Jul 26, 2014
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Politician's Shirtless Photos Create Stir

The Florida lawmaker blames a newspaper's political blogger for publicizing photos he sent to friends to show off his weight loss. He says releasing the photos hurts his re-election campaign.

Politician's Shirtless Photos Create Stir Politician's Shirtless Photos Create Stir Politician's Shirtless Photos Create Stir Politician's Shirtless Photos Create Stir Politician's Shirtless Photos Create Stir Politician's Shirtless Photos Create Stir

A Palm Harbor politician says that the shirtless photos he took of himself and sent to friends, including one in his black bikini briefs, may be hurting his political campaign, after turning up in a newspaper's political blog.

Photos of Republican State Rep. Peter Nehr posing without a shirt were sent to the Tampa Bay Times' Florida politics blog, "The Buzz." In a response later posted in the blog entry, Nehr, 60, said he has battled diabetes for many years and recently went from 210 pounds to 160 pounds, trimming his waistline from 38 inches to 30 inches.

In his statement to the blog, Nehr said he's sent the photos to many friends who have followed his progress as he improves his health, but that "it appears that someone who has a problem with my politics is trying to use them in a way to hurt my campaign."

Palm Harbor Patch contacted Nehr about the photos, and he granted permission to publish them along with the response that he sent to "The Buzz," which is below-

"To all those interested in my pictures that were posted on the blogs:

I have been a diabetic for many years and like many diabetics have had problems with my weight and my blood sugar control. The attached pictures are all originals with no photo shopping which include a before picture and after picture of my face and also a before and after picture of my body. I went from 210 pounds to 160 pounds and from a 38 inch waistline to a 30 inch waistline. I also went from taking over a 110 units of insulin per day taking 5 shots to almost no daily insulin shots. My blood sugar went from highs of over 300 to currently from 100 to 140. This was done by proper and  moderate exercise and being very careful regarding not only what I eat, but how much I eat. I also receive Acupuncture treatments to improve my overall health.  I have also been featured in an e book called “Fit over 40” due to weight loss and have made key note speeches at FSU Medical School and other venues to audiences interested in Diabetes and Health.
  
I use every opportunity I can to show other Diabetics that it is possible to control and possibly reverse the effects of this terrible disease. There are over 2 million diabetics in Florida alone and if my before and after pictures can give some of them the hope of a better life even with diabetes then I am happy to have helped.
 
I have even included a picture that is only a week old.( the one at the beach with a white shirt on) to show everyone that I am still in great shape and that it is possible not only to get into shape but stay that way long term.
 
I have sent these pictures to many of my friends that have been following my health and diabetes progress and they have shared them with others as well. It appears that someone who has a problem with my politics is trying to use them in a way to hurt my campaign. I am proud of what I have done to improve my health and will discuss this with anyone who wants to know how to do what I did.
 
If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact me by e mail or my cell."

-State Rep. Peter Nehr

The photos have attracted a lot of attention from the media. Some people who've seen them have written Nehr, in a show of support for him. Nehr passed along one email he received, which is below. The constituent's name has been removed for privacy.

"From: 
Subject: From 'Write Your Representative' Website
07/24/12 10:45 PM
To the Honorable Peter Nehr;
I would like to comment on the typical election year mudslinging that is current being passed regarding topless pictures of yourself. First and foremost, I am a 30 year-old resident of New York state who has suffered from obesity most of my adult life and I would like to congratulate you on your personal success. I believe these kids of attacks and "questions" are useless to the political discourse and do nothing but cloud the discussion. Seeing a person take control of their lives should be lauded, not used to form baseless accusations. While you and I might not agree politically, I can certainly understand the struggles and discipline required to achieve such a truly amazing goal. I sincerely wish you the best and know that you have given me a personal goal to strive for. If I ever reach my personal weight-loss goals, you can be damned sure I would be showing off as well! Those who do not struggle with obesity can never understand what it is like to be ashamed to do the simplest things, like take your shirt off at a public beach, out of fear of public disgust over your body. Instead, they would look at something like this and immediately attempt to apply some twisted theories as to why a person would do. The why is simple: you set a goal, you achieved it and others need to see that nothing is impossible. This is especially true when you suffer from a weight-related medical condition such as Diabetes. Other obese people and diabetics need to know that all that is standing in their way from controlling their disorders is their own self-management and personal willpower. 

We have so many real problems facing our local and national governments, do we really need to fabricate problems? I guess if you are in the news media, you do. 

Regardless, congratulations sir and I do wish you the best of luck in all your endeavors. I hope your constituents determine your value on your merits, not tabloid gossip."

Nehr is running for re-election for a seat in House District 65, a newly redrawn district that includes Palm Harbor and parts of north Pinellas County.

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