Brian Mast Speaks to Overflow Crowd at Abacoa

On Tuesday morning, well over 100 Tea Party stalwarts assembled for a breakfast buffet and some interaction with our CD18 Congressman Brian Mast.

With a Q&A format that started with written questions and progressed to passing the microphone around, the Congressman answered questions on a wide variety of topics, in many cases expanding on the questions to provide a nuanced look at the opportunities and challenges of this Congress.

Brian gave us a current status of the pictures on the wall at the VA, as the attention he brought to the issue resulted in a Presidential Order to mount the pictures of Donald Trump and VA Secretary David Shulkin in all VA facilities, then spoke of Congressional term limits as a way to help “drain the swamp”. Term limits would stop the “tenured” nature of committee chair positions, part of that swamp infrastructure.

When asked about interactions with lobbyists, he told us he meets with those pushing all sides of issues every day, but also reaches out to stakeholders for bills, like state Governors and other representatives, and finally sorts through the BS and makes up his own mind. Doing the right thing matters more to Brian than pandering for re-election, something he wished would motivate more of his colleagues. This is part of the reason that he has not joined any “voting caucuses” like the Freedom Caucus or the Tuesday Group – he does not want to commit to voting in lockstep with a Caucus consensus if he doesn’t agree with it.

On the budget, Brian was disappointed that there are not 12 individual appropriations bills in process as had been promised by House leadership, and he wished that the continuing resolution that passed had actually reduced spending. He was able to get $60M in that bill to reimburse the county for protecting the President when he comes to Mar-A-Lago though.

He spoke of co-authoring the “Hamas Sanction Bill” (Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act – H.R.2712), introduced a few days ago, his support for NASA and space exploration in general, and supporting the proposal for a water retention reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee as well as dike repairs.

And regarding the VA, he has asked Secretary Shulkin for space within the WPB Veterans Hospital for one of his staff to meet with Veterans regarding problems with care delivery. If Congressman were on-site to observe what transpires at VA facilities and raise the alarm when warranted, problems with the VA could be quickly improved. Since no space is yet forthcoming, Brian is asking his constituents, particularly the veterans, to contact the local VA Administrator and ask them to provide the space.

Following are some pictures provided by Carol Porter:

     

Congressman Brian Mast Holds Townhall

Along with District 6 County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay, Congressman Brian Mast stood center stage for over two hours today at Seminole Ridge High School and fielded a wide variety of questions, most from the Progressive point of view.

As he was battered by Obamacare fans berating his support for repeal & replace, Planned Parenthood partisans (very vocal those!!) who believe that a reduction of federal funding would put all women everywhere at risk of terrible diseases, those who demand Trump’s tax returns and an “independent investigation” into the President’s conspiring with the Russians to steal the election, Brian remained calm and collected and provided fearless and forthright answers to even the nastiest of questions.

Other topics included dealing with the opiate crisis (for which Commissioner McKinlay is a local leader), global warming, water quality, and tax reform. Surprisingly , there were no questions on immigration, the military or foreign policy. Many of the progressive contingent held up agree/disagree signs or red/green papers to indicate their feelings on the issues.

Judging by the questions and amount of applause for those asking them, about 90% of the 200-300 in the audience were clearly not Republican voters, yet our Congressman gave the impression that he is in Washington to support ALL the people in the district, regardless of party.

When Brian returns for his next town hall, probably during the next Congressional recess, it would behoove those who are his core supporters to actually show up. Brian carried the district by 11 points – he should not have to hear only from his opponents at these events.

TPP Leader Jennie Beth Martin Visits with PBCTP

In South Florida to speak at the Martin County Lincoln Day Dinner, Tea Party Patriots leader Jennie Beth Martin spent a couple of hours with a contingent from the Palm Beach County Tea Party on Saturday.

