Speakers during the forum included U.S. Congressman Ron DeSantis, Florida Senator Travis Hutson, and State Representative Paul Renner.
“We felt it was important to have these three speakers address the community since each brings a particular facet of government to the table and people are able to see how each of these elected officials contributes to us locally,” said Flagler County Republican Club president Wes Priest. “They have served us for several years and we appreciate their understanding of the local issues from the bottom to the top and their support for local control on issues that pertain to us.”
The meeting drew about 140 registered Republicans, club members, and guests who came to hear the trio discuss the accomplishments and challenges faced as elected leaders of the local area.
Congressman DeSantis spent time igniting the crowd with his perspective on the Clinton email controversy which has surrounded the former Secretary of State, the importance of acknowledging the role terrorists play in national security issues and the Iran Deal.
“I want a prosperous America that defends the people from the threats that we face abroad, that allows people to pursue their dreams at home instead of having the government suffocating a lot of people’s aspirations,” DeSantis told the audience. “I want to see Washington cleaned up so that we have term limits, make Congress live under the same laws as everybody else, and that we’re respecting and restoring the Constitution.”
Hutson’s legislative rundown highlighted the direct impact closer to home with the securing of funding for the Mala Compra drainage issues and the Summer Haven River project in St Johns County. Hutson was also proud of streamlining the lifetime hunting and fishing license process which can now be combined with a Florida driver’s license.
“Ever since being elected to serve this community, I have tried to make sure the constituents are happy; but, from a government perspective, run things like a business where we are more efficient and save tax dollars,” Hutson said. “We have been able to do that in the last few years, doing major reform on building codes, community development districts, ultimately trying to make it more affordable while remaining environmentally friendly and making sure the citizens are protected with healthcare and safety issues while keeping costs down.”
Working in tandem with Hutson, Paul Renner, who sits on several healthcare committees, discussed the expansion of mental health services and the addition of a required annual review by a qualified evaluator, to ensure those who are involuntarily committed are receiving proper services.
“We had a bill to completely reorganize the Agency for Persons with Disabilities that I was very proud of,” Renner pointed out. “We’re talking about a true safety net for people that really need our help and they’re doing great work. We have a lot of people that are getting services but many that are on the waiting list and one purpose of the bill is to reorganize the way we fund those services, bring more people off the waiting list and on the way for services.”
In addition, Renner worked with Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, to pass legislation protecting those accused of a crime from having their property seized before conviction.
Looking ahead, the Flagler County Republican Club will host a Flagler County Supervisor of Elections Forum on May 4th, starting at 6:00 p.m. at the Palm Coast Community Center.
Photo credits: © 2016 Historic City News contributed photographs by Danielle Anderson