Sunday, April 4, 2010

Marco Rubio Fails on Immigration Reform

Illegal immigration is one of the biggest issues facing Florida, but to date Marco Rubio has shown that he isn’t ready or willing to tackle this challenge.

Rubio served as the Speaker of the Florida State House but failed to move any proposal forward that would have resulted in immigration reform for the people of Florida. If Rubio can’t get something done on such an important issue at the state level, it begs the question how could he possibly do it at the federal level?

According to a comment Dave Caulkett the VP of Floridians for Immigration Enforcement left in response to a 2009 Miami Herald blog post:

“Prior to the Session the FLIMEN Political Committee received an assurance from a Rubio aide that all bills would be allowed to move. That was a lie... The trail is very clear that Speaker Rubio bottled up the bills to never move toward even a hearing. Speaker Rubio did placate Floridians by allowing a workshop but he never intended the bills to move out of committee. Speaker Rubio used his lieutenants Rivera and Zapata to smear pro-enforcement Floridians with false racial allegations.”

Marco Rubio, clearly talks out of both sides of his mouth.

Even the Miami Herald noted in and April 17, 2008 article by Laura Figueroa that Marco Rubio had conspired to stop House Bills 73, 159, 571, 577 and 821 – all of which had a component to reigning in illegal immigration - from ever seeing the light of day:

“Without the backing of House Speaker Marco Rubio, the first Cuban-American to hold the position, the bills failed to get any major play in their committees. Six weeks into the session, a three-hour workshop was held on the six House bills, but even that failed to produce its desired intent of combining the bills into one larger committee bill... "Speaker Rubio outlined the priorities of the session and this didn't fall under that list,'' said Rivera, one of Rubio's lieutenants.”

Rubio has tried to spin folks and chalk it up as a “procedural matter”, but this isn’t a reason. It’s an excuse.

Seriously, does Rubio really think that we believe him? I know I don’t. Marco Rubio might be fooling himself, but he just looks like a plain fool to me.

Immigration reform calls for decisive action; without it, our state budget and local and national economy are at risk, particularly with Florida’s unemployment at the highest it’s been since 1970. We simply can’t afford to send someone to the U.S. Senate like Marco Rubio who doesn’t have a “can do” attitude.

According to the American Constitution Society (ACS), unauthorized workers make up five percent of the U.S. workforce which means that immigration reform is a vital component to our economic recovery and future development.

Maurice Belanger, Director of Public Information for the National Immigration Forum noted in an ACS blog post that, “The Center for American Progress estimates that comprehensive immigration reform will result in a $1.5 trillion boost to the economy over a ten year period. By contrast, the economy would take a $2.6 trillion hit over ten years if we were to send all unauthorized workers packing.”

These dollar figures are significant, but hey why would Rubio care? After all, only a true fiscal conservative would think about the economic impact immigration reform would have on our state and our country.

Marco Rubio is a conservative of convenience and it is really starting to show.

That's why I'm supporting Charlie Crist. Charlie Crist has listened to the people of Florida. Crist knows that we want meaningful immigration reform and he will work to make it happen.

Charlie Crist has been in the arena fighting for Florida and he has continuously placed our state above politics. I hope that you will either volunteer to help Crist or make a donation to his campaign. The future of Florida depends on it.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Marco Rubio Continues to Demonstrate his Inexperience

Governor Crist really separated himself as a true leader in his first debate with Marco Rubio on the Fox Morning Show with Chris Wallace this Sunday.

Crist was clearly the winner. At every turn Crist showed that he had the people of Florida’s best interests at heart. Rubio, on the other hand was combative, evasive, and demonstrated his inexperience.

“Here are the facts”, a phrase Rubio quipped so frequently during the debate I almost thought it was part of an insider’s drinking game:

• Rubio didn’t have any answers to the allegations of the misappropriation of funds.

• Rubio admitted that he supported the largest tax increase in Florida’s history.

• Rubio tried to sidestep his lack of work on the issue of immigration in the Florida house.

• Rubio said he would raise the age for social security for Florida’s retirees.

• Rubio continued to highlight his youth and inexperience each time he mentioned his age.

Referencing the $34,000 in PAC expenses that he failed to disclose, Rubio says “all this money’s been accounted for,” but I haven’t seen a full accounting nor has anyone else in the public or media.

Crist has not only released his tax returns, but has them posted front and center on his campaign site. Rubio hasn’t released his tax returns yet and has given no indication of when he will.

Inquiring minds want to know why? What is Rubio hiding?

When the debate got to Rubio wanting to replace property taxes with a statewide sales tax, Crist was quick to remind viewers that such a tax would create a new tax burden for 40% of Florida residents who are renters and do not pay property taxes.

But in a brief moment of honesty, Rubio admitted: "Let me tell you about that supposed program to raise taxes that he keeps talking about, it was probably the largest tax increase in Florida's history."

On Social Security, Rubio believes that we should all continue to pay into the Social Security fund, but wants to change the rules in the middle of the game. Rubio would lower benefits and push for a greater age for retirees to start receiving those benefits.

