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Matt Gaetz Launches Congressional Bid

March 21, 2016 - 11:30am

Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar, announced on Monday he will run for the congressional seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., who is retiring from Congress. 

Gaetz had been planning to run for the state Senate seat currently held by his father who is facing term limits. Last week, state Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Destin, announced he would not run to replace Miller. 

In his campaign launch on Monday, Matt Gaetz stressed his conservatism. 

“Washington’s failures have left the American people with trillions in debt, illegal immigrants sucking us dry, and attacks from Muslim terrorists rising,” Gaetz said. “While I had planned to continue serving in the Florida Legislature, the fights we must win to save this country are in Washington. Our Constitution is being ignored, our veterans have been abandoned and our Second  Amendment rights are under attack. 

“When Donald Trump is president, Northwest Florida’s voice in Congress must ring loud and clear for strong, conservative leadership,” Gaetz added. “Mine will. Whether it was banning Obamacare-funded abortions, blocking attempts to repeal ‘Stand Your Ground,’ cutting taxes by over $1 billion or supporting military families, I’ve been an effective leader in the Florida House. I’m ready to fight and win for Northwest Florida in Congress.”

Gaetz is not the only state legislator with an interest in the race. Buzz is growing that state Sen. Greg Evers, R-Milton, could also jump in the Republican primary. So could Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward and Escambia County Elections Supervisor David Stafford. In the meantime, retired Navy Capt. Brian Frazier, who served 25 years on active duty and launched a primary challenge to Miller over the summer, continues his campaign. Other candidates running in the Republican primary include businessman and retired Marines officer Cris Dosev and businessman Mark Wichern. Amanda Kondrat'yev, who works in technology and is backing U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., for president is running on the Democratic side. 

This Panhandle district contains all of Escambia, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Walton counties and most of the population of Holmes County. It’s considered safe for the Republicans even with Miller headed to the sidelines. 

Reach Kevin Derby at or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN


Reference: Mr. Gaetz' FB page concerning the special interest influence on the coming business of medical marijuana. I also included a reference to Mr. Gaetz' relationship with the gambling industry. Since Gaetz has blocked me, a constituent, from his official FB page, I am unable to rebut his self-congratulatory statements. Gaetz also took credit for passage of the current version of the Medical Marijuana bill. Given the narrow scope and restrictions on all aspects of the nascent industry, the bill allowing terminal patients access to full-strength MMJ, essentially is a State-sponsored monopoly. Rep. Gaetz' campaign was the recipient of more than $45,000. in 'contributions' from at least 2 of the MMJ growers in Big Business. When Amendment 2 passes, these out-of -State growers will be poised to reap enormous profits. Quid pro quo... I hope you will share the information on his public "Rep. Matt Gaetz" page with others who may not know the extent of Gaetz' ties to the industry. He and the businesses are poised to reap huge profits; yet the bills he crafted are so narrow in scope that ONLY terminal patients will have access. Not vets, not chronic pain patients,-ONLY those with < than 12 months to live. Below is an article from Sunshine State News.Written shortly before the end of this year's budget session. "Gaetz, who hopes he'll be headed to the Senate later in the year, gutted Diaz's original House bill, added casinos, decoupled everything in sight and left it to the Seminoles to fight their own battles with competition they don't want. Gaetz is House Finance and Tax Committee chair. He sits on the Regulatory Affairs Committee, too. And he has swagger to burn. Casinos probably should have cut him a bigger piece of the pie. Here's what he received, mostly put into his Economic Freedom Foundation: $10,000 from Hartman & Tyner; $7,500 from Resorts World Miami; $5,000 each from the Seminole Tribe of Florida and Calder Race Course; $2,500 each from Florida Thoroughbred Breeders & Owners and Derby Lane St. Petersburg Kennel Club; and $1,000 each from Fontainbleu and Washington County Kennel Club." The following is information from Bill Monroe-one of the members of the FB group, NORML of Florida. " Representative Gaetz's financial contributions from the last six months with regard to finding data on the (Medical Marijuana) growers selected by the state. Listed are the corporate entities from whom Gaetz received campaign cash. Surterra Holdings (Alpha Foliage) $10,000 Costa Farms $10,000 Costa Farms $25,000 Total $45,000 from two growers Who benefits from this bill? This list is not all inclusive. 1. MJardin cultivators out of Colorado working for Alpha Foliage. 2. Alexander Heche Havenick of Magic City Casino invested with Alpha Foilage 3. Lobbyists Ron Book, Brian Bullard, and William Rubin invested with growers 4. Thad Beshears brother of Representative Halsey Beshears - Hackney Nursery 5. Dr. Ken Brummel-Smith former chair of Florida State Department of Geriatrics 6. Jason Pernell who owns dispensaries in California and Oregon invested with Hackney Nursery. The above were sourced from the Tallahassee Democrat online paper. Also, don't forget about the $270,000 paid out by Costa Farms right before this legislative cycle. The FDA has stated the ONLY way to make a medical claim is by conducting a clinical trail. If you recall during the passage of the Charlotte's Web law an amendment was included to allow $1.2 million of tax payer dollars to go towards CBD clinical trails at the University of Florida. Now logically one would think that money would be used for clinical trails using Florida grown CBD oil, right? No...Representative Matt Gaetz had that money directed towards GW Pharmaceuticals CBD oil called Epidiolex. I even messaged Representative Gaetz who responded curtly to me "so what".. Here is the rub. Because the money was used for GW Pharmaceutical ' s oil, and not CBD oil grown by the Florida growers they cannot make any medical claim. If they do then the FDA will shut them down hard. Ironic given the fact Costa Farms paid Gaetz over $45,000 dollars this last cycle. I guess GW Pharmaceuticals paid more. With the passage of this bill only five families will control a $970 million market. Most of these families have contracted out their cultivation to out-of-state cultivators like MJardin from Colorado. Each family controls the entire vertical market to include seeds, cultivation, processing, distribution, delivery, and sales. With the limited competition, high barriers to entry, prices will be extremely high. With no competition there is no reason to innovate or lower prices. If Amendment Two passes in November these five families will have an expanded market, but entrepreneurs are still shut out. Amendment Two contains nothing that states the market must allow competition.The Republican Party is supposed to stand for a free market, smaller government, jobs, and opportunities for entrepreneurs. That does not occur when Representative Gaetz and Senator Bradley pick the winners and the losers by tailoring the parameters of the bill to benefit themselves." Updated on 3/19/16 ### "Costa Farms, the giant Miami-based grower of fruits and vegetables which is the largest of the five companies to be awarded a license to grow marijuana for medical purposes, became a big player quickly, contributing $369,000 to legislators and the governor. It wants to expand the legal pot market, and lawmakers did that by allowing terminally ill patients to have access to marijuana of all potencies." Gambling Greased the Palms of a Whole Litter of Legislative Leaders "For 14 months, from November 2014 through January 2016, casino interests plowed more than $3.2 million into political parties and the campaign war chests of leading Florida legislators, starting with Joe Negron, president designate of the Senate -- but including dozens of others."

