The Webster Wire
|Listening to Central Florida
Last week, our nation celebrated President’s Day, where we honor those who have given of themselves to lead the greatest nation on the face of the earth. I have been privileged to meet several presidents, including welcoming President Ronald Reagan to Florida on July 4th 1984.
On Tuesday, I spent the day in Polk County, where I met Cadet Colonel Jeremy King and presented him with a certificate of Congressional recognition. A student at Polk State College, Cadet Colonel King recently received the General Carl A. Spaatz Award, which is the highest honor a Civil Air Patrol cadet can achieve, and is bestowed on those who demonstrate excellence in leadership, character, fitness, and aerospace education.
While in Polk County, I also:
- Personally donated a flag flown over the Capitol to hang in the gym at Polk State College
- Toured Gator Pressure Cleaning and Custom Painting in Winter Haven
- Stopped by Kingdom Walk to talk with their Christian marketplace group
- Received an update at the Winter Haven Airport
- Toured Growers Fertilizer in Lake Alfred
- Sat down with Bettie Biggar and some of her friends at Biggar Antiques
- Met Paul Sigman at Sigman Earthscape Store
- Ate dinner with Chef Matthew Arbuthnot at his Cornerstone Grill
This year, the Orlando Regional Medical Center’s Air Care Team is celebrating their 30th anniversary of providing quality critical-care services in Central Florida. It was a privilege to recognize their work, thank the team, and take a tour of the helipad at ORMC. Orlando Health has recently renovated portions of the hospital. They gave me with a tour of their trauma bay, specialized burn facilities, and updated rooms that provide quality care to patients and comfort to friends and family.
On Thursday, it was an honor to commemorate the ultimate sacrifice of Specialist Ronald Gaffney during the Groveland Memorial Highway Designation Ceremony on his behalf. Family, classmates, local officials, and community members gathered together to commemorate the life of Specialist Gaffney and his service to our country during the Vietnam War.
Some of the other visits I made in Lake County included:
- Delivering a flag to the Caribbean American Association of Lake County to use at an upcoming charity event
- Honoring Bill and Carol Stomp for their 50th wedding anniversary
- Touring Lou’s Place and Granny’s Nannies, an adult day care center in Clermont
- Participating in the 60th Birthday Bash for the South Lake Rotary Club
The Orlando Business Journal hosted a breakfast forum on Friday morning entitled, “The Business of Transportation.” As a member of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, I was the keynote speaker, and provided my thoughts on the impact of transportation in Central Florida. I discussed the need for funding, the source of funding, and the process of funding as we seek to invest in transportation projects that will create jobs, spur our economy, and generate a higher quality of life.
I stopped by several other locations in Orlando last week, including:
- The Dr. Phillips Performing Art Center
- Veterans Assembled electronics (VAe)’s new training facility
- Heart of Florida United Way
- The Orange County Mayor’s Veterans Advisory Council meeting
- Participating in the Pioneer Days celebration and 100th anniversary of Pine Castle
Member of Congress
Last Monday, I participated in the Youth With A Mission (YWAM) Golf Invitational. About a year and a half ago, a couple who work there had reached out to my office regarding an adoption issue they were facing with the South Korean government.
The couple from Clermont had contacted my office to request emergency fingerprints and processing by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for their international adoption case. They were scheduled to fly to South Korea five days later to pick up the little boy they were adopting. The adoption agency, however, had made an error and their fingerprints had expired a few months before.
It had already taken the constituents nearly three years to get a court hearing scheduled in South Korea. After calling my office, the parents were able to get their fingerprints taken electronically and inputted into the system. My staff followed up with USCIS and were informed that the fingerprint update had been forwarded to the Department of State (DOS) with an expedite request.
The fingerprints were immediately uploaded to the DOS’ Share Point website so that the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea could access the update. When my office followed up with the constituents to make sure everything went smoothly, we received the good news that they had just arrived back in the United States with their new baby.
Constituent services is a critical element of our congressional office. The federal government is a massive operation, and my office is available if you ever need assistance in navigating the bureaucracy or cutting through red tape. We are here to serve you.
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Despite seven Senate Democrats being on the record expressing concern with the President's dangerous executive overreach on immigration, Senate Democrats continue to filibuster the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill, which includes language that passed the House with bipartisan support, rolling back the President's ill-advised immigration orders. The House passed funding for the Department of Homeland Security weeks ago, but it is scheduled to expire this coming Friday, February 27, if the Senate does not act.
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Response from the previous survey question, "Do you believe that the President and Congress should give our military leaders the unconditional support and resources they need to eliminate this threat?" Yes - 91% No - 7% I don't know - 2%
My primary concern with the President's executive overreach on immigration is that it represents a clear violation of the jurisdictional checks and balances that make up the very bedrock of our governing system. Last week, a federal judge blocked the President’s immigration policies and ruled that the President did not follow the law with his action.
Last month, the House passed a bill that would approve the necessary appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security, while prohibiting money from being used to carry out the President’s executive overreach. Last week, I sent a letter to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, requesting him to exert his influence in lifting the block that Senate Democrats have placed on the bill and at least allow for it to be heard on the Senate Floor.
I signed on to another letter urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to reject the nomination of Ms. Loretta Lynch for Attorney General of the United States. During her Congressional testimony, Ms. Lynch did not deny her apparent support for the President’s overreaching executive orders, and never even questioned the legality of his actions. It is the duty of an Attorney General to uphold and defend the Constitution, not provide cover for a President’s unilateral policies.