Florida Democrats Go After Steve Southerland for Attacking Obama's Ocean Scheme

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: July 9, 2014 3:55 AM
Steve Southerland

Steve Southerland

This week, U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., drew fire from the Florida Democratic Party for his efforts to stop President Barack Obama’s proposal to limit energy exploration and fishing in 780,000 miles of ocean.

Last month, Obama proposed to create the world’s largest ocean preserve which would end fishing and drilling in American waters around Hawaii and American Samoa. Taking a page from President George W. Bush, Obama looked to expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument and protect more aquatic life. Obama said his action was needed due to increased pollution and fishing posing a threat for future generations.

Southerland showcased his “Marine Access and State Transparency (MAST) Act” at a media event in Panama City on Monday. The MAST Act mandates Obama’s proposal and any similar actions in the future would need to be approved by state governments bordering the impacted oceans, and Congress.

“The president’s decision to cut off access to an area of ocean that’s larger than Florida, Texas, and Alaska combined is the latest example of an administration that has been all too willing to overstep its bounds to impose an agenda that’s out of touch with hard-working North Floridians,” Southerland said.

Southerland was joined by local leaders -- including Bay County Commission Chairman Guy Tunnell, Panama City Mayor Greg Brudnicki and Bay County Chamber of Commerce Chairman Larry Carroll -- and industry representatives like Southeastern Fisheries Association Regional Director Eugene Raffield and Recreational Fishing Alliance board member Pam Anderson.

“I was pleased to be joined today by representatives from our local government, small businesses, and fishing community to unveil legislation I introduced to empower states and turn back this unprecedented water grab,” Southerland said. “With local fishermen already suffering under a federally mandated nine-day red snapper season, it’s time to stand up against burdensome Washington mandates and say enough is enough.”

But with Southerland as a top target in November, Democrats dismissed his bill as election-year politics. Gwen Graham, whose father Bob served two terms as governor and three terms in the U.S. Senate, is the Democratic candidate looking to topple Southerland.

Max Steele, a spokesman for the Florida Democratic Party, noted that the federal sequestration which Southerland supported led to $1 million in cuts for fishery projects.

“No election-year press conference can change the fact that Congressman Steve Southerland’s do-nothing, self-interested D.C. politics are exactly what North Floridians hate about Congress,” Steele said. “Congressman Southerland shut down the government, complained about his taxpayer-funded salary and perks, and even slashed support for fishermen like those he’s now claiming to protect. Instead of getting results for North Florida, Congressman Southerland has always looked out for himself – which is exactly why North Florida families cannot afford Congressman Southerland’s dysfunctional politics in Washington.”  

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

Comments (15)

H.E. "Pete" Ashley
3:29PM JUL 10TH 2014
I'm sorry Diane but there are people like you that think you know it all that annoy those that do. With that may I cordially invite you to the theological. Oh never mind, it's a waste.
3:46PM JUL 11TH 2014
Still haven't even learned the mechanics of how to make a reply comment on SSN yet, have you . . . . . yes, everyone here totally believes your self-serving "know it all" portrayal, as your "theological" reference so amusingly self-highlights . . . . .

Pathetic . . . .
H.E. "Pete" Ashley
3:14PM JUL 10TH 2014
If Southerland is against Obama and his "no new job administration" I',m for Southerland!
Robert Samuel Kaplan
10:00PM JUL 9TH 2014
testing post
Robert Samuel Kaplan
10:06PM JUL 9TH 2014
Re: African American Voters: For the past two months I have been campaigning hard shaking hands with my future African American Constituents of my beloved Sarasota, County Florida. They comprehend my concept of the fading middle class and also the fading middle class of the African American Voters. My opponents can keep on running ads on Fox News, but I am running a non-profit campaign and will continue to listen to the African American Voters my future Constituents of my beloved Sarasota, County Florida because I am a Candidate for Florida State Representative District 74 Sarasota County, Florida. A native of Venice, Florida since 1955. The moral of the story is this: The Candidate who has been here the longest will win.
Robert Samuel Kaplan
10:12PM JUL 9TH 2014
The fading middle class of Sarasota County, Florida is hurting real bad and not only I represent the fading middle class, I represent all of the people making 60k to Billionaires because I work for the People, the People do not work for me.
1:53PM JUL 9TH 2014
SSN - thanks for providing a decently balanced report.
9:59AM JUL 9TH 2014
Mr. Southerland is absolutely correct in his efforts to limit the reach of the federal government and empower the states contiguous to the waters in question. MAST is bad law, and has been rejected repeatedly by past presidents and congresses and should not be worthy of our vote now.
1:53PM JUL 9TH 2014
Your post shows you don't even know what the administration's PROPOSAL - on which it has invited public comment -- does.

