Friday, January 22, 2021

A message from Congressman Bilirakis on last week’s violence at the Capitol

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From the desk of Congressman Gus Bilirakis:
Early last Wednesday, I was diagnosed by the House Physician with COVID-19, and was told that I must immediately quarantine. As such, I was not present for the debate and the vote on the Floor regarding the certification of electoral votes.
Obviously, the events of last week were very troubling. Let me first say in unequivocal terms that violence is never justified. I have strongly condemned it when it occurred on the left, and with equal vigor, I condemn what took place last week. While I support the Constitutionally-protected right to a peaceful protest, the lawless images we saw of people ignoring law enforcement directives, battling with authorities and vandalizing public property were a stain on our democracy. As we work to ensure accountability for all those who committed these criminal acts and investigate the planning failures that allowed such an incident to occur, I remain grateful to all the brave men and women who serve in the Capitol Police Department. My thoughts and prayers are especially with the family and friends of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, who died as a result of injuries sustained during the attack. May his service and sacrifice never be forgotten and may his memory be eternal!
The time has now come to move forward and act upon the lessons that we have learned from this experience. The entire 2020 election has shed light on the fact that many states in our union need to review and improve their election laws in order to restore greater confidence in the integrity of our process.  Because of these concerns, I joined my colleagues in signing on to the amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of the changes that were made to election processes in several states. Transparency is key.  I was a Member of the Florida Legislature during the 2000 Presidential election which was also wrought with problems. We did important work after that election to modernize and strengthen our elections’ procedures. Florida should serve as a model for other states moving forward, and I am exploring legislative remedies for achieving this paramount goal.
Regardless of how we feel about the 2020 election or which candidate we supported, the long-term success of our country is dependent on our willingness to work together for the greater good. We have serious problems that require the attention of thoughtful, principled, solution-oriented leaders.  I remain committed to working in such a manner as we prepare for a peaceful transition of power later this month.  I especially look forward to working with my colleagues on the Energy and Commerce Committee on stopping the overreach of Big Tech in silencing the viewpoints of all Americans. All of my constituents can be assured that I will continue to defend conservative principles and work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle as we seek free-market solutions to restore our way of life, rebuild our economy and renew the American dream.
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