In the News

Think not just good, but great.

That is what Congressman Steve Southerland, R-Panama City, urged commissioners from Gulf, Franklin and Wakulla counties during an informational meeting Thursday on the RESTORE Act.

Southerland urged commissioners to be broad-based and transparent and to be cohesive, not only in spending the billions in BP fine money potentially coming to eight counties along the Northwest Florida coast, but also in rebuffing attempts by the executive branch to change the dynamics of how those fines will be collected.
Gulf Coast fishermen and their families from Florida’s 2nd Congressional District will gather today in Panama City to present U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Fla., with the 2012 Fishing Champion award for his support of coastal fishermen.

Southerland will receive an award for being a champion of the fishing industry, Recreational Fishing Alliance executive director Jim Donofrio said in a statement.

Oct 07 2012

Undermining RESTORE

How do you get the likes of Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Steve Southerland on the same side of an issue? Threaten to touch Florida’s share of money from the BP oil spill settlement.

After months of political wrangling, Congress in June finally passed the RESTORE Act (which President Obama signed into law in July). It allocates 80 percent of Clean Water Act fines from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill to Florida and the four other Gulf states. The act directs that the fines returned to those states be used for ecological and economic recovery efforts.

WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 14, 2012 – The National Federation of Independent Business, the nation’s leading small business association, today named U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland (FL-2) a Guardian of Small Business for his outstanding voting record on behalf of America’s small-business owners in the 112th Congress.

NFIB President and CEO Dan Danner praised Rep. Southerland for “standing for small business.” In presenting the group’s coveted Guardian of Small Business Award, Danner said, “Small-business owners pay close attention to how their lawmakers vote on the issues affecting their businesses and employees and stand by those who stand for them.”

“In the 112th Congress, Rep. Southerland proved that he is willing to stand up and do big things for small business,” said Danner. “Guardian-award winners are genuine small-business champions, consistently voting to promote and protect the right of small-business owners to own, operate and grow their businesses."

In all, NFIB will present Guardian awards to 245 Representatives who voted favorably on key small business issues at least 70 percent of the time during the 112th Congress.

EDITOR'S NOTE: To view “How Congress Voted,” which has the key small business votes and voting percentages for each lawmaker, go to



The week the Census Bureau reported that the number of people in the United States living in poverty is at its highest level since 1993, the Republican Study Committee and Washington-based Center for Neighborhood Enterprise wrapped up their two-day Anti-Poverty Summit on Capitol Hill.

Launching an initiative focused on listening to real-world, community-based solutions to poverty, a coalition of Republican lawmakers headed by Florida Republican Rep. Steve Southerland heard from grassroots leaders who have successfully confronted the challenges of poverty in their own communities — with a message focused on the establishment of long-term relationships with those in need and a rejection of easy “handouts” without expectations.
On Aug. 25 our district was fortunate to have a congressional field hearing on fishing jobs. Our Rep. Steve Southerland worked tirelessly to get the full congressional hearing brought to our area so the entire House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., could hear testimony from locals about how the extremely short fishing seasons, catch shares, sector separation and the National Oceans policy are affecting jobs in our area, thus hurting our coastal economies everywhere in Florida.

I proudly accepted the invitation from Congress to testify on behalf of the Recreational Fishing Alliance and fishermen in general from our area. Of course, as with any hearing there are differing opinions as to how to help our fisheries and fishermen. I was not surprised to see a group there promoting catch shares and sector separation, as that is a big issue here on the Gulf.
PANAMA CITY — U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Panama City, has been honored by two organizations representing seniors.

They are RetireSafe and The 60 Plus Association.

Southerland received the “Guardian of Seniors Rights Award” last month by the 60 Plus Association for his record in Congress of fighting for America’s seniors and protecting Medicare. Jim Martin, chairman of 60 Plus, was on hand at St. Andrews Towers in Panama City to present the award to Southerland.

While it appears that Isaac will spare Flordia's Second District a direct hit, please know that we stand ready to assist our coastal communities with any concerns they may have. 

We have compiled a list of important emergency contact information for the counties in Florida’s Second District that could be most adversely impacted. Please do not hesitate to visit us in our Panama City or Tallahassee offices, or to call us in Washington. We’re here to serve you.

