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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Matt Gaetz
Matt Gaetz, official portrait, 116th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 1st district
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded byJeff Miller
Member of the Florida House of Representatives
from the 4th district
In office
April 13, 2010 – November 8, 2016
Preceded byRay Sansom
Succeeded byMel Ponder
Personal details
Born
Matthew Louis Gaetz II

(1982-05-07) May 7, 1982 (age 37)
Hollywood, Florida, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
ParentsDon Gaetz
Victoria Quertermous
EducationFlorida State University (BS)
College of William and Mary (JD)
WebsiteHouse website

Matthew Louis Gaetz II[1] (/ɡts/; born May 7, 1982) is an American lawyer and politician serving as the U.S. representative for Florida's 1st congressional district since 2017. A member of the Republican Party, his district covers a large portion of the western Florida Panhandle, including Pensacola, Navarre, as well as his home of Fort Walton Beach.

Prior to serving in Congress, Gaetz was a member of the Florida House of Representatives, representing the state's 4th district, which includes most of Okaloosa County, from 2010 to 2016.

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  • ✪ Matt Gaetz & Steven Specht: US House FL District 1 (2016) | Conversations with Jeff Weeks | WSRE

Transcription

>> THIS ORIGINAL WSRE PRESENTATION IS MADE POSSIBLE BY VIEWERS LIKE YOU. THANK YOU. >> THE TWO CANDIDATES RUNNING FOR FLORIDA'S FIRST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT, MATT GAETZ AND STEVEN SPECHT, ON THIS EDITION OF CONVERSATIONS. >> A VERY PLEASANT GOOD EVENING, EVERYONE, WELCOME TO A SPECIAL LIVE EDITION OF CONVERSATIONS. I'M JEFF WEEKS. WHEN LONG TIME DISTRICT 1 CONGRESSMAN JEFF MILLER DECIDED NOT TO SEEK RE-ELECTION THERE WAS NO SHORTAGE OF REPUBLICANS WHO WANTED HIS JOB. AFTER A COMPETITIVE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY CONTEST, MATT GAETZ EMERGED AS THE PARTY NOMINEE. HE WILL FACE DEMOCRAT STEVEN SPECHT UNOPPOSED IN THE PRIMARY. BOTH ARE JOINING US THIS EVENING FOR THIS SPECIAL EDITION OF CONVERSATIONS. THIS IS NOT A DEBATE BUT AS THE TITLE OF THE SHOW INDICATES, A CONVERSATION, AN OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU TO KNOW THESE CANDIDATES ON A PERSONAL LEVEL AS WELL AS UNDERSTAND THEIR VIEWS AND OPINIONS ON ISSUES IMPORTANT TO FLORIDA'S FIRST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT AND TO THE NATION AS A WHOLE. MATT GAETZ HAS SERVED THE FLORIDA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES SINCE 2010, PERHAPS BEST KNOWN TO RESPOND STORE A BILL TO LEGALIZE MEDICAL MARIJUANA KNOWN AS CHARLOTTE'S WEB. IT'S BEEN SHOWN TO HELP PRESENT SEIZURES. HE'S ALSO KNOWN FOR HIS STAND ON GUN RIGHTS. IN ADDITION TO SERVING THE FLORIDA HOUSE HE'S A PRACTICING ATTORNEY WITH KEITH ANCHORS AND GORDON IN FORT WALTON BEACH, FLORIDA. HE HOLD AS BACHELOR'S DEGREE FROM FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY AND LAW DEGREE FROM WILLIAM AND MARY. STEVEN SPECHT IS AIR FORCE VETERAN WORKING AS AIR BONE CRYPT LOGIC LINGUIST IN OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM. HE WORKED AS A CONTRACTOR WITH MARINE CORPS SPECIAL OPERATIONS HE HOLES BACHELOR'S DEGREE FROM UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, MASTERS IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS FROM AMERICAN MILITARY UNIVERSITY AND LAW DEGREE FROM FLORIDA STATE UIVERSITY. GENTLEMEN, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US, WELCOME. >> THANKS, JEFF. >> GOOD TO BE HERE. >> OPEN QUESTION BOTH OF YOU. WHY DO YOU WANT THE JOB IN >> I'M DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT THE DIRECTION OF THE. AS I KNOCKED ON 10,000 DOORS THERE'S A GREAT SENSE OF FRUSTRATION THAT HASN'T MATTERED WHICH POLITICAL PARTY WE ELECTED THE LAST TEN, 20 YEARS BOTH SIDES WORKING FOR THE SAME SPECIAL INTERESTS. THAT'S A PROBLEM. WE HAVE CHALLENGES TO FACE AS COUNTRY. TAX REFORM, REGULATORY REFORM. WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH CHALLENGES OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. THE LAST SIX YEARS I HAVE SERVED THE FLORIDA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND I HAD A FRONT ROW SEAT TO FAILURES OF WASHINGTON AND HOPE TO BRING A RECORD OF BOLD CONSERVATIVE REFORM TO A TOWN THAT BADLY NEEDS IT. >> WHAT ABOUT YOU STEVEN? >> WE LIVE IN A WORLD CONGRESS CAN'T EVEN DO THE FUNDAMENTAL JOB OF PASSING BUDGET, I'M TIRED OF IT. I SERVED MY COUNTRY IN MILITARY UNIFORM AND WE NEED MORE PEOPLE LIKE ME TO CONGRESS THAT HAVE DEMONSTRATED THAT I KNOW HOW TO PUT THE COUNTRY FIRST. THAT UNIFORM IS A TANGIBLE REPRESENTATION OF MY SERVICE. I DON'T BRING ANY SORT OF CAMPAIGN PARTISAN RHETORIC, I BRING IDEAS, A CONVERSATION, AND I BRING THE ABILITY TO WALK ACROSS THE AISLE AND MEET PEOPLE HALFWAY. >> YOU'RE KIND OF NEW TO THE POLITICAL ARENA, WHAT SKILLS DO YOU BRING TO TABLE TO MAKE YOU A CONGRESSMAN? >> THE FACT IS, I GOT THE SAME EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND AS MY OPPONENT, I UNDERSTAND THE LEGAL SYSTEM, I UNDERSTAND THE CONSTITUTION, ACTUALLY PUBLISHED ON CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES AND THE ABILITY TO ENGAGE IN IDEAS AND WHAT BOTH PEOPLE BELIEVE, THERE'S DIFFERENT VIEW, DIFFERENT IDEOLOGIES, THERE'S A WAY TO THREAD THE NEEDLE, COMPROMISE AND BRING EVERYONE TO THE TABLE SO EVERYONE WINS INSTEAD OF SHUTTING DOWN THE GOVERNMENT YET AGAIN OR BEING, CUTTING VETERANS FUNDING THE LAST MINUTE OR ANY OTHER FORM OF DISCRETIONARY SPENDING THAT COMES AS AN AFTER THOUGHT THROUGH CONGRESSMEN THAT AREN'T MEETING THEIR PAYCHECK. >> MATT WHAT SKILLS DO YOU BRING TO THE JOB? >> I'M HOPING TO BRING A RECORD OF LEGISLATIVE SUCCESS THAT'S IMPROVED QUALITY OF LIFE FOR NORTHWEST FLORIDIANS. AT THE END OF THE DAY IN ANY POLITICAL CAMPAIGN MOST PEOPLE RUNNING WANT TO IMPROVE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR THOSE WE SEEK TO SERVE. THE QUESTION IS TACTICALLY HOW TO DO THAT. I HAVE LED THE EFFORT TO CUT TAXES OVER 50 TIMES IN THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE PUTTING A MILLION DOLLARS BACK IN BUDGETS OF FLORIDIANS AND SPONSOR AND PASSED LEGISLATION THAT REPEALED OVER 4,000 JOB KILLING REGULATION ON THE BOOKS. I DID THAT'S THINGS NOT JUST WITH REPUBLICAN VOTES BUT WORKED WITH DEMOCRATS, PEOPLE FROM URBAN DISTRICT, RURAL DISTRICTS, WHOP GOT THINGS DONE IN FLORIDA. I SEE ALL THE SUCCESS WE HAVE HAD IN OUR STATE. BALANCING OUR BUDGET CUTTING TAXES, ROLLING BACK REGULATION, PROTECTING GUN OWNERS AND PRESERVING UNBORN LIFE AND I THINK THAT MANY OF THOSE SKILLS I TRY TO HONE HERE WILL BE HELPFUL TO BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER IN WASHINGTON TO SOLVE THESE GREAT CHALLENGES WE FACE. >> IN YOUR JUDGMENT, WHAT IS THE BIGGEST PROBLEM FACING THE FIRST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT? WHAT'S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FACING THE FIRST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT? >> OUR GREATEST ASSET ARE PEOPLE AND OUR MILITARY MISSION AND INSTALLATIONS WE HAVE HERE, AND THE NEXT CONGRESSMAN FROM DISTRICT ONE HAS TO RECOGNIZE THE FACT THAT ALL OVER THE COUNTRY PEOPLE WOULD LOVE TO PEEL AWAY THE PARTS OF MISSION HERE WHETHER THE GULF TEST RANGE, #th SPECIAL FORCES GROUP, OFth RANGER BATTALION OR NAS PENSACOLA, WHITING FEEL, CORRY STATION WE COULD BECOME A CYBER CENTER OF EXCELLENCE SO THE NEXT PERSON HAS TO DEFEND OUR MISSION WITH A WHIP AND CHAIR. FOR FOUR YEARS I SAT ON THE FLORIDA DEFENSE TASK FORCE WE WERE KEENLY AWARE OF THREAT TO IN ADDITION AND PUT STRONG ADVOCACY BEHIND THOSE GREAT MILITARY ASSETS IN NORTHWEST FLORIDA. SO THAT IS MISSION-CRITICAL AND CENTRAL TO THE JOB OUR NEXT CONGRESSMAN, SPECIFICALLY TO DEAL WITH THIS GREAT ECONOMIC ENGINE IN NORTHWEST FLORIDA THROUGH MILITARY INSTALLATIONS. >> STEVE THE SAME QUESTION TO YOU, THAT IS WHAT'S THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR THE FIRST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT? >> THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FOR THE FIRST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE OF THE NATION AS WHOLE. WE HAVE A $19 TRILLION DEBT, A BLOATED GOVERNMENT AND WE GOT POLITICIANS THAT STAND BY THEIR CAREERS RATHER THAN DOING THEIR JOB AND WORKING FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. WE NEED TO REFORM EXISTING REGULATION, WE NEED THE STREAMLINE THINGS, THE DIFFERENCE BEING I DON'T MAKE WHY WOULD PROMISES TO GO AND ELIMINATE ENTIRE GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, I WANT TO REFORM WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE, THERE'S A LOT OF GOOD IDEAS AND HARD WORKING PEOPLE THAT WANT TO MAKE THIS COUNTRY BETTER. WE NEED TO ASSIST THEM AND SCRAP THE OUTDATED REGULATIONS REALIZE WE LIVE IN INTERNET AGE AND WE NEED TO ADAPT OUR GOVERNMENT TO THAT. >> EITHER ONE OF YOU OBVIOUSLY WILL BE A FRESHMAN CONGRESSMAN. WHAT CAN YOU DO TO DIFFERENTIATE YOURSELF WHEN YOU GET TO WASHINGTON? >> I THINK I SAID IN MY INTRO, I'M WILLING TO TALK TO PEOPLE ENGAGE PEEP, THE FIRST DAY I'M UP THERE I WILL INTRODUCE MYSELF TO THE PEOPLE IN THE OTHER PARTY. I GO UP THERE, SOMETHING OF A RENEGADE, I HAVE NOT RECEIVED NATIONAL SUPPORT FROM MY PARTY, NOT RECEIVED STATE SUPPORT FROM MY PARTY SO I HAVE THE ABILITY NOT BEHOLDEN TO ANYBODY, NOT P ASHC MONEY OR $2,500 DONATIONS, SPECIAL INTERESTS, I GO UP THERE WITH THE ABILITY TO WORK FOR MY DISTRICT AND PUT EVERY BIT OF MY BEING, THAT MEANS TALKING WITH PEOPLE I DISAGREE WITH IN ORDER TO GET THINGS DONE. >> MATT, HOW YOU WILL DIFFERENTIATE YOURSELF IN >> I SERVED THE LAST SIX YEARS IN FLORIDA THAT IN MANY WAYS IS A MICROCOSM OF A COUNTRY. FLORIDA LOOKS LIKE AMERICA. SO WHEN I HAVE GONE TO TALLAHASSEE TO WORK WITH PEOPLE FROM MIAMI, ORLANDO, JACKSONVILLE, LAKELAND, IT IS DEMONSTRABLE TO SEE HOW WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO COME