Political Peacock
May 2020 Newsletter
President's Message

WE ARE ALL ESSENTIAL
A pot simmers before it boils. In my estimation, we have reached the point of boiling over. Like many of you, I have reviewed the CDC website, including the links, to try and understand the risks involved with the novel coronavirus. The data is inconsistent and the instructions for reporting the virus prove that the numbers are inflated. In other words, we do not really know the severity of the threat, and yet we are living under intense authoritarianism that has destroyed lives as well as our economy. In addition, what right does the government have to dictate who is and who is not essential?! Suffice it to say that I am disheartened by the willingness of so many to blindly trust the government, surrender their liberty, and live in fear. 

The media and corporate America fawn over large swaths of people who are simply doing the same job that they have always done. That may sound harsh, but I believe that each individual has to earn the emblem of “hero” else it be rendered a meaningless word. A single act could transform a trash-collector, a babysitter, or a truck driver into a hero, whereas not every person who enters a profession that we hold in high esteem is a hero. Are the nurses boycotting hospitals “heroes?” Are the police officers arresting an elderly business owner or a surfer “heroes?” Is the fired Navy Captain whose letter was leaked a hero? Whatever you decide, the outcome is based on their actions not merely their profession. For me, the unsung heroes are those who have opened their businesses in the face of arrest, while taking common sense precautions to protect their patrons. They are not selfish cowards as the Pennsylvania Governor warned; rather they are self-reliant Americans. They each represent a solitary David standing up to an infinitely powerful Goliath. 

As Republicans, we are generally a law-and-order bunch. However, our collective roots grow from the tree of rebellion. We were born of a bloody revolution and nearly broken by civil war, because we abhor injustice and demand liberty. For those reasons, we should support courageous individuals who reject the notion that their success or failure is owed to government or that their destiny is derived from government. Government is too big, spends too much, and too easily corrupted to be trusted. To those keeping government in check, thank you! You are my hero.

May God bless us all,
  Bonnie Jackson
Governor Ron DeSantis' Plan for Florida's Recovery
On Wednesday, April 29, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis held a press conference in Tallahassee, during which he announced the plan for Florida’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Florida state officials and leaders representing small business, health care, education and various industries have applauded the governor's plan. To read what they had to say about, click here .

To view the governor's power point presentation Safe. Smart. Step by Step. Plan for Florida's Recovery, click here .
Response to Stephanie Murphy's Email
RE: The Alarming Condition of Florida's Unemployment System
From: Bonnie Jackson
Sent : Fri, May 1, 2020 at 5:08 pm

Dear Congresswoman Murphy:
 
I read your update today with great displeasure. As you know, many individuals along with the public and private sectors have been working hard to help those who have been adversely impacted by the recent pandemic and the sudden closure of our economy. A lot has been done in an incredibly short period of time. During a time when we should all be laser focused on bi-partisan solutions, you have shown yourself far too willing to engage in derisive finger-pointing. 
 
Your most recent email concerns the results of a purported survey of our state’s unemployment system. While it is important to identify and understand a problem before attempting to fix the problem, this was clearly just a partisan strategy and no doubt the brainchild of your political party. Here is the proof of your real agenda.
 
On April 14, you sent an email with the subject line: “ Having issues filing an unemployment claim? ” In the email, you claimed that your office had received numerous complaints and that you wanted a better understanding of the problem by conducting a survey. The first question of the survey was, “ Since February 1, 2020, have you been terminated, laid off, furloughed, or otherwise separated from your employer through no fault of your own? ” Roughly two weeks later, today, you sent the survey results. Predictably, the results were:   Yes 96.9%  No 3.1% . Given that the subject line of the emailed survey was addressed to those already having issues, the answers would be heavily, if not exclusively, provided by those individuals who were having issues. In other words, it tells us nothing about how many people were actually laid off etc., and it means that the remainder of the survey answers would be skewed negative, because 96.9% of those answering the survey were already laid off and unhappy enough to bother with your ridiculous survey. This was a purposeful attempt to mislead the public, and a monumental waste of taxpayer money.
 
The survey also noted that 92.5% of the respondents encountered difficulty filing unemployment due to the online portal crashing, freezing, or not loading. From this you concluded that: “ As the COVID-19 pandemic has painfully revealed, Florida’s UC program is deficient in comparison to the UC programs in other states. This is the result of years of deliberate policy choices by Florida’s elected leaders designed to make it difficult for residents to access earned benefits, combined with indifference to the human consequences of those choices.”  Not only does your conclusion ignore the unprecedented and enormous spike in unemployment claims, but you ignore that states like Michigan, Ohio, Louisiana, New York, and Colorado experienced similar problems. Are those state’s leaders purposefully withholding benefits, or just the Republican led states? If you truly believed that this broken system has been “years” in the making, why have you done nothing to address it? Where are your proposed solutions? Perhaps you should donate your taxpayer salary of $174,000 to improving the unemployment system.
 
