Ed O'Connor

Edward Francis O’Connor

Florida House Dist. 82

One of the many things I learned from President John F. Kennedy was to reject ideology and extremism from the right and left but rather to use government  to make this a better world.

“Here on earth, God’s work must truly be our own”
Ed O'Connor has spent almost 50 years litigating complex patent infringement, intellectual property, and anti-trust cases.
He has represented clients throughout the United States at all level of courts, including the United States Supreme Court. His resume is found on his firm's web page: Avynolaw.com. An article detailing Ed's latest victory in the United States Supreme Court, which was a major victory for the environment, was published by Recycling Times.

Prior to moving to California to pursue patent and related litigation, Ed lived in Palm Beach and Jupiter. During that time he had a private practice of law, and worked part time as an assistant public defender. He has now semi-retired from the practice of law and has returned to Jupiter. He is running for the House because he is very concerned with the direction in which Florida is headed under the present leadership in Tallahassee. His opponent is a proud member of that leadership.
There are many issues on which I will be commenting throughout the campaign. In the meantime, this should provide insight into what I will do if elected.

Pledges

I pledge to not sign pledges.

If I agree with a group's position on issues, I will be happy say so in my own words.  I will not rubber stamp someone else's words.

Respect

We need to show respect for each other as people, and not disrespect each other because of stupid disagreements over politics.

The public figure I most admire is Bobby Kennedy. Can't believe he was killed 50 years ago. Seems like yesterday. Bobby was beloved by poor white folk in Appalachia and by union workers in Detroit. I worked on an assembly line in Indianapolis where there was a great deal of racial tension as well as tension over the Vietnam War. The one thing on which we all agreed was we loved Bobby. I was in law school in Bloomington, Indiana when Martin Luther King was murdered and Bobby calmed the angry crowd in Indianapolis. Bobby's key was that he was authentic and genuinely cared about people, and they cared about him even if they strongly opposed his positions on the war, civil rights etc. Democrats have to stop saying Trump voters are racists, who have no respect for women. Republicans have to stop saying Democrats are baby killers who love welfare cheats and criminals. No one should ever lose a friend over politics-NEVER.

Education

Florida ranks close to last in teacher salaries. School districts are strapped for cash and yet the Florida legislature insists on policies that undermine public education. For example, charter schools are free to use extracurricular facilities and programs that public schools provide and for which taxpayers carry the burden. So, instead of adding to public school revenue, the govt. puts added burdens on public schools to benefit a few who have their own educational agendas. This is not an attack on charter schools per se. It is an attack against those who support charter schools when the public schools are just as good, because they want the schools to teach their views, beliefs and ideologies.

The newly minted Florida law to deal with the gun violence epidemic includes a requirement that public schools provide armed guards in schools. This requirement can be met by arming janitors. So their brilliant solution to gun violence is to have shootouts in the school hallways. This great idea has the added benefit of selling more guns and ammunition. AND almost the entire cost of this nonsense is born by the public schools. Thus, Florida is able to safeguard its reputation as the most gun friendly state in the union as well as one of the most educationally unfunded states.

My view is that Florida should be near the top in education so we can attract businesses which demand great schools for their personnel and their families.

With our great weather, the space program, and natural resources we should be competing with Silicon Valley; Raleigh North Carolina; Austin Texas. People come here to live from all over the country and yet we still depend almost entirely on agriculture, tourism, construction, and health services. These are fine, but we can do so much more and our economy can take off if we make the commitment.

