Editor’s note: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insight on various topics in Marketplace.
— Steve’s Marketplace —
Aaron Bean affectionately embraces supporters and includes them on his team. The group, “The Bean Team,” is vigorously sprouting.
But the newest aspect of the team is making a splash like a dolphin at a Sea World show. It resembles a jumping bean.
As a new U.S. congressman, the busy Bean jumps from fire to fire amid a conflagration of turmoil in the nation’s capital. And you can’t even compare his hectic schedule to drinking water from a fire hose.
“A fire hose is not as fast as what Congress is,” Bean jokes. “A fire hose is probably not the best analogy. It’s too slow.”
A few weeks ago, Bean was in his element, in his hometown of Fernandina Beach, entertaining an adoring crowd of the Federated Republican Women of Nassau. He does speeches two and even three times a day. Visits vocational centers at public schools. Tours new or expanding companies.
Every day, he receives up to 15 requests for appearances. He considers it constituent service. And it involves travel, with his district including parts of Nassau, Clay and Duval counties – as well as Washington, D.C.
“It’s exciting,” Bean says, “knowing we are representatives of the United States.”
From his first eight months in office, Bean has some insightful and startling observations. Here are some of them:
— The behavior in Washington, D.C. is more partisan than at the state level. However, the two parties get along better behind the scenes than they’ll show in public.
— President Joe Biden’s weaponization of the federal government against political opponents is devastating our country. “It is literally ripping our country apart,” Bean says. He asked the attendees at the local event to list third-world countries that arrest political foes: Cuba, Venezuela, Russia. “Oh, by the way, we have to add to that list,” Bean says, mentioning the U.S. “We have crossed that line and it’s a tragedy.”
— The FBI has possessed the controversial laptop belonging to Hunter Biden for over five years. “The FBI knew it was real,” Bean said. And 30 shell companies and fake email accounts set up by the Bidens were designed to “hide a money trail so members of the family could receive payments,” he says. Yet 40 percent of the public has never heard of any Biden wrongdoings.
— The House’s impeachment inquiry against Biden will strengthen subpoena powers for Republicans. Bean says he hopes the hearings are held in prime time for wide-viewing audiences. “Let people know exactly what happened,” Bean says.
— House Republicans want to reduce spending in the new budget. “The Republicans know we have to spend less,” Bean says. “Hopefully, we will end up cutting a lot.” Any spending cuts will probably be minor and hardly fill the $34 trillion hole of U.S. debt, but “it does help us stop digging,” Bean says.
— Bean and fellow House Republicans are calling for more military spending, higher pay for soldiers, and better care for our veterans. He is concerned the military has been depleted by weapons sent to Ukraine and left behind in Afghanistan. And how at least $100 billion in cash and weapons (some allege $200 billion) sent to Ukraine are not being monitored. “We need to examine our blind support for Ukraine,” he says.
Meanwhile, “We have to wake up to China as a true threat to our democracy and way of life,” Bean says. “The wakeup call came in the form of a Chinese spy balloon.” China is the biggest trading partner of neighboring South America, and is buying mineral rights there and building satellite and communications systems for poorer countries.
In his former roles as a Florida congressman and later senator, Bean became prominent. Likewise, he is forging relationships with influential House Republicans like Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Elise Stefanik.
He sits on committees for small business, transportation and education. Bean also chaired a subcommittee on the repercussions of school shutdowns during the pandemic. Other than Florida, most states mishandled the shutdowns and sacrificed student learning. “We’ve gone back 15 to 20 years from where we were,” Bean says about the impacts on public education.
In addition, he is helping with efforts to find missing kids, and to force the Small Business Association to recoup fraudulent bailouts during the pandemic. The fraud by businesses was rampant. “We want our money back,” Bean maintains.
Shortcomings Of Homeowners’ Insurance In Florida
Bean is not ignoring Florida and its most significant shortcoming – the availability and expense of homeowners’ insurance. During his state tenure, several steps were taken to corral lawsuits from the legal profession and to force the hands of insurers. “It’s going to ruin our economy,” Bean says about the shortcomings of homeowners’ insurance in Florida.
To conclude his appearance before some 40 Republican women and guests, Bean hosted an upbeat game of trivia and auctioned off some goodies to raise money for the club. He also gave out “Aaron Bean/Congress” lip gloss.
It helped to wet everyone’s smiling lips.
Steve Nicklas is the managing partner of Nicklas Wealth Management in Fernandina Beach. He is also an award-winning columnist. His columns also regularly appear in weekly newspapers in Northeast Florida and in Southeast Georgia, and on his website at www.SteveNicklasMarketplace.com. He has published a book, “All About Money,” of his favorite columns from the past 20 years. The book is available on Amazon. He has also done financial reports for area radio stations and for National Public Radio in Jacksonville. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 904-753-0236.