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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sen. Bill Nelson ticked off about reaction to committee assignments

1

February

Sen. Bill Nelson is taking heat for being removed from the Armed Services committee, with the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce organizing a campaign to contact Nelson's office to "reconsider."

"Tell him Jacksonville and the military community need his support," president Wally Lee writes in an e-mail marked "URGENT." At least several people have already called Nelson's office in Washington.

Moments ago, Nelson fired off a tense reply, "to set the record straight regarding a highly inaccurate e-mail being published by your staff, and finding its way elsewhere in this era of new media and instant communication." Text below.

Wally Lee, President

Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce
3 Independent Drive
Jacksonville, FL 32202

Dear Wally:

This is to set the record straight regarding a highly inaccurate e-mail being published by your staff, and finding its way elsewhere in this era of new media and instant communication.

Below is the text prodding citizens to contact my office to “urge [me] to reconsider” leaving the Senate Armed Services Committee.  It suggests this “would be a blow to our economy.”

As Florida newspapers have reported, Democrats have been forced to give up committee posts not by choice but because of Republican gains in the November elections.  And, I have a written commitment from Sen. Reid that I will be able to return to Armed Services in two years with full seniority.

Meantime, the military and business communities in Jacksonville – in every city and town in Florida, for that matter – have had, and always will have, the strongest of advocates as long as I am in the Senate.  Rep. Ander Crenshaw and I were among the biggest advocates behind winning a nuclear carrier for Mayport, and we’ll continue fighting to ensure the military carries out the directive to homeport a carrier at Mayport.

Your e-mail warns “this will leave Florida with NO representation on either the Senate or House Armed Services Committee.”  Four members from the Florida delegation serve on the House Armed Services panel, according to the committee’s own website, and Rep. Crenshaw is a member of the powerful House Appropriations Defense subcommittee.

Over the years, I not only have helped Florida get the commitment for a nuclear carrier at Mayport, but also helped protect the state during base closures, preserved the military testing and training ranges in the Gulf of Mexico and bolstered the jet fighters training missions in the Panhandle, not to mention numerous other efforts that include veterans hospitals, national cemeteries and, more importantly, veterans and survivors benefits.

Further, I currently serve on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which has significant overlap into important military programs vital not only to Florida but also to national security, such as whether we should keep our nuclear carriers in one homeport.

By the way, the e-mail claims I left Armed Services for “a possible spot on the Commerce Committee.”  Wally, I have been on Commerce for ten years.

I thank you for insisting that your staff stick to the facts in future communications. 

Sincerely,

Bill

From: Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce
Sent: Monday, January 31, 2011

To:

Subject: A Message from Wally Lee - URGENT: Military Community needs your help!

 Your immediate action is required!

We have just learned that US Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) will be leaving the Senate Armed Services Committee for a possible spot on the Commerce Committee.  This will leave Florida with NO representation on either the Senate or House Armed Services Committee.

With such a huge Military presence here in Jacksonville and the thousands of jobs they support, this would be a blow to our economy and the ability to bring a carrier to our Port.

Please contact Senator Nelson's office today and urge him to reconsider.  Tell him Jacksonville and the Military community need his support. Hurry - time is running out!

*

[Last modified: Tuesday, February 1, 2011 4:20pm]

    

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