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Supporting values through the democratic process

March 14, 2018
Pine Island Eagle

To the editor:

This letter to the editor is in response to one published on March 6 in the Pine Island Eagle regarding an earlier letter by Ms. McGuire on behalf of Pine Island ROAR on the recent town hall held in Fort Myers by U.S. Congressman Francis Rooney.

I am a proud member and an organizer of Pine Island ROAR. Members of ROAR believe that everyone should have an opportunity to be well educated, earn a living wage and live a healthy life. These opportunities can only be realized when there are equal rights for all, and when everyone has clean air to breathe, clean water to drink and clean land to live on. These opportunities cannot be realized when power and wealth is concentrated in the hands of the very few. We believe it is our civic duty to support our values through the democratic process.

While the target of the original town hall letter was Congressman Rooney and his response to questions from those in attendance, the letter I reference generally disparaged Ms. McGuire and the many Americans who agree with her sentiments. This includes members of PI ROAR.

Ms. Jones highlighted several topics (net neutrality, the Russia investigation and guns) where she suggests that PI ROAR had no sources for voter views were presented. Sources include polls conducted by the University of Maryland's Program for Public Consultation, Morning Consult/Politico, NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll, Quinnipiac and CNN. Of particular note, is a Quinnipiac poll of 2/28/18 which shows that Florida voters oppose 56 - 40 percent allowing teachers and school officials to carry guns on school grounds and voters with children under 18 years old in public schools oppose arming school personnel 53 - 43 percent.

PI ROAR stands by the assertions that the majority of American voters are against repealing net neutrality rules, are concerned about Russian interference in our election process and the interactions between members of the current administration and Russian interests, and seek to have sensible measures with respect to access to high powered semi-automatic rifles be implemented.

As for the notion that rising up, organizing, agitating and resisting for causes of common good for all Americans is somehow un-American and unpatriotic, history shows that this is not true. The Boston Tea Party helped spark the American Revolution - the effort that resulted in the founding of the United States. The Suffragettes of the early 1900s demonstrated and worked for voting rights for women - eventually leading to the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. The Civil Rights movement built support for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which made discrimination based on race, gender, religion or ethnicity and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 which prohibits racial discrimination in voting.

Pine Island ROAR and other like minded groups around the country are actively participating in the democratic processes (set in place by the Constitution) to counter actions by those in power, who in our view, do not work for the best interests of the majority of Americans.

This is the American way.

Valarie Hoff

St. James City



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