Posts Tagged Bill Nelson

Nelson’s Retirement Pressures Dems

As soon as Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson announced that he would retire rather than run for a third term,  Republicans began to look ahead to 2012 with the real possibility that the GOP could gain control of the Senate..  Currently, Democrats hold a 53-47 edge that includes Independents Joe Lieberman and Bernie Sanders.

Nelson’s retirement brings the number of Senate retirees to nine.  Six Democrats, Two Republicans and One Independent will not seek re-election in 2012.

Below are all Senate Retirements to Date.

  1. Arizona – Republican - John Kyl – 3 terms
  2. Connecticut – Independent – Joe Lieberman – 4 terms
  3. Hawaii – Democrat – Daniel Alkala – 4 terms
  4. Nebraska – Democrat – Ben Nelson – 2 terms
  5. New Mexico – Democrat – Jeff Bingaman – 5 terms
  6. North Dakota – Democrat Kent Conrad – 5 terms
  7. Texas – Republican – Kay Bailey Hutchison – 3 terms
  8. Virginia – Democrat – Jim Webb – 1 term
  9. Wisconsin – Democrat – Herb Kohl – 3 terms

These retirements will present the 2013 with a shortage of experience.  In total, these retirees have served 30 terms in the Senate.  The Democrats currently hold a 53-47 majority but that majority includes Independents Lieberman and Sanders who caucus with Democrats.  One cannot help but wonder if the high number of retirements is based on the highly volatile atmosphere in Washington.

The dismal approval rating of Congress detracts from the good work performed by serious, long-term Senators.  The high number of retirements is a reflection on the sorry state of Washington. 

Nelson’s retirement is likely to cost the Democrats a much-needed seat as a list of challengers assembles for a run against an unamed Democrat.  Nebraska’s popular Republican  Governor, Dave Heineman, has been approached by Senate Minority Leade Mitch McConnell to run for office.  Heineman informed the Omaha World-Herald that he was not considering a run for the vacant seat.  Nelson’s retirement caught Nebraska’s Democrats by surprise.  Former Senator and Democrat Bob Kerrey has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Nelson, but Kerrey was cool to overtures.

As it stands now, three Republicans will square off in a primary battle.  Attorney General Jon Bruning, State Treasurer Don Stenberg and state senator Deb Fischer will vie for the Republican nomination. If Kerrey stays out of the race, Democrats Kim Robak, a former Lieutenant Governor and state senator Steve Lathrop will run for the nomination.  Republicans were geared up to battle with Nelson and promised a formidable campaign.  In Nebraska, President Obama is not viewed favorably and all Democrats willface uphill battles.

Nelson was an independent thinker and voter.  He is also the only elected Democrat holding a Congressional seat.   Senator Nelson voted for the needs of his constituents.  Thos eneeds were not always Democratic initiatives.  Upon hearing of Nelson’s retirment, President Obama described Nelson’s bipartisan approach as “a trait far too often overlooked in today’s politics.”

Nelosn was involved in three controversial acts.  The first took place in 2005 when the Senate was controlled by the Republicans. Nelson joined the “Gang of 14″ Senators who agreed not to oppose GW Bush’s nominations for justices unless there were extraordinary circumstances.  This group allowed Bush to fill positions on the federal bench.

Nelson most controversial vote came during the Obama health insurance debate. Initially,  Nelson would only agree to the legislation if Nebraska would be exempot from paying for the expanded Medicare coverage.  Republicans dubbed this concession, which Nelson later rescinded, the “Cornhusker Kickback.”  This incident was sure to be recalled during another run by Nelson.

Senator Nelson’s  third controvesial position surfaced in Agust of 2011.  The Senator voted against the debt ceiling increase.  He explained his vote saying, “it sets up a maze on convuluted procedures that willonly continue the chaos and political games Nebraskans are tired of seeing.”

In the 2012 elections, Democrats are defending 23 seats.  Republicans are defending 10 seats.  It is early to tell how some important races will conclude.  Senator Patty Murray of Washington is the chairwoman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaogn Committee. In response to Nelson’s announcement, Murray said, “We remain confident that we will hold the majority next year because incumbents have built strong organizations in their states.”

