Readers, I feel like just having fun today — and invite you to come along for the ride! Nothing is better than just letting Allen West speak for himself, so here is his latest weekly update, which I’m posting it in its entirety, with comments and links by me in brackets, and anything boldface is mine, not Rep. West’s. Enjoy!
Greetings constituents, fellow Floridians, and all Americans who shall read this missive. Another week has flown by and what an eventful one!
Before I begin, let me say one simple thing. The most important civil liberty of an American is their life. As a matter of fact, it is the first inalienable right addressed in the Declaration of Independence.
This week, we had a vote to extend three provisions within the PATRIOT Act; Library Provision, Roving Wiretap, and Lone Wolf. I voted YES for these extensions and many of you called me a traitor and felt that I had turned my back on your 1st and 4th Constitutional rights.
A law abiding United States citizen has nothing to fear from me and my vote. However, I shall NOT ALLOW the enemies of our State to find gaps in which they will exploit our misplaced benevolence. There is a simple reason why radical Islamic terrorists and their supporters are successful in infiltrating Western nations. They take our founding premise of liberty and turn it against us. I say, NOT ON MY WATCH.
[If you’ve been reading this blog for long, you already know that the most important report thing for every American to read is the Center for Security Policy’s report Shariah: The Threat to America, which shows how the infiltrators do it, and names names.]
I can assure you that I will not allow this enemy any quarter, and shall uphold my commitment to our Constitution and all of you.
Now, onto one of the most eventful weeks in my life.
The week began with meetings with several local political and business leaders and impact players. The best part of the day was being invited to the Pinecrest School in Ft. Lauderdale and addressing the 5th grade class. When you stand before these young boys and girls, it energizes you and steels your resolve to fight for their future.
To those who are going to whine and complain about the $100B in federal spending we want to cut….go speak to a 5th grade class. I shall not burden them with the debt we have amassed. One 5th grader, Madison Hawthorne wrote me the most lovely note!
I also had the chance to address the Seniors at the school and their questions centered on the events in Egypt and the economic situation. They get it and recognize the seriousness of the domestic and foreign policy positions in which we find ourselves. These are our future leaders. I am committed to visit as many High School Senior classes in our district as possible.
[For those of you who don’t know, after West retired from the Army, he was a high-school history teacher, because he wanted to serve the next generation. During his active-duty years, he was also a college ROTC instructor for a time, and received awards for his excellence in teaching.]
Monday was also a big event in my life, as I turned 50 years of age. And no, there is no mid-life crisis! I did have a surprise birthday party that evening!
I flew back to DC early Tuesday, with many South Florida constituents, including local Mayors, on the plane. First on my agenda once I got back in the office, was a meeting with the incredible Brigitte Gabriel, President and CEO of ACT! for America. This woman is fully charged and focused and determined to secure the safety of her country. [Find out more at http://www.actforamerica.org/]
I had the chance to spend time with constituents at the showing of the film “Iranium” and was able to see one of my foreign policy heroes, Mr. Michael Ledeen. [You can watch “Iranium” online or purchase the DVD by clicking on the “Iranium” widget in this blog’s right-hand sidebar.] I then went to the Florida League of Cities reception and met the local Mayors before we had our Wednesday meeting. Another fantastic meeting was with former Presidential candidate, Gary Bauer, who is President of American Values. [More info at http://www.ouramericanvalues.org/]
Our Congressional office was honored to host the Head Administrator of the Small Business Administration, Ms. Karen Mills. She and I had a great discussion about reducing the regulatory burden on our small businesses and setting the conditions for their growth. I also was successful in having her agree to come down to CD-22 and visit our local economic engine, the South Florida business community.
We wrapped up Tuesday evening at the National Press Club where we participated in a Tea Party town hall meeting. It was an incredible, interactive event which reached over 2.5M people online. Watch it here. I was honored to share the stage with several US Senators and my House colleagues Steve King and Michele Bachmann. It is always great to have the chance to share perspectives and thoughts with the people whom we are elected to serve.
Due to the lateness of the hour, my Chief of Staff and I decided to hit our favorite Chinese food joint and while I was there in line, he received an incredible call. It was from the organizers at CPAC who asked me to be their keynote speaker. What an honor!
Wednesday got off to a great Army start when the Army Liaison hosted an Army Day in the lower Rayburn Building parking lot. The best part was the range being open and I got to fire two clips of 9mm, after my opening warning shot, we were dead center tight shot group. [Allen West has got our back!] It was there that young Army SGT Jason Aubin asked me if he could attend CPAC, and I said absolutely.
I decided to introduce that young hero to the gathering later in the week, which is no violation of the Hatch Act because it was not a political campaign event. How dare any liberals attack an American Soldier who has fought to guarantee their freedoms. It was my honor to have that young man walk on stage with me.
We had our GOP Conference meeting and as you know this past week we made the decision to honor the pledge of cutting spending by $100B. The pundits and the liberals are already decrying this and seeking means to make this effort unnecessary and accuse the GOP of promoting a government shutdown.
Let’s have an honest conversation, should we do nothing? Should we allow former Speaker Nancy Pelosi back in charge and again see a $5T increase in the debt, which occurred over her four years as Speaker? When will anyone look the House and Senate Democrats in the eye, as well as the President, and let them know we have to enact this massive undertaking because of their FAILURES!
