You never expect everyone to agree in politics, and today is no exception. But, this morning, when Congressman Ron DeSantis joined fifty or more constituents for an informal coffee meeting in Flagler Beach, Historic City News editor, Michael Gold, found those attending in agreement that this US House member represents them well.
The normally relaxed Java Joint, co-owned by Danita Mundy and Kathleen Stark, only has a maximum occupancy of 26, but every table and chair, inside and outside on the deck, was full by 10:00 a.m. — and the crowd hung around long after the meeting wrapped up at 12:00 noon.
“We’re really pleased with today’s turnout,” Flagler County State Republican Committee Woman, Anne Marie Shaffer, told Historic City News. “I see elected officials, a representative from Embry Riddle, members of the Chamber of Commerce, and, some new faces that we’re especially glad to see.”
The 6th Congressional District, which DeSantis represents, includes all of St Johns County and Flagler County, part of Putnam County and most of Volusia County, except for Daytona Beach. “It’s a big area to cover and includes better than 500,000 voters,” Robert Mons, a District employee in the St Augustine office said. In addition to the St Augustine District Office, DeSantis maintains a branch office in Port Orange, and, of course, his congressional office in Washington, DC.
St Johns resident, Roy Alaimo, who previously knew DeSantis from his involvement with Young Republicans and worked in support of the congressman’s campaign, last year, is now a District Representative who said his boss keeps him busy here while he is working in the capitol.
DeSantis took questions from the crowd, some were passionate — all were respectful. The topic on everyone’s mind today is the United States military involvement in Syria. Only in the case of Cosovo and Libya, has the president obligated military forces in combat without approval from the congress. The congressman took a show-of-hands poll to gauge support for putting boots on the ground in the Middle Eastern nation’s civil war. He asked to see how many felt that Syria is “not our fight” and we have no business involving ourselves in their battle — nearly every hand went up.
He followed up to see how many would support limited military strikes in the region, short of a full military commitment. Two people said they would. When asked how many people thought they should support an all-out military action in Syria, only two raised their hands. Following some discussion, DeSantis asked if Assad is removed from power, how many believe that the new Muslim government in Syria will be “pro America”, drawing laughter and cheers from the audience.
DeSantis revealed that he had expected that response. If the president asks congress, he doesn’t think President Obama will get approval to go to war because there is no clearly defined objective at issue, nor any measurable outcome that would indicate that our military had achieved or failed in its mission. “If the president acts on his own and puts our troops in harm’s way, I don’t think senate or house members would act to leave them stranded without support — I wouldn’t vote to leave them hanging,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis, a veteran who served in Iraq and is active in the US Navy Reserve, said “The outcome is bad no matter which side wins. Injecting ourselves into the civil war in Syria is not in the national interest.”
One person didn’t stay for the ceremonies. Historic City News spotted Palm Coast resident, Roseanne Cotto, sitting quietly on the porch, watching the ocean while she enjoyed her mug of coffee. Cotto was surprised by the crowd this morning, and she said she didn’t know that her congressman would be arriving soon to speak to all the folks who showed up. “I just came for breakfast, I didn’t know all this was going to be going on,” Cotto said. “I don’t think I’ll stay, I’m not really very involved in politics.” Cotto told Gold, after she had learned of this morning’s event. “I’m going to finish my coffee first, though.”
© 2013, St Augustine. All rights reserved.