That may be true, but Republicans want the Senate and the Presidency to add to their majority in the House.  They are armed and dangerous.  Tea Party activists are already taking their grass roots campaign to the people.  Polls suggest that political ideology will play a big part in the 2012 elections.  It is expected that more Americans than ever before will vote straight down party lines.  The Democrats’ ability to hold the Senate may well rest with President Obama.  If the President can somehow work around Congress and get his jobs bill approved, all Democrats may get a boost.

One cannot help but recall Senator Mitch McConnell’s pledge that his most important goals was to make President Obama a one-term President.  If the Republicans had used the same energy as has been expended working against Obama to concentrate on the People’s needs, the recovery from the Republican-caused recession would be on more stable ground.

Two important seats that Democrats could gain belong to Scott Brown of Massachussetts and  the seat held by Dean Heller in Nevada.  Heller was appointed to fill the seat held by John Ensign, who retired following an ethics inquiry.  House Democrat Shelley Berkley is popular in her home state and has an excellent chance to outduel Heller.

In Massachussetts, Elizabeth Warren has masterfully gained support for her run at Brown.  Warren is an Obama favorite and is in a state that will strongly support the President.  Warren is a credible candidate with outstanding experience in the bureacracy of Washington.  In rceent polls, Warren has edged past Brown who will take to the offense in January.

Republicans need to gain just four seats to have the majority in the Senate.  In order to hold the majority and have a workable balance of power, a Democratic Senate is the nation’s best bet.  If  We The People lose the Senate, we will only have ourselves to blame.  We Democrats need your votes and your hard work.  If We The People do not fight for ourselves, we leave ourselves subject to the whims of the Republicans.

If they have their way, Republicans will send We The People to engage Iran.  We The People will earn less.  The entitlements will diminish as the budget for defense continues to escalate.  The quality of education will suffer.  The environment will be at risk.  And, the country will once again be at the mercy of too big too fail institutions.

If that is what you want, you are We The Few, not We The People.  Let’s do our very best to get the President another term, increase our  majority in the Senate and take back the House.  How pleasant it would be to restore sanity to government.  Every Tea Party candidate and every signee of the Norquist Pledge must be run out of town.  That is the only course of action to make the insanity cease and desist.

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Senator Bill Nelson In Fight For Florida Re-election

The goal of every American should be to end the gridlock that has frozen Congress since the arrival of Grover Norquist’s pledge and Tea Party activists in 2010.  In the Senate, Democrats may have difficulty holding and increasing their slim majority.  21  Democratic Senators, 10 Republican Senators and 2 Independent seats will at stake on November 6, 2012.

Senator Bill Nelson speaks
Creative Commons License photo credit: jonworth

With a congressional approval rating of 9 percent, every incumbent can expect strong opposition.  This reality is a dark cloud hovering over Democrats in the Senate.  President Barrack Obama has framed the Democratic platform as a hopeful plan to help the impoverished and middle class from irresponsible legislation that threatens the country’s educational system, health programs, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

In 2012, Democrats are expected to push hard for the millionaire and billionaire tax increase that the majority of Americans and many millionaires and billionaires support.  Those members of Congress who have signed the Norquist Pledge have staunchly opposed any tax increase proposals or any legislation paid for by this tax increase.

The majority of American voters support the millionaire and billionaire tax.  However, many of their constituents were unaware that their representatives and senators had signed the controversial pledge.  Every candidate for public office should be required to state their position on the Norquist Pledge. Furthermore, no new congressional members should sign the pledge unless their constituents agree with the pledge.

The paralysis of the Norquist pledge was best exemplified when 8 Republican presidential hopefuls responded that they would not support a tax increase even if every dollar of the tax increase was accompanied by 10 dollars in spending cuts.  This revelation left all Democrats and many Republicans stunned by the inflexible response.  To unlock gridlock, congressional members who have signed the Norquist pledge must go. Although they may not admit it, traditional Republicans will welcome the departure of these extremist politicians.

