U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) today released the following statement: [Read more…] about Mast Statement On South Florida Water Management District
U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) yesterday released the following statement applauding Governor Ron DeSantis for his action requesting the resignation of the entire South Florida Water Management District Board:
U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) published the below open letter to Brightline, which originally ran in TCPalm, reacting to Brightline President Patrick Goddard’s assertion that Treasure Coast residents are “narrow-minded”:
Dear Mr. Goddard,
In your testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations, you called us on the Treasure Coast “narrow-minded.” While I found much of your testimony troubling, I particularly resented this condescending assertion.
In response, I say this:
It is not narrow-minded to care about our economy.
On the Treasure Coast, paradise is literally our business. Both the tourism industry and property values rely on our towns being a serene place to live or visit. High-speed trains flying through at-grade crossings in the middle of our towns will undoubtedly damage this character and charm.
I love our community businesses, like the Square Grouper in Jupiter, where we can pull up on a boat. But as a result of the 32 daily passenger trains you plan to run, the railroad draw bridge will be blocking our waterways for hours every day.
It is not narrow-minded to care about the safety of our children.
One of my favorite pastimes is getting tacos at the Taco Shack in Stuart and letting my boys play at Kiwanis Park. But your trains will add extra danger, traffic and noise directly next to this park.
I love the Hobe Sound Christmas Parade. My children have the most fun, but undoubtedly, like my fellow parents on the Treasure Coast, Brianna and I will be keeping a little closer watch with trains traveling up to 110 miles per hour along the route.
It is not narrow-minded to care about your misuse of taxpayer dollars.
Every citizen deserves to have their tax dollars spent wisely. But despite your company’s dishonest claim that it is “not publicly funded at all,” you admitted to the committee that “there has been public funding granted.”
How can we trust anything you say?
Every citizen deserves to have the option to not be charged to maintain the crossing equipment for a new train they do not want and will not benefit from.
But even you admit taxpayers will end up on the hook for these costs, despite your insistence the railway is private property, so you do not need our permission to expand.
It is not narrow-minded to protect the community we love.
Hands down my favorite place to ride my Harley is up Indian River Drive, often to a Friday Fest in Fort Pierce. Brightline will be there, as well. I know many in our community have similar experiences and memories they do not want ruined by Brightline.
You say anyone who opposes your intrusion on our community is “narrow-minded.” This entitled attitude is one of the reasons we don’t want your train and its 32 additional routes running through our slice of heaven on the Treasure Coast in the first place.
Regardless of our differences of opinion on the many other issues surrounding your train, please know nobody in our community is narrow-minded. We care deeply about the Treasure Coast, and we just wish you did, too.
Read the original version here.
By Brian Mast
The most important and unregrettable time of my life was the 12 years I spent in the Army. I became a bomb technician because I wanted to save lives. I nearly gave my own life for that — I lost both my legs and a finger when a roadside bomb detonated beneath me — and have known more heroes than I can count who died defending others.
When I was with others on the battlefield and we saw a chance to save a life, we didn’t have a meeting about it; we acted immediately. I never worried about becoming a casualty myself.
Now, as a Republican congressman from Florida, I don’t fear becoming a political casualty, either. If we act now by changing laws surrounding firearms and mental illness, we too can save lives.
Most nights in Afghanistan, I wielded an M4 carbine and a .40-caliber pistol. The total barrel length of my M4 was approximately 14 inches with Trijicon ACOG sights, as well as an infrared laser. I usually carried 10 magazines stacked with 20 rounds of 5.56-millimeter ammunition each.
My rifle was very similar to the AR-15-style semiautomatic weapon used to kill students, teachers and a coach I knew at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where I once lived.
I have fired tens of thousands of rounds through that rifle, many in combat. We used it because it was the most lethal — the best for killing our enemies. And I know that my community, our schools and public gathering places are not made safer by any person having access to the best killing tool the Army could put in my hands. I cannot support the primary weapon I used to defend our people being used to kill children I swore to defend.
The truth is, most gun owners are responsible sportsmen and collectors who enjoy shooting recreationally, like me, or want to protect their home in the way they see fit. I am a longtime member of the National Rifle Association. My grandfather bought me my first NRA membership when I was young, and I have the same pride he and many Americans feel at being responsible gun owners, becoming excellent marksmen and joining in the camaraderie of hunting.
We are Americans and we like to be the best; we should never lose this trait. The AR-15 is an excellent platform for recreational shooters to learn to be outstanding marksmen. Unfortunately, it is also an excellent platform for those who wish to kill the innocent.
I conceal and carry a 9-millimeter pistol most days because I know the threats, and I don’t want to die because I am unprepared to return fire.