Slogans and Platitudes

Few things are more annoying than politicians spouting meaningless platitudes. " I'm against regulations because they stifle business" Really??. Which regulations? Which businesses? Do those regulations protect the public, by chance? When pressed, the "onerous" regulations usually involve minimum wages and environmental restrictions. On the Federal level they also include anti-trust , securities, and banking regulations. " I'm against taxes because people should keep their money" Really?? All of it? The real question is what money needs to be spent and how do we provide the money. That needs to be decided on an issue by issue basis, so being against taxes is just another sound bite. " I love the environment " Really?? Who doesn't? The issue is what do we do about it . Do we use those dreaded regulations? Do we let developers and cities and agricultural businesses use our waterways to dump their waste? This is where we often find the unholy alliance between leadership  and moneyed special interests. Wherever those special interests are colluding with politicians to pollute our natural and very unique and special resources, they should be called out and removed from office.

Environment

This is a very complicated issue and one which is ripe for basic abuse. It's an open secret that politicians in Florida receive most of their campaign funds from moneyed special interests, so conflicts abound. Developers have, since the dawn of time, openly given campaign money to county commissioners in return for zoning. Some have taken money personally and gone to jail for it. The two biggest conflicts involve water for agriculture ( primarily sugar) vs. the public interest , and housing development- with all the corresponding sewer, water and other problems.

Lake Okeechobee has its own set of issues, but its first issue is the S. Fl. water Management District. That is an independent taxing authority with authority over what happens re. Lake O. which affects sugar as well as everybody else. So, who are these people-who appoints them-who has their ear-what is their philosophy-how do they make decisions-does anybody care? They are political appointees from the governor whose party gets tons of money from sugar. That's a perfect example ( along with guns) of this never-ending special interest control of our government. That district should be as clean as the water in Lake O should be and as clean as the Everglades used to be.

I support the reservoir (who doesn't) but it will cost billions and take years. In the meantime we have to take a hard look at developers and sugar and anyone else who dumps into our lakes, rivers, streams, and oceans. We need to know who makes these decisions and how and who supports them. We need to get angry before there is nothing left to get angry about. Global warming affects hurricanes which are causing beach erosion. Let's stop supporting those who deny it or question it, because doing so suits their political agenda. Finally I oppose fracking in Florida, although it may be ok in other locations. Our geology is such that it could do enormous damage to our water table.

Leadership

That term has a specific meaning. It refers to the small number of people, e.g. the speaker of the House and the chairman of the House Ways and Means committee who single handedly determine what bills will even be considered. Hardly any members even read the bills on which they vote. They just do what the leaders tell them to do. Those leaders , in  turn do what the campaign contributors ( usually moneyed special interests) tell them to.

I will never take orders from any leaders nor from any special interests.

Guns

Talk about special interests. The NRA gets its funding from gun and ammunition manufacturers. It, in turn, does everything in its power to promote the sale of these weapons, including tying up the Republican party leadership, with money and campaign resources. Florida is one of the worst cases. This latest, so-called gun legislation is a perfect example of the old bait and switch. The leadership refused to outlaw military-style assault weapons, which was the obvious step. It also has done nothing to control the stockpiling of ammunition( it’s easier to buy bullets than cold medication ) Instead it raised the age limit for purchasing such weapons, which is great news for those who resent being killed by a teenager instead of an adult.

It then went on to require schools to have armed guards ( or armed janitors), and made most of that added cost a responsibility of the public schools. Good news folks-more gun and ammunition sales.

No one needs an AR-15.

This should NOT be a partisan issue. Ronald Regan signed the first Federal assault weapon ban. Yet, it is a partisan issue because of the unholy alliance between the NRA and the Republican leadership. Kudos to Brian Mast for coming out against AR-15's. He's been quiet lately-sure hope he remains strong.

Health

The  leadership in this state has cost us hundreds of millions, perhaps billions because they refused to accept Medicaid expansion as part of Obamacare. That money belongs to the taxpayers and it went to the taxpayers-IN OTHER STATES. In the meantime, we pay for the uninsured to use hospital emergency rooms for their basic medical care, and those who buy their insurance through the exchanges pay through the nose. This is outrageous. Now the administration is asking the courts to eliminate the law which prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage for those with pre-existing conditions. Every candidate should  do everything in his or her power to stop this outrage.