TOGETHER, PASS BUDGETS, CUT TAXES, REPEAL REGULATIONS, ALL THE THINGS THAT WE SEEM TO BOTH AGREE NODE TO HAPPEN HAVE BEEN HAPPENING IN FLORIDA. I WAS NOT A SPECTATOR TO THOSE REFORMS. I HAVE VERY TESTIFILY INVOLVED IN CRAFTING THE BOLD CONSERVATIVE REFORM THAT ELIMINATED AN ENTIRE DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY AFFAIRS IN FLORIDA, SO I THINK BEING ABLE TO SHOW THAT I WORKED WITH PEOPLE FROM A VARIETY OF DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS AND DIFFERENT PARTY AFFILIATIONS, WILL SET ME APART FROM THOSE WHO MIGHT NOT HAVEED THAT THAT DIVERSE EXPERIENCE. WHETHER YOU'RE A MEMBER OF INDEPENDENT, REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT, WE HAVE CHALLENGES TO SOLVE. IF WE DON'T DEAL WITH THE DEBT NOTHING ELSE MATTERS BECAUSE AMERICA WILL COLLAPSE. IF WE DON'T BECOME A NATION OF BORDERS TO ENFORCE THE LAWS ON THE BOOKS AND DO WHAT IS NECESSARY, TO PROTECT THE INTEGRITY OF OUR COUNTRY, THEN I THINK THAT WE GET HOLLOWED OUT FROM THE INSIDE. THESE SOLUTION ALSO REQUIRE EVERYONE TO PUT THEIR PARTISAN LEANINGS TO THE SIDE AND ROLL UP THEIR SLEEVES AND GET TO WORK. THAT'S WHAT I HAVE DONE IN FLORIDA AND THE RESULT IS BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE FOR PEOPLE. >> HOW BEHOLDEN WILL EACH OF YOU BE TO YOUR PARTY'S OVERALL PLATFORM? HOW DO YOU STAND AND SAY I DISAGREE WITH THAT? >> LET ME START BY SAYING I AGREE WITH WHAT MUCH OF SPEAKER PAUL RYAN IS DOING IN CONGRESS. HE'S SAYING REPUBLICANS CAN NO LONGER BE A PARTY OF OPPOSITION AND ANGER. WE HAVE TO STEP FORWARD AND PROPOSE A BETTER WAY. AN AGENDA THAT SHOW IT IS COUNTRY WHAT LIFE CAN BE LIKE IF WE HAVE A STRONG DEFENSE. A FAIR TAX CODE. A REGULATORY SYSTEM AND A CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM THAT WORK FOR EVERYONE. I'M EXCITED TO STAND BEHIND THAT AGENDA AND FIGHT FOR IT. THERE HAVE BEEN TIMES IN TALLAHASSEE WHERE I HAVE HAD TO STAND UP TO MEMBERS OF BOTH POLITICAL PARTIES. THERE WERE 160 MEMBERS OF FLORIDA LEGISLATURE, JEFF, ONLY TWO VOTED AGAINST A BILL TO GIVE DRIVER'S LICENSES TO ILLEGAL ALIENS. SO IT HASN'T BOTHERED ME IN THE PAST TO STAND AGAINST BOTH PARTIES WHEN NECESSARY BUT I'M VERY EXCITED ABOUT THE LEADERSHIP THAT PAUL RYAN HAS SHOWN TO PUT FORWARD A BOLD CONSERVATIVE AGENDA, I'LL BE THE FIRST TO VOTE FOR IT. >> STEVEN SAME O YOU. >> I SAID THIS NUMEROUS TIMES, PARTY ON SEVERAL ISSUES LOOK AT THE DNC PLATFORM YOU SEE SOME STRONG WORDS ON PRO CHOICE AND STRONG WORDS ON GUN OWNERSHIP AND THE FACT IS WE HAVE AN INDIVIDUAL RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS, I RESPECT THAT, THE CONCERN I HAVE IS PEOPLE AREN'T WILLING TO HAVE THE CONVERSATION HOW TO PROTECT PEOPLE MAKE OURSELVES SAFER AND RESPECTING THE CONSTITUTION. THAT'S WHERE I COME FROM. I RESPECT ANYONE'S RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS, I UNDERSTAND THE REASONING BEHIND THE SECOND AMENDMENT. THE ISSUE IS WE CAN'T INCENTIVIZE BETTER BEHAVIOR. IF WE DID A TAX DEDUCTION ON GUN SAFES PEOPLE WOULD STORE FIREARMS MORE RESPONSIBLY AND CUT DOWN ON ACCIDENTAL DISCHARGES FROM CHILDREN, TEEN SUICIDES, CUT DOWN ON THE 2500 STOLEN FIREARMS THAT ENTER THE ILLEGAL COMMERCE EVERY YEAR JUST BY INCENTIVIZING BETTER BEHAVIOR IN A MANNER THAT RESPECT IT IS CONSTITUTION. DEMOCRATS NEED THE PARTY OF PRO-CHOICE, WHAT I MEAN IS WE NEED TO RECOGNIZE A ABORTION IS A BAD THING, IT IS A BAD ACT, WE SHOULD NOT WANT WOMEN TO HAVE TO MAKE THAT DECISION, WE SHOULD NOT WANT TO LEAVE IT TO THE POINT WHERE A WOMAN HAS TO CHOOSE BETWEEN TERMINATING A PREGNANCY OR HAVING UNPLANNED CHILD. WE NEED TO STEP UP AND MAKE SURE THAT WOMEN ARE IN A BETTER POSITION ADJUSTING OUR EDUCATIONAL POLICIES, ADJUSTING HEALTHCARE POLICIES SO THAT THERE ARE CHOICES EARLIER ON THAT PREVENT THAT ULTIMATE HORRIBLE CHOICE THAT HAS LIFE-LONG PHYSICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL RAMIFICATIONS. THOSE ARE TWO EXAMPLES, I'M WILLING TO -- MAYBE THE IDEA OF WHAT THEY'RE SAYING IN THE RHETORIC IS A GOOD IDEA, WE WANT TO BE SAFER, WE WANT TO RESPECT WOMEN'S RIGHT THE MAKE THEIR HEALTHCARE DECISIONS BUT THE WAY WE'RE GETTING TO THOSE ARE WRONG, THAT'S WHERE I STEP ASIDE FROM MY PARTY. >> THOSE ARE TWO HOT BUTTON ISSUES SO POSE THE QUESTION TO YOU, YOUR THOUGHTS ON GUN SAFETY, GUN CONTROL SO TO SPEAK. >> I'M PROGUN AND PROLIFE. I MADE NATIONAL NEWS WHEN SOME OF THE MOST SHRILL VOICES FROM THE LIBERAL LEFT AL SHARPTON AND JESSE JACKSON AND MICHAEL BLOOMBERG WERE CALLING FOR THE REPEAL OF THE FLORIDA STAND YOUR GROUND LAW. I STOOD UP AND SAID WHILE I WAS THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE CHAIR MAN WE WERE GOING TO STAND WITH GUN OWNERS AND WE WERE NOT GOING TO REPEAL ONE DAM COMMA OF THE STAND YOUR GROUND LAW AND IN FACT WE MADE IT STRONGER SO I'LL ALWAYS STAND WITH LAW ABIDING CITIZENS, IT DOESN'T GET PLAY IN THE TRADITIONAL PRESS BUT A FLORIDAN WHO HAS A CONCEALED CARRY PERMIT IS EIGHT TIMES LESS LIKELY TO COMMIT A CRIME THAN A MEMBER OF LAW ENFORCEMENT. SO CONCEALED CARRY PERMIT HOLDERS IN FLORIDA ARE HIGHLY LAW ABIDING PEOPLE AND I DON'T INTEND TO PUNISH THEM IN ANY WAY. I AM ALSO # HUNDRED% PRO-LIFE. I SPONSORED PASSED LEGISLATION IN STATE OF FLORIDA THAT STOPPED THE USE OF TAXPAYER MONEY FOR ELECTIVE ABORTIONS THROUGH OBAMA CARE EXCHANGES THAT COULD HAVE BEEN SET UP. I WOULD HOPE THAT WHETHER PEOPLE ARE PRO LIFE OR PRO-CHOICE WE CAN COME TOGETHER AND AGREE WE SHOULDN'T USE TAXPAYER MONEY TO FUND PEOPLE ELECTIVE ABORTION. SO IT'S NOT JUST RHETORIC OR ADVOCACY, I HAVE A RECORD OF SUCCESS STANDING UP TOKER GUN OWNERS AND FOR THE RIGHTS OF THE UNBORN. >> DO YOU THINK THERE'S ANY PLACE THAT MORE COULD BE DONE FROM GUN CONTROL SHALL WE SAY THAT PERHAPS WOULD CUT DOWN ON ACCIDENTAL SHOOTINGS THAT MAYBE YOU HEAR ABOUT THE MASS SHOOTINGS. >> LET ME TELL YOU WHAT WE HAVE DONE IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA. PEOPLE CAN RECOGNIZE THAT THERE IS AN INTERFACE BETWEEN SOME OF THE GUN VIOLENCE ISSUES WE HAVE DEALT WITH AND MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES THAT ARE VERY SERIOUS. IT USED TO BE THE CASE IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA,NA YOU COULD LITERALLY WALK OUT OF A MENTAL INSTITUTION AND GO HOME TO YOUR WEAPONS POTENTIALLY DO HARM TO YOURSELF OR FAMILIES SO I BROUGHT TOGETHER ALL THE STAKEHOLDERS, THE NRA, ASSOCIATION FOR GUN RIGHTS LIBERAL DEMOCRATS AND CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICANS AND WE PASSED LEGISLATION WHEN I WAS CHAIR MAN OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE THAT STOPPED PEOPLE FROM LEAVING A MENTAL INSTITUTION AND GOING HOME TO A EXPANSIVE ARMORY. SO WE HAVE DONE A FEW THINGS TO TRY TO DEAL WITH THOSE CHALLENGES, TYPICALLY THE MEDIA DOESN'T WANT TO FOCUS ON THE PROGRESS YOU MAKE, IT'S CONFLICT-DRIVEN SO THEY FOCUS ON OTHER THINGS BUT I'M PROUD OF THAT AND THINK THERE ARE THINGS WE CAN DO TO BE SAFER BUT THAT DON'T IN ANY WAY IMPAIR PEOPLE'S RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS. >> STEVEN FOLLOW-UP ON THAT? >> MAT GAETZ IS PUTTING ON A GOOD SHOW BUT I LISTEN TO HIM IN IN EVENTS AND HE MAKES WILD PROMISES THAT ARE GOOD ON CAMERA BUT REALITY NOT GOING TO FLY. A FRESHMAN CONGRESSMAN DOES NOT HAVE THE ABILITY TO TURN OVER ROW V WADE. 'S BEEN HERE OVER 40 YEARS AND FRESHMAN CONGRESSMAN HOPES THAT YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND THE LEGAL SYSTEM OR THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND THE LEGAL SYSTEM. MR. GAETZ HAD BEEN TO LAW SCHOOL AND UNDERSTAND IT IS LEGAL SAM SO HE'S BEING DISHONEST WHEN HE SAYS HE'S GOING TO RESTRICT A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO HAVE THE ABORTION. THE ISSUE IS, STOPPING THE ABORTION PROBLEM BEFORE IT COMES TO THAT DECISION. THAT'S WHERE I ONCE AGAIN DIFFERENTIATE FROM MY PARTY WHEN IT COME IT IS SAYING ABORTION IS WRONG, BUT THE AVENUE TO GET THERE PASSING MORE LAWS THAT DID NOT PASS THE FLORIDA LEGISLATURE AND WON'T PASS IN WASHINGTON, OR IF THEY DO PASS WE'LL GET STRUCK DOWN YET AGAIN BY THE SUPREME COURT, THE SAME SUPREME COURT THAT AFFIRMED AN INDIVIDUAL RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS A FEW YEARS AGO, IS THE SAME SUPREME COURT THAT JUST STRUCK DOWN ANOTHER SERIES OF LAWS COMING OUT OF TEXAS AND OKALOOSA RESTRICTING THE RIGHT TO ABORTION. -- AND -- LET'S GO AFTER EDUCATIONAL ISSUES THAT ARE CAUSING THE PROBLEM TO BEGIN WITH, WOMEN NOT MAKING THE BETTER DECISIONS EARLY ON. THAT'S WHERE I STAND ON IT. >> IT'S NOT A WILD PROMISE TO BE PRO-LIFE. IN MANY CANDIDATES ARE PRO-LIFE THAT'S NOT A WILD PROMISE. WHAT I WOULD SAY TO VOTERS MAKING DECISION ON TUESDAY: EVERY OPPORTUNITY THAT I GET AS A MEMBER OF CONGRESS TO PRIER SERVE THE CULTURE OF LIFE TO BE ABLE TO EMPOWER WOMEN WITH DECISION -- WITH MORE INFORMATION, LIKE WE WERE ABLE TO DO WITH ULTRASOUND LEGISLATION HERE IN FLORIDA, TO THE EXTENT WE CAN PROVIDE REFLECTION PERIODS OF 24 HOURS, YOU HAVE A WAITING PERIOD BEFORE YOU CAN BUY A GUN BUT NOT BEFORE AN ABORTION TERMINATING A LIFE? SO EVERY CHANCE I GET TO STANDS UP FOR LIFE, I WILL, THAT'S WHY NATIONAL RIGHTS TO LIFE AND FLORIDA RIGHT TO LIFE HAVE ENDORSED MY CANDIDACY AND I'M THE PRO-LIFE CANDIDATE IN THIS PRAISE AND PROUD TO BE SUCH. >> WAITING PERIODS HAVE BEEN STRUCK DOWN BY THE SUPREME COURT, MATT. THAT'S THE PROBLEM. THAT'S THE NARRATIVE YOU'RE TAKING IN WASHINGTON, THAT'S WIFE A PROBLEM WITH WHAT YOU SAY. WE AGREE SO MUCH ON SO MANY ISSUES. BUT YOUR NARRATIVE OF SAYING YOU'RE GOING TO DO SOMETHING WHEN THE SUPREME COURT HAS ALREADY SPOKEN ON THAT SPECIFIC ISSUE, YOU KNOW BETTER AND IT UPSETS ME. >> YOU HAVE DIFFERENT COURTS MAKING DIFFERENT DECISIONS THE FIRST DCA UPHELD IT. THE SUPREME COURT DIDN'T STRIKE IT DOWN PERMANENTLY, IT'S TEMP RARE INJUNETIVE RELIEF IS SOMETHING -- IN-- TEMPORARY INJUNCTIVE RELIEF SO THE FLORIDA GOVERNMENT HAS NOT MADE A DISPOSITIVE JUDGMENT ON WAITING PERIODS, BUT IF SO, IT'S IMPORTANT FOR NORTHWEST FLORIDA TO KNOW THEIR MEMBER OF CONGRESS IN EACH TIME AND EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE