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Bydlak Seeks Congressional Seat In First Political Foray

Dave Dunwoody, WUWF Public Media

Of the eight Republicans seeking the Congressional seat in Florida’s First District, the lone woman in the race is a ninth-generation Pensacolian. 

Rebekah Bydlak was homeschooled kindergarten through grade 12 and entered Pensacola State College at the age of 16, earning a master’s degree in political science and public administration from the University of West Florida. She currently works as a taxpayer advocate with the group The Coalition to Reduce Spending.

“And that’s why I’m running; we need to get the fiscal situation under control,” said Bydlak. “If we don’t, it’s my generation and everyone that comes after us is going to have to pick up the pieces.”

Part of her run for Congress has do to with her roots. Bydlak is a descendant of the Bonifay and Gonzalez families that give the local towns their names, and were instrumental in building Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties. She contends that Washington is “broken,” and the reason federal budgets are so difficult to pass is due more to procedure than to politics and ideology.

“We have things like ‘baseline budgeting’ which is an incredibly complicated appropriations process, where even the fiscal conservatives really don’t have any expectation that we’re going to get anything but another omnibus bill and another big pork-filled package,” said Bydlak.

Job one if elected will be tackling baseline budgeting, an accounting method the federal government uses to develop a budget for future years. Bydlak says under it, government spending rises on a single track and when it doesn’t, it’s considered a dramatic spending cut.

“We need to address why it’s so complicated to pass budgets, and it has been since 1974 with the Budget Act,” Bydlak said. “I want to take on some of the insanity that we see in the budget process.”

Another issue of interest for Bydlak, given the military-friendliness of the Florida Panhandle, is what’s going on with the Veterans Administration, which she says has gotten too big for its britches.

“I talk to people in the district every day, who are still dealing with inhumane and just completely absurd wait times,” Bydlak said. “And these problems are not going anythere.”

At 25, Bydlak is at the minimum age for a U.S. House candidate, and one of the new wave of Millennials beginning to get their political feet wet. As a self-described “free-market fiscal conservative,” she says she’s very optimistic about her generation.

“We’ve been born into tough situations that weren’t really our fault,” said Bydlak. “We’ve been dealing with an economy that lags because of Washington out of control. If you have a passion for these issues you do not have to stand on the sidelines. You should get involved, whether it’s voting, becoming involved in a campaign or running yourself.”

Rebekah Bydlak’s campaign has picked up a number of endorsements, including those of former Cong. Ron Paul; Citizens for the Republic, which is Ronald Reagan's former political action committee, and the National Association for Gun Rights.