Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter Recess

Sorry it's been so long since my last post but between going to Florida for business reasons and working with a skeleton crew in the office for the last week and a half there has not been much to talk about. So now that things are beginning to develop again the blog gets a new post.

If you have been following the Republican Primaries (which is pretty hard not to) you would know that this week Sen. Rick Santorum has dropped out of the race. Even though I was not much of a fan of Senator Santorum from the get go, I still have a great deal of respect that what is important to him is God, family, and country in that order and so much that his convictions tell him to put his focus towards his family and suspend his campaign. With that being said the Republican nomination is essentially being handed over to Mitt Romney on a silver platter. The likely hood of him pushing Obama out of the white house is still up in the air and actually closer to President Obama's favor (sadly). What this is going to mean for Rick Santorum is that he has gained favor and distinction for this selfless act of his, and should he decided to run for presidential nomination again he will have a much larger support from the GOP as a whole. What is best for the Republican party at this point is to stop making each other look bad and focus on their strategy to win the election with Mitt Romney. However, it seems as if Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul are nowhere near ready to back out. Ron Paul actually looks as if he's pulling a Reagan 1976, what this means is he is going to run in every state primary up until the national convention regardless of how far behind he is or if he loses every state period. Nonetheless exciting things are about to happen in the campaign.

Recently our office decided to put out another newsletter for our constituents stating what Congressman Ross is working towards passing the house in this part of the session. He is working on the NO FIELD Act which will stop the construction of the soccer field for the terrorist inmates in Gitmo, and will cut that $750.000 from the budget. Along with this Rep. Ross is attempting to stop the inflation of the price on premium for TRICARE. In simplest form TRICARE is like a medicare or health insurance program set up by the government for our veterans. So far through the responses I have heard from our constituents everyone seems to be really happy with what the congressman is doing and they have voiced their full support.

As I'm sure the few of you who follow the blog are expecting me to talk about the Trayvon Martin shooting, well..that's not going to happen. I feel that such a severe and case personal to one single family is not for discussion over a blog. If anyone would like to swap opinions about this you can do so the way I always say to, by contacting me personally, I'm always up for discussions.

Aside from what is going on around Capitol Hill and in the National Government, today marked the first day of my last month of the internship, and boy has time flown. It has been an absolute pleasure working with the office staff that I have and it has felt so rewarding that I could have a small role in our legislative branch.

I hope everyone had a wonderful easter and was sure to spend time with their families, be sure to have a more detailed post next week.

Until next time thank you and God bless,

Gage Nicholas

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

March Session

Welcome back to the blog!

There is much to be said this week so I'm just going to skip a thought out introduction and just move right into the topics....

....First off, Rep. Walter Jones has announced his plan to create a bill that would impeach President Obama and the hardcore right wing constituents from the district have made sure that their voices were going to be heard about this. Am I a fan of President Obama? Absolutely not. Do I believe that impeaching him right now is impossible? Yes. In my opinion this plan will fail almost immediately when brought to the respected committee. Even if it did pass the committee and passed through the house, the Senate majority is democratic and there is no way they would vote to impeach a president of their own part, especially during an election year. I welcome comments and questions on this topic.

Yesterday Rep. Paul Ryan, the Chairman of the Budget Committee, released his proposed budget deal to the house. This is a phenomenal thing on both partisan sides of the spectrum since we have not had a budget in over 1,000 days (since Obama took office). I took the time over the last couple of days to read over the budget. In a nut shell its going to cut the government spending to protect tax paying citizens (pretty obvious solution for a budget), works to hold our government officials accountable in their spending so we can afford to put money towards our obligations to financially support our troops, levels the playing field so to speak in order to benefit small business owners to restore our economy, takes away from government bureaucrats to spend towards health and retirement securities, and reforms our tax code in order to boost the economy by lowering rates and closing loopholes. To learn more about the budget or read the full plan go to

Recently we sent out newsletters to our constituents about the bills that Congressman Ross is working on passing into law. These include freezing congressional salaries, banning insider trading, and abolishing sweetheart pensions. What this means is the bills are working to hold congressional members accountable to A. help the economy, and B. remind them of why they were elected and who they actually work for (the PEOPLE). Needless to say our constituents have called in rather happily to voice their support.


