Barney Bishop column: Sen. Bill Nelson is not business friendly

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Barney Bishop III, who just founded his third company, is an outspoken, lifelong Democrat with a strong fiscally conservative streak. He believes that government is not the answer to all of our problems, that civil discourse is obligatory, that compromising on details will not undercut one’s core beliefs, and that a resilient, robust private sector is the elixir needed for a true democracy to grow and survive. You can contact him at barney@barneybishop.com. This is his first guest column for SaintPetersBlog.

This year’s race for the chance to oppose Bill Nelson will not resemble 2006.  Running for reelection for the first time, his opponent was a Republican US Congresswoman who was just completing only her second term in Congress.  Her name was Katherine Harris, the state’s former Secretary of State who oversaw the drawn-out election count from the 2000 battle between George Bush and Al Gore.  Remember hanging chads?  Congresswoman Harris was a weak candidate, to say the least.  Her own Party essentially disavowed her and none of the state’s top GOP elected officials would hardly be seen with her throughout the campaign.  She won only nine counties and lost the race to Nelson by 22 points – over a million votes.

Fast forward to today.  Bill Nelson, Florida’s senior Senator has been in office now for 12 years.  His opponent this time will be a Republican nominee that enjoys a unified party committed to taking him out.  Last year Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS ran ads against Senator Nelson so it is clear that he will be a target of the national GOP and the Super PAC’s.

Regardless of his opponent however the damning fact is that when it comes to a key business issue such as “Card Check” the Senator is clearly on the wrong side.  Card Check, introduced in the Senate by Ted Kennedy in 2009, is an attempt by Unions to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.  While Union membership has been in steady decline over the last century in the US, Florida has never been a particularly strong state for them.  That’s partially because our state Constitution makes us a Right to Work state, that is, you are not required to join a union to be employed.  Florida’s percent of employed that are represented by unions is only 6.9%, which is way below the national average of 11.9%.  Card Check is designed to make it easier, in fact much easier, to organize unions in two ways:  there would no longer be secret elections, a worker would be asked by the union to sign a card and once a majority of the company’s workers sign the cards, a union would be automatically created.  How un-American would that be?  While you and I are guaranteed the right to vote in secret, no one knows how we vote unless we tell them, but in the Union’s dream scenario, you could be asked in front of other pro-Union members to sign a card – and if you don’t?  Well, you get the idea.

While this ballot box-stuffing goes on all the time in Russia, China, Venezuela, Cuba, etc., it could happen right here in Florida.  Even though our state Constitution prohibits it.   That’s because Sen. Nelson, President Obama and their Union friends will use the Congress and its ability to pass federal laws to overrule our state Constitutional rights.  It’s not just that Sen. Nelson supports the Unions in this onerous overreach; he is a co-sponsor of the bill!  And since Florida is overwhelmingly small businesses state this law, if ever passed, would have a devastating impact on Florida employers.  So, why is Senator Nelson supporting this hurtful legislation?  Your guess is good as mine, but Senator Nelson should disavow his support of this bill and support Florida’s historical aversion to unionism.

But, Card Check is not the only piece of legislation that will hurt the Florida business community as the Senator has also been a big supporter of ObamaCare.  Despite all of the promises by the President and the Senator, polls show that Floridians have not warmed up to this attempt at government-run health care.  Senior citizens are especially wary and it seems that the more they learn about it, the more they dislike it. Although this legislations constitutionality will ultimately be decided by the U. S. Supreme Court, the carnage that it has wrought is still to come in this election cycle as it was in the last when several Florida Democrats lost their seats due to this European-style healthcare concept.  Unfortunately, the truth is that this will be mind-boggling expensive and we will still not have every American covered by insurance.  I suspect that if this law is upheld – and I hope it is not – that after the law has been in place for a year or two that we will still see crowded emergency rooms filled with both insured and uninsured people.  Because many insured will continue to use the emergency room as their preferred choice for primary care, and that folks will be terribly expensive.

Florida needs a Senator who will consistently support the free enterprise system and that’s why in my opinion we need to send to DC someone that will vote with Senator Marco Rubio as a counterbalance to President Obama.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.