He voted “No” to addressing the shortage of infant formula in the US and “No” to protecting Floridians from price gouging of consumer fuels. But that is just the beginning…
As the midterm elections in November loom nearer, a lot is being said in the press and on social media about the candidates running for office. Granted, some of the news should be placed between quote marks, and many of the comments, both for and against the contenders, will run along party lines.
So, is there a way to handle the ever-growing glut of information to get a more balanced look at the person who is asking for your vote?
There may be. That’s because nothing speaks of a candidate’s values and commitment to his constituents, like his or her voting record. That’s their position, plain and simple. That’s them walking, or not walking, their talk.
A Polarizing Figure
Take Matt Gaetz. The Republican, who has served as the US representative for Florida’s 1st congressional district (which covers the state’s western Panhandle) since 2017, has been at the center of a maelstrom of controversy surrounding not only his private life (including allegations of having a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old, which Gaetz has denied), but about his political stance.
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The latest political controversy is his public support of Fox News’ commentator Tucker Carlson on the so-called “great replacement theory,” a white supremacist doctrine which stokes fears that a non-white population, which is characterized as “inferior,” will displace a white majority. It is believed that this “theory” was the motivation behind the May 14 mass murder of 10 people in a Black community grocery store in Buffalo, New York, which President Joe Biden denounced as “an act perpetrated in the name of a repugnant white nationalist ideology.”
In 2021, Carlson described the great replacement theory as “true”, and “what’s happening, actually”. When the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) called for Carlson’s ouster, Gaetz tweeted that Carlson was “CORRECT” [his capitalization] and called the ADL a racist organization.
The Record Speaks for Itself
But although controversy, with people weighing in for or against, can muddy the waters, a crystal-clear picture of the candidate surfaces when reviewing his or her voting record. In 2022 alone, Gaetz:
VOTED NO to pass the Infant Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act that takes $28 million in emergency supplemental appropriations to address the shortage of infant formula in the United States.
VOTED NO to the Affordable Insulin Now Act that limits cost-sharing for insulin under private health insurance and the Medicare prescription drug benefit.
VOTED NO to pass the Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act that protects consumers from unfair pricing of consumer fuels.
VOTED NO to pass the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2022, that establishes new requirements to expand the availability of information on domestic terrorism, as well as the relationship between domestic terrorism and hate crimes.
VOTED NO to pass the Protecting Our Democracy Act that addresses issues involving abuses of presidential powers, checks and balances, accountability, and transparency.
VOTED NO to pass the Global Respect Act that imposes visa-blocking sanctions on foreign individuals who violate the human rights of individuals due to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics.
VOTED NO to the Suspending Normal Trade Relations with Russia and Belarus Act, in response to Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
VOTED NO to adopt a resolution recommending that the House of Representatives find Peter K. Navarro and Daniel Scavino, Jr., in contempt of Congress for refusal to comply with subpoenas duly issued by the Select Committee to investigate the January 6th attack on the United States Capitol.
VOTED NO to pass a bill that prohibits discrimination based on an individual’s hair texture or hairstyle, an issue that affects people of color.
As the nation, and Florida, deal with inflation, Covid-related supply shortages, escalating gun violence and diminishing LGBTQ rights, it becomes crucial to keep close tabs on politicians’ voting records. Because how they vote will impact every aspect of people’s lives, from protecting Democracy, to the price of insulin or gas. And that is a fact.