Defending Growers an Honor for Citrus Achievement Award WinnerThis is the second installment of four special features honoring the 2018 Florida Grower Citrus Achievement Award winner Congressman Tom Rooney of Okeechobee. Special thanks to Arysta LifeScience for sponsoring the Citrus Achievement Award.
What are some of your top priorities, and why, as you close out your term in Congress?
Rooney: My biggest priority is making sure I continue to represent the interests of Florida’s 17th District until my time is up in Washington. I was elected to do a job, and my dad taught me to see things through until the very end. I plan on continuing to advocate on behalf of my constituents as best as I can until the end of my term in Congress.
Some of my top priorities include making sure the USDA is standing up for both the WHIP (2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program) and the USDA citrus relief block grant in a way that works best for Florida farmers and growers who contribute so much to the economy and life of this state. I am very proud of all that we have accomplished and look forward to seeing the finishing touches on one of my greatest victories while serving in the House of Representatives.
Is political division overplayed by the media? And, can you give some examples of where parties worked together to get things done?
Rooney: It’s not overplayed by the media. The division is probably worse than what the media says, which is a real shame, because I have a personal respect for all members, both Republicans and Democrats. Most members of Congress have a sincere desire to make a positive difference in this country, but oftentimes that gets drowned out by the blowhards and bad apples.
Hurricane relief is a good example [of the parties working together]. When disaster strikes, partisan bickering tends to subside so that people in this country can feel the real benefit of what it means to be an American.