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U.S. House — District 16: Vern Buchanan

Buchanan will face Jan Schneider in the General Election.

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  • | 6:15 a.m. October 21, 2016
  • Sarasota
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Age: 65

Hometown: Inkster, Mich.

Political party: Republican

About: U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan is a self-made businessman. Buchanan is the only Florida member of Congress to serve on the powerful House Ways & Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax policy, international trade, health care, welfare and Social Security.  Buchanan is chairman of the Human Resources Subcommittee, which oversees federal assistance for families, children, the disabled, and the unemployed. He also serves on the subcommittees that oversee Social Security and Medicare.

Buchanan grew up with five siblings in a blue collar household in a small town near Detroit, Mich. He served six years in the Air National Guard and worked his way through college.

A respected leader in Florida’s business community, Buchanan served as chairman of both the Florida Chamber of Commerce and the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. He was also a member of the Board of the U.S. Chamber, and in 2005 he was inducted into the Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame.

In addition, Buchanan is a dedicated philanthropist who has committed himself to diverse community causes, including the Boys and Girls Club, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Walk to Cure Juvenile Diabetes, the American Heart Walk, the Mote Marine Laboratory, and the Ringling Museum of Art.

A husband and father, Buchanan lives in Longboat Key with his wife of 40 years. The Buchanans have two grown sons, James and Matt, and two grandchildren, Lilly and George.

How would you articulate what you advocate the country's energy policy to be?

Our country needs a comprehensive, balanced energy plan that keeps consumer prices and costs low and reduces our nation’s dependence on foreign oil. An all-of-the-above energy policy that encourages the development of all types of fuel keeps us safer and will make us more prosperous. The average Floridian pays nearly $130 per month to power their home — 14% higher than the national average. I oppose new energy taxes because I want to reduce these costs.

What should the U.S. position be toward Russia? How about China?

We need to get tougher with both Russia and China and reassert America’s leadership in the world.

Vladimir Putin has extended Russia’s reach in Europe, the Middle East and beyond. Within the last few years, Russia has invaded Ukraine, propped up the Assad regime in Syria, and strengthened its relationship with Iran. Chinese aggression — including cyber-attacks, currency manipulation,and intellectual property theft — continues to endanger our economy. Beijing’s increasing military belligerence also poses a serious threat to U.S. interests and security.

We now run the risk of permanently ceding our global leadership role to foreign nations only too happy to fill the void we have left on the world stage.

Everyone acknowledges our tax system is a regulatory nightmare. How, specifically, would you like it reformed?

We need a simpler and fairer tax code that reduces taxes on ordinary Americans and eliminates corporate loopholes. The tax code is five times as long as the Bible. As a member of the U.S. House's tax-writing committee, my goal is enact policies that help grow our economy and create jobs here at home. That means easing the burden on small businesses, which employ more than 3 million Floridians. That's why I introduced a bill that would make it less costly to start a new small business and to ensure that these job creators never face higher tax rates than large corporations.

If Trump wins, what will you support or advocate with respect to the Iran nuclear deal? Tear it up?

I am a strong opponent of the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal. I fought the unsafe deal in Congress, and will not change my position regardless of who is elected president. The Iran deal is a dangerous agreement that poses a grave threat not only to the United States and our greatest ally in the region, Israel, but to the entire international community. Simply put, the Iran nuclear deal does not stop the Ayatollah from acquiring a nuclear weapon and it gives the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism billions of dollars in financial relief.

Given the fact the Republican Congress the past two years was unable to repeal Obamacare or stop the Iran nuclear deal, among other things, why should voters send you back to Washington? … If re-elected, what will be your top three priorities?

Regardless who wins the presidency, I will continue working in a bipartisan manner to enact policies that benefit our country. Washington is broken because too many politicians have one eye on the next election and dwell on gaining partisan advantage instead of helping move America forward. My priorities are to create jobs, ensure the safety and security of our country, and protect Social Security and Medicare for our seniors. I will also continue to fight for a balanced budget, veterans’ benefits, mental health reform and reducing drug addiction.


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