Gavin Rollins, Clay County Commissioner and Republican candidate for Florida’s 3rd Congressional District, introduced a policy that would require Clay County to prioritize American products over foreign imports.
With the U.S. looking at levying further sanctions on China for their role in the COVID-19 pandemic, Rollins, too, is attempting to hold the authoritarian regime accountable and strengthen the appeal of items made in America.
“Clay County’s annual budget is over $300 million,” said Rollins “Cumulatively, local governments in the U.S. spend $2 trillion a year. It defies logic that we would be spending these hard-earned taxpayer dollars overseas, especially on products made in communist China, when we can invest right here at home.”
His proposal, much like the one introduced last week by Jacksonville City Councilman Rory Diamond. would require the county to place domestic goods and products ahead of those manufactured overseas. His policy would require that U.S.-made products which are within 5 percent of the price of products purchased outside of the country be given preference by local governments.
At least six other Florida counties are considering similar legislation.
Tonight I introduced a proposal and The Clay County Commission agreed to move forward with a policy to prioritize buying American made products, and to ban the purchase of Chinese telecommunication equipment. @robert_spalding @realDonaldTrump @Fla_Pol @claytoday @AndyHopson
— Gavin Rollins (@gavinrollins) May 12, 2020
Rollins said he believes his proposal will help prop up American-made products and hold the country responsible for the mass shutdown — and subsequent economic turmoil — accountable. He also hopes his plan will convince more county and city governments to adopt similar measures.
“Buying American products will help restart the U.S. economy, which has been devastated by COVID-19,” said Rollins, who also plans to introduce a policy to extend the federal ban on Chinese telecommunications companies to Clay County’s purchases.
“Communist China is the greatest threat to world freedom since the Soviet Union,” he said. “Chinese companies build equipment that allows it to tap into telecommunications networks across the country. We’re pushing back and saying we won’t allow this intrusion in our technology at the local level.”
Rollins is joined by Commissioners Justin Taylor of Nassau County and Jeremiah Blocker from St. Johns County, who have also declared their support for the policy.
Rollins, who also serves as a high school history teacher and captain in the Florida National Guard, is running to replace retiring Congressman Ted Yoho.
FL CD-3 includes Alachua, Bradford, Marion, Union, Putnam, and Clay counties and is largely made up of Republican voters.