Aside from the job, as busy and exciting as it is, I have other news to discuss that's irrelevant to the job....The cherry blossoms are beginning to bloom due to the last 2 weeks being beautiful and in the 70's, so expect photos soon of the cherry blossom festival.

This week I took the time to just sit down and reflect on my semester thus far. So far this has been a wonderful experience. Along with the job comes menial work such as answering phones and handling constituent mail, however, nothing can compare to what you can learn from going to committee hearings and legislative briefing, sitting in on meetings, and talking to the staff members on Capitol Hill. Though this semester has flown by I can honestly say it has already made a lasting impression on me.

Until next time thank you and God bless...

Gage Nicholas

Monday, March 12, 2012

Congressional Update

Hi All,

This week we are in recess and it's the majority of public schools' spring break so we are jam packed with tours non-stop this week so I felt this would be a good time to catch everyone up on what has been going on in terms of current events since nothing new is happening.

To start President Obama has decided to commission the construction of a $750,000 soccer field in Guantanamo Bay for the terrorist inmates we have imprisoned there. And here's where I express my feelings on the matter....this is absolutely ridiculous. Why should we spend almost a million dollars on aiding the people who have attacked this country instead of spending some money to aid the victims of the recent natural disasters throughout the south and midwest? Why should we waste money, that we don't have, so that terrorists can enjoy prison? The solution for this is in the making right now, it's called the NO FIELD Act, and basically this is going to stop the construction of the soccer field and cut $750,000 from the military budget. Keep in mind, before we declared war in the middle east our military budget was miniscule compared to what it is now. This is for the simple reason that there was 2/3 the amount of military personnel and we were not involved in an type of foreign conflict so the amount we spent on fuel, ammunition, etc was significantly lower. In my opinion the NO FIELD Act should be passed through as a way to remind President Obama of the checks and balances guaranteed in the US Constitution and move on our way to cutting federal spending so that we can work on getting out of this deficit.

This past thursday House Democrats and Republicans FINALLY played nice together and passed a package of bills that will make it easier for small businesses to raise capital so that they may increase their revenue and hire more employees. These bills would also remove SEC restrictions that prevent small businesses from advertising to solicit investors. The fact that this passed with such a high majority in the house on both sides (republican and democrat) really speaks to how efficient the bill is going to be.

In recent foreign affairs news there has been an ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran and their nuclear programs. British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke at a press conference explaining what he felt should take place, which in a nutshell is to attack them ruthlessly before they have a chance to bomb Israel. This is the part where I rant on why that is a dumb idea and what we should do in terms of foreign policy right now.... if we attack Iran right now we will disrupt oil production for 2/3 of the world even though we do not receive oil from them. If we corrupt the Iranian oil fields gas prices all around the world will rise significantly especially in the United States. Once oil rises the price of goods from other countries will also rise and if other countries are aware of something like this being caused by us we might actually start another war. Though I am not qualified to give an expert opinion on foreign policy nor do I feel that what I am about to say is entirely accurate but it is how I feel from what I do understand...this is where the secretary of state Hillary Clinton needs to come in handy and be a peaceful ambassador to both countries. At a time such as this we can not afford to allow ourselves to become involved in foreign conflict when we have relations with both countries. In my opinion it will diminish the allied relationships that we have with both nations and will deplete our economy even more as we are trying to build it back up. Though I'm not sure we can stop Iran and Israel from bombing each other we as a country need to at least figure out a peaceful resolution for them.

The final topic I want to go over is what is in the future for our oil dependency. For a while the Keystone Pipeline XL bill has been floating around the House of Representatives and since it has received so much negative feedback from "green energy enthusiasts" there has been much discussion of sue of fracking and shale oil as a form of natural gas to loosen our dependency on foreign oil, become a "green" society, and create the jobs to stimulate our economy. I feel that is Keystone is not going to get the support it needs then shale oil is a must.

If anyone of you would like to personally talk about any of these topics in a deeper discussion or have any topics that you would like to talk about or want me to research please feel free to contact me at (352) 267-4254 to do so. Until next time...

