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Facing GOP competition, Charlie Crist touts policy accomplishments

“This year, we’ve had some significant wins on issues impacting Pinellas families.”

Democratic Congressman Charlie Crist of Pinellas County, hot on the heels of drawing a fourth Republican challenger, is reminding constituents of all he’s accomplished in the two and a half years he’s been in office. 

“This year, we’ve had some significant wins on issues impacting Pinellas families — from lowering prescription drug prices, to preventing offshore drilling, to supporting our veterans, and ending the scourge of spam calls,” Crist wrote Wednesday.

Crist’s update includes the following policy actions.  

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Medicare and Social Security – “As Vice-Chair of the Seniors Task Force, I am committed to protecting seniors’ financial security and quality of life. Medicare and Social Security are EARNED benefits after a lifetime of hard work and paying into the system – yet some politicians don’t seem to understand that they are a lifeline to so many. I was deeply disappointed that the administration’s budget would have cut Medicare by nearly $1 trillion. This is unacceptable. Protecting Social Security and Medicare should be a priority for anyone in an office of public trust. That is why my first bill, the Save Social Security Act (H.R.567), would scrap the income cap so those earning the most pay into Social Security just like the rest of us. My bill would raise enough revenue to preserve Social Security for another generation with enough left over to end the double taxation on Social Security benefits. A win-win!”

Prescription Drug Prices – “Over the past two decades, prescription drugs and other healthcare costs have been skyrocketing. The prices for vital medications and routine procedures have become unaffordable for many Floridians, especially our seniors and those with diabetes and other chronic conditions. Recently, I was proud to join my colleagues in the House of Representatives to pass H.R.987, the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act, a sweeping piece of legislation that will expand production of lower cost generic drugs and close loopholes pharmaceutical companies use to gouge consumers. But we need to do more to lower drug costs. Under H.R.1046, the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act, if drug companies fail to negotiate in good faith, Medicare would be allowed to end their exclusive right to produce that drug. Drug company lobbyists hate it, but I don’t care. It’s the right thing to do for the people. That’s whose side I’m on.”

Environment – “One thing all Pinellas residents share is a deep appreciation for our beautiful environment. As a lifelong Floridian and avid boater, I will always work to protect and preserve our natural ecosystem. This means advocating for clean water and clean air, supporting Everglades restoration, and tackling the existential threat of climate change. As a member of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, I am taking the fight to the oil and gas companies that want to drill off our coasts. Not on my watch! With the privilege of serving on the powerful Appropriations Committee, I was able to secure $10 million to fight red tide and other harmful algae blooms. We both know that natural beauty is what makes our community a wonderful place to live, and I am happy to be in that fight with you.”

Veterans – “Our district is blessed to be home to 70,000 veterans. I can think of no greater call than serving those who served. This means working across the aisle on a bipartisan basis to improve the VA, expand benefits, and get Pinellas County veterans the care they deserve. I introduced the Veterans Treatment Court Coordination Act (H.R.886), with over 100 bipartisan cosponsors, to help veterans caught in the criminal justice system get access to care instead of jail, and the Expedite Agent Orange Coverage Act (H.R.1482) to deliver benefits more quickly to our Vietnam Veterans. We should never be afraid to fight for those who fought for our freedom.”

Flood Insurance – “Pinellas County is surrounded by water, underscoring just how important flood insurance is to our community. That is why I am fighting for a strong and affordable National Flood Insurance Program, along with a new, innovative program to mitigate flooding before disaster strikes. My bill, the State Flood Mitigation Revolving Fund Act (H.R.1610), would help cities and towns build more resiliency to floods and rising sea levels. I am optimistic that we will be able to get flood insurance done right for the people!”

Spam Calls – “How many times per day do you get harassed by unwanted spam calls? This has got to stop! It’s more than an annoyance – it’s an invasion of privacy used to deceive and take advantage of unsuspecting victims. That’s why I was proud to work across the aisle to introduce the Spam Calls Task Force Act (H.R.721). The scourge of spam calls is a multi-faceted problem that requires all hands on deck. This bill establishes an interagency working group to solve the scourge of spam calls once and for all and is currently moving through committee.”

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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