Meeting in the lobby of a resort hotel in Stuart, the discussion was wide-ranging. Fresh from a visit to the Oval Office to discuss Obamacare repeal with President Trump and other national grassroots leaders from Heritage, Heritage Action, FreedomWorks and others, she described that meeting and the current state of the repeal effort.

While not everyone agrees that the defeat of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) bill was a “victory”, the opposition from the Freedom Caucus, supported by TPP and the other groups was principled and predicated on the limited effect the bill would have had on premium costs. Much of the TPP membership that was polled did oppose the bill.

Though repeal and replace is now showing some signs of new life from the administration and Congressional groups, the immediate reaction following the bill’s withdrawal was that Obamacare would remain the “law of the land” for the forseeable future as Congressional Republicans are not unified enough to move forward. Jenny Beth was more optimistic, and did not agree that the issue was dead. There are things proceeding as we speak, she said, including some of the so-called “phase 2” items that HHS Secretary Price can enact on his own, and Congressional work will continue after the Easter recess.

Also discussed were the state of the national tea party movement, and ways that we could be more effective locally in turning out people to work on specific projects. Besides being very knowledgeable and open about the nature of the movement and how it must change now that our side has the tools to actually govern, she is a very good listener. She heard comments on combating voter fraud, influencing legislators, dealing with local issues like the proliferation of “Welcoming Cities” and other topics, offering advice and suggestions along with anecdotes from other areas of the country.

A national leader since the inception of the Tea Party in 2009, Jennie Beth was a speaker at the first March on Washington in September of that year that drew over 1 Million people to the capital.


Under the leadership of Jenny Beth Martin, Tea Party Patriots has grown to be the largest and most effective national umbrella group within the Tea Party movement. Jenny Beth Martin and Tea Party Patriots now use their network to reach millions of Americans every week with education and updates about fiscal responsibility, free market principles, and constitutionally limited government. Because of her continual involvement in the major events that set the course of the United States government, Jenny Beth Martin is a frequent guest on almost every major television, radio, print, and online news outlet in America. In 2010 Time Magazine listed Jenny Beth Martin as one of the 100 Most Influential Leaders in the World. Her first book, “Tea Party Patriots: The Second American Revolution”, was published in 2012.

She is a lifelong Georgian and has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia. Jenny Beth is the mother of boy-girl twins.

Congressman-Elect Brian Mast visits Abacoa

Congressman-elect Brian Mast highlighted a packed meeting at Abacoa on Monday, thanking the members, many of whom worked hard for his election, and Brian was presented with a musical globe by PBCTP leaders Mel and Barbara Grossman. The globe plays “The Impossible Dream”.


Tea Party leaders present musical globe to our Congressman-Elect. From left: Fred Scheibl, Joe Burge, Bert Shadowen, Barbara Grossman, Iris Scheibl, Mel Grossman, Marion Frank, Terry Gallagher, Congressman-Elect Brian Mast.

In his remarks, Brian related the process of coming up to speed, including the “Freshman Orientation” in Washington. A dinner, held in the “old halls of the capital” was particulary memorable as they dined in the same space where slavery and the other momentous issues in our history were debated. He will leave this job, Brian said, when he no longer feels chills upon entering the building.

Brian’s office will be room 2182 of the Rayburn Office Building, where he plans to also reside – something that 80 or so other Congressman do while they are in the capital.

For committee assignments, in keeping with his desire to work on projects of interest in the district, Brian has selected Transporation and Infrastructure as his first choice, followed by Veterans Affairs, Armed Services, Foriegn Affairs and Homeland Security.

When the 115th Congress convenes in January, he expects the first order of business will be Obamacare Repeal through a reconciliation bill (with “replace” coming later). He does not expect smooth sailing however, and cautions that the Democrats, particularly in the Senate, will be working overtime to derail and obstruct progress on the Trump and Congressional agendas.

We were told that Brian plans to open offices in all three of the counties making up district 18, and will be holding town halls when he periodically returns to the district.