Southerland, following his normal pattern of misleading his constituents, is trying to make something of nothing to rile up fishermen. But the ones I know are too smart to fall for this ploy. GW Bush's original proposal to preserve the area restricted tuna fishing.
Jim Hutchinson
8:59AM JUL 10TH 2014
Sorry Diane, Bush's "original proposal" also riled fishermen, but 87,000 miles became a 'compromise' of sorts to get the radical environmental zealots off his back! The president doesn't 'compromise' he only does what he wants, and three-quarters of a million miles of ocean to be closed is a mind-boggling decision to make in a vacuum.
C Breeze
9:54AM JUL 9TH 2014
Oh Max,.. You & Gwen are not the "voice" of Florida Democrats, and CERTAINLY NOT the "voice" of North Florida; the two of you are the rasping, lying voice of Debbie Whatsername Schultz, and the increasingly annoying "echo of Obama" . 780,000 miles of ocean around Hawaii & American Samoa (which enjoy the ALREADY EXISTING American offshore boundary limits)... this Obama proposal fits neatly in line with the United Nations "Law of the Seas" treaty (which has failed under a succession of American Presidents and Congresses) which would have given the FIRST regular tax INCOME to the United Nations and the 'first step" towards "One World Government" (which the "1st Narcissist " dreams of leading). The "1st Narcissist" has already recently 'shut down' HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF ACRES of land in America's Southwest (by 'declaration' or Federal purchase) "to protect future generations". The thieving, lying "1st Narcissist" is so FAR out of control that Americans are increasingly numb to his debilitating intentions towards our Republic. {READ: "AMERICA" by Dinesh D'Souza to better understand America's role, and to also understand the 'progressive' Democrat assaults upon our culture.}
Signed: An honest, 'thinking' Democrat in possession of common sense and a real love for our American heritage.
1:00PM JUL 10TH 2014
Not all Democrats toe the statist, whatever-DC-wants-DC-gets, big-as-you-like, central, nanny-state government party line.
1:46PM JUL 9TH 2014
I really would like to keep my posts nonpersonal but you are a really nasty, unpatriotic person. And downright hateful. It is people like you who promote violence against OUR government. Obama was elected president of OUR country TWICE by fair elections. Accept and try to improve the country vice destroy. The only source of hate at this depth is your racism.
11:14AM JUL 9TH 2014
Of course you're a true Democrat, as your previous comments supporting Allen West and rightwing articles of faith would attest . . . . faux Democrat . . . . . rightwing politics of the "Big Lie" . . .

Pathetic . . . . .
Jim Hutchinson
9:38AM JUL 9TH 2014
Recent college grad Max Steele? The same Max Steele who entered the work force in 2012 as a research assistant for the democratic party? Better check your work young man, it’s the President and his administration who for five years have been slashing fisheries science and data collection from the NOAA budget in favor of ‘cap & trade’ fisheries policies designed to reduce the number of anglers; it’s the presidential appointments who have manipulated the regional management councils to stack the deck against fishermen since 2009, and it’s the president himself who unilaterally closed down three-quarters of a million miles of Pacific ocean to fishermen by the stroke of a pen by circumventing Congress (once again). You know what they say about walking a mile in someone’s fishing boots? Well, you might consider taking a few baby steps along the private sector path Mr. Steele, you might just find out just how hard it really has been for working class folks since 2009 (your freshman year in college I believe, yes?)

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