U.S. Senator Bill Nelson Tours North Florida

By: Leonard Horton
By: Leonard Horton

Residents of one local county get a chance to air it out with a man who can take their concerns straight to the nation's capital.

During a stop in Monticello, Florida, US Senator Bill Nelson was vocal on everything from the war in Iraq, the aftermath of Katrina, to possible offshore drilling in along Florida’s coast.

Judi Persons, a Jefferson County resident, feels, "He wasn't afraid to say that there were not easy answers, and that is important in a politician. We don't need happy talk; we need action, someone with the courage to confront problems."

Not only was the senator critical of FEMA's handling of the Katrina disaster but of what he calls the country's oil dependency.

"Just wait until a terrorist sinks a super tanker somewhere over near the Persian Gulf or blows up a refinery in another part of the world, and all of a sudden, everyone gets panicky because there is so much demand for oil," says Senator Nelson.

He said he wanted to speak to the people directly, no filters.

Julie Conley, mayor of Monticello, says, "We can always pick up the phone or send an e-mail or write a letter, but having face time is the most important way to communicate."

Dick Bailar, with Jefferson County's Legislative Association, adds, "When I asked him what the Democratic National Committee's strategy would be for November 2006, I thought he sort of tapped danced around that. I would have liked some stronger words on that quite frankly."

On the issue of off shore drilling, Nelson says if it comes to pass, it could not only affect tourism but the military's efforts to train in the gulf. He believes there should be more research done in the use of ethanol as a gasoline substitute because right now, he says about 60 percent of the nation's daily oil supply comes from foreign soil.


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