[Courtesy of the League of Women Voters of Manatee County]
I am the only Florida member of Congress to serve on the powerful House
Ways & Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax policy, international trade, health care, welfare, and Social Security. I am chairman of the Human Resources Subcommittee, which oversees federal assistance for families, children, the disabled, and the unemployed. I also serve on the subcommittees that oversee Social Security and Medicare. I am a self-made businessman who grew up with five siblings in a blue collar household in a small town near Detroit, Michigan. I served six years in the Air National Guard and worked my way through college. I received my B.BA in Business Administration from Cleary University and my MBA from the University of Detroit. I have been married for 40 years to my college sweetheart, Sandy. We have two sons and two grandchildren.
In what community organizations have you been active?
Ringling Museum of Art, Mote Marine Laboratory, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Boys & Gins Clubs of Sarasota County, WEDU/PBS Channel 3, Florida Winefest, Juvenile Diabetes, United Way of Sarasota County, American Heart Walk, American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure.
Why are you running for this office, and what qualities, experience and skills do you bring to this position?
I am running to fix a broken political system in Washington that our founding fathers wouldn’t even recognize. Washington’s shameful dysfunction must end – or the American Dream will become something kids read about in history books. We need to restore sanity and competence to Washington. That starts with strong leadership and members of both parties showing they are more interested in governing than scoring political points. I have the honor of serving as the Chairman of Florida’s 29 member bipartisan congressional delegation third largest in the country. And on issues such as Veterans Health Care, Flood Insurance, International Trade and Citrus Greening – we’ve been able to come together and tackle these issues in a cordial and productive manner.
What do you see as the most Important issues facing this office, and how would you deal with them if re- elected?
The most important role of the federal government is to protect our national security. We need to defeat Isis and put a moratorium on Syrian Refugees. We need to require social media screening for any foreigner who wants to enter America. And we need to secure the border.
Additionally, we face the challenge of a nearly $20 trillion debt, a stagnating economy, and a lost decade of real wage growth. The first bill I introduced was a constitutional balanced budget amendment to require Congress to balance the budget over ten years. I have also worked to grow the economy by helping small businesses create jobs by reforming the tax code and reducing overly burdensome regulations