Grassroots Corner - July 12, 2019

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  • Source: FAIRtax
  • 04/09/2021
Rutherford Signs On - The Behind The Scenes Story
 
Sophomore Representative John Rutherford (FL-4) became the 33rd co-sponsor of The FAIRtax on 6/17/19, his 1st-time co-sponsoring.  Rutherford’s district runs from the Georgia border down the Atlantic Coast, taking in most of Jacksonville, along with parts of that city's northern and western suburbs and the city of St. Augustine, includes all of Nassau County, most of Duval County, and part of St. Johns County.
 
The story starts after the National Election of 2016, with just elected John Rutherford (FL-4), agreeing to meet with Paul Livingston District Director to learn more about The FAIRtax bill.  On 11/21/16 they had a 2 ½ hour session with a computer presentation, handouts, white papers and a long Q&A dialog.  Rutherford indicated he was leaning toward signing the pledge to cosponsor The FAIRtax, but he wanted to 1st check with his staff.  This is in despite continuing The FAIRtax cosponsor legacy of the retiring Representative Ander Crenshaw and the Florida FAIRtax Memorial SM-118.

Rutherford worked his way through his 1st term with some minor health issues while a Strong Core of FAIRtax (FL-4) Volunteers continued to ask Rutherford to become a cosponsor with persistent encouragement and direction from Paul Livingston.
 
FAIRtax-er Jim Stehr was hot on the trail.  Jim attended a speech by Vice President Mike Pence on 5/20/19 at the Schultz Center in Jacksonville.  Pence spoke to promote the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade proposal to replace NAFTA.  The event was sponsored by America First Policies.  Jim estimates 300-400 people attended the event.  Jim spotted fellow FAIRtax-ers Red and Care at the event.  While wearing a FAIRtax hat and collared shirt, Jim handed out FAIRtax cards until stopped by a member of America First Policies, which happened just before the program began.
 
Jim says, “Rep. Rutherford shook my hand and I told him Pence was a co-sponsor when he was in the House and we needed Rutherford to co-sponsor.  He didn’t give me an answer.
 
“Senator [Rick] Scott shook my hand and I asked him to sponsor The FAIRtax.  I asked if he would like our information card, he said yes and took it.
 
“After Pence's speech, I went to the meet and greet line.  A Secret Service agent told me not to hand the card to Pence.  I handed the card to Pence anyway, he autographed it, gave it back and Pence said, "I love The FAIRtax".
 
Fast-forward to 6/17/19, the day Paul Livingston had a meeting with Rep. Rutherford, and also the day Rutherford co-sponsored HR.25.  Paul writes:
“Meeting with Rep. John Rutherford (FL-4) on Monday, 6/17, 3:50 PM.  Also in attendance with John were Chris Miller District Director; Jim Stehr FAIRtax Volunteer and I.  In the scheduling process I learned John had just become a HR 25 co-sponsor so the meeting purpose changed from why not co-sponsor to thank you and why?  We were greeted very warmly by John.


 Rep. Rutherford, Jim Stehr (white shirt), Paul Livingston (blue shirt).”  

“I started by asking what had changed and why?  “John replied he has been watching The Tax Cut and Jobs Act, the tax reform results and the impact of reducing tax disincentives.  He liked The FAIRtax and felt it was now time to show his support.
 
“He went on to talk about Richard Maybury, a/k/a “Uncle Eric,” with a series of books.  2 of the titles “Are You Liberal? Conservative? Or Confused?” and “What Happened To Penny Candy?”
 
“Next he talked about the Justice Democrats movement.   “Justice Democrats is an American progressive political action committee founded 1/23/17 by Kyle Kulinski of Secular Talk, Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks, and former leadership from the 2016 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign - Wikipedia
 
“…John referenced a video of “Brains Behind AOC”, which I was unable to find.  It may have been taken down.  There is Internet chatter AOC is backed by Justice Democrats and she is helping to spread their messages.
 
“John next talked about 15 students and 2 professors from Flagler Collage [St. Augustine, FL] who visited his Washington office to petition him to support the government paying off the student loans.  His reply was a polite no way and went on to point out this student loan payment message is being encouraged by the higher education teaching community across the country.
 
“His next point was, he sees “The battle of the 21 century is socialism vs. capitalism”.  He said “Yes” to my question of, can I quote you on this statement.
 
“I asked John, but he could not help with suggestions for others to approach about FAIRtax sponsorship.   “The meeting ended with Jim and I again thanking him for his co-sponsoring and taking a picture.
 
[Editor’s note: Thank you, Paul Livingston, Jim Stehr, for your assistance in writing this week’s Grassroots Corner, and congratulations to the Florida Team for this big win!]
 
Jim Stehr
In 1982 while working toward his master’s degree in economics, Jim Stehr studied the effects of taxing consumption vs taxing income.  In those days, many economists warned about the low savings rates of most households.  Jim taught high school science for 32 years and has been a FAIRtax Volunteer since 2004.
 
Paul Livingston
Raised in Michigan.  He and his Wife call Jacksonville home after moving there in 1986.  Since doing his 1st tax return as a teenager, Paul has been on a quest for tax reform.
 
Finally in 2005, thanks to Neal Boortz, Paul heard about The FAIRtax, read the books, studied and became an active Volunteer.  He is now the Northeast Florida District Director for The FAIRtax and a board member of the Florida FAIRtax Educational Association, the Florida Chapter of the national organization, Americas for Fair Taxation.
 
Paul thanks you for this opportunity to make a “wake-up call” about real-true federal tax reform and invites you to 1st understand the problems and then support The FAIRtax grassroots cause bill.
 
Paul has an MBA in Marketing, was a Peace Core Volunteer, a 1st Lieutenant in the Army, and has 40 years’ experience in marketing and sales.

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