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Candidates In NWFL Lining Up For A Congressional Run

Two weeks after Cong. Jeff Miller announced he would not seek a ninth term in the House, there are now five candidates for the seat: four Republicans and one Democrat.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Fort Walton Beach, represents the 4th District in the Florida House. While qualifying for the August 30 primary isn’t until the week of June 20, Gaetz said last week that he would make a quick decision on entering that race, which he did this week.

“I look at Washington, and they’ve pretty much screw everything up,” said Gaetz. “We’re $19 trillion in debt, we’ve got an illegal immigration crisis. So I think the big fights that are going to most significantly impact our quality of life moving forward, are the fights in Washington.”

Like many Republicans, Gaetz wants to abolish Obamacare. But unlike many who make that call, he has some ideas about how to replace it, including an a la carte system for healthcare tailored to one’s personal needs.

“This is very doable; this exists in property insurance, it exists in auto insurance, it exists in life insurance,” Gaetz says. “But back after World War II, we decided as a country to move everything for health insurance through the employer. I think that’s largely created the problems we have in healthcare today.”

Brian Frazier, who’s also seeking the GOP nomination, is a retired naval officer who spent the last four years of service in Washington, D.C. He says he would bring real-world experience to the area of homeland security.

“Some of that was working on the Guantanamo Bay terrorist issues, and I spent a lot of time at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, working again anti-terrorism programs,” said Frazier. “I have a good grasp of how they’re operating.”

When it comes to veterans issues, Frazier says he would take a different path than that of Miller, saying “you can’t punish a problem by drowning it in money.” His solution: moving vets to the private healthcare sector.

“When I walked out of the Navy the day I retired, I got an ID card and I go to whatever doctor I want,” Frazier said. “It’s very convenient for me, and I don’t understand why our combat veterans have to be inconvenienced the way they are.”

Frazier also wants the federal government out of the healthcare business, scrapping Obamacare in favor of returning such responsibilities to the states.

Other Republicans seeking Jeff Miller’s House seat include Republicans Cris Dosev and Mark Wichern. The lone Democrat so far is Amanda Leigh Kondrat’yev of Pensacola. 

And the field could get even larger. State Sen. Greg Evers tells the News Service of Florida that he’ll make a decision next week. Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward and state Rep. Clay Ingram are also being mentioned.