Representative Steve Southerland, II Contact Information

Washington, DC Office: 202-225-5235

Panama City, FL Office: 850-785-0812
840 W 11th Street, Suite 2250
Panama City, FL 32401

Tallahassee, FL Office: 850-561-3979
3116 Capital Circle NE, Suite 9
Tallahassee, FL 32308

Bay County Emergency Management
700 Highway 2300
Southport, FL 32409
Phone: (850) 248-6040
Fax: (850) 248-6059

Franklin County Emergency Management
28 Airport Road
Apalachicola, FL 32320
Phone: (850) 653-8977
Fax: (850) 653-3643

Gulf County Emergency Management
1000 Cecil G. Costin, Sr. Blvd
Building 500
Port St. Joe, FL 32456
Phone: (850) 229-9110
Fax: (850) 229-9115

Okaloosa County Emergency Management
90 College Boulevard East
Niceville, FL 32578
Phone: (850) 651-7150
Fax: (850) 651-7170

Wakulla County Emergency Management
15 Oak Street
Crawfordville, FL 32327
Phone: 850-926-0861
Fax: 850-926-8027

Walton County Emergency Management
752 Triple G Road
DeFuniak Springs, FL 32433
Phone: (850) 892-8065

President Johnson declared a War on Poverty in 1964. Over the subsequent three decades, the federal government created a maze of welfare programs to distribute a growing mountain of taxpayer money. But year after year, poverty seemed to win the war.

In 1996, conservatives forced President Clinton to try a new approach. Our welfare reforms replaced a failed New Deal program with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Conservatives built TANF around two simple ideas: States would get a level, predictable amount of funding with the flexibility to use it as they thought best. In return, able-bodied adults getting TANF checks would have to work, look for work, take classes or otherwise prepare themselves to regain their independence.

On one hand, we gave states the freedom to experiment and innovate. On the other, we expressed tough love that encourages people to take responsibility for their lives. The formula succeeded even beyond expectations.

Unfortunately, we never used the TANF model to reform the rest of welfare. Down 10-0, conservatives scored one goal and high-fived all the way to the locker room. Meanwhile, liberals spent the next 16 years trying to undo the accomplishments of 1996. The latest attack came just recently, when the Obama administration conjured an illegitimate legal excuse for rolling back TANF’s work requirements.

It’s time for conservatives to get back in the game.

The American welfare state has failed the poor. It has squandered decades, dollars and good intentions, while families and communities have suffered the consequences. Liberals only offer more of the same. We can do better.

Because the best help comes as people help themselves, we should expand the TANF work requirements to other areas of welfare. There’s a reason Habitat for Humanity requires families to put in hundreds of hours of sweat equity before getting a new home. The things we earn are the things we value most.

Right now, federal welfare includes at least 10 programs for housing, seven for medical assistance and 17 for food and nutrition. We also have multiple programs for job training, cash assistance and education. Altogether, at least 70 programs cost state and federal taxpayers around $1 trillion per year.

This bloated maze is good for bureaucrats but not for the families stuck in the system. So let’s simplify it. Instead of 70 efforts with poor results, let’s just have a few that actually work. We’d save money and even help grow our economy as more families move from welfare to financial independence. As in 1996, Congress should block-grant the funds to states and let them innovate. Grass-roots organizations and state and local leaders know better than Congress what works in their communities.

The Republican Study Committee, the home for conservatives in the House, already has begun advancing legislation along these lines. But fighting poverty does not just mean designing more effective welfare. We need to fight the causes of welfare dependence, and many times the answer lies outside of Washington.

Private organizations across the country do amazing work without the federal government running the show. We recently visited George Wythe High School in Richmond, where the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise (CNE) runs a mentoring program for at-risk youngsters. Youth advisers, most from troubled backgrounds themselves, are available 24/7 to help students stay on the right track. George Wythe used to be the most violence- and crime-ridden school in the city. After just two years, the school reported a 26 percent drop in fighting, a 68 percent decline in truancy and 63 percent fewer dropouts.

Children who spend years in bad schools or lost in the foster care system have higher odds of criminal convictions and relying on welfare. Those problems won’t be solved by throwing more money into failing programs. We need to get government out of the way and empower people. Every family should enjoy the opportunity for school choice. Private organizations that can help more children find caring homes should get the chance.

Conservative reformers have natural allies in groups like CNE and the families they help. Their hopes, dreams and frustrations with today’s ineffective liberal welfare state are no different from our own. They understand that no government check can replace earned success and supportive relationships. So let’s reach out, hear their solutions and work together to fight poverty.

Rep. Jim Jordan is an Ohio Republican and chairman of the Republican Study Committee. Rep. Steve Southerland II is a Florida Republican.

MEXICO BEACH — For area fishermen, Tropical Storm Debby was just the icing on the cake for an already botched snapper season.

The National Marine Fisheries Service announced a six-day extension to snapper season last week, but for those who make a living on the water, those six days won't make up for time lost to their already-short 40-day window for snapper, local captains said.

Mexico Beach Charter Captain Chip Blackburn has lost 274 hours of work since June 1 due to inclement weather, in what should be his busiest time of year.