Locals weigh in on political matters
By Lauren Belcher | CBelcher@flagler.edu
In St. Augustine, Democrats are still backing their president. Republicans, on the other hand, are worried about what’s next.
Len Weeks is the former mayor of St. Augustine. Even though he is a Republican, he describes himself as, “morally liberal, fiscally conservative.” Weeks is worried about the Obama Administration’s spending habits, but his biggest concern is Health Care reform.
“Who’s going to pay for it?” Weeks said. “As a Republican, I’m very concerned that I’m going to get stuck with the entire bill. I already feel like I pay more than my share of taxes as a person who owns a small business.”
Republican Phil Sunkel is also concerned, but for different reasons. He is a sophomore at Flagler College but said he is well informed about what’s going on.
“Being angry at your own party is natural,” Sunkel said. “The White House doesn’t want to hear anyone’s voice; let alone democrat or republican.”
He is most angry about the stimulus money that President Obama pumped into the economy. He said that only one-third has been spent and he fears the other two-thirds will be spent on the upcoming elections.
“We want transparency; there has been none what so ever,” Sunkel said. “Everything has been closed door.”
Representatives from the Democratic Party of St. Johns County couldn’t disagree more. Chair of the Democratic Executive Committee Annette Cappella said that this has been the most transparent administration yet, especially when compared to the eight years prior.
“I think he’s done a wonderful job, in many cases,” Cappella said. “But he’s tried so hard to build bipartisan support, and to please everybody that he’s reaching some problems at this point that he needs to really look at carefully.”
Some of those problems are anti-incumbent feelings from the Democrats.
“I think it’s a difficult situation right now,” Cappella said. “The president has found himself really bombarded with a whole host of many problems. He tried to attack them all. As a result, people are saying: why hasn’t he gotten them all completed?”
Cappella blames it on the resistance he has met all along the way. Florida Executive Committeeman Bill McCormick agrees. Also a Democrat, he pointed out that spending is not a new thing to the United States.
“There was $759 billion that was given out to the banks,” McCormick stated. “That was under Bush. If that hadn’t happened, our economy would have totally collapsed. They [Obama Administration] didn’t even know at that time how bad the recession really had been a year before in November.”
McCormick said that absence of knowledge is because of the lack of transparency in the previous administration.
“They [Obama Administration] didn’t really find out how bad it was until they actually got in there,” he said. “So there was no way you were going to stop unemployment at 8.5 percent. Fortunately now, a year later, we’re starting to see unemployment going down.”
Weeks solution to the current problems is less government. He also believes we need to stop spending and cut taxes to stimulate the economy.