A number of interesting questions were asked, including his plans regarding “dialing for dollars” – the significant focus on fundraising that all Congressmen are expected by their Caucus to do. Brian was honest about it – running for Congress every two years is very expensive, and he feels an obligation to help “replenish the coffers” of the NRCC and other groups that helped him compete against the heavily funded Randy Perkins. But dollars won’t buy his vote – he has been given good advice from the caucus leaders to “vote your district”.

Present at the meeting were two candidates for City Council in Palm Beach Gardens – Mark Marciano and Matthew Lane. With three open seats in that city thanks to term limits, neither currently have an opponent, but that could change prior to the filing deadline of late January. Gardens Mayor Marcie Tinsley was also at the meeting.

VOTE NO on the SALES TAX

Shortly, the Economic Council and others will be spending over $200,000 to convince you that the county sales tax should be raised to 7%. You will hear that the infrastructure is crumbling, that the children are sweating in their classrooms with broken air conditioners, that the roads have potholes and the bridges are falling down. You will hear that a sales tax is good because 25% of it will come from tourists, and that tens of thousands of jobs will be created to rebuild those roads and bridges, county buildings, the jail and the parks.

Don’t be fooled. This 17% increase in the sales tax will generate much more revenue than is arguably needed to repair the infrastructure that was neglected by conscious choices of county staff and commission. Over the last 5 years, the ad-valorem budget has grown 33%, yet Engineering and Public Works only saw a 3% growth. At the same time, the Sheriff’s budget grew by 28% and county employees saw 12% in across the board raises (3% / year for 4 years). These conscious choices indicate that those running our county and school system were willing to defer maintenance until a pitch could be made for a new source of revenue.

A bond issue could have funded the critical needs. Instead, they want a sales tax that will generate $2.7B over 10 years whether it is needed or not. Do not doubt that they will spend every penny.

10 important reasons to reject the sales tax question on the upcoming ballot:

1. A 17% increase in the sales tax is a net tax increase of $270M per year, with no offsets to property taxes.

2. It is regressive and will affect low income residents the hardest.

3. It is not subject to the scrutiny applied to the annual ad-valorem budget.

4. It creates an incentive to purchase outside the county (Both Broward and Martin are at 6%, many internet retailers do not collect sales tax).

5. It is not an “infrastructure maintenance tax” but includes many new capital projects.

6. Unlike an infrastructure bond that would raise just enough money for critical needs, this granular tax generates a specific amount of money, and low priority projects will have to be funded in order to spend it all. Like previous proposals, it is a grab-bag of projects, many of which would never be done without a “must spend” windfall.

7. Charter schools get nothing.

8. Many of the municipalities (PBG, Boca) didn’t want the money.

9. It comes on top of the largest ad-valorem tax haul at the county level in history, up 8.2% over last year and up 33% since 2012. If passed, the 2017 equivalent tax hike would be 18%.

10. Over the last 5 years, the county has consistently underfunded engineering and public works (+3%), while increasing the Sheriff’s budget by 28% and giving across the board raises to employees of 12% (3%/year for 4 years). When the overall ad-valorem budget increased by 33%, engineering saw a total of 3% in 5 years. This was a conscious choice.

Don’t be an enabler!

VOTE NO ON THE SALES TAX ON THE NOVEMBER BALLOT.

Steven Steinlight on Immigration Policy

A self described “deplorable”, immigration think-tank researcher Dr. Steven Steinlight, a policy analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, gave us an insightful tour around US immigration policy past and present.

Concentrating on the “Cleveland Plank” – the immigration section of the Republican Party Platform, he cautioned that platforms are not binding on candidates or officials. The platform does contain much of what Donald Trump has been proposing, including opposing amnesty, using e-Verify, building the wall, increasing internal enforcement and ending sanctuary cities, and it is certainly good as far as it goes.

Dr. Steinlight does note some significant omissions though, including shifting legal immigration to merit rather than family (86% are now admitted because of family ties), dealing with Muslim immigration and using ideological vetting (accept our culture or don’t come), and dealing with the deportation of resident illegals.

