Candidates from across the Tampa Bay area were asked to complete our 2014 Legislative Candidate Questionnaire. Below are the responses for the candidates from Florida House District 36.
For the full list of Tampa Bay legislative candidates and their contact information, visit the 2014 Legislative Candidate Questionnaire home page.
Chris Gregg (Republican) – Responded, Thank you!
firstname.lastname@example.org | 813-326-7977
James Mathieu (Republican) – Responded, Thank you!
email@example.com | 727-844-5000
Amanda Murphy (Democrat) – Responded, Thank you!
firstname.lastname@example.org | 727-359-2007
Economic Issues & Taxes
1. What do you propose or support to increase economic prosperity within the State of Florida?
Gregg: It’s the only way to get jobs in Fl. We need to stop supporting China and bring back Manufacturing jobs to the US!
Mathieu: Continue with the Governors efforts to expand our ports. We need to increase our business with Central and South America taking advantage of our geographic location. Keep taxes low, especially the fact that Florida is one of only a handful of States without an income tax. It needs to stay that way. Less unnecessary business regulation.
Murphy: Utilizing our tax dollars more wisely by investing in infrastructure and education. Investing in education needs to include promoting traditional 4-year degrees as well as vocational/technical schools so we have an adequate skilled labor force.
2. Excessive regulations can hamper small business growth. Which specific regulations, if any, would you repeal?
Gregg: CON’s. Any regulations that hampers a true free market.
Mathieu: Regulations are the Florida Code whereas Bills become state statutes. Many statutes passed have enabling provisions for the State Agency to set forth Regulations. Many environmental regulations, though well intended, create regulations which are burdensome and do not serve any legitimate purpose. Remember, large businesses like regulations because they stifle competition from small business.
Murphy: During the legislative session one of the biggest complaints by small business owners was regarding a commercial lease sales tax, which resulted in double taxation for them. This an example of a law that may be hampering the growth of our small businesses.
3. The Florida Legislature passed a $77 billion budget in 2014, the largest in history, and the trend line indicates we will see another record next year. (A) Do you consider this to be a problem, and if so, (B) what specific actions would you recommend taking in order to better steward taxpayer dollars?
Gregg: Yes, The larger the budget, the more taxes and fees that are created. I will wait to get to Tallahassee to see exactly what can be done.
Mathieu: It is always a problem when the state budget increases faster than population growth. Government will always want to grow. The nature of the beast. A review of all line items in the budget must be done each year.
Murphy: A growing budget means that Florida’s economy is recovering. While the overall amount of the budget may raise concerns, I take more issue with some of the projects that make up the budget. For example, $15 million allocated to bike trails around the state of Florida. As legislators, we need to take advantage of a growing budget to invest in much needed infrastructure updates and to reinvest in our education system not squander it on personal pet projects.
4. Would you support legislation that would refund the $1.5 billion taxpayers’ investment in the now-cancelled Levy County Nuclear Power Plant? Why or why not?
Gregg: Yes, Unless they build it.
Mathieu: Yes. It is not proper that a consumer should fund capital expenditures for equity holders of the corporation.
Murphy: I would fully support legislation that would refund the $1.5 billion taxpayers’ investment in the cancelled Levy County Nuclear Plant.
5. Do you support a repeal of Common Core State Standards (now rebranded to “Florida Standards”) in Florida? If not, what changes, if any, would you propose or support?
Gregg: Yes. We need a free market school system that allows the money to follow the student. Parents are responsible for educating their kids not the State or Federal government.
Mathieu: I oppose Common Core Standards since it will standardize test results nationally which will result in what can be termed a National School Board. Federal funding will follow, which will not be effective for a multitude of reasons. As President of a non profit Pasco Charter School I do not have a problem with the actual teaching method which is to teach analysis of a problem across various educational disciplines. At minimum I would change Florida Common Core testing, now referred to as Florida Standards, to be unique to Florida, so as to thwart any federal efforts of nationalizing education.
Murphy: We need to give our teachers and the local administrators more input on how curriculum is going to work. There is not a one size fits all solution to education and teaching our youth.
6. Do you support offshore drilling in Florida waters?
Gregg: If done the way they do in other parts of the world where a relief valve is predrilled and has a proven track record otherwise No!
Mathieu: I haven’t spent a lot of time researching this subject. Generally I support expansion of domestic drilling.
Murphy: I oppose offshore drilling in Florida waters. Growing up the daughter of a commercial fisherman, I quickly learned the importance of protecting the environment. As we saw with the BP oil spill, offshore drilling possess too many threats to Florida’s environment and economy.