WILL STAND UP FOR THAT CULTURE OF LIFE. I WILL. >> I DON'T THINK NORTHWEST FLORIDA NEEDS TO BE EMBARRASSED BY SOMEBODY PASSING LAWS DOOMED TO FAIL RATHER THAN MOVING FORWARD WITH PRAGMATIC LEGISLATION THAT WILL SUCCEED AND MAKE LIVES BETTER. >> I DON'T THINK UP TO CHOOSE BETWEEN THE TWO. I THINK YOU CAN DO INCREMENTAL THINGS THAT RESPECT THE CULTURE OF LIFE. I HAVE DONE THAT. I ACTUALLY PASSED A BILL THAT IS THE LAW IN FLORIDA THAT STOPS PUBLIC MONEY FROM BEING USED FOR ELECTIVE ABORTION SO YOU CAN DO THOSE INCREMENTAL THINGS BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN SURRENDER THE HIGHER GROUND OF SEEKING A DAY WHEN ULTIMATELY THERE ARE NO ABORTIONS IN OUR COUNTRY. I THINK A PART OF THAT IS EDUCATION AND EARLY INTERVENTION. WITH YOU CAN PEOPLE BUT CERTAINLY ANOTHER PART IS MAKING SURE WE DON'T HAVE ABORTION ON DEMAND IN THE COUNTRY. >> GOOD DIALOGUE BETWEEN YOU TWO. VIEWERS HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO GET A GOOD IDEA HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT THAT. LET ME MOVE ON TO THE VA. CONGRESSMAN MILLER CHAIR MAN OF THE VETERAN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE HAS BEEN VOCAL ABOUT WHAT'S GOING ON WITH THE VA AND THE PROBLEMS THAT THEY HAVE HAD AND HOW VETERANS ARE TREATED. WHAT IS YOUR GAME PLAN TO HELP OUR VETERANS GET BETTER TREATMENT? LET ME BEGIN WITH YOU STEVEN. >> FIRST THERE'S SEVERAL ASPECTS OF THE VA. THERE'S EDUCATIONAL ASPECT, THERE'S A MEDICAL SERVICE ASPECT. SO WE HAVE TO BE CAREFUL WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT BUT THE REAL CONCERN MOST HAVE IS HOMELESS VETERANS AND VETERANS NOT RECEIVING THE PROPER MEDICAL CARE. AND ONE THING WE NEED TO DO IS FLIP THE BURDEN OF PROOF. RIGHT NOW YOU HAVE TO PROVE THAT YOUR ISSUE IS SERVICE RELATED. MY DAD WAS ON AN ABLE CARRIER IN VET MA'AM AND EVERY NOW AND THEN WATER AND GAS LINES GOT MIXED UP, UNSKILLED PEOPLE MAKING BAD MISTAKES MY DAD WOULD TELL A STORY OF SEEING A LINE IN THE WATER WHEN YOU GOT YOUR DRINKING WATER SO HE HAS KIDNEY ISSUES AS A RESULT OF THAT. HE'S GOT A NAVAL ACADEMY SABER IN HIS ATTACK, A MILITARY UNIFORM IN ATTACK BUT GUESS WHAT, THE VA RECORDS WERE DESTROYED IN EITHER A FIRE OR FLOOD DEPENDING ON WHICH INCIDENT OCCURRED, AND NOW HE HAS TO GO BACK AND PROVE THAT HE SERVED IN THE MILITARY AT ALL. A SIMPLE OF THAT OR OTHER RECORDS SHOULD BE SUFFICIENT YOU WERE IN COMBAT SO FLIPPING THE BURDEN OF PROOF IS THE RIGHT CONVERSATION. SECONDLY, WE NEED TO MAKE IT EASIER TO GET RID OF BAD BUREAUCRATS, 99% GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ARE GREAT AT THEIR JOBS, PASSIONATE ABOUT THEIR JOBS, THEY'RE DOING A GOOD JOB BUT HAVING SERVED THE MILITARY I KNEW CONTRACTORS THAT COULD NOT BE FIRED, THEY WEREN'T DOING THEIR JOB AND YOU HAD TO HAVE THREE YEARS OF PAPERWORK TO GET RID OF THEM. SO YOU HAVE LOW LEVEL BUREAUCRATS RIGHT HERE IN PENSACOLA AT THIS VA CLINIC. I HEARD THE SAME NAMES SO MANY TIMES PATIENT ADVOCATE INSTEAD OF DOING JOB OF ADVOCATING FOR PATIENTS IS ACTUALLY DEFENDING THE VA AND DELAYING PAPERWORK. THAT GUY NEEDS TO GO. IF I HADN'T HEARD THE SAME STORY FROM THREE DIFFERENT VETERANS, I WOULD NOT -- NOT HAVE KNOWN ABOUT IT BUT FINALLY I THINK WE NEED TO SEND SOMEONE WHO CAN SPEAK ON BEHALF OF VETERANS AS A VETERAN AND NOT JUST ME. I'M THREE GENERATIONS OF MILITARY SERVICE, MY FATHER-IN-LAW IS IN THE BACK ROOM RIGHT NOW, NAVAL ACADEMY GRADUATE, MY WIFE IS ACTIVE DUTY. SO WHEN I SAY I'M A VETERANS VOICE FOR CONGRESS, I'M SPEAKING FO AN ENTIRE LINEAGE OF VETERANS AND I LIVE WITH THESE PEOPLE. I HEAR MY DAD'S STORIES AND I KNOW THE PROBLEMS HE FACES. IT'S NOT SIMPLY A TALKING POINT IN THE TOWN HALL MEETING, IT'S MY LIFE. >> MATT. >> THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT WE EAT VEER TO FIX THE VA OR WE HAVE TO PREREPLACE THE VA. I HAVE A RECORD OF SERVICE ON VETERANS ISSUES THAT REALLY ARE CONSEQUENCE OF GREAT IDEAS LOCAL VETERANS BROUGHT TO ME AS A STATE RESPECTIVE. I'M PROUD THAT THE AMERICAN LEGION NAMED ME THEIR LEGISLATOR OF THE YEAR IN RECOGNITION OF MY SERVICE SO CARE DEEPLY. BUT THE QUESTION IS WHAT TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM? FIRST IS YOU HAVE TO HAVE ACCOUNTABILITY. YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ACCOUNTABILITY IN A SYSTEM WHERE YOU CAN'T FIRE PEOPLE. THAT'S WHY IMI'M PROUD OF THE WORK CONGRESSMAN MILLER HAS DONE TO MAKE IT POSSIBLE TO FIRE PEOPLE WHO ARE JUST CHRONICALLY UNPREPARED OR UNWILLING TO DO THEIR JOBS. I WANT TO GO A STEP FURTHER. I THINK IF WE FIND BUREAUCRATS, WHO ARE PURPOSEFULLY AND SYSTEMATICALLY DENYING CARE TO VETERANS THAT OUGHT TO BE A FEDERAL CRIME AND THEY OUGHT TO GET A TICKET TO FEDERAL PRISON. THE PROBLEM IN THE VA SYSTEM ARE NOT PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY RENDER CARE TO PATIENTS, WE HAVE A NUMBER OF WONDERFUL PEOPLE WHO DO THAT RIGHT HERE IN OUR COMMUNITY IN PENSACOLA. THE PROBLEM IS THE BUREAUCRACY THAT HAS GOTTEN SO WRAPPED AROUND THE AXIL THAT YOU HAVE VETERANS IN CYCLE AFTER CYCLE WHERE THEY'RE UNABLE TO GET A DESIGNATED FOR THE TYPE OF CARE THEY WOULD ULTIMATELY SEE. WE CAN'T NIBBLE THE EDGES AND IN THE ABSENCE OF BOLDER REFORM WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO HAVE THIS BLACK EYE FOR THE COUNTRY WHERE VETERANS ARE NOT PROPERLY CARED FOR. >> STEVEN, FOLLOW UP ON THAT? >> MATT AND I SAID THE SAME THING THERE PRETTY MUCH, GOOD TO HEAR. TO EXTRAPOLATE ON THAT, WE NEED VA CARE OUT OF DISCRETIONARY SPENDING. THAT'S THE LAST THING THOUGHT OF AND FIRST TO BE CUT. WE CAN REASONABLY PREDICT WE NEED BASED ON WARS WE HAVE BEEN IN. IF WE GO TO WAR WITH A MAJOR NATION AND HAVE TO HAVE A PLUS UP OF 500,000 TROOPS WE CAN BELIEVE IN TWO TO FIVE YEARS THOSE 5,000 TROOPS WILL BE EATING OUT OF MILITARY AND NEEDING CARE. SO RATHER THAN HAVE IT BE DISCRETIONARY SPENDING POD IT SHOULD BE RETROACTIVELY TIED TO RECENT ENGAGE.S KNOWING WE WERE GOING TO HAVE 200 TROOPS BLUE DIED AND BANGED UP WE COULD HAVE ANTICIPATED THESE NEEDS. IF EWER GOING TO GO TO WAR WE NEED TO MAKE THE FINANCIAL COMMITMENT AHEAD OF TIME THAN MAKING IT THE CAUSE OF LAST RESORT AFTER THE CONFLICT IS OVER. >> ABSOLUTELY AGREE, I'M GLAD BOTH STEVEN AND I BELIEVE THAT THE VA IS AN AREA THAT'S IN TERRIBLE NEED OF REFORM. >> TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE WORLD OF POLITICS. CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM TERM LIMITS, THING OF THAT NATURE. ARE YOU FOR TERM LIMITS? AT THE CONGRESSIONAL LEVEL? >> ABSOLUTELY I AM. IN FLORIDA WE HAVE A SYSTEM WHERE WE HAVE EIGHT YEAR TERM LIMITS UNDER THE THEORY EIGHT IS ENOUGH. I WOULD SUPPORT EIGHT YEAR TERM LIMITS I WOULD SUPPORT SIX YEAR TERM LIMIT, TEN YEAR TERM LIMITS ANYTHING THAT GETS THAT CONVERSATION GOING WILL EARN MY SUPPORT. HERE IS WHY, JEFF. IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA, THERE WAS A SHOCK CLOCK ON SO IF THERE WERE PRIORITIES THAT U YOU CARED ABOUT, I ERICAD ABOUT TECHS AND REGULATORY REFORM, STANDING UP FOR THE UNBORN AND GUN OWNERS YOU HAD TO GET THAT WORK DONE WITHIN THE PERIOD OF TIME YOU HAD A. IT CREATED AN ECOSYSTEM OF WORKING TOGETHER AND FOCUSING ON SOLUTIONS, IN WASHINGTON TODAY THERE IS NO SHOT CLOCK. AND YOU HAVE A BUNCH OF PETTY POLITICIANS WHO PICK AT EACH OTHER AND I THINK IF WE WERE MORE FOCUSED ON THE WORK WE WOULD HAVE BETTER OUTCOMES TERM LIMITS IS ONE TOOL TO GET THAT DONE. >> STEVEN. >> I HEADED UP AN ORGANIZATION FOCUSING ON TERM LIMITS. WE DINNED SUCCEED WE STILL GOT THE SAME PROBLEM BUT I THINK WE HAVE THOUSANDS OF REPRESENTATIVES IN THE SENATE, THE HOUSE SHOULD BE LIMITED TO ABOUT TEN. I THINK THE SENATE NEEDS TO BE A LITTLE BIT LONGER THAN THAT SIMPLY FOR THE FACT THAT YOU NEED SENIOR MENTOR SENIOR LEGISLATOR THAT FLORIDA DOES HAVE TERM LIMITS BUT I HEARD A LOT OF COMPLAINTS COMING FROM ESPECIALLY THE FLORIDA SENATE, WHERE EVERYONE IS ALWAYS NEW AT THEIR JOB AND BASICALLY YOU ONLY HAVE TWO TERMS AS A STATED THATTOR BEFORE YOU'RE GONE. SO FOR THE U.S. SENATE IT SHOULD BE LONGER IF I WERE TO WRITE THE 28th AMENDMENT I WOULD MAKE THE HOUSE HAVE TWO FOUR YEAR TERMS AND SENATE TO HAVE PROBABLY THREE SIX YEAR TERMS BECAUSE NO MATTER WHO WINS ON NOVEMBER 8, ON NOVEMBER 9 WE HAVE THE CAMPAIGN FOR THE NEXT ELECTION IN TWO YEARS AND THAT PUTS US IN A POSITION OF NOT REALLY BEING ABLE TO GOVERN AS EFFECTIVELY AS WE MIGHT WANT TO. >> WHICH BRINGS ME TO ANOTHER QUESTION. 60 MINUTES EARLIER IN THE YEAR DID A RATHER IN DEPTH PIECE ON WHAT CONGRESSMEN AND WOMEN WERE HAVING TO DO IN ORDER THE RAIDS MONEY AND HOW MUCH TIME -- RAISE MONEY AND HOW MUCH TIME WAS SPENT RAIDING MONEY AS ON -- RAISING MONEY OPPOSED TO LEDGE LATING. THERE'S THE STOP ACT AND THE IDEA IS PROPOSE THAT YOU WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO DIRECTLY OR CONGRESSMEN AND WOMEN WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO DIRECTLY SOLICIT FUNDS. YOUR THOUGHTS. >> HARD TO TAKE POLITICS OUT OF POLITICS. AND THE CHALLENGE WITH THE STOP ACT IS THAT THEN WHO WOULD DO THE FUND RAIDING? YOU WOULD CREATE THIS NEW SUBCULTURE OF FUNDRAISING ACTIVITY THAT COULD BE LESS TRANSPARENT. I THINK THAT CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM HAS GONE A LONG WAY TO GET A CORPORATE DONATION OUT OF CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGNS. I AM CONCERNED ABOUT DARK MONEY. THAT IS MONEY THAT ENTERS POLITICS WITHOUT REALLY KNOWING WHERE IT COMES FROM OR WHO GAVE THAT MONEY. THERE WERE SUPER PACs ATTACK MEG AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHO WAS FUNDING THEM SO THAT MADE IT HARDER TO RESPOND SO I THINK THAT SO LONG AS INK ESCAMBIA EVERYTHING IS TRANSPART, VOTERS KNOW WHO -- TRANSPARENT AND VOTERS KNOW WHO ARE FUNDING CAME PAINS, WE WILL HAVE BETTER ELECTIONS. >> THE FACT THAT I CAN'T INDIVIDUALLY SOLICIT FUND FROM FRIEND AND FAMILY AS STARTING POINT BOTHERS ME AND MOVING ON, WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO ASK FOR FUNDS FROM THE PEOPLE THAT YOU KNOW. BUT WE REALLY NEED TO REIGN IN LOBBYISTS, ALLOWING ACCESS TO -- FROM LOBBYISTS TO DIRECTLY