U. S. Representative Neal Dunn stopped by the TIMES office Monday afternoon prior to his attendance at the political forum held at the Prough Center for the Arts at Chipola College. Dunn has proven he is dedicated to the needs of the veterans and the agricultural segment of the country, serving on committees for both.
Dunn said of the political forum held he was scheduled to attend, “So, we’re really grateful for the opportunity to be at the candidate forum here tonight. It’s a great opportunity to discuss what we’ve been doing for the last 18 months and a chance to really underscore just how well the economy is doing, how much better the military is doing and some of the things we are laying out on healthcare. On the side, we can also say there’s huge improvements in a lot of branches of government, not just the least of which is the United States Supreme Court, but also all of the Federal circuit courts. We have 24 new Federal circuit court judges as of earlier this week and one new Supreme Court Justice we think very, very soon. So, that really does change the nature of the judiciary, that’s a big, big deal. There’s a lot of other things going on as well, I mean look at North Korea’s the negotiating table for the first time in my life. Four generations of my family served in North Korea, it’s time to get them to the table. It’s the first time ever the President of North Korea met with the President of the United States and that’s huge, huge stuff. I think we really are making some great strides in America, an important fact I think we have the best economy than any of us have ever seen in this country. Four percent growth, four plus, the highest wage growth in 16 years. More jobs than there are people looking for jobs, there’s a lot of positive developments out there. We’re rolling back the regulations, streamlining that process and that helps everything. Now you have proposals coming out of the agencies as we’ve populated the agencies with good people. You have proposals that really make a difference, like freezing the admission standards, that saved American car buyers $500 billion over 10 years. That’s all money that can be put into other things jobs, homes, education. There’s a lot of bright lights out there, you don’t hear it all the time but there is good news.”
We asked Dunn about the importance of candidate forums in places like Jackson County, “Well, I think it’s especially important because right now a lot of the national news media outlets seem to be distracted by things that really aren’t important to my people on the ground, so if you’re having a problem in East Point, nothing in the national news media is helping you. If you’re having a problem in Port St. Joe, you are kind of on your own, so it’s important for us to be out there. This district, the 2nd congressional district of Florida is inherently a very rural agrarian district. So, people are good but they’re thinner on the ground. We go from Panama City Beach and the west all the way down to Yankeetown and Ocala in the east and so it’s actually the largest district east of the Mississippi River. We spend a lot of time getting into those smaller communities, talking to people who have absolute real problems and real needs. One of the big areas is agriculture, so right now the Farm Bill is in conference. I’m one of the conferees, so I’m on that committee that reconciles the Farm Bill from the Senate side to the House side and come up with a product. You get in there and play, let’s don’t take too much out of this bill. It’s good for the farmers, it’s also good for the nutrition program, it’s good for education. This is a major win, this Farm Bill to get it across. It’s one of the hardest we do, we only take it up every five years. It’s a fight to the death to get this thing across the finish line. There’s a lot of good stuff in there for our farmers right here, and our foresters. By the way, our cattle ranchers as well.”
Dr. Dunn said of being in Franklin and Gulf Counties, “I think we all remember very recently out at East Point they had a very sad and tragic fire. It was one of those wild fires that turned very quickly and did something you wouldn’t normally predict and so we had a lot of people homeless, a lot of families homeless. It was a sad situation and we were out there looking to see what’s being done to remediate that situation. Both for those families so they’re housed and clothed and replace some of their belongings to get them back into flow of life and also to make sure that we don’t have anymore wild fires out there. The communities all around here have been very, very generous to the folks in East Point. There have been some great novel and innovative kind of things that have been done for them, the sheriffs office has been great down there. They did a GoFundMe site which was kind of surprising and cool. They really took care of a lot of people, I got a chance to see some of their new housing that came in and very low prices and have donated to the people who need it. It’s a great nice save there in the fire area in East Point. We also went and looked, they have a break wall that hasn’t been dredged in 70 plus years and it’s too shallow. Their commercial fishing industry which is robust, but they can’t bring their boats into East Point so they have to spend the night over in Apalachicola, which is a big long run in a shrimp boat. I think we need to dredge that for them. They have the permits and everything is in order, we just need to get the core over there and give them what they need. The community is all behind it, they are willing to pitch in and be good citizens. We should be the government our citizens deserve. We needed to get the government kind of engaged to the people who are out there.”
Dunn also said, “I believe you have to be an optimist. I’ll tell you why I think I have to be an optimist. I have grandchildren and I refuse to give up on them. If you have grandchildren, you’re looking far into the future and you have to know we can’t give up, that’s not an option. Smile, pick it up and gang let’s go. We’ve got to fix this thing, there’s no half measures allowed. Everybody who has grandchildren feels that way. They want them to have the same kind of America that we inherited from our parents. They deserve that and we owe it to them. I think about the military, I was in the military for a long, long time. I’m the son of a military officer, father of a military officer, we’ve got to take care of our troops. When they’re down range fighting for us, when they’re defending us, when they lay their lives on the line, we can’t send them down there half prepared and half equipped. That’s not fair to them, that’s not fair at all. I’m anxious to get going on all this. I think we’ve had a great 18 months, honestly, it’s outstanding for the country. America’s back and I go around the world now as a congressman and I can tell you our allies are grateful that America’s back. They were worried and deeply concerned. They see us, we’re back in the saddle, we’re growing, we’ve got their backs now. They’re grateful everywhere, you may not read that in the paper and you may not see that in the news, but I promise you when we got to our allies’ governments and that’s whether it’s in the Middle East, Asia, the South Pacific, Europe they are grateful that America’s back.”