Is This Congressman Sleeping?
Posted at 4:49 p.m. on Aug. 14
The August recess gives members time to meet with constituents, spend time with their families and … sleep?
According to the Florida Democratic Party, that is exactly what Rep. Steve Southerland II, R-Fla., did Tuesday at a field hearing in his home district. The party posted this photo of the second-term congressman on Twitter:
Southerland’s office rebuked the tweet.
“This might be the most ridiculous false attack against Rep. Southerland yet,” the 2nd District lawmaker’s office said in an email to Roll Call. “At no point whatsoever did he fall asleep or nod off during this historic moment for Apalachicola Bay. It’s a shame that the Florida Democrat Party is more worried about playing childish games than in joining Rep. Southerland in the bipartisan fight to save North Florida’s oystermen and coastal communities.”
Pinki Jackel, a Republican District Commissioner in Franklin County, where the hearing was held, said that Southerland was attentive throughout the event, which more than 250 people attended.
“It is a fairly ridiculous claim,” Jackel said, noting that some panelists glanced down at their phones during the hearing. “There was a constant buzz [in the room] … and I don’t see how anyone could have taken a nap in that environment.”
The hearing in Apalachicola, Fla., focused on decreased water flows to the region, and The Orlando Sentinel has reported that Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, will sue Georgia over the issue. Florida Democratic Party Press Secretary Max Steele said he did not think the photo inflamed or politicized the issue, but said the party did not have any additional photos or videos of Southerland from the hearing.
“I think the photo speaks for itself and the level of attention the Congressman is paying to the issue,” Steele said.
It is not the first time the Florida Democratic Party has poked at local Republicans. Florida Democrats recently linked Scott to the state’s recent ranking as the most corrupt state, and previously the organization called Southerland’s conduct on a trip to Israel embarrassing to all Floridians.
Florida’s 2nd District is rated Lean Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.