TO CONGRESSMEN RATHER THAN HAVING TO BE A GRASSROOTS THING COMING FROM YOUR DISTRICT IS ALWAYS A PROBLEM. AND THAT'S WHERE A LOT OF THE MONEY IS FLOWING IN. I HAVE TO HIT YOU, MATT, YOUR NAME IS TIED TO A CRIMINAL COMPLAINT RIGHT NOW STATE OF FLORIDA BECAUSE OF YOUR PAC MONEY SO I HAVE TROUBLE LISTENING -- >> THAT'S NOT TRUE. MY NAME IS NEVER IMPLICATED IN ANY CRIMINAL COMPLAINT. THAT IS BORDERLINE LIABLIST TO SAY. YOU CAN'T SAY THAT. THERE ARE OUTSIDE GROUPS THAT SUPPORTED MY CANDIDACY AND THEIR OUTSIDE GROUPS THAT ATTACKED ME AS A CANDIDATE. BUT ONE EXAMPLE IS HUMANE SOCIETY. I DIDN'T KNOW THAT THEY WERE SUCH BIG FANS BUT I FOUGHT HARD FOR ANIMAL WELFARE LEGISLATION UNTIL HUE MAIN SOCIETY SEND OUT MAILERS INDICATING I WAS AN ADVOCATE FOR ANIMAL WELFARE. THERE'S NOTHING NEFARIOUS BECAUSE IT'S DISCLOSED BUT THERE'S OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES THERE'S DARK MONEY AND THAT'S WHAT WE GOT THE GET OUT OF POLITIC BECAUSE NO WAY THE PUBLIC TO KNOW WHO IS PARTICIPATING IN ELECTION AREA. >> YOU REMEMBER A STATE PAC THAT ROUTED MONEY FROM A FEDERAL PAC THAT GAVE THE YOUR CAMPAIGN A FEDERAL CANDIDATE WHEN FLORIDA STATE LAW EXCLUDES, THAT'S THE PROBLEM, SO YOUR NAME IS NOT LISTED IN THE CRIMINAL COMPLAINT. >> I'M GLAD WE CLEAREDED THAT UP. NICHED INITIALLY YOU INDICATED MY NAME IS IMPLICATED NOW YOU CONFESSED THAT'S NOT ACCURATE. THAT'S IMPORTANT FOR OUR VIEWERS AND LISTENERS TO UNDERSTAND, BUT OF COURSE WHEN I WAS A STATE LEGISLATOR I LED ORGANIZATIONS WHOSE SOLE PURPOSE WAS TO RAISE MORE MONEY TO GET REPUBLICANS ELECTED TO THE LEGISLATURE. I DID THAT BECAUSE REPUBLICANS RUNNING THE STATE OF FLORIDA, WE PROTECTED GUN OWNERS AN UNBORN, SO I WANTED MORE PEOPLE THAT SHARE THOSE GOALS AND RAISED MONEY, CAMPAIGNED FOR THEM AND WOULD DO SO AGAIN. I HOPE IN THE CONGRESS WE HAVE A REPUBLICAN CONGRESS AND THAT PAUL RYAN IS THE SPEAKER AND THAT WE CAN GO FORWARD AND GET THE BETTER WAY AGENDA PASSED. >> AS LONG ADS EVERYONE KNOW IT IS MONEY RAISED ENDED UP IN YOUR POCKETS AS A FEDERAL PAC IN VIOLATION OF STATE LAW, WE CAN NAME THE PAC OR NAME MATT GAETZ A. I COULDN'T CARE LESS. >> MY NAME IS NOT INVOLVED IN THAT. FEDERAL LAW DOESN'T ALLOW ANY COORDINATION BETWEEN OUTSIDE GROUPS IN CAMPAIGNS AND IN EVERY WAY I COMPLIED WITH THAT LAW. >> FASCINATING CONVERSATION THIS EVENING ON THE SPECIAL LIFE EDITION OF CONVERSATIONS, MATT GAETZ AND STEVEN SPECHT RUNNING FOR THE FIRST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT. WE WILL CONVERSATION OUR CONTINUE WITH THEM IN JUST A COUPLE OF MOMENTS. STAY WITH US ON THIS LIFE EDITION OF CONVERSATIONS. YOU'RE WATCHING WSRE TELEVISION, PBS FOR THE GULF COAST. WE'RE BACK IN A MINUTE. >> THIS A SPECIAL LIVE EDITION OF CONVERSATIONS ON WSRE, OUR GUESTS THE TWO VYING FOR THE NEXT CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT. MATT GAETZ PUB KIDNAP AND STEVEN SPECHT, DEMOCRAT. SINCE SOMEONE THE SEEP IS HELD BY REPUBLICAN JEFF MILLER NOT SEEKING RE-ELECTION. FASCINATING WITH BOTH GENTLEMEN, THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF TALK IN PRESIDENTIAL LEVEL ABOUT TRADE AND HOW WE SHOULD APPROACH OUR VARIOUS TRADE AGREEMENTS. SO LET ME START WITH TPP. FOR IT? AGAINST IT? WHERE DO YOU STAND? >> I GOT CHALLENGES WITH TPP AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT TROUBLES ME IS WHEN SOMETHING IS TRODDED OUT AS A GREAT THING FOR FREE ENTERPRISE AND MARKETS AND WHEN YOU PEEL BACK A FEW LAYERS OF THE ONION, IT'S DIFFERENT. WITHIN TPP THERE ARE A VARIETY OF CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE THERE ARE MINIMUM PURCHASING REQUIREMENTS FOR THE UNITED STATES. AND I THINK WHEN YOU DO THAT YOU IMPAIR THE ABILITY OF DOMESTIC PRODUCERS IN A VARIETY OF WAYS. I THINK ONE THING WE HAVE TO DO ON TRADE IS DEAL WITH CHINA IN PARTICULAR. THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION STRATEGY FOR DEALING WITH CHINA IS THIS ENCIRCLEMENT STRATEGY THROUGH TPP WHICH WILL SEND JOBS TO VIETNAM AND OTHER COUNTRIES THAT ARE INVOLVED IN THAT AGREEMENT. WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS GET SOARIOUS ABOUT THE FACT CHINA IS ENGAGING IN ILLEGAL ACTIVITY WITH DUMPING OF STEEL AND VARIETY OF OTHER ENDEAVORS SO I THINK THAT A TOUGHER STANCE IS THE APPROPRIATE REMEDY, NOT HOLLOWING OUT THE AMERICAN MIDDLE CLASS WHAT TPP DOES IN WAYS. >> STEVEN YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP. >> I'M MORE CONCERNED ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL RAMIFICATIONS OF THE FAST TRACK DEALING WHERE CONGRESS IS BASICALLY GIVEN PRESIDENT OBAMA CONTRARY TO PRECEDENT OF ALLOWING CONGRESS THE RIGHT TRADE LAWS BECAUSE CONGRESS IS RESPONSIBLE FOR FOREIGN COMMERCE, CONGRESS WRITES LAW, PRESIDENT SIGNS THEM, INSTEAD PRESIDENT OBAMA NEGOTIATES IN CONGRESS VOTES YES OR NO WITHOUT CHANGING ANY OF IT. TY DON'T THINK THAT REALLY STANDS UP TO CONSTITUTIONAL SCRUTINY LONG TERM. EARLIER IN THE PROGRAM, I DON'T LIKE GOING TO CONGRESS WITH FALSE PROMISES AND LAWS THAT WILL BE STRUCK DOWN ADS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. WHAT HAPPENS IN THREE YEARS WHEN TPP FACES JUDICIAL SCRUTINY AND COURT SAYS YOU CAN'T DO IT THIS WAY, THAT'S THE PROBLEM TO ME. SO I THINK GETTING OUTSIDE OF THE PRECEDENT OUR LAW MAKING IS REALLY PLAYING WITH FIRE IN THE LONG TERM. >> BOTH PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES WERE TALKING ABOUT BRINGING MORE JOBS TO MIDDLE CLASS, BRINGING MANUFACTURING BACK TO THE UNITED STATES. HOW DO WE DO THAT? >> FIRST AS SAID EARLIER WE NEED TO MAKE GOVERNMENT WORK MORE EFFICIENTLY, IN THE ANOTHER ISSUE MATT AND I AGREE, HE'S GOING TO TALK DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY GETTING ORGANIZATIONS LIKE UBER GOING, ALLOWING THAT FREE MARKET AND FREE ENTERPRISE TO FLOURISH. THAT CREATES JOBS. WE HAVE TO HAVE SOME GOVERNMENT BUT OUTDATED REGULATIONS NEED TO GO. THIS FAA ON DRONES IS ABOMINATION. THE EUROPE ISIOUSING DRONES FOR DISTANT PACKAGE DELIVERY, THE IDEA UPS NEEDS TO DELIVER A PACKAGE WHEN IT'S COULD BE FLOWN THERE FOR PENNIES IS ABSURD. WE'RE NOT IN A HORSE BUGGY AGE ANY MORE, AND LOOK AT THE NEW TECHNOLOGY THAT'S COMING ONLINE. FARCE ALLOWING JOBS TO FLOURISH. >> MATT. >> DONALD TRUMP LAID OUT WHAT I THINK IS A BOLD POLICY PROPOSAL THAT ALLOWS COMPANIES TO BE ABLE TO REPATRIATE CAPITAL BACK TO THE UNITED STATES WITHOUT FACING EGREGIOUS TAX CONSEQUENCES SO THAT IS ONE TOOL IN THE TOOLBOX TO TRY TO BE ABLE TO BRING SOME OF THOSE JOBS BACK, BRING THAT CAPITAL BACK AND CREATE THOSE INCENTIVE WITNESS THE ECONOMY WHERE PEOPLE WANT TO INVEST IN AMERICA AGAIN. NOW, YOU HAVE ASKED THE QUESTION FROM BROADEST POSSIBLE CONTEXT THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY, BUT I THINK NORTHWEST FLORIDA'S NEXT MEMBER OF CONGRESS NEEDS LOOK FOR SPECIFIC OPPORTUNITIES IN OUR DISTRICT TO EXPAND OUR MANUFACTURING PROFILE. I HAVE MET WITH SOME OF THE LEADERSHIP TEAM AT AIR BUS OVER IN MOBILE AND THEY VIEW FLORIDA'S FIRST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT AS A RIPE OPPORTUNITY TO BE ABLE TO EXTEND OUT THEIR SUPPLY CHAIN AND SUPPLY LINE. WE HAVE GOT THIS GREAT WORK FORCE OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE DONE MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR ON AIRCRAFT AND MILITARY EQUIPMENT THAT ARE PERFECT FOR APPLICATION IN THE CIVILIAN ECONOMY. WE JUST NEED THE JOBS HERE AND THE ABILITY TO BE ABLE TO ATTRACT THAT MANUFACTURING ACTIVITY. I DID SOMETHING AS STATE LEGISLATOR. WHEN I WAS CHAIR MAN OF THE FINANCE AND TAX COMMITTEE I ENDED FOREVER THE SALES AND USE TAX ON MANUFACTURING AND MACHINE EQUIPMENT THAT MAKES FLORIDA A MORE COMPETITIVE AND ATTRACTIVE PLACE TO MAKE THOSE PURCHASES AND MAKE THOSE INVESTMENTS. MY HOPE WITH THOSE POLICIES THAT I PASS WITH OUR GEOGRAPHICAL ADVANTAGES WITH AIR BUS IN MOBILE WE CAN SEE A MANUFACTURING RENAISSANCE IN THE FLORIDA PANHANDLE IN THE NEAR TERM. >> STEVEN, HOW WOULD YOU ENVISION MANUFACTURING HERE IN THE FIRST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT? LOOK BACK AT THE EDUCATIONAL BASE, WE HAVE A LOT OF SKILLED LABOR BUT OVERALL, THE FIRST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT IS DISTANTLY BEHIND NATIONAL AVERAGES WHEN IT COMES TO HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION AND SKILLED LABOR AND AGGREGATE LEVEL. WE NEED TO RETURN LOCAL CONTROL TO EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS, WE NEED TO GET COMMON CORE OFF BACKS. IT WAS A NICE THEORY, MATT AND I CAME UP UNDER THE FCAT STANDARD, GOOD TIERRY BUT IT HASN'T PANNED OUT AND COMMON CORE IS ANOTHER AT A NATIONAL LEVEL. GET FUNDING BACK IN SCHOOLS FOR VOCATIONAL TRAININGEN, TAYLOR SUBSIDIZED LOANS TO CAREERS THAT ARE GROWING, NEEDED CAREER FIELDS, VOCATIONAL STEM, RESEARCH CAREER FIELD, ULTIMATELY WE NEED TO HAVE A SUSTAINABLE SKILLED JOB FORCE THAT IS GOING TO BE SUPPORTING THESE JOBS. BECAUSE THERE'S ONLY SO MANY JOBS THAT CAN BE FILLED WITH LOW SKILL LABOR. WE HAVE GOT TO HAVE A STRONG BASE OF WORKERS THAT CAN ACTUALLY BRING JOBS HERE. >> YOUR THOUGHTS ON IMPROVING OUR EDUCATION SYSTEM? >> THIS IS ONE AREA WHERE STEVEN AND IDS AGREE. I DON'T -- DISAGREE. I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANYTHING GOOD THE FEDERAL DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION IS DOING THAT COULDN'T BE DONE BETTER AT STATE LEVEL OR IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR. SO A PART OF MY CAMPAIGN PLATFORM SO TO FIGHT EVERY CHANCE I GET TO TOTALLY ABOLISH THE FEDERAL DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. NEVER HEARD A TEACHER SAY THANK GOODNESS THERE'S A FEDERAL DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. NEVER HEARD IT FROM A PARENT OR STUDENT. STEVEN DISAGREES AND THINKS THAT WE COULD JUST TWEAK A FEW THINGS WITH FEDERAL DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION. HE GAVE ME THE NICKNAME MACHETE MATT BECAUSE THERE'S SO MANY FEDERAL AGENCIES I WANT TO DO AWAY WITH. I LIKE THAT. I HOPE IT STICKS. >> FOLLOW-UP? >> WE NEED A SCALPEL. THE ONLY THING WITH MACHETE IS LOP OFF ARMS. I'M