Sarasota Observer: District 16: Vern Buchanan

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Sarasota Observer: District 16: Vern Buchanan

October 21, 2016

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.

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