To the editor:
At the town hall meeting in Cape Coral this past Friday with Congressman Francis Rooney, I realized one huge problem for us, his constituents - our representative is severely ignorant. Not only could he not pronounce a plethora of words correctly including "Islamic" and "opioid," he was unaware of important bills like the one the president signed to reverse a regulation aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. He claimed he had not heard of this bill, yet his public voting record shows he voted in favor of it on Feb. 2.
The Congressman was repeatedly asked about the president's ties to Russia and the release of his tax returns which he deflected. The FBI and the CIA both confirm that Russia intervened in our 2016 presidential election in part to help Donald Trump win the election, but apparently, this is of no concern to our Congressman, even when his constituents ask.
Perhaps the most alarming part of the town hall was when Congressman Rooney chose to repeat fake news in place of real facts. He jumped at the chance to say he 100 percent wants to defund Planned Parenthood, the largest provider of reproductive health services in our country, offering sexual and reproductive health care, education and outreach to over 5 million people worldwide. And yes, abortion services. One in three women will have an abortion in her lifetime, a medical procedure that when performed legally by a licensed physician, is safer than having your wisdom teeth removed.
Congressman Rooney on the other hand, held up a piece of paper where he proceeded to say Planned Parenthood "does horrible, awful things," and read about the anti-abortion group who maliciously edited undercover videos of Planned Parenthood in an effort to spread lies about the organization and advance their anti-abortion agenda in the summer of 2015. Two people were indicted in January 2016 over these videos, while Planned Parenthood was cleared of any wrong-doing. Yet, our Congressman continues to spread the dangers of this fake news. The audience of the town hall let him know that what he is spreading are not alternative facts, but lies.
Worse still was Rooney's comment about transgender people. When asked about protecting the rights of LGBTQ people his response was, "Well, I have a problem with the 'today I'm a boy, but tomorrow I'm a girl' thing." His comment is shameful, but it just goes to show how uneducated he is when he knows nothing about something as important as gender identity.
When asked about climate change his answer was repeatedly, "I am not a scientist," despite the fact that we have plenty of top notch scientists with reliable, concrete information. His answer for healthcare? More choices and an open market, but he will still vote to repeal Obamacare. He was unfazed by a local man telling him about his $120,000 bill for chemotherapy last year.
I could go on, but the point here is that Francis Rooney has a lot to learn. His first order of business should be to listen to, vote for and work on behalf of his constituents. He won't get anywhere if he doesn't start with science and facts.
Kelly Fitzgerald Junco