Despite the circumstances, it was great to see U.S. Congressman Connie Mack pay a visit to Sanibel earlier this week.
Mack came to the island to conduct a press conference, during which he criticized f the Obama administration's lack of leadership in dealing with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. He also called for additional funds and personnel to be deployed to the Gulf of Mexico to assist in cleanup efforts.
Surrounded by supporters and island-based businesspeople, Mack told the crowd that he thought British Petroleum's response to the spill has been "extremely slow" and that the President hasn't displayed the kind of leadership Americans deserve in a time of crisis.
That's just the message that most islanders wanted to hear from their local representative in Washington, D.C. To quote Mack, this is an "all hands on deck emergency."
However, his assurance that he will continue to "monitor" the federal response and BP's efforts is not a leadership approach. In fact, it sounds very much like the lack of leadership he came here to criticize.
What we want to hear — and witness — is Mack's own plan for Southwest Florida as well as his commitment to that plan. If the oil spill reaches our shores, what response would he suggest be activated, at the federal, state and local level? Which safeguards will be put into place, for any future offshore drilling permit applications, that will ensure such a disaster will never happen again?
Our local community is very committed to doing their part as responsible citizens to volunteer for any potential cleanup effort. We already understand that if a call to action becomes necessary here, the effects could last for decades. The economic impacts would be devastating to the entire region. Does Mack have a plan to address that, too?
We commend Connie Mack for coming to Sanibel, for asking the government to step up its commitment to providing resources to assist in the oil spill cleanup and for promising to keep an eye on BP's progress. We hope that all of your wishes come true.
We also hope our readers will "monitor" your promise of leadership. After all, actions speak louder than words.
— Reporter editorial