Ft Meyers NEEDS HELP! Call today please

PLEASE CALL Senator Nelson's district office in Fort Myers. (239) 334-7760 and ask him to do a Town Hall meeting!

Last Tuesday Holley Rauen, of EPEC and CODEPINK, and I were part of a delegation of ten peace activists from around the state who met with Senator Bill Nelson to discuss Iraq. The meeting was arranged through CODEPINK's Florida for Peace Campaign, which is designed to focus on Senator Nelson and urge him to vote to end the war. Nelson voted for President Bush's war resolution in 2002, and has voted to fund the Iraq war every year since. You can imagine that the ten of us did what we could to sway the senator to get him to come out strongly against the war, to vote against funding the war and to vote to bring the troops home now.

Nelson responded that his position on Iraq was "evolving". He stunned us by saying he held a town hall meeting with 187 people in Pinellas County (St. Petersburg) the day before, and not one person asked him about Iraq. ??? Not one question about the issue that is upper most in people's minds? And the Tampa-St. Pete area has active peace and anti-war organizations. ??? This didn't seem right to us. Here is the answer from Deidra Lynch of Code Pink Orlando: ..... "Florida's Senator Bill Nelson's office is falsely reporting that he is touring the state doing 'Town Hall' meetings, yet his meetings are not being announced publicly until just hours before he arrives. Most of the meetings have been with city and county officials, not the public. These 'invitation--only' audiences with selected press are lulling Floridians into believing that he is concerned about public sentiment. His office has even refused to announce his travel schedule or place any requested alternative press members on the pre-notification list. This is open government? NO, this is public relations spin!" ..... Deidra is right.

It appears Senator Nelson is trying to evade and avoid his constituents who want to talk to him about Iraq. Apparently hebelieves that one hour with ten people is sufficient to discuss the number one issue of concern in the minds of his constituents across the state. WE NEED TO LET HIM KNOW THAT IS UNACCEPTABLE! I spoke to his staffer in the Fort Myers district office on Friday and asked about his Southwest Florida schedule. She said he would only be in Fort Myers briefly, he was not holding office hours or any town hall meetings. When I asked about 'supposed' Nelson town hall meetings actually being closed to the public, she said [paraphrasing] We want as many people as possible to come to the meetings. We give the public plenty of notice. WE CANNOT LET SENATOR NELSON COME INTO SOUTHWEST FLORIDA AND LEAVE WITHOUT SPEAKING TO HIS CONSTITUENTS ABOUT IRAQ. WE MUST INSIST THAT HE MEET WITH US ON THIS NUMBER ONE ISSUE OF IMPORTANCE.

PLEASE, on Monday call Senator Nelson's district office in Fort Myers. (239) 334-7760. Be polite, but firm. In your own words tell the staffer that you would like Senator Nelson to hold a town hall meeting for his constituents in Southwest Florida this month, or that you would like him to hold a special meeting to discuss the war in Iraq. Remind them this is the most important issue facing our country today. Americans are continuing to die in Iraq everyday. We want to discuss with him what he can do to end the war and restore peace to the MiddleEast. ETC. The staffer should ask your name and phone number so they can get backto you whenever Senator Nelson is going to hold a town hall meeting here. Tell them you hope it will be this month during his congressionalbreak.

IF WE CAN GET A FEW DOZEN CALLS INTO HIS FORT MYERS OFFICE (334-7760)THAT WILL SERVE NOTICE THAT HE CANNOT GO BACK TO WASHINGTON WITHOUT TALKING TO US ABOUT IRAQ. If we do nothing, nothing will happen. The Florida for Peace Campaign has opened the way for dialogue with Senator Nelson on Iraq. This was just a beginning. We must continue this process for peace here in Southwest Florida. If you've written, emailed and called before, you know how important it is. If you have not done so yet, please do it now. 334-7760
Thank you,
Tom Guelcher
Environmental & Peace Education Center
Florida for Peace

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