We have a spending problem in Washington D.C. and the typical liberal tactic of fear mongering and class warfare diatribe, no longer holds any credibility in America. America was never intended to be a bureaucratic nanny-state and we are going to begin turning this ship around. As for this Conservative Congressman, the message is clear. The liberals had their shot and they threw dirt on the car that was run into the ditch.
We are going to build a new car!
[Touché! Way to take Obama’s car-in-the-ditch metaphor and turn it against him! LOL!]
Wednesday is always the heavy day with committee and subcommittee meetings and even with all that was going on we were able to make all required meetings.
Wednesday evening, I was invited to the annual Weyrich Awards dinner and it was a Who’s Who in the conservative movement. I had the distinct privilege of giving one of three five minute speeches from new freshmen. My message was simple and titled , ‘What Makes a Winner in America.’
Thursday was the first day of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) and you could feel an energy in Washington DC. Hat tip to all those who came over and visited our Congressional office.
The morning started with a House GOP Freshman class meeting where we made it clear that the pledge stated $100B and that was what we supported.
I gave my first one minute speech on the House floor that day in support of H.R. 72 which seeks to reduce the regulatory burden coming from the federal government agencies. [This small-business owner thanks you, Rep. West!] It was also the day that our House GOP leadership committed to the $100B in spending cuts. Yes, there is pain involved, but the longer we will go along deceiving ourselves, the pain will only increase.
It was later that day when we had two meetings, one with Speaker John Boehner, and the other with Armed Services Commiteee members, that set our clear path for confronting the Continuing Resolution. My position is that across the board would not suffice, we have to make the hard decisions and go into each specific program and create a line by line justification. I am quite sure at our next series of town hall meetings we will make this a topic of discussion.
Thursday evening, I attended the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation reception at PepsiCo. I was excited to meet the President of the Foundation and other prominent individuals.
Friday morning kicked off with an Awards breakfast where I and several other Freshmen Iraq veterans were honored for our past, present, and future service by the CEO of American Defense Systems, Inc. Afterwards, I proceeded to another of the many Armed Services classified briefings, focusing on the Middle East. After the meeting, I had a chance to drop by the U.S. Special Operations Command display where I thanked our most highly trained warriors for their service. I also got to see some of the new tactics techniques and deployment platforms being used by our SpecOps.
I then went back for an Armed Services Subcommittee hearing on the cyber threat and the Department of Defense’s role. This was a highly informative meeting and we had best get our act together in this critical aspect of the 21st century battlefield. My afternoon was spent with more meetings but they were good ones with a local flair.
I had an energized meeting with the new Co-Chair of the Republican Party, Sharon Day, who is also a constituent. [How cool is that?!] We talked about messaging, focus, and political strategy as we move forward in 2011.
I wrapped up Friday by developing my first draft of the CPAC speech and sent it to my two closest confidants, my Chief of Staff Jonathan Blyth and Joyce Kaufman….based upon their review and insights, I knew we would have a winner.
Saturday morning, I arose at 7:00 am and had a nice 8 mile run through DC and around the entire Washington Mall. [8 miles, woohoo! You’re an inspiration, Rep. West!] Running along the symbols of America’s national character just gives you a certain sense of what it means to be a citizen of this great Country. It also provides me the clear opportunity to visualize the coming event, the CPAC keynote speech. I got back to the “Batcave”, made some written notes for the speech, washed clothes, showered, dressed, and headed to the office.
I made my final changes to the speech, did three read throughs, and at 2:00 pm we departed for CPAC. I attended my first CPAC in 2008 and walked through the conference trying to get anyone to recognize me and our Congressional race . In 2009, I did not attend CPAC and in 2010, I was given the final 15 minute speech slot before the keynote which was Glenn Beck. Now, here I was, a brand new United States Representative about to deliver the closing speech to the largest gathering of Conservatives in America.
[That 15-minute speech in 2010 was one of his best — but that was also the weekend he gave the incredible 20-minute speech at Pam Geller’s “Jihad: The Political Third Rail” conference. Click on the links if you haven’t seen them yet!]
The response to my walking the halls was completely different from 2008 and 2010. The Palm Beach Post followed me around along with the Washington bureau of the Sun-Sentinel. We did several interviews, to include Geraldo Riviera, and we hit ABC News, Fox, PJTV, Newsmax, and Bloggers row (now that was a blast, an impromptu press session). [You can watch that session on yesterday’s blog post here.] At 5:00 pm, we headed to the “green room” and sat awaiting our turn, kind of like the Gladiator awaiting to enter the arena, as you hear the cheers and roar of the crowd. Then came the moment, Congressman West, we are ready. You say that final prayer, “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to thee o Lord my God.” You stand there at the end of the stairs and listen to outgoing American Conservative Union Chairman David Keene introduce you……and then he says your name and looks over. The first step is always the hardest, then you look upon a crowd of 3,000…game on.
And the rest is history and recorded on You Tube. Click CPAC
Steadfast and Loyal,
God has been so merciful to us, to give us this man, at this time, in this country. Godspeed, Allen West!