Gary Nager Editorial

I received about four or five emails and/or phone calls to our office about my recent editorial, which ran in both the July 26 New Tampa and Aug 9 Wesley Chapel issues.

All of these emails and phone calls have claimed that I am anti-Republican (or, at least, a RINO), anti-DeSantis, pro-Democrat and anti-American, but nothing could be further from the truth.

One woman who didn’t leave her name or number and had her number blocked (likely because she knew I would call her back to discuss her call) said that if she ever saw me out in the community, she’d walk up to me, scream and give me the finger to my face. “Do you know what the Democrats have done to this country, a-hole?,” I believe were her exact words. 

First of all, RINO or not, I am a registered Republican who voted for Gov. DeSantis and most (but definitely not all) of the Republican candidates in most of the elections since I’ve lived in Florida — which is now almost 30 years — and I don’t believe I’ve ever not cast a ballot in any of those elections (including every city election in March of odd-numbered years when I lived in New Tampa from 1995-2009). The pages of the Neighborhood News also show that I always have staunchly supported our military and charities geared to help them.

But, just as I did when I lived (and cast ballots) in New York, I have never voted strictly along party lines. I have always voted for the candidates and referendums I believed would do the best job of protecting my family, my business, my city, county, state and country.

While I don’t agree with everything Gov. DeSantis has done during his time in office, I greatly appreciate that he kept my business and so many others open during the pandemic and I definitely will still vote for him in November because I believe he is the best candidate in the race. Charlie Crist is a flip-flopper who can’t make up his mind what he is and Nikki Fried boasts about being a “true” Democrat, but based on the many terrible things the Democratic party has done nationwide, I can’t support a gubernatorial candidate who clings to an agenda I don’t support.

The only reason I started with the governor’s race in my editorial is because it’s one of the “biggest” elections being decided in Florida in November, not because I support Crist or Fried. If my critics had read the entire editorial (and their comments suggest that maybe they didn’t), they’d see that I was much more focused on trying to get people in the communities I have served for almost 29 years. who tend to ignore voting in Primary Elections, to cast a ballot this time around — especially those who don’t think public school teachers are paid enough, because they definitely are not.

I and my sons (both of whom make more money than I ever have) all received public school educations only from Kindergarten through college and we all had wonderful teachers who deserve to make (at least) a living wage, too. Since the millage referendum in both Pasco and Hillsborough counties will only appear on the Aug. 23 ballot, those who choose to not vote until November will likely (in my opinion) make it much harder for these two ballot measures to pass, especially in Pasco. 

The one thing I do agree with that the emailers pointed out is that I did neglect to mention China as a major national issue and I do believe that President Biden and the Democrats dominating Congress have made our country less safe with many of the stances they’ve taken with regards to China, Russia, North Korea and our enemies in the Middle East. I hope the Republican party can take back at least one, if not both, of those legislative bodies in order to keep better checks on policies that don’t make sense to me.

No, I never voted for Pres. Trump (nor did I vote for Biden or Hillary Clinton, however) because I didn’t like him personally and he’s done nothing since he left the White House to change my opinion of him. But, despite that fact, I do feel our military and our country were stronger when he was our President than they are now.

I’ll also just remind everyone — as I always have when I receive emails/calls like these — is that page 3 is my Editorial page, where I give my opinions each issue on a particular subject. The problem that so often happens is that people 1) often don’t read the entire editorial and, even when they do, 2) they don’t believe I’m entitled to my voice my opinions in my community newspapers, on page 3 or otherwise.

But, after 29 years of putting my opinions out there for tens of thousands of people every two weeks, I wouldn’t still be in business if most of our readers shared that belief — even though they may also disagree with me from time to time. And, despite how some readers may feel about me, I will always support anyone’s right to disagree with me — and appreciate that they still read the Neighborhood News despite their feelings towards me.

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