Fresh from introducing a bill to terminate the Environmental Protection Agency, Congressman Matt Gaetz is headed home to northern Florida during recess week. He plans to hold two town hall constituent events, as is tradition during recess week. The local Democratic Women’s Club is planning to attend his lunchtime visit to Grover T's BBQ for Gaetz's open forum. Gaetz says all are welcome, but he and his friends are clearly trying to intimidate the constituents who just want an open dialogue with their elected representative. Earlier in the week Gaetz tweeted this:
Guess he thinks those tough bikers are going to protect him from all the mothers and grandmothers coming to have a word with him about the environment, civil rights, and the Affordable Care Act. A Florida militia leader, Geoff Ross, put out a call that is clearly meant to threaten and/or intimidate the women who may show up. From the Huffington Post:
“I need all patriots in attendance to protect Congressman Gaetz from any potential disruption of his speech,” Geoff Ross, the purported militia leader, wrote in a call-out on his private Facebook page. “Concealed carry permit holders most welcome - don’t forget your ammo.”
Needless to say, the constituents planning to attend asked him to immediately respond and renounce the (now deleted) comments of the local militia leader.
He stood by his militia buddy:
Nevertheless, the women of Florida are NOT backing down and intend to show up and let their voices be heard.
That last part read like a veiled threat to the Escambia County Democratic Women’s Club, which has used social media to publicize its intention to protest Gaetz. Last week, the club hired an off-duty police officer to guard its 75-person monthly meeting after the group said Ross threatened to come, bearing guns. The women reported Ross to the local sheriff and police departments, and some have lambasted Gaetz on Facebook for refusing to condemn the threats. But Evalyn Narramore, chair of the Escambia County Democratic Party, isn’t backing down.
“My husband jokes and says, ‘I’m going to buy you a Kevlar vest,’” Narramore, who has worked in local Democratic politics for 19 years, told The Huffington Post by phone last week. “But we decided we aren’t going to let this guy scare us away if that’s what he thinks he’s doing. We’re going to go forward with our protest as planned.”
For what it’s worth, Rep. Gaetz claims his bill to eliminate the EPA has been well-received by his constituents. Is that true, Florida residents?
Since introducing a bill to eliminate the EPA on Feb. 3, Gaetz said his office has received "hundreds of supportive calls" from residents of Northwest Florida, with "maybe a few dozen calls" from the region expressing concern. From those outside the state, he said he averages about 3,000 to 4,000 calls a day from those critical of his bill — the majority from California residents.
His full schedule is below. If you live in northern Florida, consider stopping by to let him know how you feel about his legislation to abolish the EPA and his support of an ACA repeal. His phone number and office locations are also listed below.
The visit will include stops at several locations in Milton, the majority of which will be open to the public. The day will start at the Kiwanis Club of Santa Rosa Sunrise at the club's Tanglewood Golf Club meeting place. Gaetz said the event primarily serves the club's members, but those seeking to attend could contact the club for a sponsored invite.
The lawmaker will then brief the Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners with a legislative update at their meeting at 9 a.m., followed by a stop at 10 a.m. at Avalon Middle School where he will teach a civics class and meet with teachers and administrators regarding education issues. At noon, Grover T's BBQ will host Gaetz for an open forum with residents.
The congressman will transition to the Santa Rosa County Administration offices at 4:30 p.m. where constituents can meet with Gaetz and his staff to offer input or raise concerns in a one-on-one setting.The visit concludes with a town hall at 7 p.m. at the Oops Alley bowling lanes and restaurant in Pace at 3721 U.S. 90.
4300 Bayou Blvd., Suite 13
Pensacola, FL 32503
507 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
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