This country needs honest politicians who are willing to respond to the people’s needs not the paralyzing political agenda that has caused the US credit rating to slump and has not provided one constructive job program.  The 2012 voter will have tough decisions to make, but by eliminating the Norquist supporters the Congress may be able to function as effective bodies of government.  At this point, that 9 percent approval rating has a long way to go.  2012 is the first step in what promises to be a steep climb back to the functional bodies that We The People need.

Once again, Florida promises to be a key battleground state.  With a very unpopular first term Republican Governor, Rick Scott, voters have begun circulating a petition for recall. Scott’s endorsement carries little weight and may well work against other Republican candidates in 2012.

The senior Senator from Florida is Bill Nelson. The Senator was educated at Yale and obtained his law degree from the University of Virginia.  Nelson enjoys a productive 30-year career in politics.  Bill is a fiscally moderate Democrat.  He began public service by serving in the Florida State House of Representatives from 1972 until 1979.  Presently, Nelson serves on the centrist Democratic Leadership Council. Senator Nelson served in the US House from 1979 until 1991.  He won the election to the Senate in 2001 and was re-elected in 2006.

Bill has successfully represented Floridians in both houses of congress.  He is passionate about NAS and is the only member of Congress to go into space.  He has long advocated that Washington should increase funding to NASA.  In 2001, Nelson warned “You just can’t continue to starve the American space agency of funds (without jeopardizing safety.) I am very frustrated with the White House budget proposal on NASA.”  His comments were ignored and in 2003 the shuttle suffered a fatal accident.

Senator Nelson has or is currently serving on the following important Senate committees.

*     Commerce, Science and Transportation

*     Commerce Subcommittee on Technology and Space (Chairperson)

*     Budget Committee

*     Finance Committee

*     Select Committee on Intelligence

*     Special Committee on Aging

Senator Nelson is highly respected.  He has a long record on integrity in terms of respect for civil liberties, transparency and public accessibility, equal rights, environmental protections and peaceful solutions to foreign policy issues.

Several Republicans have not committed to the primary.  The possible list of candidates is long.

*     George LeMieux of Broward County.  Former chief of staff for Governor Charlie Crist who was appointed by Crist to fill the seat of Mel Martinez.

*      Mike Haridopolos – The President of the State Senate hails from Merritt Island.

*     Connie Mack IV – Member of the US House. Has strong name recognition.

*     Adam Hasner - Former State House Majority Leader.  Excellent fund-raiser.

*     Vern Buchanan – Member of the US House.  Serves on Ways and Means Committee.

Other possible Republican candidates are Jeb Bush, Mike McCalister, Bill Fisher, Allen West and others.

Below are the results of “You just can’t continue to starve the American space agency of funds (without jeopardizing safety.) I am very frustrated with the White House budget proposal on NASA.” In 2003, the space program experienced a fatal crash.

Below are the results of a Wilson, Perkins, Allen Research poll on 11-16-11.

1.     Nelson 48% vs. Hasner 33%

2     Nelson 47 % vs. Lemieux 32%

3.     Nelson 46% vs. Mack 35%

4.     Nelson 47% vs. McCalister 32%

5.     Nelson 49% vs. Miller 30%

This is a Senate Race that Democrats can ill afford to lose.  It would be helpful if a recall of Governor Scott is successful.  There is a strong possibility that Florida’s other Senator, Marco Rubio will be the Republican vice-presidential nominee.

Like other responsible representatives, Nelson is frustrated by the Republicans unwillingness to address The People’s concerns. Nelson has an important presence in the Senate and Floridians cannot suffer another Norquist supporter.  As with most of the 2012 elections, middle class and the impoverished voters must decide if they trust Norquist’s Republican  supporters more than their Democratic counterparts.  If voters are fed up with the Republican gridlock that is designed to support Wall Street and big money politicians at the expense of We The People keep support Bill Nelson for the Senate.

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