Party Loyalty

I'm running as a moderate Democrat. I was raised on the principles of the Democratic Party as personified by Roosevelt, Truman ( who was responsible for my Dad being appointed as the First Assistant to the U.S. Attorney in Indianapolis), and John Kennedy.

For those of you who are moderate Republicans and independents, I ask for your support.

As John Boehner said the other day-there is no Republican party-the Republican party is taking a nap. I believe the same is true of today's Republican leadership in Tallahassee. Republicans, Democrats, Independents-we deserve better.

Abortion

What does this office have to do with abortion? Nothing. Yet it remains a great divider of our people, so it should be addressed head on.

First, I’m pro-choice. Having said that, I was raised Irish Catholic and many of my lifelong  friends and relatives are strongly opposed to abortion. To them killing a fetus is no different than killing a newborn. I understand their views. I respect their views. I’m in no way able to say they are wrong, because none of us knows when life actually begins. So far God has kept that information to himself.

What I can say is that the US Supreme Ct. has effectively taken that issue out of the hands of politicians, so those who say vote for them because of their abortion views are doing the typical politicians bait and switch. There is no reason to believe the Supreme Ct has any intention of overturning Roe v. Wade. To Christian conservatives who think Justice Gorsuch will help them, point to any decision by him, ever, that indicated he would vote to overturn it. Time and again “ conservative “ Supreme Court justices have refused to touch that case.

Democrats and Republicans should stop fighting over this issue and instead focus on matters that are in the hands of elected officials. 

The one thing politicians do is to try to make abortion choice so difficult that they effectively eliminate it as a choice for poor people. So far the courts ( including so called conservative judges) have had no tolerance for such efforts and neither should the voters.

Einstein

Why in the hell am I talking about Einstein? Because he was a big factor in my life-so-getting to know me-….

I majored in physics at the University of Michigan because I knew someday we would beat Florida-oops-that whooshing sound was my chances-out the WINDOW.

Start over- I majored in physics because when I was a child my Dad gave me a book on Einstein’s theories of relativity. For my entire life from that point on, I have been trying to understand how he figured out all that stuff. So far with limited success. My latest brain tease is quantum pairing which is contrary to everything we believe about causation.

My physics degree lead me to patent law, so I guess one could say Einstein was a relatively important factor in my life. ( There is a bad pun in there somewhere)

Death

As I write this I’m looking at the body of little Lola-Judy’s and my Yorkie, who died last night. (She’s mine by adoption, but as Judy says “ You are the only father she has ever known”). This may be worse for me than when I lost my parents and I’m trying to understand why. I think it’s because she looked to us to protect her from all the bad things, like hunger, thirst, weather, and big dogs. In return, she gave her unconditional love. Now I failed to protect her from the biggest bad thing there is–death. I know its irrational, but I just feel there must have been something I could have done. She died of cancer. I hate cancer. I truly believe I will see her again and that in the meantime my parents and Judy’s father are greeting our sweet little Lola with great joy and she is wiggling around with her trademark enthusiasm.

“ Parting is such sweet sorrow” Death is the sweetest of all the sorrows because it only hurts us because we love the departed. The only consolation I have right now is the knowledge that this pain is the price for love. Would any of us give up the love with which were blessed to avoid the pain of death? God has his reasons, I believe. As I approach my later years and I begin to see old friends pass on, I think about death and what it all means. Someday I hope to have the answers. In the meantime, as Kennedy said, “ God’s work must truly be our own “, and we have a lot of work to do.

Gay Rights

I was shocked to discover that Florida has no State law to protect gays from discrimination. Individual counties have such laws, but nothing state wide. Why in the world would there not be protection from discrimination against any group, especially people who have historically been mistreated for no reason other than bigotry? We know the reason. Tallahassee is controlled by that fraction of the Republican party that has been and remains hostile to gays. They still use religion as their excuse. Those people need to be thrown out of office-like yesterday