Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rick Scott’s Best Picks for Lieutenant Governor

In my last column, I wrote about the national importance of keeping the Florida governorship in Republican hands during this redistricting term. The makeup of three or four US House seats are possibly at stake, which may at one point be enough to swing control of the chamber.

Democrat Alex Sink made the best choice for her side by picking Rod Smith. Sen. Smith is the type of candidate who can gain swingvoters. Sink will have problems, having served as President of Florida Operations of Bank of America and due to the fact that this is a Republican leaning year. She’s also become the ultimate insider. But Scott still needs to make sure that his pick is refreshing and dynamic.

Here are some choices that can help Scott significantly:

Commander Tom Garcia. – This relatively unknown, yet superbly impressive, American hero was a political unknown who still faired respectably in a crowded field, which included two sitting politicians and the former CEO of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. Garcia is an Annapolis graduate and the recipient of a presidential medal for saving lives and millions of dollars in costs to the US Navy, streamlining high-risk training techniques. Most recently, Garcia flew to Haiti hours after the Jan. earthquake to assist in humanitarian relief. He has recently been featured in the Washington Times and by NumbersUSA as a national voice against illegal immigration.

Majority Leader Adam Hasner – Hasner would serve well in uniting McCollum supporters behind Rick Scott. He has experience, knowledge (he’s widely regarded was one of the most brilliant minds in the Florida House), and has remained outside of the upper echelons of power in Tallahassee. He’s an outsider who insiders have come to respect. Moreover, he combines brilliance with a pleasant demeanor, making him a superb campaigner.

Rep. Anitere Flores – Representative Flores falls in the same category, an outsider with influence in circles that matter. Being a female pick will help somewhat, although gender will not likely be an issue in this race - not with Sarah Palin, Hillary Clinton and others being the talk of presidential runs. There’s simply no longer anything special enough about being a female governor (or lieutenant) to sway significant chunks of votes. That said, Flores is qualified and dynamic in her own right.

Marion Thorpe
, former Chief Medical Officer of Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration – Medical development is key to growing Florida’s economy and Thorpe’s answers are bold. He’s an extremely likeable man and a natural campaigner. And while the GOP has women, it does not have very many African-Americans among its ranks, making such a pick refreshing and momentous. His selection would also serve to further boost Allen West in the latter’s congressional run.

The stakes are high and the results may well be of national significance. Whoever he picks, let’s wish Rick Scott well.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Need to Unite Behind Rick Scott and the Stakes for US Congress

Any discord among party members must end after the primaries. This is especially true in the all important gubernatorial race in Florida in this congressional redistricting year.

Republicans across the board are spending time, energy and resources on defeating vulnerable Democrat incumbents, including Alcee Hastings (whose district boasts an abysmal voter turnout and who has all but lost the critical Haitian vote), Ron Klein and Alan Grayson.

We need to keep in mind that a Democratic governor in a redistricting year could not only preclude Republicans from holding these seats in the future, but could in fact lead to the election of yet another Alcee Hastings, Ron Klein and Alan Grayson, on top of those already in place.

Whoever you may have supported in the past, one thing is clear. The election of a Republican governor within the State of Florida, where the Governor holds veto power over redistricting, is crucial to the future of our statewide congressional caucus. Rick Scott is our nominee and his election will determine the future of three or four congressional seats, which may at times be the margin of control in the US House.

On top of that, it cannot go without saying that Republicans in Florida have elected a fine slate of state and local across the board. This is especially true in Broward and Palm Beach counties. Senate nominees Ellyn Bogdanoff and Lizabeth Benacquisto are both people of exemplary public service, as is House nominee Pat Rooney. House nominee George Moraitis is a former officer of the United States Navy, a brilliant mind and a true community leader and Tami Donnally’s background in improving education speaks for itself. All in all, Republicans in Palm Beach and Broward counties can say “Job well done.”

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bill Konopnicki’s Campaign is the Embodiment of Fiscal Responsibility, Bold Economic Advocacy

When we find local leaders whose platforms speak to the broad interest of America, we should promote their ideas as a national model for success. The fight for conservative education, defense of our borders and the prosperity of our economy takes place first and foremost on the state level.

State platforms are more detailed and innovative business leaders who want to secure a better America often run for state level office to further American ideals. Such is the case with Arizona’s Bill Konopnicki, a current state representative who has recently become one of a select few candidates to be endorsed for State Senate by Gov. Jan Brewer.

Konopnicki opposes tax hikes across the board, especially those being placed on farmers and rural landowners. He’s for strong borders, national defense, financial literacy education and he makes no bones about it. His community involvement and track record of putting the interests of the people ahead of the interests of himself is keep to ability to propose real solutions for the betterment of his state.

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Konopnicki moved to rural Arizona as a young man and became a successful entrepreneur as well as a community leader. He is a radio station owner, owns McDonald’s restaurants in partnership with his oldest son and is the CEO of WSK Management Systems. He has worked with community groups, including the Boy Scouts, Ronald McDonald Houses and The Boys and Girls Clubs. He has also served as a member of the Mount Graham Regional Medical Center’s Operating Board and is a past president.

