned and he was “vetted” by checking those prints against the mythical, non-existent Syrian databases (which we have been saying for weeks won’t work for refugees here either). Another suicide attack went off in Jakarta, Indonesia. Meanwhile, back home, two Palestinian refugees were arrested in America on charges of providing material support to ISIS and lying to cover up terrorist activities. Those two individuals were in communication with one another.
All in all, it wasn’t a very confidence inspiring week on the strong Commander-in-Chief / strong national security front. That needs to change and soon.
On a completely unrelated note, I wanted to highlight something I’ve been involved with recently that I think merits community-wide awareness. Some weeks ago, a young lady in her eighties came to see me in DC. As she explained, a medical condition requires the use of a wheelchair and fairly regular medical visits. She noted that she lives directly across from her health facility (not a coincidence) and directly across from a shopping center where she can get food and other essentials without needing to drive. She explained that she has been trying desperately to get a crosswalk installed so that she can safely cross the street, but the county won’t budge. In addition to the lack of a crosswalk for this community, the sidewalk in front of her house also inexplicably dead ends into a grass patch instead of making it all the way to the street.
Now this is very definitely a local issue and I have exactly zero legal authority here from the federal level, but Wendy and I were so fired up about the apparent inaction from the county that we decided to visit her home and see for ourselves. Sure enough, it was exactly as she had described it. So, I sent a series of letters to each of the county commissioners and to the county administrator asking what was causing the holdup. That was back in the middle of November. I’ve heard crickets since then. We followed up with voicemails and finally got a call back today saying that the sidewalk is in the “planning stages”, that they’re looking for a “funding mechanism”, and they hope for this short little section of sidewalk to “be constructed in 2018”. In the meantime, they are going to relay information about “alternative routes” for this community to use to access the store and health facilities. I’m about to lose it. A local scout troop could tackle this project in a weekend and the county is ignoring it instead of solving it.
If this were my mother, simply trying to safely cross the street, I would hope that the county would do the right thing. As I said, I don’t have the power to make the sidewalk decision myself, but I do have a big megaphone and I intend to use it.
For now, I’m not going to say which county it is. I’m going to give them one more chance to get this right before the public pressure starts building. And in any case, when we start showing up at their commission hearings with a horde of angry residents and a contingent of local television news reporters, you’ll know exactly which county I’ve been talking about.
That’s all for now. More to follow next week.
Member of Congress
1727 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
First, let me say what an honor it is to be your representative in Congress. While this may be a “digital” introduction, I really look forward to having a chance to meet with you in person and to hear your views on where this country should be headed. In the meantime, let me take just a minute to tell you bit about who I am and where I come from.
I was born and raised in a suburb of Chicago. My father was a steel worker and my mother, a dedicated homemaker. And while not without its ups and downs, I was mighty lucky to grow up in a time when America was at her best.
Right out of high school, I joined the Illinois Air National Guard. And as anybody who has spent time in America’s military can tell you, young people inevitably learn the value of leadership, teamwork, discipline, and self-reliance. My experience as a young man was no different. Honorably discharged after six years, I decided to continue serving as a police officer in the city of Romeoville, Illinois.
After twelve years, having achieved the rank of sergeant, my wife Wendy and I moved with our young son Ryan to beautiful Hernando County. I joined the Sheriff’s Office as a deputy and have been with them ever since. Over the years, I worked hard and rose through the ranks – eventually becoming Sheriff in 2000.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost thirty years since we came to Florida. All three of our boys, Ryan, Kyle, and Casey are now grown and as a Dad, I couldn’t be prouder of them. Ryan, our oldest, graduated West Point in 2004. Having spent a year in South Korea before a 15 month combat deployment in Afghanistan, he is now a Captain assigned to the Joint Multinational Readiness Center at Hohenfels Training Area in Germany. Before finishing his tour in Afghanistan, he signed up for three more years.
Kyle, his younger brother, is an Army ROTC graduate of the University of Tampa and is now assigned to the Florida National Guard as a Blackhawk pilot. And Casey, our youngest, is also following in his brothers’ footsteps. He graduated from West Point and is now a Lieutenant with the 1st Infantry Division out of Fort Riley.
As parents, it means the world to us to see our children putting service before self. Wendy and I have always emphasized the importance of service – to whom much is given, much is expected. We believe that as Americans, we owe it to future generations to make the sacrifices necessary so that this country will always be the greatest on earth.
Throughout my career as a police officer, I have seen the best and worst in our community. I know the great potential that lies there. My wife Wendy, as a school teacher, believes the same. Our experiences have shown us that the best solutions in our communities will come from small business owners, local leaders, and private citizens – all working together; not, as some believe, from the politicians and bureaucrats in Washington.
In my view, a government for the people and by the people, must be made up of the people. The best representative is a member of the community first, and a Member of Congress second. In keeping with that ideal, I promise you that I will always be available and ready to listen. I will always come back to the District because it’s my home and that’s where my family is. I hope that you will always feel free to reach out to me if you have questions or concerns, or even just to say hello. In the meantime, I wish you all the best and I hope to meet you soon.
Retweeted by reprichnugent
Retweeted by reprichnugent
Chatted w/ Fraternal Order of Police, too often those who protect & serve us have their needs heard the least https://t.co/CJWfYD1SV2
Retweeted by reprichnugent
Retweeted by reprichnugent
Thx for support, but Jobs & Keystone is more important to me than a committee slot. I’m voting Yes on Rule. http://t.co/X8uMfoiofu
Retweeted by reprichnugent
ICYMI - My take on the payroll tax situation: http://t.co/oqtz8fL4
It's my 65th, but the past 41 married to this gal have been the best years of my life.
The real news of the week that I think merits some consideration is Zika and how we should be responding to it... Find more from my recent SITREP
Lieutenant Dan from the Gainesville Police Department swung by my office to discuss the Stop the Bleeding Coalition. This group promotes the
REMINDER: My Annual Sumter County Veterans Benefit Resource Fair will be held this Saturday (May 21) from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Savannah
In yet another moment of bipartisan and bicameral support, the Senate and the House came together to pass meaningful legislation aimed at addressing