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Senator Bill Nelson's Staff Blocking Access to the Senator

Submitted by Lydia Vickers on August 29, 2007 - 10:38pm.

Click Pic for info on FOCUS ON NELSONFOR IMMEDIATE DELIVERY TO THE SENATOR'S DESK

August 28, 2007

FAX TO: Senator Bill Nelson
All District Offices and
Washington, D. C.

FAX FROM: Lydia Vickers, CODEPINK
Florida For Peace/Focus on Nelson
Phone: 850-385-5322

Dear Senator Nelson,

Thank you again for welcoming Pat, Mary and I to your Lafayette County town halls August 22nd.. We met some very nice people, lots of true "Nelson" supporters. Unfortunately it wasn't easy finding where you would be.

Senator Nelson, we believe that it's important for you to hear what Floridians are thinking and talking about regarding the war in Iraq. Staff in 3 of your district offices refused to give Florida For Peace members any information about where you were going to be and told us to call your Washington, D.C. office. The D.C. office was completely surprised and we were told that we should, indeed, be getting the
local meeting schedules from the district offices....

I felt we should have been informed about the lasagna dinner at the Spirit of the Suwannee. We were embarrassed to have eaten before we arrived when such a nice meal had been prepared. I spoke with Lynn Bannister just one day earlier and she made the decision not to tell me anything about the meal.

This is such a disservice to you senator. I say this because I feel sure that you would never tell your staff to dodge a constituent's questions. I feel sure you would never allow your staff to stand between you and a constituent.

I say that "this is a disservice to you" for three reasons:

1. Surely your sense of what is happening with this war today, and your feelings on what should be done tomorrow, needs to be expressed to your constituents.

2. Your answers to Iraq war questions show compassion and concern for our troops and your constituents need to hear that too.

3. You will never know how Floridians really feel about the war if no one brings the subject up. The war in Iraq is the gorilla in the room. No good can come of your isolation from Floridians' passions and opinions regarding Iraq.

I'll say here that Florida For Peace members don't agree one bit with pulling out SOME of the troops and leaving others there, for any reason. We want those military bases closed. We don't want our soldiers losing there lives in Iraq to protect Haliburton and Black Water employees. And, if the Iraqi army can't stand on their own now, well, they may never stand on their own. Our troops have given their all, and that is more than enough. The majority of Florida Democrats and Independents want the troops home now.

I am encouraged to hear you begin talking about taking the first steps to end this war. I disagree with a plan to leave Americans on the ground in Iraq. What is more important, we are both talking about bring our troops home. Senator Nelson, the finest part of democracy in action, to me, is when we are talking.

When Florida For Peace members attend your town halls they can open the door for questions on Iraq. Our members know that not every Floridian wants to leave Iraq. Fortunately, a majority of Floridians do want to leave Iraq and soon. We also know that you are not hearing much from those who do want our troops to leave Iraq. We are trying to get this message to you. You aren't hearing our voices because you aren't visiting the groups who want to talk about this issue.

Florida For Peace members had to drive hundreds of miles to meet you in Kissimmee on August 7th. Many of us had to take a day off from our jobs. If you are in our area and your staff refuses to let us know where you are the door to a conversation may stay closed and YOU are left in the dark.

Your staff should be ashamed of themselves trying to distract and mislead anyone from Florida who wants to meet with you. They might not agree with my description of their actions but they should know there is no doubt in our minds that we were being put off. If you truly want to stay in touch with your constituents you simply must be able to talk to them. I personally wonder if it is even legal for your staff to refuse to give out information about public meetings?

Senator Nelson, Florida For Peace members will continue to try and meet with you. We will continue to drop in on meetings and town halls. Many of us will be in Washington, D. C. during the month of September. We will stop by your offices and will be sitting in on many of your meetings and activities. Please, open your doors to us. Don't allow your staff to isolate you.

The November election was a "Mandate for Peace" from the American people, and it was all about Iraq. Florida For Peace is dedicated to meeting with every single Florida representative and to meeting with you, often. Thank you again for your time in Lafayette last week. I look forward to seeing you in Washington next month.

Peace,

Lydia Vickers
Florida For Peace, Co Founder
CODEPINK Tallahassee
CODEPINK Florida

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