As Gov. Brewer put it, “from the beginning of my tenure as Governor of Arizona, Representative Bill Konopnicki has supported my plan to help Arizona recover from its current economic problems and face its immigration issues. He supported my five point economic plan, including Proposition 100 to protect education and public safety, and he helped amend SB 1070 so that it could be passed and signed into law.”

Konopnicki’s economic platform should serve as a model to state candidates nationwide. Indeed, in whatever state we’re in, we all need to band together to secure a stronger America.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Tom Garcia, America’s Most Needed Man in Congress

Florida is set to deliver a number of true conservatives to Congress and to take back two, three or even more seats from the Democrats. If Republicans regain the House, as we are poised to do, Florida will have a key role in that effort. But of all our great candidates, not only in Florida, but anywhere in the nation, Tom Garcia in the crucial FL-24 race stands out above the crowd.

Commander Tom Garcia is a rare mix of character, integrity, brashness and common sense. His election stands to improve America’s national security and economic wellbeing more than any other congressional race.

His biography says it all. As a naval officer, Tom Garcia won a presidential medal for developing a plan to save the US Navy millions of dollars while increasing safety in motion. The plan he put forward is estimated to have helped save numerous lives as well, by increasing training safety.

Garcia has specialized in the simulation industry, key to aircraft development. This is especially important to the renewal of Central Florida’s economy. If elected, Garcia would be the only member of Congress with experience in growing this developing industry.

American of Hispanic heritage who vehemently opposes illegal immigration

Garcia is also the Democrats’ worst nightmare, an American of Hispanic heritage who vehemently opposes illegal immigration. In fact, the day after the Arizona law was announced and before any other candidate had gone on record, CDR Garcia became the first candidate in the nation to advocate for a similar national initiative in all 50 states.

Moreover, unlike new converts to the cause of protecting our national resources, Tom Garcia has always been a steadfast opponent of illegal immigration. That’s because he treasures and values citizenship in this nation.

Tom Garcia is also the only federal candidate to back comprehensive shoreline surveillance, monitoring our shores with computerized imaging, just as we should be monitoring our borders. The Intelligence Community has long maintained that our shores are our frontline in keeping the nation safe from terror. Such a program would also prevent illegal immigration, as our shores are far more porous than our borders, without jeopardizing the privacy of Americans in the process.

Every elected official in the nation should be advocating for shoreline surveillance. It’s key to protecting our nation and is non-intrusive. Yet my campaign is the only one on the state level that’s been advocating for this most needed program and Tom Garcia’s campaign is the only one in the nation advocating for it on the federal level. That, in and of itself, is a crying shame, but it shows the need to rally behind his candidacy.

I’ve worked with many great candidates and brilliant conservative leaders. What I saw in the actions of Tom Garcia was unparalleled by all.

Coalition of Conservative Candidates for Haitian relief

On the night of the Haitian earthquake this past January, I was talking with Commander Garcia as we put together a Coalition of Conservative Candidates for Haitian relief. He inquired as to what was the most pressing need of survivors. After he shared his experiences in disaster relief, we decided that water purification was probably most important. He said that he knew a specialist in his district. But what he did next was a shock even to me.

In middle of the night and mere hours after the earthquake had struck, when a flight plan could only be submitted in America and without the ability for Haiti to receive it (making landing in Port-au-Prince a huge safety risk), Tom Garcia filled up a plane with water purification equipment and flew to Haiti. He knew full well that there may be reverberations after such a massive earthquake, making an already risky adventure all the more fraught with danger.

In Haiti, he purified water, worked to save lives of injured Haitians, and at one point Commander Garcia single-handedly restored power to a three room makeshift emergency clinic, using nothing more than four car batteries and some wire.

Tom Garcia is a strong believer in our Judeo-Christian values and in our Constitution

Most importantly, Tom Garcia is a strong believer in our Judeo-Christian values and in our Constitution. He’s an innovative economic leader with a focus on jobs creation and he’s not afraid to call a spade a spade and a bad idea a Democrat one. In short, he’s the type of man who we need in Congress.

Garcia is seen as head and shoulders above the entire field. Key to this is his innate humility. As long as he can keep it, he will accomplish great things for America. And everything in his commendable military background says that this Naval Officer, son of an Air Force Officer will stick to his values and his modest, yet always forthright and ruggedly honest nature.

Commander Garcia’s website is TomGarciaforCongress.com. His plans may be of little interests to lobbyists who can’t see the need for their own safety and their role in the national economic wellbeing above their own shortsighted self interests. But that should be of no concern to voters.

Simply put, voters in FL-24 need to rally behind Tom Garcia. He needs to be our party’s nominee, not only to ensure a new and dynamic Republican Party, but moreover, to ensure the economic wellbeing and safety of our nation.