Reps. Dunn, Gaetz speak exclusively on their goals for Northwest Florida
It had only been two weeks and two days since his swearing in that I caught up with Congressman Neal Dunn. The Panama City urologist was looking ahead into the next two hundred days.
"We actually had a directive by the speaker, he sat us down and he said I know you wanna go back and get I touch with your constituents but we've got a lot of work to do," Rep. Dunn said. "So the 100 days are going to be the next 200 days, and we're going to pass a lot of legislation."
That legislation, according to Dunn, includes the repeal and replacement of President Obama's signature health care law. Bringing his expertise as a doctor, he says he'd like to make it more patient-based.
"Also, let's make it transparent," Dunn said. "Let's make the cost transparent, a market-based system. That's the only way we know to bring the prices down fairly to everyone."
Rep. Matt Gaetz, from Florida's first district says the Obamacare Apparatus is in a death spiral. The Republican says higher premiums have wreaked havoc on the economy, jobs and small businesses including right here in the Panhandle.
"I'd like to see the Obamacare initiative entirely repealed, and I'd like to see it replaced with free market solutions," Rep. Gaetz said.
Both GOP lawmakers see an opportunity to make progress before midterms in 2018 shake up any majorities.
"With unified Republican government, there's no one to blame," Gaetz said. "We've got the responsibility to put into place so many of the free-market reforms that empower citizens, not government."
The two have been given their committee assignments: Gaetz with Armed Services, Budget and Judiciary. Dunn has Agriculture, Veterans Affairs, and Science Space and Technology.
"I'm honored to be on those three committees," Dunn said. "I think that we can make a lot of, do a lot of great things for the district and for the country."
A handful of weeks in, Gaetz is putting the finishing touches on his office decor, but he's positioned his grandfather's political sign next to his desk, to serve as a reminder of why he's in Washington.
"It is so humbling to have the opportunity to speak for 600,000 people in Northwest Florida. I'm very proud of my father's public service and other public service in my family. I'm very blessed to be here and fight for the things that so many NW Floridians believe," Gaetz said.
Representative Gaetz replaced eight-term Congressman Jeff Miller, who had been in office since 2001.
Dr. Dunn is one of fifteen physicians in the current congress. He along with Rep. Roger Marshall from Kansas are the only freshman.