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STEVE ON THE ISSUES

When I was elected to Congress in 2010, I went to Washington with a commitment to fight for our North and Northwest Florida values. I didn’t come to Congress to partake in partisan gridlock; I came here to help solve problems and give a voice to the people of Florida’s Second Congressional District.

Public service is about more than just top-line talking points or faceless budget sheets. It’s about connecting with the hardworking men, women and families I represent. That’s why I have taken a leading role in addressing America’s growing poverty challenges. As the Chairman of the House Republicans’ Anti-Poverty Initiative, I have worked to connect Congress with community relief organizations and families in need across the country. I also advanced legislation to empower healthy, working age Americans who receive nutrition assistance with the opportunity to find work, train for a new job or volunteer in their community. I’m proud that a pilot program based on my legislation received bipartisan support when it passed the House as part of the 2014 Farm Bill.

When the Violence Against Women Act was set to expire, I voted to ensure that protections remain in place for women who are victims of physical violence and sexual assault. I supported efforts to reduce rape kit backlogs and strengthen restrictions on stalking. As hardworking families have lost their livelihoods during tough economic times, I’ve fought to reduce the crippling D.C. regulations that are forcing our farmers, fishermen, and forestry communities out of business. And, as it’s become tougher for parents to make certain their children have access to a quality education, I have worked to ensure our kids can learn in a safe, productive environment, while voting to keep college loans affordable for sons and daughters heading off to school.

When it comes to providing quality health care to patients in need, Obamacare offers a glaring illustration of what can go wrong when D.C. bureaucrats are put in charge. After a bungled rollout, repeated exemptions for big corporations, and more than 300,000 Floridians initially losing their current coverage, it was painfully clear we needed a better way. That’s why I have fought to replace Obamacare with patient-centered reforms that reduce costs, provide care of those with preexisting conditions, and improve access to quality health services for all Americans.

Finally, as we look to the future, there is nothing any parent wants to do more than leave their children and grandchildren with a community that’s stronger than we found it. With a national debt that has soared past $17 trillion with no slow down in sight, we are leaving our kids and grandkids a fiscal burden they may be unable to overcome. That’s why I have voted time and again for historic spending reductions that rein in spending in a responsible way that ensures vital services remain in place.

We’ve had to make some tough decisions as a community and a country over the last few years. Tough decisions sometimes yield disagreement. But I’ve always taken great comfort in knowing that, by leaning on my faith, returning home each weekend, and remaining close to the people I represent, Washington, D.C. will never change me. For me, it’s always been about the North and Northwest Florida values instilled in me by Mom and Dad at the kitchen table and that Panama City funeral parlor many years ago. Those are the same values I continue to fight for today.