- Faith & Family
Like it or not, Congressman Allen West is one politician that always speaks his mind. But according to the first-term Congressman from Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, neither his outspokenness, party affiliation, nor his conservatism are anything Blacks need to fear.
“The most conservative people in America on Sundays are Black,” said West, 50. “Yet something happens during the rest of the week. We have to figure out why there is a change Monday through Saturday.”
West’s conservative views have made him a rising star in the Tea Party, a conservative movement in Congress that is run by members of the Republican Party. West, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army, became a member of the Tea Party Caucus in February. He says not all members of the Republican Party serve in an obstructionist role when it comes to legislation sponsored by the president.
“There are 22 job-related bills sitting on the desk of [Democratic Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid, so I don’t think we are obstructing anything,” he said. “And every single one of these pieces of legislation does not require any additional government funding. So I think that when you hear about the President and his $447 billion American Jobs Act, we don’t have the money.”
Grading Obama and other controversial perspectives
Faced with a community heavily supportive of the Democratic Party, which favors the country’s first Black president, West still has few reservations on giving his opinion about Obama’s job performance.
“From an objective standpoint, it’s very simple — I would have to give him an F,” West said. “Black unemployment is reprehensible at 17 percent. You have 20 to 25 percent Black adult males and close to 45 percent of Black teens without jobs. When those are the numbers, we have to look at what we need to be doing differently to inspire businesses to come back into the inner city and into the Black community.”
His opinion on drug testing people on public assistance?
“People have to become responsible for their acts,” he said. “I can’t ask the American taxpayer to fund people and their lifestyles. We have to make sure that the money that I’m providing is going for the right means and the right measures — not for things that are scurrilous and nefarious.”
“I want to see incentives so that people don’t want to be on government assistance,” continued West. “Forty-eight percent of Americans are on some form of government aid. I don’t want people to stay on that. I want people to understand that government aid is there as a safety net, not as a hammock.”
Allen West’s no-nonsense military style has not been without controversy, as he publicly announced he was considering leaving the Congressional Black Caucus, of which he is the only Republican member. He has also been being involved in an ugly discourse with fellow Florida delegation member Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.
“The policies that I believe in — including limited, fiscally-responsible government — benefit everybody,” he said. “I want to reward people for their ideas and innovations. I want to make sure we have the right tax and regulatory policies so that they can open up new businesses. When you drive through South Florida, you see closed storefronts. How do we turn that around so that we get everybody back to work? I’m an ally for those who want jobs.”
By Gregory W. Wright