SCALPEL STEVE, HE'S MACHETE MATT. >> VERY GOOD. WE HAVE TALKED ABOUT THIS EARLY ON IN THE PROGRAM, E E THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM IS THE DEBT IN THIS COUNTRY. AND IT'S HUGE. MY NUMBERS MAY NOT BE RIGHT ON BUT I ONLY CLOSE PERCENTAGE WISE. AND I'M SURE YOU KNOW THIS BUT I WANT TO SHARE THIS WITH THE AUDIENCE. WHEN WE LOOK AT THE FEDERAL BUDGET, SO THE FEDERAL BUDGET, 65% OF THE FEDERAL BUDGET IS MANDATORY SPENDING SO 32 PERCENT TO SOCIAL SECURITY, 27% TO MEDICARE, AND WHAT'S TACKED ON WITH THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT OR OBAMA CARE AND 6% IS INTEREST ON THE NATIONAL DEBT. THEN 16% AT DEFENSE MILITARY. AND THEN REMANNING 19% IS SOMEWHAT KISS CESSIONNARY. -- DISCRETIONARY. >> FROM WE NEED ANOTHER HOUR TO COVER THAT. >> BUT TRULY THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM AND AT TOP OF THE TICKET WHAT WE HEAR IS WE'RE GOING TO CUT TAXES OR INCREASE SPENDING OR SOME COMBINATION OF BOTH. SOME POINT WE HAVE TO FIX IT, RIGHT IN >> IT'S THE CONGRESS THAT APPROPRIATES FUND, NOT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, PANNED -- AND SO HOPEFULLY CONGRESS HAS A RESPONSIBLE PATH FORWARD. I THINK WE NEED ZERO BASED BUDGETING FEDERAL LEVELFUL BECAUSE SOMEONE IS FUNDED CERTAIN AMOUNT THE PRIOR YEAR THEY GET CONTINUATION PLUS A LITTLE EXTRA IS NOT A SUCCESSFUL OR APPROPRIATE WAY TO ENSURE WE CONTINUE TO APPROPRIATE BASED ON OUR SHARED PRIORITIES AND VISION FOR THE COUNTRY. SO WENT TO ZERO BASED BUDGETING WE GET THIS UNDER MORE SCRUTINY. THE OTHER THING WE HAVE TO GO IS DEAL WITH ENTITLEMENT REFORM. THOSE STATISTICS THAT YOU CITED DEAL WITH THE STATUS QUO BUT WHAT YOU DIDN'T MENTION WHICH SHOULD FRIGHTEN OUR VIEWERS MORE IS WE HAVE A HUNDRED TRILLION DOLLARS IN UNFUNDED LIABILITIES COMING AT US, LIKE A 100 TRILLED AS VOID HEADING FOR US AND WE KNOW -- ASTEROID COMING FOR US. WE DON'T DEAL WITH ENTITLEMENT REFORM, ONE PROPOSAL I MADE IS PEOPLE MY AGE OR STEVEN'S AGE IN THEIR 30s SHOULD PROBABLY HAVE TO RETIRE A LOT LATER IN LIFE THAN THE CURRENT PLAN. PEOPLE WHO ARE ON SOCIAL SECURITY NOW, PEOPLE WHO ARE ABOUT TO BE ON SOCIAL SECURITY SHOULDN'T SEE ANY CHANGE THAT'S ANYTHINGTIVE AS CONSEQUENCE OF THEIR PLANNING BUT YOUNGER PEOPLE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO WORK HARDER AND WORK LONGER BEFORE THEY RETIRE. ANY POLITICIAN WHO SAYS DIFFERENT LYING. STRUCTURAL REFORM, BACK TO SOW ROW BASED BUDGET, IF WE DON'T SOLVE IT NOTHING ELSE MATTERS BECAUSE THE AMERICAN ECONOMY WILL COLLAPSE, AND WE WON'T BE ABLE TO DO ANY OTHER THING DISCUSSES TONIGHT. >> STEPHEN. >> THE OTHER THING I TALKED ABOUT EARLIER, WE NODE GOVERNMENT REFORM. WE'RE NOT GOING TO SLASH ENTIRE AGENCIES THAT'S NOT REASONABLY POSSIBLE FOR A FRESHMAN CONGRESSMAN BUT WE CAN START THE CONVERSATION ON REFORM, MAKING THINGS WORK EFFICIENTLY, GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO GET OUT OF THE WAY IN SOME AREAS, AND SOCIAL SECURITY. AS A 33-YEAR-OLD I SHOULD KNOW I WON'T REQUIRE UNTIL I'M 73 WHICH CAN BE A BLESSING OR A CRISIS, TO ME IT LOOKS LIKE I HAVE A AN OPPORTUNITY FOR A WHOLE NEW INVENTING OF MYSELF AFTER A FEW YEARS IN CONGRESS. I HAVE TIME TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL AND DO SOME OTHER THINGS. IF YOU'RE IN THAT THRESHOLD YOUR GRANDFATHER DIDN'T KNOW THE EXISTING SCHEME, WHEN SOCIAL SECURITY WAS CREATED, THE PAY OUT DATE WAS BEYOND THE AVERAGE LIFE EXPECTANCY OF AN AMERICAN, NOW THE PAY OUT DATE IS 67 FOR FULL PAY OUT AND AVERAGE LIFE EXPECTANCY IS AROUND 80. SO THE MATH JUST ISN'T THERE. WE NEED TO ADJUST FIRE. THIS IS A BIPARTISAN PROBLEM, THAT'S WHAT PEOPLE FORGET THAT UNDER BUSH AND OBAMA ADMINISTRATIONS WITH REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSES. THE DEBT WAS DOUBLED TWICE UNDER BUSH AND TWICE UNDER OBAMA. THAT'S ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, MA IS RIGHT THAT CONGRESS WRITES THE BUDGET AND CONGRESS NEEDS TO RESTRAIN THE EXECUTIVE AND CONGRESS ISN'T DOING THEIR JOB. RIGHT NOW WE'RE LIVING HAND TO MOUTH AT A CONGRESSIONAL LEVEL, WE CAN'T PASS A COMPREHENSIVE BUDGET WHETHER ZERO BALANCE BUDGET OR SOMETHING ELSE MORE LONG TERM LOOKING, WE HAVE TO HAVE CONGRESS DO THEIR JOB, THEY HAVE FAILED AND I THIS THE MAJORITY NEED TO BE -- THE MAJORITY NEED TO BE KICKED OUT. >> MEDICARE? THAT'S ANOTHER HUGE POT OF MONEY THAT NEEDS TO BE PAID OUT. ADS YOU MENTION YOU HAVE A SITUATION BABY BOOMERS CONTINUE THE AGE, LIFE EXPECT FANCY CONTINUES TO GO OUT. IT IS A LOOMING, LOOMING PROBLEM. SO AS A FRESHMAN CONGRESSMAN, WHAT DO YOU DO? >> MEDICARE AND MEDICAID ARE PART OF THE TRILLION DOLLARS UNFUNDED LIABILITY THAT I MENTIONED EARLIER. I THINK THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS TOTALLY INCAPABLE OF COMING UP WITH ONE SIZE FITS ALL SOLUTIONS TO BE ABLE TO CONTROL THE GROWTH OF THE MEDICAID AND MEDICARE BUDGETS. IN FLORIDA, WE'RE GOD'S WAIT ROOM PEOPLE COME HERE TO FINAL YEARS TO ENJOY RETIREMENT IN OUR STATE AND IN A LOT OF WAYS THAT'S A GREAT ECONOMIC ENGINE FOR STATE OF FLORIDA, BUT BRINGS COSTS WITH IT. HERE IS WHAT I SUPPORT. I SUPPORT BLOCK GRANTING, MEDICAID AND MEDICARE FUNDING TO STATES, THAT WAY WE GET TO REALIZE THIS GREAT SYSTEM THE FOUNDERS PROMISED US, WHERE DIFFERENT STATES WOULD TRY DIFFERENT EFFICIENCY, COST CUTTING REGIMES. THEN THE BEST PRACTICES WOULD EMERGE AND WOULD BE COPIED BUT YOU WOULDN'T HAVE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TYING HANDS OF STATES THAT WANT TO DO INNOVATIVE THINGS. I VOTED FOR LEGISLATION THAT WOULD HAVE PUT A WORK REQUIREMENT ON PEOPLE ON MEDICAID WHO ARE ABLE BODIED. THEY CAN DONATE TIME TO A CITY HALL OR SWEEP THE STREETS OR PERHAPS WITH NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS. AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SAID THEY WOULDN'T GIVE A WAIVER FOR THAT LEGISLATION BECAUSE IT DIDN'T FIT THEIR RIGID PARADIGM. WE HAVE TO GET MORE INNOVATION, WE HAVE TO DOWNSTREAM MORE DECISIONS TO THE STATES AND I HAVE HAD A FRONT ROW SEAT TO WATCH WASHINGTON FAILURE OVER AND OVER AND I THINK WE CAN GET FURTHER BY HAVING 50 DIFFERENT STATES TRYING TO SOLVE THESE STRUCTURAL PROBLEMS. >> STEVEN, PIGGY BACK? >> LOOK AT RIDING COSTS OF HEALTHCARE AS A STARTING POINT. THAT'S A -- THE FAILURE OF THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT IS DIDN'T GO AFTER THE BIGGEST PRICE DRIVERS THE PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES AND INSURANCE COMPANIES WHEN OBAMA CARE WAS PASSED WE HAD FIVE MAJOR INSURANCE COMPANIES CONTROLLING THE MAJORITY OF INSURANCE MARKETS. WE DIDN'T TOUCH THEM, WE NEED SMALL BUSINESSES TO COMPETE, COMPETITION DRIVES DOWN PRICE AND GUESS WHAT, NOW THE FIVE COMPANIES ARE DOWN TO THREE, THEY MERGED ON THE LAST EIGHT YEARS WE HAVE GOTTEN WORSE ON THE PROBLEM WITH ULTIMATELY INSURANCE COMPANIES SETTING PRICES. IF WE HAD COMPETITION ALLOW FREE MARKET TO PROSPER AND SOMETIMES THAT MEANS BREAKING UP LARGE COMPANIES, YOU CAN'T HAVE A FREE MARKET IF YOU ONLY HAVE ONE COMPANY OR IN THIS CASE THREE, ALLOW THE FREE MARKET TO PROSPER, SAME WITH PHARMACEUTICALS, THEY AREN'T TOUCHED UNDER THE SHERMAN ANTI-TRUTHS ACT SO WE HAVE TWO MAIN -- TRUST ACT. WE HAVE TWO WITH ABBOTT LAB AS DISTANT THIRD THEY CAN CHARGE RIDICULOUS PRICES FOR DRUGS OUT ON THE MARKET FOR 20 YEARS BECAUSE WHO TELLS THEM NOT TO, THEY CAN JACK UP THE PRICE 600% TOMORROW AND NOT ANYTHING WE CAN DO. SO IF WE GET MORE COMPETITION IN THE PRICE DRIVERS OF HEALTHCARE, EXPEN ALSO GO DOWN, WHAT WE'RE PAYING AT FEDERAL LEVEL WILL GO DOWN OR WHETHER WE DO IT AT STATE LEVEL, IS STILL GOING DOWN. WE CAN DO STATE OR FEDERAL, I'M OKAY WITH EITHER AS LONG AS PEOPLE GET THE CARE THEY NEED. BUT WE'RE NOT GOING TO ACCOMPLISH THAT IN UNTIL WE GO AFTER THE DRIVERS OF PRICE. >> DONALD TRUMP SAYS HE WANTS TO COMPLETELY DO AWAY WITH OBAMA CARE. HILLARY CLINTON SAYS THERE'S PROBLEMS WE NEED CHANGES AND MAKE ADJUSTMENTS. I'LL GET YOUR THOUGHTS AND BEGINNING WITH MATT. >> I SUPPORT THE FULL AND COMPLETE REPEAL OF OBAMA CARE. AND I DON'T SUPPORT THE REPLACEMENT OF OBAMA CARE WITH ANOTHER ONE SIZE FITS ALL FEDERAL SYSTEM. MY STRATEGY WOULD BE TO -- I'LL VOTE EVERY TIME I HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO DOP SO TO REPEAL OBAMA CARE EVERY LAST WORD OF IT, THAN BLOCK GRANT THE MONEY THAT WE HAVE SPENDING ON OBAMA CARE THAT WE'RE SPENDING ON THESE OTHER THINGS TO STATES TO FIGURE IT OUT. ONE REASON WHY SENIORS AND CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 1 CONTINUE THE GET NOTICES FROM THEIR DOCTORS THAT THEY'RE NO LONGER SEEING MEDICARE PATIENTS IS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS DRILLED A HOLE AT THE BOTTOM OF TE BUCKET ON MEDICARE TO FUND OBAMA CARE. AND WE SPOKE EARLIER ABOUT VETERANS, AN ISSUE THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE AND I BOTH AGREE ON, TAKE CARE OF VETERANS ONE THING THAT'S MAKING THAT MORE CHALLENGING IS THAT THERE IS A RESOURCE DRAIN AWAY FROM OUR EXISTING PROGRAMS TOWARD ABOUT MA CARE. THE REAL CHALLENGE IS A NUMBER OF PEOPLE THAT THEY WANT ON OBAMA CARE IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ARE ABLE BODIED PEOPLE WHO COULD GO TO WORK BUT CHOOSE NOT TO, I -- THAT'S ONE REASON I VOTED AGAINST MEDICAID EXPANSION IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA, I DON'T THINK THAT PEOPLE WHO WORK OUGHT TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE HEALTHCARE OF TYPE PEOPLE WHO COULD BUT CHOOSE NOT TO. >> YOUR THOUGHTS STEVEN? >> I'LL STICK BY THE EARLIER ANSWER WE NEED TO GO AFTER THE MAJOR DRIVERS OF COST WHETHER BLOCK GRANTS STATE LEVEL OR KEEP PARTS OF OBAMA CARE OR REPEAL AND REPLACE THE WHOLE THING. ANY OF THESE OPTIONS DON'T REALLY GET AT THE DRIVERS OF WHAT AN AFFORDABLE CARE ACT NEEDS TO LOOK AT; I LOVE THE FREE MARKET, I LOVE CAPITALISM, BUT YOU CAN'T HAVE A FREE MARKET WHEN YOU HAVE ONLY A COUPLE OF PLAYERS IN THE GAME. >> DO YOU SUPPORT REPEAL? >> SURE. I -- REPEAL THE PARTS THAT HAVE NOT WORKED AND KEEP SOME. I'M OKAY KEEPING THE PARTS THAT WORK. >> THERE ARE THOSE THAT ARGUE THERE'S A