Calling the various attempts at “Comprehensive” immigration reform as an elitist juggernaut, he recalled how a grassroots uprising was able to shut it down on multiple occasions. Saying he does not consider himself a “citizen of the world” – the claim of the globalist elite and much of the left, he claims that much of the elite establishment loathing of Donald Trump is rooted in a desire for open borders and uncontrolled immigration.

Discarding the conventional wisdom that Romney lost because of the opposition of Hispanics (who don’t really vote in large numbers), he cited the large number of white working-class voters who sat out the 2012 election but are now returning to the game behind the Trump banner.

He ended with a list of his three most important immigration policy imperatives: Building the wall, adopting e-Verify widely, and ending family-based immigration criteria in favor of skill and ability.

Also at the meeting were candidates Rick Roth (Florida House 85), Bruce Nathan (NPA for US Senate), and a surrogate for Sonny Maken (Port of Palm Beach Commissioner).


Rick Roth

Bruce Nathan

Candidate Expo Brings Voters to Candidates

The PBCTP Candidate expo at Abacoa drew a broad collection of candidates for office and staffers at all levels – US Senate, US House, Florida Senate and House, County Commission, School Board, Sheriff, Property Appraiser, Public Defender … who mingled with the voters and made their case.

Here’s a few photos of the event:

  • Alex Freeman for Sheriff Alex Freeman for Sheriff
  • Barry Carson with Stuart Mears (FH86) Barry Carson with Stuart Mears (FH86)
  • Rebecca Negron (CD18) Rebecca Negron (CD18)
  • Ron Berman (FS30) Ron Berman (FS30)
  • Make America Great Again! Make America Great Again!
  • Mary Lynn Magar Mary Lynn Magar
  • Dorothy Jacks (PA) Table Dorothy Jacks (PA) Table
  • Jane Pike for Paul Spain (CD21) Jane Pike for Paul Spain (CD21)
  • East end of the hall East end of the hall
  • Barry Carson with Linda Stoch Barry Carson with Linda Stoch Make America Great Again!
  • Pam Wohlschlegel for Marco Rubio Pam Wohlschlegel for Marco Rubio
  • Marion Frank with Barbara McQuinn (SB1) Marion Frank with Barbara McQuinn (SB1)
  • Rick Kozell (CD18) with Terry Gallagher Rick Kozell (CD18) with Terry Gallagher
  • The west side The west side
  • PBCTP President Mel Grossman PBCTP President Mel Grossman
  • Brian Mast (CD18) Brian Mast (CD18)

     

Political Jamboree draws many local candidates

Every two years, during the summer of an election year, the county GOP hosts a “Jamboree” – an old fashioned political picnic for candidates on the upcoming ballot to introduce themselves to the party activists. With a barbecue lunch under the pavillion roof, surrounded by covered booths hosted by candidates and political clubs, it is gathering place for the GOP faithful and those who seek to represent them at all levels of government.

Brian Mudd Predicts Election Results at Abacoa

With his catchphrase “Passion plus talent is unstoppable”, WJNO’s co-host for the Morning Rush (5am-9pm) Brian Mudd, explained some of his election modeling work to an engaged crowd at Abacoa on Monday.


Brian Mudd

In our history, Presidential elections have followed a predictable pattern based on three conditions.

First, no Democrat President other than Harry Truman (who as Vice President succeeded after the death of Roosevelt) has ever been elected to follow a 2-term Democrat President. Advantage: Republicans.

Second, no President succeeded another of the same party who had less than a 54% approval rating. With Obama currently at 48%, advantage: Republicans.

Third, no President succeeded another of the same party when the “right track / wrong track” polling was less than 50%. With it currently standing at 28% right track, 65% wrong track – again advantage Republicans.

Taking these three indicators into account, Brian confidently predicts a Republican win, all things being equal. That said, there are still some wild cards this year. Clinton could be indicted, the Republicans could self destruct, etc. In general though, people vote their wallet and since the recession hasn’t really ended for many Americans, it does not bode well for the party in power.