Crist, on the other hand, would work to gain support to reform Social Security for Floridians and all Americans through personal accounts where taxpayers would receive higher returns and benefits than are possible under the current system.

And then there was the issue of Immigration. Chris Wallace noted that some anti-illegal immigration bills didn't get to the state House floor while Rubio was speaker. Rubio claims: "We gave it a hearing," Rubio said. "The support wasn't there among the membership at the time." Rubio didn’t push or fight for it; he just accepted that there was “no support” for it. This is clearly a harbinger of how Rubio would further fail the people of Florida if he were to become part of the Washington, DC establishment.

Rubio had the audacity to say Crist doesn’t get it, but in reality it’s Rubio who doesn’t get it.

This election is about changing Washington, not managing it. The people of Florida need someone who lives their values; who works to find solutions; and someone who tells the truth to his constituents and his peers.

Ronald Reagan wrote in his American Life:"I'd learned while negotiating union contracts that you seldom got everything you asked for. And I agreed with FDR, who said in 1933: 'I have no expectations of making a hit every time I come to bat. What I seek is the highest possible batting average.'”

That’s how I think of Charlie Crist, someone who is seeking to do the best he can each time he gets up to bat for Florida. And that’s how I think Republicans in Florida are going to feel come August 24 when they cast their vote.

Show Charlie Crist your support. Volunteer or make a donation today.

Monday, March 22, 2010

And the Academy Award Goes to Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio claims to be a fiscal conservative, but Rubio's track record is proving that claim is no more than a line he delivers when the cameras are rolling.

First it was Rubio's inappropriate use of his corporate Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) Amex card that surfaced in February - something that would have gotten any other employee fired in the real world - exposing Rubio's love of political junkets. Somehow Rubio thought that fixing his wife's mini van and buying music equipment fell under business expenses.

But even RPOF spokesperson Katie Gordon said of the party's policy, "The RPOF American Expess Card is a corporate card and is meant to be used for business expenses."

And then there's that whole business of the $130 haircut he charged to the card. Bill Clinton liked expensive haircuts; John Kerry and John Edwards too. But hey, they never tried to create a reputation of being fiscal conservatives.

Yet even if you're able to get past Rubio's haute couture coif, it's now being reported that while average Americans struggle to find jobs and make ends meet, Rubio has been using the monies every day citizens gave to him to make a difference and run for political office, to make a difference with his and his family's own personal finances.

According to a March 13 St. Petersburg Times article, "Rubio failed to disclose $34,000 in expenses - including $7,000 he paid himself - for one of the [political] committees in 2003 and 2004, as required by state law."

Can you imagine failing to disclose $34,000 and telling the IRS that you didn't report it because you "forgot" to file the "bureaucratic paperwork" as his campaign adviser Todd Harris said?

Harris also claimed, "This is not taxpayer money we're talking about." No, it isn't taxpayer money, but rather money of people who simply pay taxes. At the end of the day, transparency is the end game, not a spokesperson trying to spin shadiness into light.

According to the same Times article: "One committee paid relatives nearly $14,000 for what was incorrectly described to the IRS as 'courier fees' and listed a nonexistent address for one of them." Additionally Rubio billed more than $51,000 for travel expenses that weren't itemized. In the real world, who does that and thinks the CFO is just going to sign a check and reimburse them?

If you said no one, or perhaps some executive who worked for Lehman Brothers or Citibank in 2008, you'd probably be right.

Unfortunately this is more than episodic poor judgment. Rubio continues to illustrate that he is no different than the Beltway insiders who already rule DC. These are the same insiders who are leaving struggling families on the wayside as they sweep aside the public interest and instead line their coffers with monies from special interest groups.

On the sitcom 30 Rock, Jenna tells Tracey that, "Acting is the discipline of being someone else at all times." Well Marco Rubio has that skill down. But Republicans have a right to know who they are supporting; who they're giving their money to; and how that money is being spent.

Marco Rubio's actions clearly demonstrate that he doesn't think that he has to answer to the public he says he wants to serve.

Ronald Reagan once likened the federal government to a baby: "An alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other." Voters are looking to lawmakers to end the wasteful spending that has plagued our government and contributed to our financial downfall, and Marco Rubio has shown that he would be more like that baby.

The people of Florida deserve better.

America has already lost confidence in the men and women who hang their hats on Capitol Hill. According to a March 2010 Polling Report, 76% of voters polled disapprove of how Congress is handling its job.

It's time to restore public trust and confidence and the only way to do that is to send responsible individuals like Governor Charlie Crist to the U.S. Senate so Congress can get her fiscal house in order.

Governor Crist has proven that he's a fiscally responsible leader by vetoing a record $459 million in pork barrel spending in the 2007 Florida state budget. During these times of economic uncertainty, Crist has been able to cut state spending by $7.4 billion while cutting taxes and ultimately saving Florida residents billions of dollars.

I urge you to join Charlie Crist and send a message to Marco Rubio that Florida Conservatives don't want someone who just talks the talk, but someone who walks the walk when the cameras are on or off.