Thank You and God Bless,

Gage Nicholas

Monday, February 20, 2012

Fat Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, and Another Full Week On Its Way

Welcome back to the blog. I apologize for the long delay of a new post but it was either keep it short and lack details, or full of stories from my time in DC and my internship.

The newest piece of legislation that has been floating around the Hill is the HR 7 Transportation Bill. In short this bill was written "to authorize funds for Federal-aid highway, public transportation, and highway motor carrier safety programs, and for other purposes." This bill is one of those pieces of legislation that go around the hill and get extreme levels of feedback from both sides stating the pros and cons but nothing every really happens with it. I really have no opinion of this bill until I can see how it develops further in the House. If you would like to learn more about this bill or any other bill go to for the best source of information.

 This past week I also had the chance to tour the White House and tour the Capitol Dome. The experience was absolutely breath taking and I wish I could tell you more about it other than you must take one of these dome tours for yourself. Pictures will be up from the tour soon.

Incase you haven't been watching the news this past Friday, the 17th, there was an attempted suicide bombing at the Capitol Building, however no one was ever in any real harm. This was a sting operation from the FBI who received intelligence stating that there was a man living in Alexandria, VA that was connected to Al Qaeda. He was monitored by the FBI and also given fake explosives by them as well. So thankfully no one was ever in any real danger and justice was served in that the man was brought down and is now incarcerated.

This past weekend I decided to go out with some friends to Alexandria, VA to see the George Washington Masonic Memorial and explore the city down there for a bit. One thing that I found to be much more of a relief in Alexandria as opposed to Washington DC is that every restaurant serves sweet tea, and you have to understand being that I grew up in the south sweet tea is like a drug for me. Visiting the memorial could not have come at a better time considering that today is President's day and George Washington's birthday. I was able to learn about the fascinating traditions that our forefathers use to help build this nation. I will also be posting pictures from this past week on the blog soon so be sure to check out each week what photos I add.

On top of this week marking Ash Wednesday it also marks Fat Tuesday. Being that my roommate is from Mississippi and grew up in Louisiana a big thing for him is Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday. So in honor of that we decided we would throw a little get together at our apartment and invite Tina and Cynthia as well so that all the FSC interns could be included. I will keep you all updated on the week since exciting things are supposed to be happening in the city and we are out of session for the week, which will give me plenty of time to keep experiencing the city and post about it on here.

Until next time Thank you and God Bless,

Gage Nicholas

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Session in Full Swing and Pictures are Finally Up

Hey all, I hope everyone's semester is going well...

To begin this week's entry we have been quite busy as staff members recently. What has been going on since my last post consists of the case against Attorney General Eric Holder and the new Federal Pensions Bill.

For those of you that are unaware of the situation Attorney General Eric Holder has been brought to trial on the basis of illegal weapons smuggling known as "Operation Fast and Furious". Attorney General Holder claims that he and the Department of Justice were not aware of the smuggling and claim to have nothing to do with the situation. However, evidence shows that Mr. Holder really has no plausible defense in the case, and in my opinion when the case is over he will not be impeached of his position but will rather step down from his position of Attorney General. On top of the case my fellow staff members and I had many angry constituents calling in and sending faxes expressing their opposition of Eric Holder, which I'm sure Leslie Rath can tell you that these concerned constituents keep the office busy on a daily basis and are quite adamant with their concerns and feedback.

This week in particular we have been tied up with work dealing with H.R. 3813 Securing Annuities for Federal Employees Act of 2012. Just as with the Eric Holder "Fast and Furious" case we have been receiving many phone calls from constituents and concerned citizens throughout the US about this bill, the majority of which are Federal Employees and Union Workers. The concern that these citizens have is in regards to their retirement pensions that they pay each year and fear that their pensions are either being put to waste or towards the salary of the Congressmen. After reading through legislation to assist in the constituents's understanding of what the Bill is supposed to entail it is to my understanding that the Bill is meant to cut the pay and retirement pensions of the Congressmen in a manner that will save our country about $6 Billion in Federal spending each year. I can understand how these people might misinterpret the Bill, but it is nonetheless frustrating dealing with the same complaints all day long knowing the these citizens do not quite understand what the Bill is really about. All in all though, as each day passes and the days get busier and busier the job becomes more and more exciting and enjoyable.

