Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Economy, war top concerns at Brooksville meeting with U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson visits with local leaders at a town hall session at Brooksville Regional Hospital on Thursday. He predicted that the next president will withdraw troops from Iraq. “You cannot continue a war unless you have the support of the American people,’’ he said.

LANCE ARAM ROTHSTEIN | Times

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson visits with local leaders at a town hall session at Brooksville Regional Hospital on Thursday. He predicted that the next president will withdraw troops from Iraq. “You cannot continue a war unless you have the support of the American people,’’ he said.

BROOKSVILLE — The same message U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson has heard from one end of the state to the other, he heard from Hernando County's elected and business leaders over lunch on Thursday.

"There is a frustration bubbling up, almost anger. It's because people are hurting, hurting financially,'' Nelson told about 40 leaders assembled at the Brooksville Regional Hospital.

For the next hour, Nelson listened to the concerns of locals on issues ranging from the Iraq war and the need for affordable health care to alternative energy sources and economic incentive options.

Their theme too was that people are struggling in the current economic atmosphere, which local real estate agent and planning and zoning commission member Bob DeWitt said "looks like a recession.''

Nelson's visit was one in his series of town hall sessions. Starting in Inverness early Thursday, he also visited Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River, a property proposed for public purchase. Then he flew to Brooksville midday and was slated to be in Sumter County after that.

The week will culminate in a trip back to Washington where Saturday morning he will make a presentation to the Democratic National Committee "to try to get (the Florida) delegation seated,'' Nelson told the Brooksville group, which responded with applause.

When asked about troop withdrawal in Iraq, Nelson took a long pause, mostly to chew his food. He quipped about how important it was in his job that, "When you see food, you better eat it.''

Then he got serious.

"Pay attention to this presidential race,'' he said. "At the end of the day, whoever is elected … what they will do will be pretty close to the same.''

Nelson predicted any of the three major candidates would likely begin a troop withdrawal after the election because all of them can read the handwriting on the wall about public opinion. "You cannot continue a war unless you have the support of the American people,'' he said.

On the painful topic of the soaring price of gasoline, Nelson said that "whoever is president, they're going to have to get serious.''

He spoke about the need to explore alternative fuel sources and require more conservation. Nelson also noted how the various oil crises over time have been cyclical with solutions found in the short term, then things slid back into crisis when people stopped making the issue a priority.

Greed, skittishness about the possibility of the oil supply going away, the value of dollar and even oil futures speculation have all added to the problem, Nelson said.

While he said he held his nose and voted for the economic stimulus package, he supported other ideas that would have put more people to work but the existing one was "an important symbolic thing for people to know that government was trying to do something.''

But he questioned the logic.

"As one person said to me, 'You're going to send checks out to people so they can go down to the Wal-Mart and buy Chinese goods of which, in order to pay for $160-billion stimulus package, you're having to borrow money from China.' ''

Nelson also spoke out against the logic of cutting educational grant money, noting that the United States can only succeed in a global market with a well-educated workforce and the innovations of technology.

"It's like you're eating your seed corn,'' he said. "You won't have any seed for next year's crop.''

Nelson also thanked the local elected officials for what they do.

Turning to Commissioner Diane Rowden, who helped organize the event, he said, "The big difference between your job and my job, commissioner, is that I can leave town.''

The crowd chuckled.

"You're the front line of defense. Thank you for that,'' the senator said.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at behrendt@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1434.

Economy, war top concerns at Brooksville meeting with U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson 05/29/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 30, 2008 11:51am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. President Trump offers prayers for Kissimmee police

    Blogs

    President Donald Trump reacted to the police shooting in Kissimmee:

  2. Kissimmee police officer dies, one gravely wounded; Jacksonville officers shot

    News

    KISSIMMEE — A Kissimmee police officer died and a second was gravely wounded Friday night, police Chief Jeff O'Dell said.

    Two police officers have been shot and killed in Kissimmee, authorities say. The shooting happened in the area of Palmway and Cypress around 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Photo courtesy of WESH.com
  3. Longest home run at Trop and Erasmo Ramirez's pitching doom Rays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kevin Kiermaier returned. The problem was, so did Erasmo Ramirez.

    Seattle Mariners first baseman Yonder Alonso (10) scores on the double by Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz (23) in the first inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 18, 2017.
  4. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming

    Roads

    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  5. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    Jameis Winston, left, tries to hang on to the ball as Jaguars defensive end Dante Fowler tries to strip it from him.