COUPLE OF GOOD POINTS, BEING ABLE TO BE INSURED IF YOU HAVE A PREEXISTING CONDITION AND SOME FOLKS ARGUE THAT GREAT IDEA TO BE ABLE TO HAVE YOUR KID UP UNTIL THEY'RE 26. DOES THAT MAKE SENSE? >> LISTEN, FIRST OF ALL, THERE ARE NONE OF THOSE ELEMENTS, THAT COULD NOT BE DONE AT THE STATE LEVEL. IF THE STATE OF FLORIDA CHOSE TO EXTEND COVERAGE TO 26 OR DIFFERENT STATE DIDN'T WANT TO, THERE WOULD BE THAT OPPORTUNITY. THERE'S NO REASON WHY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS TO MAKE THESE DECISIONS. BUT JEFF, YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT THE REASON WHY PEOPLE ARE SEEING MASSIVE PREMIUM INCREASES UNDER OBAMA CARE? PART IS THE STRUCTURAL PROBLEM THAT THE PEOPLE WHO SIGNED UP FOR OBAMA CARE ARE A LOT LESS HEALTHY THAN THE PRESIDENT AND ADMINISTRATION HOPED FOR. SO THOSE PROVISIONS THAT ARE POPULAR AMONG SOME BECOME THE VERY COST DRIVERS THAT THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE MENTIONED WHEN YOU HAVE A POT OF SICK PEOPLE AND NO ONE ELSE TO BALANCE THE RISK POOL. THIS IS WHY ONE SIZE FITS ALL DOESN'T WORK, WHY WE OUGHT TO HAVE 50 STATES AS LABORATORIES OF DEMOCRACY WORKING TO SOLVE THESE CHALLENGES AND ALLOWING THE BEST PRACTICES TO EMERGE. >> THE PROBLEM IS THE LOOMING CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS UNDER THE COMMERCE CLAUSE AND OTHER ISSUES OF FULL -- OF FULL FAITH AND CREDIT AS WELL AS PRIVILEGE AND IMMUNITIES UNDER THE 14th AMENDMENT IF YOU'RE ON PARENT INSURANCE AT AGE 25 AND DECIDE THE TRANSFER TO ANOTHER SCHOOL AND STATE YOU'RE GOING TO BE CUT OFF. THISES THE PROBLEM WE SIMPLY REPEALING THE ENTIRE THING, THE TWO EXAMPLES YOU GAVE ARE SPECIFIC EXAMPLES WHERE YOU NEED SOMETHING TO ADDRESS THE INTERSTATE ISSUE US THAT ARE A PROBLEM WITH A VIBRANT MOVING ECONOMY. >> BUT WE HAVE INTERSTATE INSURANCE ISSUES ALL THE TIME. THAT WE'RE ABLE TO RESOLVE FOR EXAMPLE IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA, YOU CAN'T SELL INSURANCE IF YOU DON'T COVER MAMMOGRAMS. THAT'S ONE OF THE MANDATES THAT WE PUT ON THE INSURANCE MARKET BECAUSE WE SAY IF YOU WANT TO AVAIL YOURSELF TO OUR MARKET THAT'S OOH SOMETHING WE VALUE AS A SOCIETY THAT YOU HAVE TO COVER. NOT EVERY STATE DOES THAT. AND EVERY DAY THESE THINGS ARE ABLE TO BE RESOLVED AND YOU CAN SEE WHAT DIFFERENT POPULATIONS WILL DEMAND. ALLOT -- ULTIMATELY WE OUGHT TO HAVE A CAFETERIA PLAN, PEOPLE BUY THE HEALTH INSURANCE THEY WANT AT A COST THEY'RE ABLE TO PAY. THE CHALLENGE WE HAVE NOW IS THAT HEALTH INSURANCE IS RUN THROUGH YOUR EMPLOYER OR INCREASINGLY UNDER OBAMA THROUGH THE GOVERNMENT. AND IF WE HAD FOCUS MORE ON THE INDIVIDUAL OUR HEALTH INSURANCE MARKET WOULD LOOK MORE LIKE OUR AUTO INSURANCE MARKET WHERE YOU HAVE A LIZARD TRYING TO SELL YOU INSURANCE ABOUT EVERY 30 SECONDS ON TELEVISION BECAUSE WE'RE ATTRACTIVE MARKET. WE'RE NOT LEVERAGING THAT NOW BECAUSE IT'S TOO CENTRALIZED WITH THE GOVERNMENT OR AN EMPLOYER BASED SYSTEM. >> LET ME MOVE ON, SOMETHING THAT'S BEEN IN THE NEWS AN AWFUL LOT BECOMING MORE AND MORE OF A CONCERN EVERY DAY. CYBER -- >> CORRY STATION IS PRIMED TO BE CYBER CENTER OF EXCELLENCE. WE GET THE BRIGHTEST PEOPLE TOGETHER TO SOLVE CHALLENGES WE CAN DO IT RIGHT HERE IN PENSACOLA. THINK ABOUT THE POSITIVE SPILL OVER EFFECT THAT CAN HAVE TO OUR LOCAL ECONOMY. AFTER HURRICANE KATRINA, NEW ORLEANS MADE A BUNCH OF INVESTMENTS AND THEY HAVE A BUDDING TAX SECTOR. NOW TO THEIR ECONOMY. WE CAN DO THE SAME THING. I WANT TOABLE VERY PAROCHIAL ABOUT MAKING SURE BESOLVE THOSE CHALLENGES HERE IN OUR COMMUNITY, BUT ALSO WE HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THE GRAVITY OF CHALLENGE. WE HAVE GOT FOREIGN ACTORS HACKING PAIN WHOSE ARE HACKING PEOPLE INDIVIDUALLY, AND IF WE DON'T DEAL WITH THAT,S WE WILL LOSE THE NEXT GENERATION OF WARFARE. SPEAKER RYAN SAYS ALL THE TIME WE HAVE TO SKATE TO WHERE THE PUCK IS GOING AND IN WARFARE, CYBER SECURITY, THESE ARE THE HOT BUTTON ISSUES TO PRIORITIZE IN OUR BUDGET AND WE CAN PRY YOUR TIDES THEM RIGHT HERE IN NORTHWEST FLORIDA. >> STEVEN. >> WE NEED TO GO AFTER THE SMALL ACTORS WITH THE EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURE WE HAVE. WE HIT THE COUNTRIES THAT ARE ACTING WITH COUNTER ATTACKS ALL THE TIME AND MUCH OF THAT IS CLASSIFIED AND I WON'T GO BEYOND THAT POINT BUT WE HAVE SHUT DOWN SYSTEMS IN NUMEROUS COUNTRIES USING WHAT WE HAVE. BUT IT'S THE SMALL TIME ACTOR, IT'S THE 16 INDIANS JUST INDICTED FOR IRS FRAUD THAT ARE THE PROBLEMS, THAT THEY ARE THE ONES IT'S A SMALL TIME ACTORS WE NEED THE LOOK SMALLER, WITH REAL TERRORS, TYPICAL CONVENTIONAL TERRORISM, IT MAY NOT BE A STATE ACTOR THAT'S DOING IT, IT MAYBE FIVE OR TEN GUYS IN BASE. DOING IT. SO YEAH, CORRY STATION WE NEED TO SUPPORT THAT AND MY WIFE WORKS THERE SO I LIKE THE JOB SECURITY WE HAVE IN SUPPORTING THAT BUT UNTIL WE CAN BECOME MORE FLEXIBLE TO GO AFTER SMALL TIME ACTORS REALIZING THAT STATE ACTORS ARE NOT ALWAYS THE THREAT. WE'RE NOT GOING TO GET ANYWHERE. >> I'M GETTING CLOSE ON TIME HERE, FIVE MINUTES LEFT SO BOTH KEEP IT SHORT ON THIS BUT LET'S TALK ABOUT DEALING WITH ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION. THOUGHTS. >> FIRST WE HAVE TO DO IS STOP INCENTIVIZING ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION IN OUR COUNTRY. I HAVE SPONSORED LEGISLATION, I WASN'T ABLE TO GET PASSED THAT WOULD HAVE STOPPED CASHWELL FAIR PAYMENTS IN THE STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER'S OFFICE FLORIDA TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS, I VOTED AGAINST MY PARTY AND MAJORITY OF LEGISLATURE TO TRY TO STOP IN STATE TUITION FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS. ONE ELEMENT IS THAT. SECOND I SUPPORT ESCAMBIA VERIFY SO THAT EMPLOYERS ARE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE HIRING OF ILLEGAL AILIANS. FINALLY WE NEED MORE PHYSICAL SECURITY, I SUPPORT BUILDING A WALL, USE TECHNOLOGY DRONES LASERS EVERYTHING WE CAN TO SECURE OUR BORDER. IF YOU DON'T HAVE A BORDER, YOU DON'T HAVE A COUNTRY. RIGHT NOW ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION COST AMERICA $117 BILLION A YEAR, MONEY WE DON'T HAVE THAT WE BORROW FROM CHINA AND IT IS A REAL ECONOMIC THREAT AND NATIONAL SECURITY THREAT. FROM >> STEVEN. >> A LOT OF MONEY THAT'S COSTING US IS BECAUSE OF BLOATED GOVERNMENT AGENCIES ANDS FOR SOMEONE TO BE SO VOCALLY CRITICAL OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND ALLEGED INCOMPETENCE TO WE HAVE TO CREATE AN ENTIRELY NEW AGENCY IS TOO BIG FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY TO TAKE CARE OF, ONE OF THE AGENCIES THAT'S NOT LISTED IN THE CONSTITUTION HE WANTS TO ABOLISH SO WHO IS GOING TO PAY FOR IT, HOW ARE WE GOING TO BUILD IT, HOW NOT GOING TO BECOME THIS BLOATED TRILLION DOLLARS WASTE THAT ADDS MORE TO THE,NANAL DEBT? WE NEED TONE FORCE THE LAWS WE HAVE. I REFER TO AN ECONOMIC WALL. AN ECONOMIC WALL ENFORCES LAWS WE ALREADY HAVE, WE FIND COMPANIES THE MAIN DRIVERS OF IMMIGRANTS COMING HERE, THE VAST MAJORITY COME HERE FOR JOBS. THEY WON'T EMPLOY AMERICANS WE FIND THE COMPANIES THEY EMPLOY AMERICANS PUT PEOPLE BACK TO WORK AND WE TAKE THE FINES AND APPLY THEM AT OUR PORTS, THAT'S WHERE THE PROBLEM -- ANY TERRORISM IS COMING THROUGH PORTS, THE 9/11 HIJACKER DID NOT COME OVER THE MEXICAN WALL, THEY CAME HERE LEGALLY OVERSTAYED THEIR VISA AND FLU PLANES SO USE THOSE FINES WE LEVY ON UNPATRIOTIC BUSINESSES AND SECURE OUR PORTS WHERE THE REAL NATIONAL SECURITIES THREATS ARE COMING FROM. >> IN ONE MINUTE I WOULD LIKE EACH OF YOU TO TELL ME WHAT YOUR MOST OPTIMISTIC ABOUT. >> WELL, I'M OPTIMISTIC THAT WE HAVE GOT COMING UP IN THE COUNTRY NOW THE MOST SOCIALLY INTERCONNECTED GENERATION IN ALL OF HUMAN HISTORY. SO IF WE CAN HAVE A BETTER ETHIC IN OUR GOVERNMENT, IF PEOPLE FOCUS ON CHALLENGES THAT WE HAVE TO SOLVE, AND NOT THE PETTY PARTISANSHIP OR PERSONAL ATTACKS OR THE BICKERING, I THINK WE HAVE GOT AN ABILITY TO BE ABLE TO BRING TO PEOPLE TOGETHER FROM A VARIETY OF BACKGROUNDS AND EXPERIENCES TO REALLY SOLVE THE DEBT PROBLEM, THE THREAT OF RADICAL MUSLIM TERRORISM AND THIS IMMIGRATION PROBLEM, IT PRESENTS A WORLD OF OPPORTUNITY TO COME TOGETHER AROUND SOLUTIONS. >> STEVE. >> I'M OPTIMISTIC WE HAVE A NEW GENERATION STEPPING UP TO TAKE THE REIGNS OF POWER IN THIS COUNTRY. WE HAVE PEOPLE IN CONGRESS FOR DECADES UPON DECADES AND THE REALITY IS, THIS WERE FOUR MILLENIALS IN THIS CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION, FOUR THAT STEPPED UP SAID ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. MILLENNIALS GET A BAD RAP BECAUSE BUT THE FACT SO MANY STEPPED UP IN THIS CONGRESSIONAL ELECTION YEAR, FOUR HERE IN THE FIRST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT TO ME IS A MIND SET OF STEPPING UP TO TAKE CHARGE OF THINGS INSTEAD OF JUST SITTING HOME AND COMPLAINING. >> WELL DONE, GENTLEMEN. IT WAS A PLEASURE VISITING WITH BOTH OF YOU, REGARDLESS WHAT HAPPENS NEXT TUESDAY I CONGRATULATE BOTH OF YOU FOR PUTTING YOURSELVES OUT THERE, I KNOW ENOUGH ABOUT POLITICS TO KNOW IT'S NOT AN EASY JOB, YOU OPEN YOURSELF UP TO A LOT OF DARTS TO BE THROWN AT YOU SO I THINK YOU DESERVE CONGRATULATIONS AND I ALSO THINK THT LIKE YOU SAID, BOTH OF YOU ARE MILLENNIALS AND IT'S RATHER EXCITING THAT WE DO HAVE SUCH A YOUNG GROUP OF POLITICAL FOLKS IN OUR COMMUNITY STEPPING UP TO LEAD THE NEXT GENERATION. SHALL WE SAY. >> THANK YOU. >> THANK YOU. >> I WISH YOU BOTH THE BEST OF LUCK. >> YES, SIR. >> MATT GAETZ, STEVEN SPECHT. LEARN MORE ABOUT THEIR CANDIDATES AT STEVENSPECHT.COM AND MATTGAETZ.COM. SEE MORE OF OUR CONVERSATIONS CS WITH A WIDE VARIETY OF PERSONALITIES ARE ALL WALKS OF LIFE FROM WSRE.ORG -- WSRE.ORG/CONVERSATIONS, AND FACEBOOK AND YOUTUBE. I'M JEFF WEEKS, THANK YOU FOR FOR WATCHING THIS SPECIAL EDITION OF CONVERSATIONS WITH JEFF WEEKS. I HOPE YOU ENJOYED THE BROADCAST. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF AND WE'LL SEE YOU SOON. [CAPTIONING PROVIDED BY WSRE-TV AND COASTAL CAPTIONING] ♪ # >> SPORT FOR THIS PROGRAM IS PROVIDED IN PART BY THESE CORPORATE SPONSORS, AND BY VIEWERS LIKE YOU.

