Mike Haridopolos looks to leverage state-level successes during his Congressional run

by | May 28, 2024

In an interview with The Capitolist, former Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos discussed how his past legislative experiences inform his approaches to fiscal responsibility, immigration reform, environmental protection, and the space industry as he bids for a seat in Congress.

Haridopolos, who served as Senate President from 2010 to 2012 under the Rick Scott administration, noted his experience managing a $4 billion state budget shortfall without raising taxes as a key qualification for addressing the federal deficit. During his tenure, he stated that he implemented reforms in pension and Medicaid programs to achieve fiscal balance and seeks to apply similar principles to federal spending, advocating for the elimination of residual COVID-19 era expenses and promoting economic growth to generate surpluses.

“That experience of having to take on both spending problems and entitlement issues should give me a lot of experience in tackling what’s going on in Washington.” Haridopolos said. “There’s still a lot of extra expenses there, and we need to go back to pre COVID levels … the biggest thing you can do to try to reduce the deficit is actually to grow the economy.”

Haridopolos also supports stringent border security and immigration reform, aligning with former President Donald Trump’s policies. Through the conversation, he advocated for measures to secure the southern border and offered support for a merit-based immigration system.

He criticized the current system that allows asylum seekers to enter and wait for court dates, calling it prone to abuse, while positing that only those who follow legal procedures and pass background checks can enter the country.

“We need to only let people in who have truly been waiting legitimately, that have done their paperwork and have had a background check so we know exactly who is coming into the nation,” he said. “That is not being done today, period.”

To combat inflation and reduce living costs, Haridopolos proposed an ‘all-in’ energy strategy aimed at lowering energy prices that encompasses incentivizing energy growth and development within the U.S. to secure a stable and affordable energy supply, which he argues is crucial for both economic stability and national security. He also criticized the cessation of the Keystone XL pipeline under the Biden administration.

“We need to incentivize energy growth, including oil reserves, so that we bring down costs and become truly energy independent to an even stronger degree,” he remarked.

In his home district, Haridopolos is focused on environmental protection, particularly the Indian River Lagoon. He stated that he plans to collaborate with local, state, and federal entities to explore innovative technologies for its preservation.

Haridopolos noted that Brevard County residents opted to self-impose a sales tax to fund the lagoon’s cleanup and advocated for continued efforts to restore the lagoon, stating a need for solutions beyond current dredging efforts, and aims to implement pilot projects using new technologies to improve water quality and ecosystem health.

“It’s a national treasure and it has an impact not just in our part of the state, but other parts of the state, and so it’s truly a national issue,” said Haridopolos. “There are some new technologies that are out there that have been used and other states that have been successful. And I’ll be looking to see if we can do some pilot projects and see how those might work best.”

Haridopolos subsequently stated his plan to join the Congressional Estuary Caucus, founded by outgoing Rep. Bill Posey, who he seeks to succeed, that addresses estuary issues nationwide, including 28 similar estuaries. Through this caucus, he said that he would push for bipartisan solutions to mitigate environmental problems on a national scale.

Haridopolos also looks to support and expand Brevard County’s space industry by fostering public-private partnerships, particularly with companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin. As a member of Congress, he noted he would lobby for federal initiatives to enhance funding and infrastructure, claiming that private sector involvement is crucial for driving innovation and economic growth.

Haridopolos stated he is already in discussions with SpaceX to explore how their capabilities can complement NASA’s projects and address national security concerns from countries like China and Russia. He believes that similar to the high-speed train project Brightline, the private sector can more effectively manage space exploration endeavors, ensuring taxpayer money is used efficiently while advancing the U.S. space program.

“[SpaceX] has a blueprint of what they think they can be doing to assist the United States,” he said. “Not only of course, putting satellite payloads in the space, but human space programs as well. We need to see where they would dovetail with our current NASA projects. Clearly, SpaceX is an absolute remarkable thing. I think Blue Origin is right on the cusp as well, and we need to figure out what can be best done in the private sector.”

Haridopolos is additionally a proponent of congressional term limits, inspired by Florida’s implementation of such measures. While acknowledging the challenge of securing bipartisan support, he elucidated a belief that term limits are essential for fostering a culture of service and accountability.

“Term limits work,” he stated. “It’s an uphill climb, but a worthy one.”

Earlier this month, Haridopolos signed the U.S. Term Limits Pledge, committing to support a constitutional amendment limiting members of Congress to three House terms and two Senate terms, joining 13 other Florida congressional members in advocating for term limits.

Haridopolos’s campaign has garnered significant early support, including endorsements from prominent Republicans such as House Speaker Mike Johnson and Florida’s entire cabinet. His campaign has raised $700,000 in three weeks.

“I’m incredibly proud of the support we’ve received,” he commented, noting the momentum his campaign has gained.

As Haridopolos continues his campaign, which has aligned closely with Trump’s ‘America First’ agenda, he remains optimistic about earning the former president’s endorsement.

“I would love to serve with President Trump,” he said. “I’m optimistic that we can earn his endorsement, but it’s on his timetable, not mine.”

Haridopolos has also received pledges of support from Majority Leader Steve Scalise, Majority Whip Tom Emmer, and Republican Conference Chairman Elise Stefanik.

Haridopolos announced his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives in Florida’s 8th Congressional District last month, aiming to succeed the retiring Posey. The announcement came hours after Posey, a Republican who has represented the district since 2008, declared he would not seek reelection at the end of his term. Posey subsequently endorsed Haridopolos.

Congressional District 8, covering Brevard, Indian River, and part of Orange County, is a Republican stronghold, with Posey having secured the seat comfortably in past elections. Haridopolos’ entry into the race is expected to maintain the GOP’s strong presence in the area.


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