On a note much more irrelevant to the job and more in regards to my general time in Washington D.C. in the past week I have had the chance to spend time with the other two FSC students currently interning up here through the Washington Center, Tina Cota-Robles and Cynthia Navarro. Along with this I have had the chance to learn more about what they are doing for their internships and I need to let it be known that they are doing some pretty extraordinary jobs up here and I encourage everyone to read their blogs as well.

For Super Bowl Sunday my roommate Charles Hussey, intern for Rep. Alan Nunnley, and I decided to watch it at a restaurant that was featured on the Food Network's "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives" called "Tune-Inn" which is more of a southern style restaurant and was a nice change of pace from the more diverse restaurants that we have been to, which have also been much more expensive as everything in Washington D.C. tends to be. If any of you are ever in the area I encourage you to try this place.

On another side note I have FINALLY added photos of DC to the blog, they are at the bottom of the page so please feel free to check them out since they are for your enjoyment. Since I have nothing else to ramble on about I hope you all enjoy the rest of your week and I look forward to the feedback.

Until next time Thank You and God Bless...

Gage Nicholas

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Finally in routine....FL Primary....Follower feedback

Well it's that time of the week again. Today I'm going to be a little more organized with the flow of my blog post, so now you can ACTUALLY follow whatever I decided to rant about. So here we go...

1. Thursday marks exactly one month since I moved into my apartment in DC, and it took me till just now to finally get in to the swing of things and make a routine. Everyday since day 1 has been either a whirlwind adventure or an unorganized cluster (turns out this small town boy wasn't ready for big city living). This pertains to both my time at work and free time. And speaking of work...things are finally beginning to become exciting. We have been in and out of the start of the new session for the first couple of weeks which has made work for an intern rather slow, but as we move into the bulk of the 2nd session of the 112th congress things are about to get interesting. The number of briefings and case hearings for me to report on will sky rocket, tours will pick up, and Lord knows the number of angry constituents calling in or sending mail will become infinite. But I'm excited and can't wait to make you all read about it.

2. The Florida Primary is tonight, and for those of you that won't read this until a later time this section will be meaningless to you. When looking at a presidential election we recognize that if a candidate can win Florida, he can win the primary and become the party nomination for the general election. Mitt Romney in my opinion has already won Florida by a landslide. I base my opinion after studying all the candidates campaigns. Romney has the support of all 19 Republican Majority Districts in the state, this should be evidence enough, but for those who want to continue to question my opinion I will keep going. Newt Gingrich, could not even gain the support of congressional figures that he worked with as speaker of the house, shouldn't that tell you enough? No? Ok I'll keep going, the man is a cartoon candidate. He makes ridiculous remarks with little legitimacy in his arguments, and I'm not even going to go into the moon population idea of his...I like Ron Paul, and as wonderful of a congressional leader he is, he should have dropped out of the race months ago, better luck next time big guy. And Rick who....? Exactly not even worth the discussion. Please feel free to respond with your own thoughts or concerns.

3. Finally..the only part of this blog that I have looked forward to writing today. I have received some feedback and questions from those who have read this blog in the comment section, on facebook, and those who have texted me. Since I have yet to respond to those who have commented on the blog itself, this section is dedicated to you.

Alex Charwin: Hi I'm Alex, I'm in Anderson's political parties and interest groups class.It must have been really cool being in a room with so many influential people. Ur story about being so close to the secret service escort coach reminds m of the the first time I went to D.C. I accidentally ended up on the wrong side of a road block leading to the white house and had to get escorted back to where everyone else was standing.

To Alex: Thank you for the support and interest. This experience has been phenomenal, and yes being around so many of the free world's leaders seemed quite surreal.

Wes Davis: I think its awesome that you are getting the experience of Congress first hand (plus I'm jealous)! But one of the things I have not yet had a chance to experience is China Town, but it is surprising that its cleaner and more presentable than the one in NYC. However, being someone that will be in your position over the summer, I am really interested in what your daily schedule is and if you have any say in the tasks you're assigned? Thanks and keep up the good work!

