Hello, Friends —

We’re reaching the end of the third week of August recess. Even though I’m eager to get back to work in D.C., this recess continues to be busy! Working with my colleagues to learn more about Israel and the Palestinian Authority was eye-opening. To put it simply, the PA must stop sponsoring terror and encouraging violent attacks. Even textbooks given to children — something that should be innocuous — encourage and praise martyrdom, and feature characters like “Maya the Martyr.” This deeply-ingrained societal approval of violence is worrisome, and adds to my sadness about the recent events in Charlottesville. Groups like the KKK, Neo-Nazis, and white supremacists have no purpose in American civil society; their hateful messages are repugnant. 

I hope you will join me in praying for the family of Heather Heyer, the young woman who was killed, and for an end to political violence in our country. Violence against our fellow Americans is never an appropriate political tactic.

I’ve been enjoying my time in the district this week. I’ve met with many constituents, which is always rewarding. I visited the L.E.A.D. Academy and Pace High School, and had a great time — the students I met left me confident that the future is in good hands. I’ve also been preparing for Open Gaetz Day in South Walton and Freeport on Tuesday, August 22. The schedule is below — I hope you’ll attend!

PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNS VA CHOICE BILL

On Saturday, August 12, President Trump signed the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act into law. This bill helps fix excessively long VA waiting times, giving our veterans the ability to get the care they need more quickly. It allows veterans caught in long waiting lists to seek care from private clinics or doctors, then bill the cost of the visit back to the VA. Making the VA better for the brave men and women who have served our country is important to me. I voted for this bill when it was in the House, and I am glad to see that it has been signed into law.

 

CONGRESS THIS YEAR

State and local governments that do not comply with our immigration laws are putting American citizens at risk. The facts are clear: the U.S. Sentencing Commission found that in 2014, 75% of all criminal defendants who were convicted and sentenced for federal drug offenses were illegal aliens. As of 2014, illegal aliens made up roughly 3.5% of our population, and committed over 10% of all murders. In 2016, well over 50 percent of ICE removals had already been convicted of previous crimes.

I shouldn’t have to remind anyone of the tragic death of 32-year-old Kathryn Steinle. On July 1, 2015, as she walked with her father in San Francisco, she was struck and killed by a stray bullet. The man who shot the gun was an illegal immigrant with 7 previous felony convictions, including convictions for manufacturing heroin. Across sanctuary cities nationwide, there are thousands more stories of innocent lives lost, of families destroyed, of crimes that could have been prevented were the city’s policies different.

On June 29, the House passed H.R. 3004, Kate’s Law, a bill supported by a majority of Americans. This bill significantly increases penalties for illegal aliens who re-enter the United States after having been deported. San Francisco’s sanctuary city policies failed the Steinle family, and endanger countless families across America. I commend the Department of Justice for continuing to crack down on sanctuary cities, whose policies threaten the safety and security of Americans. We cannot keep rewarding cities who put their people at risk. 

 

AROUND THE DISTRICT

School Visits

On Wednesday, August 16, I visited the L.E.A.D. Academy and Pace High School, where I spoke to a class taught by Ms. Quarles (picture above). The young men and women I met were smart and inquisitive, and I was deeply impressed with the questions they asked. As I said earlier, with students like these, the future is in good hands!

 

Open Gaetz Day

Click for video!

Calling all Freeport and South Walton residents, and anyone else who is interested — Open Gaetz Day is August 22. The schedule is above, and for more information, go here

 

GAETZ IN THE NEWS

Florida Politics — August 9, 2017

Gaetz will spend full day with constituents for Open Gaetz Day

  • “With Congress in its August recess, the Fort Walton Beach Republican has announced the next Open Gaetz Day will take place in South Walton and Freeport on August 22.”
  • Link

 

Pensacola News Journal — August 16, 2017

Gaetz Condemns Charlottesville Violence, KKK during Pensacola Visit

  • “U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, condemned violence by hate groups during a stop at the National Naval Aviation Museum on Wednesday.” 
  • Link

 

Pensacola News Journal — August 12, 2017

Let’s Honestly Save Pensacola Beach

  • “Matt Gaetz’s proposed law will allow Pensacola Beach leaseholders to finally own their homes. Opponents fear that this would cut off public access and use of the beach and result in over-development. However, their fears are misguided. This legislation poses no such threat. It maintains the status quo.”
  • Link 

 

The Hill — August 14, 2017

Lawmakers press DOJ to help victims of Ponzi scheme

  • “Seven lawmakers on Monday asked the Justice Department to investigate whether a Swiss bank is illegally blocking the transfer of restitution funds for victims of the second-largest Ponzi scheme in United States history.”
  • Link

 

The Daily Signal — August 16, 2017

How House Conservatives Plan to Revive Obamacare Repeal, and Why It Could Work

  • “I signed the discharge petition because the things we have done so far to appease moderates in our party haven’t worked,” Gaetz, who is not a member of the Freedom Caucus, said in the interview. “So, maybe we should take a conservative approach going forward. We certainly can’t give up.” 
  • Link 

 

WEAR TV — August 17, 2017

Hayward Pushes to Remove Confederate Statue; Gaetz Comments