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Larry Ahern wants Congress to declare war on Islamic terrorism

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The Florida Legislature convened Tuesday to begin their 60-day session with huge issues confronting them: such as coming together on a major water bill, and dealing with legislation regarding guns, the death penalty, rape kits, education, and health care.

But Pinellas County House Republican Larry Ahern also wants the Legislature to weigh in on weightier topics such as going after Islamic terrorists.

Specifically, Ahern wants Congress to declare war on al-Qaida, ISIS, ISLE, and “all other Islamic terrorist organizations that similarly engage in acts of terrorism.”

“ISIS and Islamic extremism is the single greatest threat to our way of life today,” the Seminole-based representative said in a statement released Wednesday. “It is right that the American government take action to protect its people from these radicals, their ideology and their plans to destroy Western Civilization.”

Ahern is sponsoring a memorial (HM 1319) in the House. A companion memorial has been filed in the Senate by Pensacola Republican Greg Evers (SM 1710).

The measure claims that ISIL “systematically targets, kidnaps, and kills innocent men, women, and children throughout Iraq and Syria, continues to expand its terror influence, and is responsible for recent attacks in Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, and France, and other global Islamic terrorist organizations have committed unprovoked acts of war against the government and people of the United States and against allied and friendly governments and their populations.”

The measure also calls for copies of the memorial to be sent to President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, and to each member of the Florida congressional delegation.

A U.S.-led coalition has been attacking ISIS in Syria with airstrikes since August 2014.

Congress has not approved an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to fight ISIS, and continues to engage under the last AUMF, which passed in 2002. That has troubled several lawmakers, most prominently Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine, and including GOP U.S. Rep. and Florida Senate candidate David Jolly and Tampa Bay area Democratic U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor. They say Congress should vote on current military operations in the Middle East.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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