7. Would you support legislation in Florida that nullified the NSA’s ability to perform warrantless surveillance of Floridians?
Gregg: Yes Also, add keep UN out of Florida regardless of any Federal mandate.
Mathieu: Yes. Not sure it would “nullify” the NSA’s ability. I oppose warrant less searches by the NSA
Murphy: I would support legislation that protects Floridians’ rights to privacy.
8. A bill was filed in the Senate in 2013 (SB 846: Search and Seizure of a Portable Electronic Device) that would have required that a search warrant be issued before a search of someone’s mobile device was permitted. Would you vote in support of this bill? Why or why not?
Gregg: Yes, you need a warrant to search your personal belongings. Plus, the Supreme Court just ruled one must obtain a warrant.
Mathieu: Yes. There are no exigent or safety concerns of the officer which would override the privacy rights of the citizen.
Murphy: I would support legislation that protects Floridians’ rights to privacy.
9. Do you support a repeal of red light cameras in Florida? Why or why not?
Gregg: Yes. Lack of due process.
Mathieu: I have no problem with red light camera at major intersections as so determined by the State and County, with the state regulating which intersections be deemed “major”. These intersections should be very clearly marked and noticed to the general public. As everyone agrees, running a red light is a traffic infraction. Red Light Camera’s are a technology issue in enforcing the infraction. With the present state of the law there is a proliferation of cameras which is for revenue purposes which must be stopped.
Murphy: I do not support a repeal of red light cameras. They have forced our drivers to be more aware and alert behind the wheel and I believe will ultimately save lives. The Legislature needs to create a standard for the timing of the lights and how these cameras are implemented.
10. Should all drug offenders, even non-violent and first-time offenders receive mandatory sentences? Would you suggest policies other than incarceration to deal with drug use?
Gregg: Mandatory counseling, rehab etc. Its too costly to jail nonviolent offenders.
Mathieu: No. Mandatory sentencing for drug offenders is a broad subject. Drug sellers and drug users (possession charges) are very different. Generally I oppose “mandatory” sentencing of drug possession and do not oppose alternative punishment schemes.
Murphy: No, not all drug offenders should receive mandatory minimum sentences. Florida Judges and juries should have the ability to determine sentences on a case by case basis. For first-time offenders, rehabilitation should be an option available for judges.
11. Do you support the legalization of medical marijuana as proposed by the United for Care Amendment? Why or why not?
Gregg: I think we should do what we did with Heroin and utilize the medicinal properties of Marijuana.
Mathieu: I will respect the will of the voting public. However, I do not believe that introducing another intoxicant in to the public arena is a good idea. I think we all know that anyone who wants marijuana for recreational use will be able to obtain it since a medical diagnosis will be easily obtainable.
Murphy: I voted for the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 during this past legislative session, which legalized low-thc medical marijuana.
12. Do you support drug testing of welfare recipients? Why or why not?
Gregg: Yes, Unfortunately they are taking my money to pay for drugs not basic needs.
Mathieu: I do not. I support the privacy rights as set forth in the US Constitution. Said law was found unconstitutional. I suspect I will never have to avail myself of this federal program, but if I ever did, I would not give up my privacy rights to do so. The law could have been tailored to provide that if there was probable cause to believe that a recipient was engaged or would engage in illegal activity then testing is appropriate. I suspect many recipients may fall into this category.
Murphy: I do not support drug testing of welfare recipients. Based on a cost analysis of Florida’s program when it was in place, this cost the state more than it stood to save.
The US Constitution
13. Do you support a state’s right to nullify federal law, as many have already done for example by legalizing medical marijuana, or blocking implementation of the Affordable Care Act?
Gregg: Yes, also to succeed from the Nation.
Mathieu: This is difficult to answer in light of the fact that a state law in general cannot “nullify” a federal law. This is how the constitution is so structured. Having said that, it is more problematic when there is a federal law and it is not being enforced. Our present Administration is now doing this. This must be stopped. The Executive branch must enforce the laws. This issue must be resolved and the nullification issue would become moot.
Murphy: This is an issue that needs to be determined on a case by case basis. When it comes to issues like medical marijuana where Congress has shown the inaction or the inability to make changes needed to benefit the people then states should take action.
14. Would you have voted for Florida HB 209 – “Carrying Concealed Weapon or Concealed Firearm”, which would have granted an exception from criminal penalties for carrying a concealed weapon or a concealed firearm when evacuating? Why or why not?
Gregg: Yes, I support the 2nd Amendment. Technically we don’t have a 2nd Amendment in Florida. No open carry and permission (permit from State) causes one to lose their right to Bear Arms!
