Stay the course, Mr. Southerland

Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 16:30 PM.

Around the middle of the last century Franklin County was represented in the Florida House of Representatives by Apalachicola native Bryant Patton. The State of Florida would later recognize Representative Patton for his service by naming the bridge from Eastpoint to St. George Island in his honor. Representative Patton was a great debater and when he would rise to present his position on a pending issue, a sudden quietness would prevail in the House Chamber. His colleges wanted to hear what Representative Patton had to say.

He would usually begin with a humorous comment. His favorite would remind his opponent that he was “confused as the little boy that dropped his chewing gum in the chicken yard.” I was reminded of Representative Patton’s debating skills when I read the letter by Mr. John Hedrick that was published in a recent issue of the Apalachicola/Carrabelle Times. I submit that Mr. Hedrick is that confused little boy in the chicken yard.

It appears that Mr. Hedrick is not satisfied that the good citizens of Florida’s Second Congressional District have re-elected Congressman Steve Southerland. In his letter to the Times he proceeds to advise us of our mistake. By the way, I don’t know where Mr. Hedrick is from. He is not listed in the Franklin County property records nor in the local telephone directory. I would bet my Romney yard sign that he is not a subscriber to the Times. I thought it strange that he is writing to the Times.

Mr. Hedrick would lead you to believe that Congressman Southerland’s victory was by a slim margin. Congressman Southerland received 52.7 percent of the vote to Al Larson’s 47.2 percent. Considering that Democrats outnumber Republicans by a two-to-one count in the 2nd District, you could argue that Southerland won by a landslide. Now get this, Hedrick offers that people in the 2nd. District didn’t know that Southerland would oppose Obama’s position on most issues. Where has Mr. Hedrick been? Congressman Southerland’s campaign slogan was “have you had enough?” Citizens of the 2nd District responded with their vote by acknowledging that they too were tired of big government, waste, inefficiency and deficit spending.

Mr. Hedrick criticized Congressman Southerland for his no vote on the “fiscal cliff” deal. Why should that surprise anyone? Heck, that’s why the voters sent the congressman back to Washington. In the end the majority just kicked the can down the alley to be acted upon on another day. What has been overlooked is that Congressman Southerland by his vote differed from the Republican leadership. It appears that at long last we have a representative in Congress that talks, acts and votes the same in Washington as he does while soliciting voters in his home district.

Mr. Hedrick was critical of Congressman Southerland’s vote on the Hurricane Sandy Relief bill. What Mr. Hedrick didn’t tell you was that there were two Sandy Relief bills. The first one for $9.7 billion was to fund the Federal Flood Insurance Fund. Southerland voted for this bill. He, as most of his colleagues, thought that people that had purchased and paid for flood protection were entitled to a speedy settlement. The second Sandy Relief Bill for $50.3 billion contained enough pork that you could hear the oinks all the way to Arkansas. Southerland voted against this bill.

Mr. Hedrick’s letter suggests that Congressman Southerland is not cooperative and opposes bipartisanship. It’s not that way at all. He would have to compromise his principles to agree with House liberals. In any event, bipartisanship is a two-way street and when the Senate democrats offer a little bipartisanship, maybe some will flow over to the House.



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