About 35 people showed up to hear State Rep. Ray Rodrigues speak at the monthly Lee County Patriots meeting at Matlacha Community Center Friday night.
Rodrigues represents citizens in District 76, which is one of the larger districts in the state, and includes Bonita Springs, Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel and Pine Island.
Rodrigues began by providing a recap of the session that ended in May of this year. "The key things we managed to get done is we passed a balanced budget, we increased the reserves in the state of Florida and we reduced the state debt," Rodrigues said.
"One thing I campaigned on, and the first bill I sponsored when elected, was the public's right to speak at government meetings. This bill reversed a 2010 decision that suggested that 'taxpayers should be seen and not heard,'" Rodrigues said. "We are the state that pioneered government sunshine allowing the public to be heard but in 2010 the law was denied. I am proud to say we passed that bill and now everyone has a right to be heard.
"In the upcoming session the one thing that will take up the most time is the economics of the state," Rodrigues said. "We are scheduled to have an $800 million surplus and every one has ideas as to what should be done with this surplus money. The problem is that if we did everything everyone wants, we would move from an $800 million surplus to a $600 million deficit. The one thing I can promise you is we won't have a deficit. I do believe we've been good to businesses over recent years and I would like to see something done for individuals with this $800 million."
The meeting concluded with a gift of Mark Levin's new book to Rodrigues "The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic."
Lee County Patriots is a group formed four years ago from the Lee County Republican Club. It is an action group that provides a means to make voices heard on issues such as the economy, health care, war on terror, corruption in government, education and much more.
"Although it hasn't been confirmed yet, I hope to have Trey Radel at our November meeting," said Kathy Jones of Lee County Patriots.