He’ll be on the Aug. 26 primary ballot, facing fellow Democrat Emmanuel Morel, a retired federal employee.
Why do you want to be a member of Congress again?
My passion for strengthening the community and making peoples’ lives better is stronger now than when I first got into politics. And the opportunity to help people is why I do this and I want to keep doing it
Why is it stronger now?
Because I’ve seen what’s possible in this job. I’ve seen the many ways that I’m able to affect the community. I’ve seen hundreds of thousands of dollars just this year that we’ve returned to constituents. Money that they were owed but they ran into roadblocks with IRS or Medicare or Social Security and I got involved and they got what they were entitled to.
I’ve spend he past four and half years fighting to make sure that my constituent’s Mitch Libman’s best friend could receive the Medal of Honor that was denied to him because there were two dozen brave Americans who didn’t receive what was theirs because of their ethnic origin or their religion and I worked with a tea party member of Congress to change the law and to push the Army and the White House to get that done and we righted a wrong
And those are the sorts of things I just didn’t know were possible before I got into this and that’s why I’m more passionate than ever.
Having an understanding of what’s possible also makes me redouble my efforts to fight those who stand in the way of doing the things that my constituents and the country would want to get done. And that’s why I have been working to get the big special interest money out of politics and my efforts have now succeeded in that I am taking the lead in the U.S. House of Representatives on the constitutional amendment to overturn citizens united. We are over 100 cosponsors on my proposed resolution, and we have support in every part of the country because people understand it’s the special interests who stand in the way of raising the minimum wage, ending tax breaks for oil companies, passing equal pay laws, doing equal pay for equal work, doing all of the things that would – passing comprehensive immigration reform – all the things that would benefit our community and the country
What’s the major issue in the campaign?
The major issue as far I’m concerned the major issue in the campaign ought to be my record of accomplishment which I’m really proud of, and that’s what I talk about when I’m out in the community. And my fierce commitment to listen to my constituents and to respond to their needs and do the things that, and advocate for the positions that they want me to stand strong on
What are the three most important things – quick bullet points – you want to accomplish if elected?
No 1, in my position as the ranking member of the Middle East Subcommittee I’m in a really important position as it relates to U.S. policy in the Middle East and our support for Israel and the defense of Israel’s right to defend herself. And with everything that’s happening right now, that is position and the need to stand strong is of really great significance to me and the community. I’m going to continue to do it.
No 2, I’m leading the effort to amend the Constitution to get big special interest money out of our electoral system and return democracy to the people. And I know that it’s not easy. And I know that we shouldn’t expect that there’s going to be a vote in the House before the election even though there will be one in the Senate. But I know how important that issue is because it relates to every other issue that we work on here.
No 3, I want to work to create real economic opportunity for South Florida and for the country. And that means moving forward on infrastructure investments so that we can compete with the rest of the world so that our economy can compete with the rest of the world. That means raising the minimum wage. That means equal pay for equal work. These are the sorts of things that can really build our economy and I’m going to continue to fight to do it.
What’s the main reason you should be re-nominated and not your opponent?
I am proud of the work that I do in the district. I have an open door to meet with my constituents and that I work hard to respond to their needs and I’m proud of the constituent service that we provide. In Washington I am a leader on the issues that matter to my community and I think that’s what my constituents want and also I think that’s what voters want. Someone who understands them, who wants to represent them and who works tirelessly every day on behalf of their interests and their values.
Your opponent seems to have one central issue and suggests that you’re out of touch with what people want partly because of this [visa issue for foreign workers that he suggests] shows that you don’t care about the people because you haven’t taken care of that problem?
With all due respect to my opponent, if he checked the record just a bit he would know there’s not a member of Congress who actually has focused on this issue more and worked harder on behalf of my constituents or American workers than I have.
That’s why I worked with the Workforce Alliance and the schools and local employers and former [Palm Beach County] Commissioner [Burt] Aaronson to help move training programs forward, to help the kids in our schools know what kinds of jobs are available for them here in South Florida.