Mathieu: I have not read the bill. It is my understanding that the sponsor of the bill has recanted his own support for the bill since he was unaware that the bill actually restricted use during emergencies rather than expand it. Generally law enforcement who supports most gun rights was against it. I would need to research what was actually written.
Murphy: I voted for this legislation.
15. There is no argument that health care costs are completely disconnected from a person’s ability to pay. What do you propose or support to help reduce the cost of health care services in Florida?
Gregg: Create a true free Market it works in all Industries and Services.
Mathieu: I oppose socialized medicine. I would like to see the Affordable Care Act repealed. Selling health insurance across state lines, which is presently not allowed, would be a good start to promote competition and lower costs.
Murphy: The legislature needs to ensure that insurance agencies and hospitals aren’t driving up the cost of healthcare. There needs to be an increased level in transparency so that consumers can know the actual cost of their health procedures and not what the insurance company is charged.
16. Would you vote in favor of Florida accepting the federal funds set aside for Medicaid Expansion? Why or why not?
Gregg: Against, Medicaid expansion creates more debt for our kids.
Mathieu: I would vote in favor of accepting the funds. The reason is that for several years the federal government would provide almost full reimbursement. In several years, if the Affordable Care Act is not repealed, (which I hope it is), it will be much different than it is today. In its present form it is not working and the federal government will have to change it and unfortunately the State of Florida as other states will be forced to do what now it has an option.
Murphy: I was the sponsor of legislation in 2014 that would have allowed for the acceptance of the federal funds available for health care expansion in Florida. These are our tax dollars that we are allowing to be utilized in other states to help their residents. These funds could help over a million hardworking Floridians gain access to quality health care.
Government Fairness and Transparency
17. What are your thoughts on legislation that gives a competitive advantage to a specific company or industry?
Gregg: Not appropriate. Again Free Market the ability to succeed and fail for all. I need to discuss with you too long to write.
Mathieu: I oppose giving an advantage to any specific company or industry. I strongly believe in the free market place. Creating winners only also creates losers. Also it is a recipe for insider dealing and influence.
Murphy: The purpose of our State Government is to protect the people of Florida and the legislation that we pass should be designed to achieve that goal. Florida should not be in the business of giving competitive advantages to corporations unless that advantage is created for Florida companies over out-of-state or overseas companies.
18. In several recent studies, Florida has been found to be in either the top 10 or the top 5 most corrupt states in the nation. What do you propose or support to help reduce corruption in Florida?
Gregg: Would need more specific details.
Mathieu: Enforcement. Better ethical laws. Specific well thought out statutes. Corruption should never be tolerated. If we need a special task force for a specific issue of corruption it needs to be funded.
Murphy: Increase transparency and accountability for our elected officials. Our local and state officials should not be allowed to vote on bills that directly impact their financials.
19. Currently, millions of dollars in campaign contributions filter through political committees that are controlled by legislative leaders. (A) Do you consider this a problem, and if so, (B) what, if anything, would you suggest be done about it?
Gregg: Not too familiar, I guess everyone has a right to organize and promote candidates.
Mathieu: As my campaigns have shown I strongly oppose such behavior. The general public has no idea what a leadership fund, political committee or other vehicles which are statutorily in place can do. These statutes must be changed, vetted, and the public educated.
Murphy: I have experienced this first hand during my first election to the State House. I consider this a problem because it takes the ability to decide or impact elections out of the hands of hard working Floridians.
20. In February 2013, Watchdog group Integrity Florida reported that Enterprise Florida has failed to meet its job creation objective, lacks transparency, has the appearance of pay-to-play, is engaged in apparent conflicts of interest, and is picking winners and losers in the Florida economy by demonstrating state government favoritism to certain companies and industries. Would you support an Inspector General investigation into Enterprise Florida and legislation to take corrective actions?
Gregg: Yes. Sunshine Law.
Mathieu: I have not read the study. If the allegations are true I would support an investigation. Would need to do more homework to determine if warranted at this time.
Murphy: I would fully support an investigation into Enterprise Florida and depending on the findings would support legislation to address the issues found. The legislature, nor its agencies, should be in the business of picking winners and losers in the Florida economy.
Any additional comments or thoughts:
Gregg: Until we return to our Constitutional Government we will continue to destroy this Nation. God Bless
 Ben Wilcox and Dan Krassner: “Enterprise Florida: Economic Development or Corporate Welfare?”
If you found this questionnaire useful, please consider offering a small contribution, so that we may continue our work and reach new people with the message of sensible limited government, free markets, and individual Liberty. #RLC