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U.S. Sen. Mark Rubio has not decided on whether to seek re-election to the Senate or to run for president on the Republican Party ticket in 2016, his North Florida Regional Director told the Suwannee Valley Rotary Club on Thursday, May 22.
Adele Griffin, whose office in Jacksonville handles constituent issues and appearances in 14 counties, said Rubio is likely to make a decision on which office to seek at the end of this year or the beginning of 2015.
Rubio is in his first term in the Senate and would leave office in January 2017, if he seeks the presidency. He has been getting much attention in the national media, especially after laying out a roadmap for solving the nation's immigration issue and giving the response to President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union speech.
Griffin said Rubio is keeping tabs on the Veteran's Administration controversy that started in Arizona and has cropped up elsewhere — including a report that the Malcolm Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville had problems.
“He checked on Gainesville and that was totally misconstrued,” Griffin said. She assured the Rotarians that there is no similar problem of falsified waiting lists in Gainesville.
And she said Rubio is supporting legislation to give VA Secretary Eric Shinseki greater authority to fire VA workers. She said civil service law currently prohibits firings by the secretary.
But in the meantime, Griffin was in Chiefland to explain how her office serves as a link between residents and federal agencies. “I go out and develop relationships with the counties and am the eyes and ears for the senator,” she said. “He gets lots of invitations and he cannot attend all, so our office handles them.”
“I also let people know that we're here,” Griffin said. If a resident is having an issue with Social Security, Medicare, the Veterans Administration, the IRS or any other agency, she will collect the information and the Jacksonville and Washington, D.C., staffs will work to resolve the issue.
She also brought comment cards with her and said they offer the opportunity to “speak” to Rubio. “He wants to know what you're thinking,” she said.
She also outlined other opportunities for Rubio's constituents:
• Going to Washington? Rubio's office can set up tours of various landmarks.
• Have a child who wants to attend a military academy? Rubio can nominate 10 outstanding graduates annually.
• Want an American flag that has flown over the Capitol? Rubio's office can arrange to obtain one.