To Wes: I'm excited that you get the chance to take a position like I am now during the summer, you'll enjoy it! As far as daily tasks go, you will get the menial busy work tasks such as answering phones..sorting through and responding to tours..etc. However, you will get the chance to get hands on work with legislation and sit in on briefings and committee hearings which is what the experience is all about.

Alan Silva: Haha! Preach it Gage!! 

It does sound like you're having a great time up there! I only went to D.C. once and I was only like 10 or 11. I would like to go back! The stories I'm hearing from the two blogs sound pretty darn cool!

So if the chinatown up there is nice and clean, where do you get your pirated DVD's and Faux-lexes?
To Alan: Just to clarify I work for the National Government, even if I did purchase pirated DVD's I would not post about it on the internet. HAHA. And also that it why God has blessed us with Netflix. Oh and a concern for you....I still don't understand why you brought up jugalos in our first class skype session..

Luke McNamee: Glad you are having a good time man. Stay busy and have fun

To Luke: Buddy you didn't give me much to respond to, but I couldn't leave you hanging, thanks for the support.

Josh Vaal: I'm just curious...what is it that is discussed between interns up there? At the Public Defender's office our conversations were so random at times but we ALWAYS talked about the interesting files and clients we had to interview. Do you discuss policies or do you talk crap about other politicians that may be against right wing policies? <- just a random question

To Josh: The discussions between myself and other interns will go anywhere on the topics of where we went that weekend and what we did, what we think of certain policies and what our congressmen should do about it (SOPA for example), we complain about parts of the job we hate as well as how busy or how dead our office is on a particular day, and compare each other's constituent phone calls to see who had to deal with the "crazier" constituent. And a general rule of thumb, if a constituent calls the office they should probably be locked up for reasons of insanity

Until next time....
Thank You and God Bless

Gage Nicholas

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

State of the Union and the Intern Reaction

Unless you live under a rock or your age is smaller than your shoe size, then you know that last night was President Obama's 3rd State of the Union Address. I will be brief about my opinions of it but please know that I fully intend to express my right to the first amendment.....First off, he spoke only on feelings of "change" to make his audience feel warm and fuzzy inside. There was no discussion of specific policies or what he himself planned to do in regards to making this "change." He's been feeding us false hopes since he has taken office and there are enough constituents calling every week that want him out of the White House now. On top of the SOTU address yesterday also marked 1,000 days without a budget in this country, now you know why we can't find a way to get out of this deficit. If you would like to find out more on the buzz going around in politics or how I feel about these topics in a deeper and more professional manner please feel free to contact me. This past weekend some friends and I went out to experience chinatown up here, if you've been to the one in NYC you would know that chinatown is dirty and full of novelty shops and stolen or fake merchandise for sale. This is not the case at all with chinatown DC. It was clean, well lit, and ran legitimate businesses. For those of you who plan to visit Washington DC be sure to go visit chinatown at night. In FSC related news fellow students Tina Cota-Robles and Cynthia Navarro have just arrived on monday and will doing internships through the Washington Center so this weekend I will be sure to give them a warm welcome and help them find their way around the city and to all the sites. Now moving on to my experiences this week, in hopes that you already haven't become so bored that you exited out of the webpage, I had a chance to take some legislation down to the House Chamber this week so that it could be given a bill number for a committee meeting today. Now comes the cool part of the story, it wasn't taking down the bill that excited me, it was walking down to the chamber with every congressional member in the US all in one place while the news coverage teams were setting up stations and preparing for the SOTU Address, so in the mind of a political science undergrad it was a crazy and exciting vibe. Later that evening my roommate and I went for a walk around the Capitol just for the heck of it and found ourselves taking a 30 minute detour around every police officer and military officer in the DC,MD,VA ended up being well worth it though since we stood on a street corner waiting for the walk signal and got lucky by being just a few yards from President Obama's secret service escort coach, I would post a picture if I had been able to take my phone out at the time but that's life I guess. If you have any other questions, concerns, or anything else at all feel free to contact me. Enjoy the rest of your week everyone!!
Thank You and God Bless,

Gage Nicholas