Gaetz talks improving Escambia County Schools during appearance in Perdido Key

February 28, 2020
In The News

PERDIDO KEY, Fla. -- Hub Stacey's on Perdido Key was stop number one on the first "Open Gaetz Day" of 2020.

Friday, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz made several stops in his district to interact with constituents.

"We think he's doing a great job. We watch him all the time on television. He's just broken loose in the House of Representatives and really represents us," said Jim Heinold ,who was in attendance.

Gaetz's Thursday appearance Thursday on the talk show 'The View" was the first topic he addressed.

"ABC set it up and said I'd be surrounded by women, I thought I was auditioning for The Bachelor, so imagine my surprise when I was on the set of The View," Gaetz joked.

Heinold said he was proud of how Gaetz carried himself even as some discussions got heated.

"It shows his sense of humor, his dedication and how dedicated of a person he is to his job," he said.

Gaetz then addressed the current state of the economy, saying more than 7 million jobs have been created under President Donald Trump.

"We've got millions of people off of food stamps and back in the work force!" he said.

One area Gaetz sees potential for improvement is for Escambia County Schools. He says doing that will lead to more people wanting to live here.

"This is an area where we've got to do better," he said. "When I meet with senior military leadership, folks at the Pentagon, military commanders here in Northwest Florida, they share with me we have to improve the schools in Escambia County."

He said that can be done through teamwork.

"We need to focus on the students who are falling behind and lift them up," Gaetz said. "Where we have students capable of excelling at the highest levels, how do we obtain digital opportunities, advance placement, IB opportunities to accelerate?"

Channel 3 asked what he's doing to address the issue. He says he's in constant communication with Governor Ron DeSantis, as well as state and local leaders to continue to address issues and look for solutions to improve education within the district.

"In public education, we have largely built a system to support the adults -- not necessarily for the students in that system," he said.

Some other topics brought up by people in the crowd included immigration, the war on drugs and cannabis reformation. Throughout the event, Gaetz asserted his "America First" stance, saying we need to fix our country before fixing others.

An example he gave was to build the wall on the United States/Mexico boarder before securing Iraq's boarder with Iran.

He also promoted DeSantis' E-Verify legislation, this would require private business owners and employers to use the system to background check potential employees. In return, Gaetz says this will increase wages for Americans by not allowing employers to hire undocumented workers for less.