I also know that I am made less safe by the threat of tactical rifles. I am confident I can eliminate an active shooter who is attacking with a pistol because the attacker would have to be close to me. But the defense my concealed 9-millimeter affords me is largely gone if the attacker is firing from beyond 40 yards, as he could easily do with the AR-15.
No firearm is evil. Guns are tools that fulfill the intent of their users, good or bad. But we’ve seen that the rifle of choice for many mass shooters is the AR-15.
The Second Amendment is unimpeachable. It guarantees the right of citizens to defend themselves. I accept, however, that it does not guarantee that every civilian can bear any and all arms.
For example, the purchase of fully automatic firearms is largely banned already, and I cannot purchase an AT-4 rocket, grenades, a Bradley fighting vehicle or an Abrams tank. I know that no single action can prevent a truly determined person from committing mass murder, and I am aware of other ways to commit mass murder, such as bombings and mass vehicular slaughter. Not being able to control everything, however, should not prevent us from doing something.
Therefore, I support the following:
Defining what constitutes an assault or tactical firearm and not allowing them for future purchase — just as we already prohibit the purchase of fully automatic firearms. The exact definition of assault weapon will need to be determined. But we should all be able to agree that the civilian version of the very deadly weapon that the Army issued to me should certainly qualify. I would not support any version of a ban that results in confiscating existing legally owned firearms.
Ensuring that every firearm purchaser has a background check. We also need to improve the background check system.
Banning the sale of accessories and add-ons that circumvent the ban on automatic firearms, and increasing the ages at which individuals can purchase various categories of firearms.
Ensuring that those who have been detained for mental illness, or have been ordered by courts to receive treatment for mental illness, cannot purchase firearms.
Ensuring that someone who is being looked at as a possible terrorist, through a system of due process, cannot purchase a firearm and that any person threatening to shoot or blow up a school, in word or on social media, is placed on an F.B.I. watch list for a long time.
Providing behavior detection training to anyone seeking a Federal Firearms License.
Making substantial resources available to schools, at their discretion, for security measures, including the opportunity to purchase enhanced security screening, install classroom panic buttons wired directly to law enforcement and hire additional school resource officers.
Holding the F.B.I. and state agencies accountable for their failures to identify a threat like Nikolas Cruz, as well as ensuring that schools enforce basic security protocols to prevent access by unauthorized personnel.
And finally, conducting further research into the nexus of gun violence, violence in mass media and mental illness.
The president, House of Representatives, Senate, every state legislature, sheriffs, police officers, school boards, students and parents must unite with one mission: that no one will ever be murdered in school again.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Congressman Brian Mast’s (FL-18) bipartisan legislation to avoid the expiration of critical veterans programs today passed the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously. Without action from Congress, the authority for the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs to carry out numerous programs that help veterans will expire at the end of the week.
“The heroic men and women that I fought alongside in our Armed Forces have earned the very best care our country has to offer, but without this immediate action from Congress, veterans could have lost access to benefits, health care, support for the homeless and more,” Rep. Mast said. “The Senate must now do its part and get this commonsense, bipartisan bill to the President’s desk!”
The Department of Veterans Affairs Expiring Authorities Act of 2017 extends a number of expiring authorities impacting veterans’ benefits, health care, and homeless programs, including nursing home care, support services for caregivers, transportation, child care assistance, adaptive sports programs and housing and home loan services.
“The men and women who have served our nation, along with their caregivers, dependents and survivors, rely on key programs at VA for support,” Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Phil Roe (TN-1) said. “I thank Rep. Mast for his leadership on this essential legislation to extend the authorities of many VA programs and aid in the administration’s implementation of the Forever GI Bill.”
Read the bill here.
West Palm Beach, Fla. – U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) today announced the introduction of the Maritime Industries Relief Act. As Congress begins to consider comprehensive tax reform, this tax relief bill will help support 18th District jobs and the local maritime economy.
“This is a jobs bill, plain and simple,” Rep. Mast said. “We have a thriving maritime industry, and it’s absolutely critical that, as Congress considers comprehensive tax reform, we do everything we can to help American businesses compete. This is a perfect example of a win-win for consumers and local businesses.”
The bill repeals the duty payment imposed on pre-owned dutiable foreign-flagged boats offered for sale to U.S. residents while in U.S. waters, including motorboats, sail boats, canoes and rowboats. The repeal of this duty payment will make it more affordable to bring used boats into the United States, which will then rely on service and support in U.S. ports by U.S.-based companies and workers.
