By George Miller
7-1-22, Fernandina Beach
Prominent local supporters held a fundraiser this week for Florida District 4 US House candidate Senator Aaron Bean, who is currently the President Pro Tempore and a 2-termer in the Florida Senate.
He is a former 2-term State Assembly member and Mayor/Commissioner of Fernandina Beach, as well as a former bank president and golf course manager. But, he says he’s not a “career politician,” since he has done the latter things and also trades options and sells insurance. According to his campaign web site, he has worked for UF Health Jacksonville for 13 years in development. Florida Legislative jobs don’t pay exceedingly well.
The by-invitation event was held at real estate executive Steve Simmons and his wife Pam’s home on the bluffs at Egans Creek in Fernandina Beach. It appeared to be just as much a networking gathering of like-minded patriotic Citizens as a money-raising event.
Not content to merely be a host, Simmons made a stirring introductory speech that invoked the shared values of the group with Bean. There was no doubt that these are somewhat Conservative Republican principles and objectives. He also stressed what he said was Bean’s history of principled beliefs and actions being something they could trust and support him to continue to carry out on the new playing field of the U.S. Congress. Finally, he stressed the urgency of putting many representatives like Bean in office to take strong actions to reverse the terrible things being done to our country.
Simmons sees this an effort which may not bloom until the next generation, but needs to start very soon to have any chance of success. “We might never reap the benefits, but our children will,” he announced. He is dismayed about people who say “nothing can be done” and “won’t even vote” and wants to propel Bean to higher office and motivate the public to engage.
Political pundits of every stripe are predicting a massive change in Congress this year in favor of the Republicans, but Democrats are doing everything possible to reverse or at least slow down the “red tide” forecasted.
Aaron Bean Speech
Bean first saluted and thanked his supporters orally and in the event invitation, which highlighted hosts the Simmons, as well as Bill & Belinda Agricola, Dr. John & Linda McClane, Bill & Chris Bryan, Jay & Ginger Mock, Hayward & Ginny Burnet, Ralph & Aleesa Williams, along with Bill & Gail Greeson. Local leaders like Pastor Zach Terry of First Baptist Church Fernandina were also present, 42 in total.
Bean has clearly hitched his wagon, at least rhetorically, to Governor Ron DeSantis, who he thinks very highly of and described as “one of the great leaders of a lifetime.”
He touted the victory of getting the election redistricted maps approved and through court challenges. He rejoiced over the passage of the fair elections bill, which addresses abuses of ballot harvesting and establishes an election integrity force and more.
He is glad that legislation passed to “empower parents to say no to objectionable teaching.’ He said “they should stick to reading, writing,” etc.
Bean said he’s “a defender of the 2nd Amendment … wants people to be able to defend themselves and bad guys held accountable.”
Bean was very happy and proud about legislative progress partnering with DeSantis on things like pork from the state coffers for Nassau County including Hwy A1A past and proposed improvements, bike paths, trails and more. Our very new publication already gets a constant stream of press releases about state funding coming into Nassau and Duval Counties, which DeSantis recently described as “where people want to be.”
He also brought up major problems to be addressed, such as:
- Inflation/economy, gas prices
- Changing the Congressional Leadership (“fire Nancy Pelosi”) as the most urgent current issues.
- An out of control border which he attributed to deliberate lack of enforcement of immigration law as something done willfully in the belief it would work to the benefit of the Democrat Party.
- Weaning America away from ruinous deficit spending, something he said could not be done all at once. He is committed to a promising approach, but does not want to publicize it just yet. We’re at the point of no return on debt, Congress doesn’t budget, but just extends things with “continuing resolutions.” They give more money to foreign countries, pay farmers not to grow crops.
- When the Republicans were in power, they squandered it and he doesn’t want that to happen again.
- Major election “shenanigans.” He refused to say the 2020 election was “stolen” as Trump and a large portion of Republicans assert.
- He believes in the American dream- that kids can be better off than their parents, but for the first time, it’s in trouble.
When we asked him if January 6 (2021) was an “insurrection”, he wouldn’t answer, laughed it off and ended the Q&A session.
This session was not about finding new voters, but rather cementing/reinforcing for the faithful what he can do and raising campaign money.
More Difficult Than Previous Campaigns
Bean told the crowd that no one from Nassau County has ever been elected to Congress, that this is a brand new district (the census results gave Florida a new Congressional seat- this is it) encompassing portions of three counties: Nassau, Duval and Clay. The sheer size and population of this district and unfamiliarity with Bean to much of that population presents a campaigning task to reach many more people. This involves much TV and social media to reach the voters and make them familiar with Bean as a candidate and a man and the issues.
This is much more expensive than “retail politics” of many smaller events involving talking to voters and “pressing the flesh,” which they must also do. He seemed a bit uncomfortable with the scale of fundraising required to do all of this successfully, but said he has immersed himself and campaign team to do this on the advice of his previously successful advisors/campaign team.
Bean claims to have about 78 former and current officials endorsing him, with more coming on board. It was apparent that most at the event strongly supported him, with some being friends and neighbors who weren’t so politically attenuated.
Sponsor Aleesa Williams testified to a small group present that Bean “gives back to the community,” “born and bred here,” “was high school valedictorian” and more.
Debbie Burford described him as “a Christian man with Christian values”- a man of his word.
Susan Devanne told us that “if he (Bean) is running for anything, anywhere, I will vote for him”. She added that “politics informs policies, but character drives them.”
This is a crowded race with six candidates still running- three Republicans, two Democrats and an independent. “Experts” say that it will likely go to Republicans, which would make it mainly a primary race, with all Republican candidates claiming to be “Conservative.” So, it really boils down to who really is, what their skills- personal, managerial, integrity, are- and their strengths in campaigning, fund-raising and connections. Bean is looking strong.
Bean asked for attendees’ support and donations to help his campaign be a winning one. Because only 8 weeks until the primary and 4 weeks before mail in ballots go out remain, he appealed for funding right now https://aaronbean.com/
George Miller is Publisher and Co-Founder of Citizens Journal Florida, based in Fernandina Beach. He is a “retired” operations management consultant, software and publishing executive and manufacturing management professional.