Contents

Early life and education

Gaetz was born in Hollywood, Florida,[2] to Victoria "Vickey" (Quertermous) and politician Don Gaetz, and grew up near Fort Walton Beach.[3][4] His patrilineal Gaetz ancestors were immigrants from Beilstein, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany to Wisconsin.[5] He graduated from Florida State University in 2003 with a B.S. in interdisciplinary sciences and from the College of William and Mary in 2007 with a J.D.[6][7] His father Don represented parts of northwest Florida as a member of the Florida State Senate from 2006 to 2016 and served as Senate president from 2012 to 2014. Gaetz's grandfather, Jerry Gaetz, was the mayor of Rugby, North Dakota, and a candidate for lieutenant governor of North Dakota at the 1964 North Dakota Republican Party state convention, where he died of a heart attack.[8]

Florida House of Representatives

Gaetz with Rick Scott in 2010
Gaetz with Rick Scott in 2010

In 2010, following the resignation of Republican state representative Ray Sansom due to corruption charges,[9] Gaetz ran in the special election to succeed Sansom in the 4th District, which included southern Santa Rosa County and Okaloosa County.[10] In a crowded Republican primary that included Craig Barker, Kabe Woods, Jerry G. Melvin, and Bill Garvie, Gaetz won with 43% of the vote.[10] In the special general election, Gaetz defeated Democratic nominee Jan Fernald, winning 66% of the vote.[11] He was unopposed for a full term in 2010.[12] In 2012, following the reconfiguration of Florida House of Representatives districts, Gaetz's district no longer contained any of Santa Rosa County. He was reelected, unopposed, in 2012[13] and 2014.[14]

While serving in the state house, Gaetz joined with state senator Joe Negron to propose legislation "designed to accelerate the execution of many of the 404 inmates on Florida's death row" by requiring the governor to sign a death warrant for those inmates who have exhausted their appeals,[15] noting, "Only God can judge. But we can sure set up the meeting."[16] He also joined forces with state senator Greg Evers to propose legislation that eliminated the federal ethanol content mandate that 10% of gasoline sold in Florida contain ethanol;[17][18] the legislation was signed by Governor Rick Scott in May 2013.[19]

Following the trial of George Zimmerman for the shooting of Trayvon Martin, Will Weatherford, the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, announced that he would order hearings on the "stand-your-ground" law that was raised as an issue during the trial.[20] Gaetz, the chairman of the Criminal Justice Subcommittee, was tasked with reviewing the legislation, and announced before hearings that he would not support changing "one damn comma," though he indicated that he would listen to both sides' testimony during the hearings.[21] Following the conclusion of the hearings, he authored legislation that would allow defendants who successfully used a "stand your ground" defense during their trial "to apply for a 'certificate of eligibility' to expunge information related to 'stand your ground' from their criminal records."[22]

When his subcommittee was considering legislation that would "keep mug shots of people who are charged with crimes off the Internet until they are convicted," Gaetz brought up his 2008 arrest and non-conviction, arguing that his mistakes made him who he is and that publicly available mug shots "could be a problem for those unaccustomed to publicity."[23]

2016 Florida Senate and U.S. House races

2016 campaign mailer
2016 campaign mailer

In 2013, Gaetz announced that in 2016 he would run for the 1st District state senate seat then held by his father, state senator Don Gaetz, who was due to be term-limited out of the Senate in 2016.[24] On March 21, 2016, Gaetz withdrew from the state race, choosing instead to run for the U.S. House seat representing Florida's 1st congressional district; the incumbent, Jeff Miller, had announced eleven days earlier that he would not seek reelection.[25]

On August 30, 2016, Gaetz won the Republican primary with 35.7% of the vote – defeating Greg Evers (21.5%), Cris Dosev (20.6%), and five other candidates.[26] This virtually assured Gaetz of victory in the general election. The 1st District is the most Republican in Florida, and one of the most Republican in the nation. In the November 8, 2016, general election, Gaetz defeated Democratic candidate Steven Specht with 69 percent of the vote.[27] He is only the seventh person to represent this district since 1933 (the district was numbered as the 3rd before 1963).

