EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Rooney breaks silence, explains absences, says he’s still working for SWFL constituents

10-19-19 Rooney announces retirementRep. Francis Rooney announces his retirement on Fox News on Oct. 19, 2019.    (Image: Fox News)

July 31, 2020 by David Silverberg.

Rep. Francis Rooney (R-19-Fla.) states that he’s continuing to work on congressional issues related to his Southwest Florida district despite not having cast a vote between February and July and being largely silent in the media and with constituents.

“I am working right along, every day, on issues important to Southwest Florida: Everglades appropriations, dredging in Collier County, estuary renourishment, pushing the administration to support the offshore drilling ban (HR 205) that I sponsored in the House, and a host of other issues,” he stated in response to questions from The Paradise Progressive.

According to Rooney’s House website, he did not cast any House votes between Feb. 26 and July 29. This included all of the coronavirus stimulus and relief packages.

In an e-mail he stated: “Voting on things that are preordained to pass, otherwise the Speaker would not bring them forward, has not seemed to be worth the COVID risk to me. Look at Rep. Gohmert yesterday [July 30], for example. I was a supporter of proxy and remote voting from the very beginning, and have written statements and editorials to that effect. I had not exercised the proxy option because the House Republican leadership asked me to wait until the hearing on their challenge had been heard in court, which took place last Friday afternoon [July 24]. Now I am back to voting by proxy.”

(Rep. Louis Gohmert Jr. (R-1-Texas) announced on July 29 that he had contracted coronavirus and blamed mask-wearing for it.)

“I have never stopped working for the people of Southwest Florida and intend to continue doing so until my last day in office,” he stated.

Rooney announced his retirement from Congress on Oct. 19, 2019 after facing a backlash for announcing that he was open to hearing evidence in the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Since then he has missed 33.7 percent of the votes in Congress, making him the third most absent member of the House, according to ProPublica, an independent, non-profit, investigative news organization.

Liberty lives in light

©2020 by David Silverberg

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