Buchanan's Record of Shameful Votes

Letters

BY GABRIEL HAMENT SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY SEP 12, 2020

Congressman Vern Buchanan is either ashamed of his record, afraid of his opponent state Rep. Margaret Good, or acting arrogantly. The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, Sarasota Tiger Bay Club and the League of Women Voters of Sarasota County all extended invitations to Buchanan requesting his participation in candidate forums. Buchanan summarily dismissed each inquiry. I surmise he is hiding under his desk in light of the recent revelations surrounding his discriminatory record towards gay people. 

Buchanan's sprawling network of allies at the highest levels of the regional news media continue to paper over the Congressman's history of intolerance and bigotry. You may wonder why you have not heard about Buchanan's vote against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 which augmented 1969 federal hate crimes law and extended federal investigatory and prosecutorial powers into violent crimes motivated by one's gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. For hate crimes motivated by the victim's race, color, religion or national origin, the prerequisite that the victim be engaging in a federally protected activity was removed.  The bill's namesakes — Matthew Shepard and James Byrd — were both victims of unthinkable crimes.

This bill, ushered through Congress with bipartisan support, was advanced by a broad coalition of national organizations including the National Council of Jewish Women, the Anti-Defamation League and the NAACP.  We are left scratching our heads when Buchanan's vote against the Shepard-Byrd Act is juxtaposed with his vote to extend similar federal power to the investigation and prosecution of animal cruelty cases. I guess gerbils come before humans in the warped world of Buchanan. 

Further, Buchanan voted against the Equality Act which would have made discrimination illegal on the basis of sexual orientation in the workplace and public accommodation. 

Of the 364 votes Buchanan missed over the years, those are two votes for which he made sure to pull the lever. 

This type of prejudice is shocking and should not be embraced by our community. This November, please safely return your ballot by mail and put an end to Buchanan's bigotry. 

Gabriel Hament is a Sarasota native. He has led and volunteered on campaigns for the Sarasota County School Board, Sarasota City Commission and Florida House, including volunteering for Good’s state House District 72 campaign.

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