SITREP - February 27th, 2016


Date: Feb. 27, 2016
Location: Washington, DC

Earlier this week, and in an unconvincing fashion, the President tried to tell the American people (again) that permanently closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay would be a good idea. Since stepping into office, he has released 147 prisoners, stopped the admission of new detainees and now is looking for a way to bring a large number of them into the American prison system. This, by the way, is against the law. Quite a few of the released detainees have returned to the battlefield and there is a good reason Congress has made transferring detainees to the U.S. illegal. But that hasn't stopped the Administration from looking for a way to get around Congress.

The President claims that keeping GITMO open "weakens our national security." I wholeheartedly disagree.

Members of al-Qaeda and others terrorist groups do not get to enjoy the same freedoms as you, me and our neighbors. They aren't criminals. They are sworn enemies. Period.

We must continue to fight the war on terror with all available resources, and this includes Guantanamo Bay.

Moving on to some local news, you may remember that last month I wrote about Arlene Sollis, a Spring Hill resident who suffers from cerebral palsy and has been fighting for a much needed sidewalk and crosswalk since 2012. Right now, she and dozens of other senior residents in her community, have to walk down a dangerous road just to get groceries, just to get to the hospital. We are talking about a 1,000 feet of sidewalk and a small amount of paint for a crosswalk, not a big ask in my opinion and certainly not a project that should take four years to get noticed and another two to complete.

So this past Tuesday, as promised, I appeared before the Hernando County Board of Commissioners along with Arlene and many of her neighbors to discuss the dangerous situation on Quality Drive. The county informed us that this particular sidewalk project is underway and has been approved for funding, but won't be completed until 2018. That's pretty hard to fathom and as some senior citizens stated in the meeting, a few years can mean a lifetime.

The Hernando County School Board expressed a dire need for building this sidewalk system as it impacts their students' safety as well. That fact alone should make it clear that this needs to be a top priority for the county. Even local radio host Mike Reeves suggested starting a private crowdfunding campaign as a way to help expedite the funds for the 1,000 feet needed. Let's not let bureaucracy grind this to a halt. As Arlene put it at the hearing after years of raising concern, "Why do we have to wait six years for a sidewalk? This is not too much to ask."

To close things out, I want to highlight one more time a warning about scam calls coming from criminals claiming that they are the IRS asking for the person to send a check or they'll be arrested. Many constituents have contacted my office stating that they have received such fraudulent calls. My wife and I were also recent targets of this phishing scheme. Let me be clear, the real Internal Revenue Service will only ever contact you via paper mail, they will never actually call you, especially asking for a check and threatening jail time. Its terrible that this type of predatory activity continue to take place. Let's not give the bad guys any additional reason to carry on their scams. Please do not fall for this.

That's about it for this week. I hope you continue to reach out with your thoughts and concerns regarding local, national and international issues. Even if we may disagree, its important that I know where you stand. Thanks again and have a great weekend.

Rich Nugent
Member of Congress