Taking a range of questions from the audience, Brian also discussed convention politics, economic growth, possible actions by the FED, and the so-called “Trump Bubble” (Mr. Trump’s prediction of coming recession and risks in the stock market).


Lauren Konkol

A second speaker for the evening was Lauren Konkol, a millennial activist who describes some of her activities as “integrating the gospel in the public square.” Formerly associated with Turning Point, USA, the student activist organization that recruits college students into the conservative fold, Lauren spoke of some of her projects to fight apathy among her age group. With the theme “the good is the enemy of the great”, she explained how millennials can feel marginalized but will follow a political ideology that speaks to their needs and interests, and that her “generation is not one that can be stopped.” Lauren has plans to run for the Florida House.

Candidates present at the meeting included Carl Domino and Rebecca Negron (CD18), and Alex Freeman (Sheriff).

If you missed Brian Mudd at this meeting, you can catch him in Wellington on April 6.

GOP at the Crossroads

Many of the so-called “establishment” are seriously plotting ways to thwart the results of the primaries at the Republican convention. They apparently feel that “their” party has been taken over by the barbarians from flyover country. They think that a convention draft of someone who has entered no primaries, taken part in no debates, spent no time campaigning, would be preferable to either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. Even a Hillary Clinton presidency (the likely outcome of such a draft) would be preferable to submitting to the rabble.

My first reaction was that they had seriously lost touch with the rank and file of the Republican party, but that is an oversimplification.

The party is defined by its voters – not those that consider themselves the “leaders”. Who are they leading? People like Mitt Romney, John McCain, Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham have much more in common with Hillary Clinton than they do with the “real” Republicans who provide the heart and soul of the GOP. Maintaining the status quo in Washington, with a heavily Progressive bureaucracy controlling more and more of our daily lives and a Congress that sees being the majority as simply a means to a bigger office and more access to lobbyist dollars, is the goal of both parties. The so-called “GOP leadership”, including our new Speaker who has given the Obama juggernaut everything it wants in their spending bills, have betrayed those that gave them the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014.

I have been a Republican for my entire voting life and have worked for candidates at all levels since the 2004 re-election of George W. Bush. I held my nose and supported McCain, and supported (although with minimal enthusiasm) Romney as he threw away what should have been an easy win by running one of the worst campaigns in modern history. I will no longer support those who have such contempt for the voters as to tell us we are morons.

The McConnells and Boehners and Ryans tell us they can’t govern from the Congress – even though they told us if we elected them in 2010 and 2014 they would change the dynamic. Now they claim they need the Presidency.

In my view, we need an insurgent – a real change agent, to alter the relationship between our government and its citizens. Currently what we have is condescension and scorn, with a dose of fraud and deceit for good measure. We are at an inflection point in our history – the country is circling the drain and everyone out there in flyover country knows it but people of the “GOP leadership” just can’t (or won’t) acknowledge it.

Without drastic change, starting immediately, the country is lost. Donald Trump may not be a movement conservative, but he is a change agent. Stopping illegal immigration, negotiating better trade deals, changing our tax and regulatory structure to bring whole industries back to the US, repudiating the “America Last” policies of Obama and Clinton – that is his agenda. Ted Cruz would proceed with a similar set of goals, but I think that Trump has a better chance of actually becoming President. He has already put a dent into the Clinton’s machine by reminding us all that Bill is an un-indicted sex offender, and that she has committed felonies – whether the Justice department prosecutes them or not. He has already altered the party registration picture, generated unprecedented turnout and voter loyalty, and has a good chance to bring some blue states to the Republican fold.

It is not that Trump will “change the Republican Party” or if it can “survive”. The party has already changed – Trump is just the best candidate suited to lead what it has become. Any attempt to ignore the will of the voters with shenanigans at the convention will not just disrupt this year’s race – it will end the GOP.

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