U.S. House of Representatives

Tenure

Matt Gaetz speaking at a celebration for the completion of the US 98 interchange
Matt Gaetz speaking at a celebration for the completion of the US 98 interchange

On September 25, 2016, following the death of Miami Marlins' pitcher José Fernández, Gaetz criticized the athletes protesting during the national anthem in a tweet: "To all who will kneel during the anthem today – just remember how José Fernández risked his life just for the chance to stand for it".[28][29]

Gaetz was listed as a member of the moderate Republican Main Street Partnership from at least January to June 2017.[30][31][32]

In 2019, Gaetz mentioned to acquaintances that he could run for Senate in Alabama in 2020, a state which borders his district. He later decided against running.[33]

Committee assignments

Political positions

Gaetz speaks with Secretary of Defense James Mattis in October 2017
Gaetz speaks with Secretary of Defense James Mattis in October 2017

Cannabis

Gaetz supports rescheduling cannabis from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III drug, enabling further research and expanded use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.[35] In 2015 he sponsored a House bill to expand Florida's Right to Try Act to include medical marijuana.[36][37] The bill as amended was approved by the governor in March 2016.[38] In September 2017, Gaetz keynoted the American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association's annual conference.[39]

Donald Trump

On February 23, 2017, Gaetz, worried about protesters disrupting his speaking at his town hall in Pace, Florida, prepared what his staffers called a "non-verbal town hall." Gaetz printed out part of his speech onto giant boards that he would hold up if he was unable to get a word in."[40] One of the signs prepared for Gaetz had the words "Professional Liberal Protestors".[40] Gaetz arrived 30 minutes late to the town hall meeting, where he faced at least 500 constituents crowded into a bowling alley. At the meeting he was grilled about his relationship with Donald Trump, his stance on repealing the Affordable Care Act (colloquially known as Obamacare), and his proposal to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He said that Trump should release his tax returns, but stopped short of saying Congress should subpoena them. Gaetz closed his town hall by shouting Trump's 2016 campaign slogan, "Make America Great Again".[41][42][43]

In April 2018, Politico described Gaetz as "one of the most enthusiastic defenders of President Trump on cable news" and a "proud Trump protege".[44] Aaron Blake of The Washington Post referred to him as one of Congress's "most controversial members," and one who has "unabashedly aligned himself with Trump on basically all things."[45]

Economy

Tax reform

Gaetz voted in support of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.[46] He acknowledged that the bill's pass-through tax deduction would benefit President Trump, and added, "but so many Americans benefit when commercial real estate becomes easier and more accessible."[47]

Environment

In 2016, Gaetz acknowledged global warming but said he disagrees with the scientific consensus on climate change that human activity is the primary cause. Gaetz said "In our fervor to protect the environment, we lose sight of economic and scientific reality."[48] In April 2017, the Center for American Progress and Vice Media said Gaetz was a climate change denier, citing his 2016 statements.[49][50]

In January 2017, Gaetz proposed legislation to, in Gaetz's own words, "completely abolish" the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He said, "our small businesses cannot afford to cover the costs associated with compliance, too often leading to closed doors and unemployed Americans. It is time to take back our legislative power from the EPA and abolish it permanently."[18][51]

In November 2017 Gaetz joined the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus.[52][53] He said, "I don't think there's a scientific debate left to be had on if it is happening. I also think history is going to judge very harshly climate change deniers, and I don't want to be one of them." He said that he advocates technological innovation and economic incentives that address climate change, and increased federal funds for global warming research by NASA, NOAA and universities, but that he remains opposed to increased environmental regulation.[54]

Foreign policy

Israel

Gaetz with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in May 2018
Gaetz with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in May 2018

In December 2017, Gaetz supported President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Gaetz stated: "Our nation's embassy is currently in Tel Aviv, which is disrespectful, dismissive, and wrong. Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem will send the Palestinian Authority a message that their days of denying Israel's existence are over, and that they must become an honest partner in peace."[55]

Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen

In April 2019, after the House passed the resolution withdrawing American support for the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen, Gaetz was one of nine lawmakers to sign a letter to President Trump requesting a meeting with him and urging him to sign "Senate Joint Resolution 7, which invokes the War Powers Act of 1973 to end unauthorized US military participation in the Saudi-led coalition's armed conflict against" Houthi forces in Yemen, "initiated in 2015 by the Obama administration." The letter asserted that the "Saudi-led coalition's imposition of an air-land-and-sea blockade as part of its war against Yemen's Houthis has continued to prevent the unimpeded distribution of these vital commodities, contributing to the suffering and death of vast numbers of civilians throughout the country" and that Trump's approval of the resolution through his signing would give a "powerful signal to the Saudi-led coalition to bring the four-year-old war to a close".[56]

Gay rights

As a Florida state representative in 2015 Gaetz persuaded his father to repeal Florida's ban on adoptions by same-sex couples.[57] Gaetz sponsored an amendment with Democratic representative David Richardson to repeal the ban.[58]

Gun policy

Former National Rifle Association (NRA) president Marion Hammer called Gaetz "one of the most pro-gun members to have ever served in the Florida Legislature."[59] Gaetz is a "lifetime member" of the NRA,[59] and has an A+ rating from the NRA—its highest rating.[60]

When Gaetz served in the Florida House of Representatives, he led an effort to allow Floridians with concealed-weapons permits to carry those weapons openly in public,[61] which was ultimately unsuccessful. In lobbying for the passage of the bill, Gaetz said that the open carry of weapons was a right "granted not by government but by God."[62][63] Gaetz supports Florida's stand-your-ground law and supported legislation that strengthened it against legal challenges.[64] Gaetz also supports concealed carry reciprocity.[64]

Health care

In October 2017, Gaetz said that the Medicaid expansion permitted by Obamacare fueled the opioid crisis.[65] PolitiFact rated the claim as "mostly false", noting that "experts were universal in saying that the evidence that Medicaid expansion is somehow fueling the opioid crisis doesn't exist."[65]

Immigration

Gaetz opposes sanctuary cities, which opt not to dedicate local law enforcement resources to prosecuting people solely for being undocumented.[66] Upon announcing his run for Congress in 2016, Gaetz said that illegal immigrants were "sucking us dry."[67] In January 2018 Gaetz defended a statement by Trump that Haiti and African nations were "shithole" countries, saying that Haiti was covered by "sheet metal and garbage" and in a "disgusting" condition.[68]

In October 2018, Gaetz falsely claimed that George Soros paid for a caravan of migrants from Central America to the United States.[69]

Robert Mueller's investigation

In November 2017 Gaetz introduced a congressional resolution calling for Robert Mueller to recuse himself as special counsel because of what were said to be conflicts of interest.[70] In the resolution Gaetz also asked for a special counsel investigation into the handling of the Hillary Clinton email controversy by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), undue interference by Attorney General Loretta Lynch in the investigation, and the acquisition of Uranium One by the Russian state corporation Rosatom during Mueller's time as FBI director.[71][72] Gaetz stated that he did not trust Mueller to lead the investigation because of Mueller's alleged involvement in approval of the Uranium One deal and Mueller's close relationship with the dismissed FBI director James Comey, a probable person of interest in a proposed new investigation.[73][74]

After Ohio congressman Jim Jordan's denial that he was aware of the sexual abuse of Ohio State University wrestlers during the period when Jordan was a coach there,[75] Gaetz said that the allegations came from people in the "deep state" and were intended to reduce the credibility of Jordan's criticism of Mueller's investigation of the alleged collusion between Trump campaign and Russia.[76][77]

Gaetz said of then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions that "... over at the Department of Justice, he's got Stockholm Syndrome, he's become sympathetic with his captors over there in the Deep State."[78]

During Robert Mueller's testimony to two congressional committees on July 24, 2019, Matt Gaetz told Mueller: "...if Russians were lying to Steele to undermine our confidence in our newly elected president, that would be precisely in your purview because you stated in your opening that the organizing principle was to fully and thoroughly investigate Russian interference. But you weren't interested in whether the Russians interfered through Steele—and if Steele was lying, then you should have charged him with lying like you charged a variety of other people."[79]

Controversies

In its July–August 2017 issue, Foreign Policy reported that Devin Murphy, a Gaetz legislative aide, had written a resolution that Gaetz brought to the House Judiciary Committee using primarily content from /r/The Donald, "a pro-Trump subreddit notorious for both its embrace of conspiracy theories and its gleeful offensiveness." One of the allegations was that James Comey had leaked investigative matters to New York Times reporter Michael S. Schmidt, beginning when Schmidt would have been around 10 years old.[80] In an email to Wired magazine, Gaetz said, "It is the responsibility of our staff to gather as much information as possible when researching a subject and provide that information for consideration. We pride ourselves on seeking as much citizen input as possible."[81] The /r/The_Donald posters' suggestions are represented in "roughly two-thirds of the total finished amendment."[81]

In January 2018, Gaetz invited alt-right Holocaust denier[82] Charles C. "Chuck" Johnson to attend President Donald Trump's State of the Union address. Gaetz said that he had no "pre-existing" relationship with Johnson and only invited him to attend when Johnson showed up at his office, providing him the ticket which Gaetz's father could not use due to his bronchitis. According to Johnson, he was invited by several members of Congress but "took Gaetz's invitation" because "he's into stuff on the issues that I care about."[83] Johnson had previously raised money for the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer.[84] Gaetz said in an interview that Johnson was "not a Holocaust denier, he's not a white supremacist".[82]

Drunk driving arrest and speeding tickets

In 2008, Gaetz was arrested under a charge of driving under the influence (DUI) as he was driving back from the Swamp, a nightclub on Okaloosa Island, Florida. Police recorded Gaetz driving 13 mi/h over that area's speed limit. Police noted that Gaetz had shown physical signs of intoxication, initially denied that he had drank alcohol, but later admitted to drinking two beers. Gaetz failed an eye test twice, then declined field sobriety tests. After Gaetz was arrested, he refused to take a breathalyzer test.[85]

Shortly after Gaetz's case was referred to state attorney Steve Meadows, Gaetz's driving license was reinstated. Despite a time period of a year's suspension mandated by Florida law when a driver refuses a breathalyzer test, Gaetz's suspension was less than a year long. Gaetz's refusal also did not lead to a criminal prosecution, where it could have been used against him. An officer for the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles declared there was no evidence that Gaetz refused a breathalyzer test, despite the arresting police officer having documented it in an affidavit and Gaetz's arrest report, and Gaetz's own attorney also documenting it. Gaetz's attorney also claimed a unnamed witness who knew Gaetz "observed no indication of impairment".[85]

Charges against Gaetz were dismissed by Meadows. Gaetz cited the dropped charges as proof that he was innocent.[85]

Between 1999 and 2014, Gaetz received 16 speeding tickets in Florida. The Scripps Florida Investigative Team reviewed Gaetz and 159 other Florida legislators, noting that 46 legislators have more than 10 driving violations.[86]

Apparent threat directed at Michael Cohen

On February 26, 2019 –the night before the scheduled public hearing of Michael Cohen, Donald Trump's former personal attorney, before the House Oversight Committee, Gaetz directed a tweet to Cohen that implied without evidence that Cohen had had multiple extra-marital affairs and also suggested his wife might be unfaithful while he was imprisoned due to new information disclosed to her.[45]

Gaetz's tweet was seen by other members of Congress as an attempt to intimidate a witness.[87][45][88][89] Gaetz initially defended his tweet to reporters, saying it was part of "witness testing, not witness tampering" and: "I don't threaten anybody." Asked to clarify, Gaetz said his "tweet speaks for itself".[90][91] After sharp criticism from other members of Congress – and an implicit rebuke by House Speaker Pelosi[92][93] – Gaetz deleted the tweet and posted a tweet in which he apologized.[91][89][94]

Despite not being a member of the House Oversight Committee which Cohen would appear in front of,[91] Gaetz appeared at Cohen's hearing, stating that he wanted to observe and ask questions.[95] During the hearing, Oversight Committee member Stacey Plaskett emphasized her background as a prosecutor and counsel on House ethics and recommended that Gaetz be referred to both the House Ethics Committee and criminal prosecutors over witness intimidation and tampering.[93][96] After the hearing, Gaetz reportedly texted an apology to Cohen, who reportedly thanked Gaetz for the apology.[97]

The Florida Bar opened an investigation into Gaetz for the tweet,[87][98] as did the House Ethics Committee.[99] In August 2019, the Bar announced it had found "no probable cause" that Gaetz had violated its rules.[100]

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External links

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Jeff Miller
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Florida's 1st congressional district

2017–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Brian Fitzpatrick
United States Representatives by seniority
309th
Succeeded by
Mike Gallagher
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