He lost me when he presumed Trump will be President.

Good luck, you've got all the 'goods' to be successfully representing us. (Disregard all of the usual, bitter, angry, socialist-bent Democrats spewing hateful comments in this column..) signed// "a common sense Democrat"

Recently, the Fl.House and Senate approved the current version of the Compassionate Care bill, which allows terminal patients access to medical marijuana. When Rep. Gaetz ,a primary sponsor, posted this information, he neglected to mention the financial contributions from the business entities-the growers- that are poised to realize great profits from legalization. Leaders in organizations around the State, working to educate the public with factual information and to expand the narrow strictures placed by the Legislature on all aspects of the MMJ business, supplied figures and asked specific questions on Gaetz' Facebook page yet received little or no response. The medical marijuana issue is one of several in which I expressed an opinion contrary to that of the Representative. I have posted verifiable data/figures -all public information. Apparently, Rep. Gaetz preferred not to have such on the site; he removed all prior comments and blocked me from further further comments or replies to others. In a public forum, listed as "Representative Matt Gaetz", such restriction of discourse from dissenting opinion from anyone, much less a constituent, is problematical. Were this a private FB page, I would offer no objection. I live and vote in District 4; Rep. Gaetz represents ALL-not merely Republicans or those who agree with his stance on issues that affect everyone. Preventing disparate views of policy and initiatives to be read and discussed in a public forum communicates disdain. Worse, censoring constituents' concerns rather than addressing or responding is not indicative of transparency in government; nor is ignoring and deleting uncomfortable facts a hallmark of a good Representative-or Congressman..

If anyone watched the Florida Representatives in action on TFC, they would have major concerns. Perhaps he is riding the coattails of Representative Edwards. Just an observation.

Gatz is just the kind of corporate welfare repub that repub voters are tired of and why they are running to Trump, Cruz.----------------------------------------------------------------------------- He is similar to Rubio who think they are entitled to sucking off the government tit while selling his votes for big bucks by fooling voters they are for them. Repubs really need a better class of voters to keep parasites like Gatz from taxpayer money.---------------------------------------------------- But pander to racists, bigots, other low info voters, that is what you get.

It is not fair to compare Mr. GAETZ (not Gatz) to Mr. Rubio. He is an independent thinker and we would be lucky to have him representing us in Washington.

He is a bought and paid for political hack, just like his father. But them most of repubs in the legislature are. For instance they make it where I can make a good size factory to make, sell, service and install home, building wind generators because I can't sell my main product, clean low cost power as repubs like Gaetz are bought and paid for by the utilities. Koch/ ALEC, etc.------------------------------------------------- Note the sunshine state is near last for it's population in solar!! We are behind NJ!!! And it has cost Fla 50k good jobs now going out of state to pay for coal, NG instead.

What a little "$&it." First he chases Rep. Patronis out of the race for the Senate seat, now the "twitter thug" wants to run for Congress. I hope Evers beats him like he caught him stealing...smh

Hope the retired Navy Captain wins. Would bring some sanity into Northwest Florida - and today's idiot GOP.

I'm coming down to help anyone running against this "criminal" pathetic attorney, and all around spoiled brat. He does not deserve to have his "daddy" by him a Congressional seat. Reminds me of Trey Radel "the Cocaine Congressman."

Come on DOWN !!!

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