By Yaël Ossowski and Marianela Toledo | Florida Watchdog
TAMPA— In an interview with Florida Watchdog, congressional candidate Joe Kaufman laid out his case for seeking the GOP nomination in Florida’s 23rd district, the newly-drawn seat held by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston.
Kaufman is a journalist and activist, concentrating on “combating bigotry and exposing the activities of radical extremist organizations,” according to his campaign website.
He also is the chairman of the nonprofit Americans Against Hate, a group that describes itself as a “terrorism watchdog,” and founder of CAIR Watch, a website dedicated to tracking the actions of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington, D.C.-based Muslim civil advocacy organization.
“A big thing for America is freedom. Not only freedom for here but freedom for all over the world, and that is what I believe in,” Kaufman told Florida Watchdog.
“Those people who are in office, many of them, including Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, represent the other side. They represent the type of America that moves towards, shall we say, socialism. That is something we don’t want to see in America,” Kaufman said.
“I believe we have to lower taxes and lower regulations on businesses. These massive taxes and massive regulations, they cause big businesses to move overseas and smaller businesses to shut down inside the United States. That hurts the middle class.
“We have to build up the energy industry in the United States,” Kaufman said.
“We are sitting on more natural gas … than anywhere in the world, something the entire world would love to have, but we’re not going after it.”
Kaufman also spoke to immigration, saying “as a Republican, I’m against the DREAM act,” referring to the proposed bill to offer an easier path to citizenship for residents who enroll in college or the military.
“For those who wish to work so hard and want so much to build America, or escaping oppression from overseas, those individuals we need to welcome and open our arms to,” said Kaufman.
“But for those who want to go around our laws and trample on our U.S. Constitution, I don’t think we can embrace them.
“We need to make the system better so that, in the future, when someone wants to become an American, it’s easier and quicker.”
Other GOP candidates for Florida’s 23rd district include U.S. Elections Assistance Commission member Gineen Bresso of Fort Lauderdale, businessman Ozzie deFaria of Weston, radio host Juan Eliel Garcia of Sunrise, and businesswoman Karen Harrington of Pembroke Pines.
Ilya Katz of Sunny Isles will run for the seat as an Independent in the fall.