I used to think he was. As a matter of fact, I voted for him at least three times that I can remember. Twice for Florida Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner in 1994 and 1998 and again for Senate in 2000. At the time Nelson seemed to offer a middle-of-the-road, common-sense approach to government. If he were still the same I'd probably vote for him again this year.
Given the changes in political climate the last few years it seemed like a good idea to check his voting record before making a decision. I found a great website called Project Vote Smart that lists every vote our Federal Representatives and Senators cast, and I used it to see what Mr. Nelson has been voting for the last few years. Project Vote Smart is perfect for this purpose. It's nonpartisan, and it doesn't judge a representative's votes; it simply reports them.
Boy, was I surprised.
The moderate I voted for in years past has become a hyper-partisan backer of every far-left measure that comes before the Senate. I learned that among other things, Senator Nelson voted for:
But that's not all. Bill Nelson also voted to:
None of this sounds very moderate to me. Even worse, everything I read told the same disturbing story. Bill Nelson has become a left-wing extremist.
It's said you can tell a lot about a person by who their friends are. Similarly, you can tell a lot about an elected official by looking at who supports him or her, and who doesn't. Who supports Bill Nelson?
This is just a short list, but you get the idea. Project Vote Smart provides a longer list that you may find interesting.
The list of groups that do not support Nelson is equally revealing:
You can find the rest of this list at Project Vote Smart too.
According to findthedata.org Bill Nelson has a "liberal" rating of 87%, compared to an overall average for the Senate of 55%.
Sadly, Bill Nelson is no longer the moderate I used to vote for. He now represents the interests of special interest groups rather than the interests of average Floridians like me, and I cannot in good conscience vote for him this year.
Like most Americans, I'm not a particularly political person. I have a job, a family, a mortgage and a dog, and they consume most of my time, energy and money. But recently I've become disturbed by the direction our country is headed and worried that my children won't have the same opportunities and freedoms I've taken for granted all my life. So not long ago I started to pay more attention to what our government is doing.
What I learned was shocking. In 2010 I started making campaign contributions to candidates who seem to share my views, only to find that some of them really didn't. It's increasingly difficult to make an informed decision because so much false information is distributed by political parties, candidates, Political Action Committees and even the news media. How are we to use our votes wisely or contribute to candidates who share our views if we can't determine the truth?
When I realized Bill Nelson is not the moderate that he and the "news" organizations who support him claim, it made me angry. It also made me sad because I realized that most Floridians won't have time to locate the information I found. So I decided to create FreeRideBill.com to document Bill Nelson's liberal voting record and to share my thoughts about how his votes are harming senior citizens, the space program, Floridians, the middle class and the rest of America. I couldn't resist including the story of how I chose the name "Free Ride Bill".
I realized that FreeRideBill.com might look like a biased website created by what the media calls a "right-wing extremist". So I decided to make the sources of my information readily available to readers so you don't have to take my word for anything. Each factual claim I make on this site contains a link to the website I used as a source. Whenever possible I used non-partisan sources like Project Vote Smart or official government websites like the Congressional Budget Office or Social Security Administration. You can click the links to see the sources for yourself. One word of warning... when you look at Bill Nelson's votes at Project Vote Smart, make sure to look at what the vote was about as well as how Bill voted. Sometimes a vote against something, like "cloture", is a vote for the underlying law or amendment, and vice versa.
You can get more information by clicking the links in the blue navigation box at the left side of each page. I hope the detailed information presented on other pages will help you make an informed decision this November, regardless of who you vote for. If you find anything you think is incorrect or unfair, please send me a message using the Comments page. If I agree, I'll be happy to make a correction. I also welcome suggestions for improvements or material I might want to add.
The most important thing you can do to help is talk to your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers and make sure they know Bill Nelson isn't the moderate he pretends to be. Tell them about FreeRideBill.com, email them sections of the text. Feel free to copy and use any original material you find here as long as you identify the source as FreeRideBill.com.
If you live in or near Orlando and would like to help by displaying a free FreeRideBill.com yard sign in your yard, use the Comments page to request one. Include the best way to contact you in your message.
I created FreeRideBill.com at my own expense, and I've written every word on it. I'm not working with any political party or campaign; as a matter of fact, I set up the site before I knew who Bill Nelson's opponent would be. I don't take donations, and though I provide a link to a campaign store at which you can buy FreeRideBill bumper stickers, yard signs, banners, t-shirts and more, I don't make one cent from sales. If you would like to help spread the word about Bill Nelson's liberal voting record, click the red Campaign Store button on the left side of any page to browse or place an order.
Click a link below to learn more.