“Representative Mast has proven to be a huge supporter of the South Florida marine industry and the jobs this legislation will bring to not only South Florida, but to the industry nationwide,” IYBA Public Affairs Committee Chairman Staley Weidman said. “Ultimately, passage of this bill means those vessels will rely on service and support in U.S. ports by U.S.-based companies and workers. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
The current tax structure disadvantages U.S.-based marine businesses by making it more likely that used boats will go to foreign-based ports to be repaired. The marine manufacturing industry in the 18th District supports more than 3,000 jobs and more than 400 local businesses. The local economic impact of the industry is more than $600 million.
The bill also makes it more affordable for U.S.-based consumers to purchase used boats. There are more than 41,000 recreational boats owned by 18th District residents, more than 70% of whom have an annual household income below $100,000.
CONTACT: Brad Stewart, 202-306-3149
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Earlier this month, Fox & Friends host Abby Huntsman joined U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) to see what a day in the life in Congress is like. Rep. Mast recounted his journey from 12 years in the Army to serving in Congress. Watch the video:
On Everglades Day, U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) will host a summit with local environmental groups on water quality and storage options south of Lake Okeechobee. Rep. Mast has been a vocal advocate of storing and directing water south of the lake to the Everglades and is committed to fighting for resources on the federal level to accomplish that goal.
Rivers Coalition Members
National Parks Conservation Association
American Sportfishing Association
April 12, 2017
Meeting (closed press): 3:00 p.m. – 3:55 p.m.
Meeting (b-roll and photos): 3:55 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Media Availability: 4:00 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
201 SE Flagler Avenue
Stuart, FL 34994
Media please RSVP to Brad.Stewart@mail.house.gov.
With ongoing changes to plans on the state level, Rep. Mast will convene a summit to hear from local environmental groups about the impact that those plans would have on the Treasure Coast. He will reiterate his support for securing federal resources to help the state of Florida build storage and flow capacity south of Lake Okeechobee.
U.S. Congressmen Brian Mast (R-FL) and Bill Posey (R-FL) have worked with their House colleagues to found a new bipartisan Congressional caucus to give the Indian River Lagoon a stronger voice and presence in the U.S. Congress. A total of twenty-three House Members have joined with Reps. Mast and Posey in forming the new Congressional Estuary Caucus, including Representatives Rick Larsen (D-WA), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) and Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ).
“Our waterways are central to the quality of life and the economy on the Treasure Coast. Keeping our water clean is an issue that transcends party lines—it affects all of our families,” Rep. Mast said. “I’ve committed to work with members of both parties to keep our water clean, and this caucus will provide an essential bipartisan forum to protect the Indian River Lagoon.”
“Our Lagoon is important to our quality of life, our local economies, tourism, our natural beauty, and provides a critical habitat to many indigenous species of wildlife and plant life,” Rep. Posey said. “This new caucus will help promote and protect our nation’s estuaries like the Indian River Lagoon by giving our communities a platform in Washington to educate our leaders on the important role that our estuaries play.”
The Indian River Lagoon stretches 156 miles along Florida’s east coast through five counties. More than 2,000 species of plants, 600 species of fish, 300 species of birds, and 53 threatened or endangered species inhabit the Indian River Lagoon for at least some portion of their lives, and scientists have shown our Lagoon to be one of the most biologically diverse estuaries in North America, with approximately 4,000 species documented to occur.
Rep. Mast serves as Vice Chairman of the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. As Vice Chairman, he has stated that his top priority will be protecting Treasure Coast waterways. He is also a member of the Everglades Caucus and the Bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus.
Mast Joins 3 Transportation & Infrastructure Subcommittees
Top Priority Will Be Cleaning Florida Waterways
U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18) today was named Vice Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment. He was also named a member of the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, as well as the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation.
“Ensuring our water is safe and clean for future generations is critically important to our community,” Rep. Mast said. “Serving as vice chairman of this important subcommittee will help elevate the voices of the thousands of residents of the Treasure Coast whose lives and businesses are being hurt by Lake Okeechobee water discharges. Improving the water quality in our community will be my top priority as Vice Chairman of the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee.”
The jurisdiction of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment consists of matters relating to water resources development, conservation and management, water pollution control, water infrastructure and hazardous waste cleanup. On these issues, the committee works closely with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is responsible for a number of projects important to water quality in Florida, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Rep. Mast recently hosted Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (PA-9) in the 18th Congressional District for an aerial tour of Florida waterway infrastructure projects.
“Brian is already establishing himself as a leader on water issues in Congress, and after seeing many of the local projects in his community firsthand, I’m confident he’ll be a strong voice for his constituents and our country as Vice Chairman of the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee,” Chairman Shuster said.