I’m very lucky. The guy who’s representing me in the writhing snakepit on Capitol Hill — aka Congress — is a straight shooter, a seasoned pragmatist who’s on the level with everyone, who battles a liberal newspaper in his district that doesn’t miss an opportunity to cast him in a bad light, and who labors to be the kind of representative he says he’d want in Washington.
At a town hall meeting I attended in his district (FL 15 – Space Coast) on health care last fall in Melbourne, FL, it was standing room only in the 2000-seat performing arts center. They closed the doors after 2,800 people were inside. When he took the stage, the overflowing two-tiered auditorium gave Posey a standing ovation, the first of many that evening. One of his constituents expressed the sentiment of many when he said, “This is the first time we’ve really felt like we’re represented. He’s spent so much time here. He stays in such good touch with us.”
I came across a Q & A he recently did with a south Florida newspaper. It pretty much paints a picture of one of the few decent guys on Capitol Hill.
“U.S. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge, finds the nation’s capital more than a little distasteful.
Besides his accommodations — a cramped apartment he shares with his wife — he calls the procedures in Washington chaotic, the dialogue between parties uncivil and “the waste of taxpayer money” shameful.
That’s why Posey has spent so much in his first year pushing bills that would bring more transparency and a balanced budget.
The former employee of the Kennedy Space Center and current president of Posey & Co. Realtors also has used his first year on Capitol Hill to battle for more NASA funding and decreased taxes on small business owners.
Posey said he and his wife Katie haven’t done a scrap of sightseeing and are quick to board Florida-bound planes whenever the congressional schedule allows.”
Picking out some of the memorable Posey quotes:
“Believe it or not, I understand the fact that this is not the U.S. House of Posey,” he said. “It’s the House or Representatives.”
“I try to read all of the bills. But you just can’t when they drop a 2,000 page bill at 11:30 at night. That stimulus bill — that was one that I really missed out on, and I was just feeling guilty. I’m used to having so much better grasp of this stuff. I beat myself up for a couple days. But then I just got angry, and I said, ‘They didn’t read it either!’ None of them knew what was in this stuff. It made me feel a little bit better, but it’s still not right and I don’t like it.”
“There’s nothing glamorous about it. You have people calling up every day with problems with veterans affairs. All day long, we have people calling about Medicare or Social Security problems, or immigration.”
“Every second that we’re not in session, I go home. When we’re in session — which is three to four days per week — I’m 100 percent here. My wife travels with me, and we haven’t spent any time sightseeing up here. The place we live at up here is a one bedroom, one bath, 700-square-foot over at the Hill House. We haven’t shared one bathroom since we were married. We’re not comfortable up here, and we’re not trying to get comfortable up here. This is where I work.”
“I don’t think there’s a single member of the American public that honestly thinks that on a war bill you should put anything on it but war stuff. But they do, and shamelessly they do it. That’s been my thing since my city council days — just trying to be efficient. Not reinvent the world or dump the world on its head, but just try and be the representative I would want.”
“We did a town hall when we were home and people were asking about the congressional pay raise this year — the fact that the troops weren’t getting one, seniors weren’t getting one, but Congress got a pay raise. And I said that bothered me. They voted for that in ’07 — I didn’t do that — but I think I would expect my representative to give that back just as an expression of understanding for how tough the times are for other people. And so I wrote a check and gave it back a couple months ago.”
“I’ve got enough experience to understand that things of major importance you don’t accomplish easily or immediately. When I went to the (state) Legislature in 1992, I had three goals. It took me six years to accomplish the first one, seven years to accomplish the second one and eight years to accomplish the third one. You’ve got to plant that seed, you need to work and be persistent. Now if my goal is to name a national wildflower, I can probably pull that off in one year. But that’s not my goal. My goal is to have a more accountable and more transparent government. You have to have the big-world view of that and ask, “Are you moving in the direction that you want, are you getting a foundation laid for where you want things to go?” And I think I am.”
The entire piece can be read here.
One of the other, among many, that I like about Posey, is that if he doesn’t know the answer to a question, he says “I don’t know” instead of trying to make something up off the cuff.