Grassroots Activists Denied Access To Transportation Hearing

For Immediate Release
March 14, 2011

Contact: Tom Tillison
Phone:  407-952-8520

Grassroots Activists Denied Access To Transportation Hearing

Request to participate in today’s proceedings denied by Rep. John Mica’s office, which is developing a pattern of looking past the voice of the people.

In the hastily announced Central Florida Congressional Hearing on Major Transportation Bill being held this morning, tea party activist and rail spokeperson Sharon Calvert was denied the opportunity to participate in the proceedings.  Ms. Calvert spoke with Rep. Mica’s office and formally requested to be included on the witness panel, of which, the participants appear to have been hand selected to represent only one side.  Unfortunately, her request was denied, leaving the tax payer stake holders with no representation.

Ms. Calvert is the transportation spokesperson for the FL Alliance, a coalition of over 120 Tea Party and 9/12 Project groups throughout the state.  She is the President of the Tampa Tea Party and spokeperson for No Tax For Tracks.  Ms. Calvert was among the contingency that met with Gov. Rick Scott this past month to discuss high speed rail.

In light of this rejection to participate, the FL Alliance, through Ms. Calvert have put together a ‘testimony’ that has been formally requested to be made part of today’s hearing.  Representatives of the FL Alliance will be on hand prior to the start of today’s hearing to distribute this testimony to the media and to take any questions.

In addition, the following letter was hand delivered to Rep. Mica 13 days ago in a meeting the Congressman requested with First Coast Tea Party’s Billie Tucker in Washington, D.C.  A response was requested from Rep. Mica.  As of today’s date, Mica has been silent in light of this request.

February 26, 2010

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 Senator 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.

Tom A. Tillison               Central Florida Tea Party Council
Jason Hoyt                       Central Florida Tea Party Council
Alan Berkelhammer        Gainesville Tea Party
Paula Helton                    Gainesville Tea Party
Nancy Meinhardt             Miami 9/12 Project
Marianne Moran              Tea Party in Action
Joe Sekula                        North Pinellas 9/12
Tim Curtis                        Tampa 9/12 Project
Karen Jaroch                    Tampa 9/12 Project
Sharon Calvert                 Tampa Tea Party
Kathy Gibson                   Eastern Orlando Tea Party
Cindy Hofeditz                 Polk City 9/12
Robin Stublen                   Charlotte County Tea Party
Elaine Laffey                    Tea Party Ft. Lauderdale
Bill Landes                        Florida Minutemen Org.
Maureen Siebold               Lakeland 9/12 Tea Party
Steve O’Neal                     Winter Haven 9/12
Don Hensarling                 Florida 9/12 Project
Pam Evans                        DC Works For Us – Aventura
Karin Hoffman                 DC Works For Us
Pat Wayman                     Venice 9/12 Project
Mary Rakovich                 Levy County Patriots
Ron Rakovich                   Levy County Patriots
Patricia Sullivan                Chair, Tea Party Network
David VonGunten            North Lake Tea Party
Tina Woode                      Sanford Lake Mary 9/12 Project
Don Forward                     Titusville Patriots
Clyde Fabretti                   West Orlando Tea Party
Kathleen Waligore            Tampa 9/12 – Pasco County
Kim Irvine                         Tampa 9/12 – Pasco County
Stacy Snow Feiler   
Peter Lee                           East Side Tea Party


About Alan Berkelhammer

Opinions are my own and are not necessarily those of any organization or group.
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