We need public servants who wish to show true leadership, not play games with useless surveys. Do us all a favor, stop treating our tax dollars like toilet paper. They are both in very short supply!

Sincerely, 
Bonnie J. Jackson
From: U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy <stephanie.murphy@mail.house.gov>
Sent: Friday, May 1, 2020 2:38 PM
To: bjackson@jacksonlawinternational.com
Subject: The Alarming Condition of Florida's Unemployment System

Dear Friend,
This email is one in a series of updates I am sending you to provide information about the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. I encourage you to share this information with anyone who might find it helpful.
The CARES Act , which was signed into law on March 27, 2020, expands eligibility for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, supplements weekly state benefits with additional federally-financed benefits, and provides additional weeks of federally-financed benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, because UI is a federal-state program, the ability of unemployed workers to access the benefits they are owed depends entirely on how well or poorly the program is administered by the state in which they live.
As you know too well, the state of Florida has failed miserably in terms of making full and timely UI payments to eligible residents. For weeks my office has been flooded with calls from Central Floridians like you who have experienced the failures of Florida’s UI program firsthand.
The statistics, which the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity began to release to the public two weeks ago, paint a dismal picture. For example, the state received at least 668,323 applications between March 15 and April 20, but made only 131,770 payments for $600, even though eligible unemployed workers—whether they were employed by a business or self-employed—are entitled to this weekly federally-financed payment under the CARES Act . That’s less than one in five applicants. That figure would be much, much worse if it accounted for unemployed workers who have been unable to submit an application for benefits due to website defects.
On April 14, I launched an online survey asking you to share details about your experiences with the application process to help me and other leaders understand the nature and extent of the problems you are facing—and hopefully add additional pressure on state leaders to quickly get the system fully functioning. Over the course of a week, I received over 8,300 responses to the survey, which I have shared with President Trump and other administration officials, Governor DeSantis and other state officials, and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal and the entire Florida congressional delegation. You may view the full report here .
Highlights of the survey include:
  • Nearly 93 percent of respondents said they had a “very negative” experience with the UI application process, while only 0.5 percent rated their experience as “very positive” or “somewhat positive.”
  • Only 1 percent said they encountered no problems during the application process, while nearly 93 percent reported that the website crashed, froze, or otherwise failed to load.
  • Nearly 40 percent said they were unable to complete their application due to problems with the website or another aspect of the application process.
  • Less than 3 percent said they successfully submitted their application and have received their benefits.
These survey results are deeply disturbing and reinforce the conclusion that Florida’s UI system is failing precisely when it is needed the most, causing incalculable economic damage and emotional distress. As Congress and the President prepare to negotiate additional COVID-19 relief packages, we must hold states like Florida accountable and do everything possible to ensure that federal support reaches the people who need it, as national leaders intended, and that it is not squandered or delayed due to incompetence or indifference.
Because many of the problems with Florida’s UI program were years in the making, I have also asked the Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Labor to conduct a performance audit of how Florida has operated and managed its UI program over the last decade, in order to identify the reasons for the program’s deficiencies and help the state swiftly develop a corrective action plan.
As a reminder, my office stands ready to help you. My casework team is available Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at (888) 205-5421. For the most up to date information, please visit my website at murphy.house.gov/coronavirus and sign up for my newsletter to get updates sent directly to your inbox.
Stay safe, and stay healthy. 

Sincerely,
Stephanie Murphy
Member of Congress
2020 Voter Mobilization
Dear Fellow Members and dedicated GOP warriors:

While I am still here in the DC area, I want to do everything to ensure that our Candidates win in November! We need the White House and we need the HOUSE! I am helping Mary Thomas, the Florida Director of CatholicVote , with the important project outlined below.

Every four years it is said, this is the most important election of our lifetimes. This election actually is. With so much at stake for our Nation, we must overcome the challenges that we face, and work to get out the pro-life, pro-faith, and pro-freedom vote.

CatholicVote is an organization that is building the largest Catholic voter mobilization effort program ever. They need your help, so that together we can ensure that, in November, we elect leaders who will safeguard our way of life, our values, and our great Nation.

There is a great opportunity to increase the Catholic vote in 2020. Data shows that 40% or more of churchgoing Catholics in Florida did not vote in 2016 – that’s about 160,000 non-voting Catholics! These are the Catholics most likely to vote their Catholic values of life, family, and freedom. CatholicVote is working throughout Florida to build a grassroots network of committed individuals to help them get out the Catholic vote.

I urge each of you to help CatholicVote in this important effort to protect the sanctity of life, religious freedom, and all of our freedoms. If you are willing to help or if you know of others who may be willing to help, please contact Mary Thomas, at lmthomas@catholicvote.org or 850-524-1007. Or you can contact me at Fondamcg@aol.com or 407-256-8602.

Blessings,
Fonda McGowan

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