Bipartisan efforts may be a rarity in the current political climate, however, former Florida Rep. David Jolly (R) and Rep. Patrick Murphy (D) are putting their political differences aside for a tour of collegiate campuses. The former congressmen will discuss the effects of gridlock on Washington D.C. decision makers, which will make a stop at USF on Oct. 12 at 6:30 p.m. in the Marshall Student Center.
Jolly said he experienced the effects of political gridlock in light of the Pulse Nightclub shootings while serving his term as a congressman.
“In the midst of the heartbreak after Pulse and the sit in in congress,” Jolly said. “We had a solution. Republicans and Democrats, we could have gotten the majority of the vote and actually pass no-fly, no-buy with due process. My side of the aisle wouldn’t move it, because of the (National Rifle Association).”
No-fly, no-buy was a proposed bi-partisan senate bill in June 2017 as a response to the Pulse Nightclub shootings that would not allow those on a no-fly list to purchase a firearm.
“The other side of the aisle killed it, because they were spending money to try to beat me at the ballot box,” Jolly said. “Because of that, over a year after Pulse, there’s still no solution and no-fly, no-buy. That’s an example of gridlock where we actually had a solution and because of the partisan gridlock, we lost it.”
Jolly served in Congress from 2014-17, after filling the seat that was occupied by Rep. Bill Young (R) for over four decades. During his time in congress, Jolly worked on the Appropriations and Veterans Affairs committees, among others.
Murphy also served in congress from 2013-17. Prior to serving in congress, Murphy followed the career path of his family by working in the construction industry. Murphy worked on the Financial Services and Small Business committees while he was a congressman, as well as others, such as defense intelligence.
Both Jolly and Murphy put in bids for senator in 2016, but republican incumbent, Marco Rubio, later filled the seat.
The town-hall style tour will focus on issues such as campaign finance reform, the environment and federal firearm policies. Both Jolly and Murphy say these are issues that have an effect on political gridlock.
Since serving as representatives for Florida, both Jolly and Murphy’s perspective on the American political process has changed. Their first-hand experience with the gridlock that occurs in the nation’s capital has made them far more pessimistic about the party-political procedures.
“I think broadly it’s the fact that, Patrick often says it, if we took secret ballot votes in Congress, a lot of stuff would pass,” Jolly said. “It’s the politics of the scrutiny that causes people to choose their party lines.”