An Interview With Gavin Rollins

     Fresh off his Fox & Friends interview, I got to speak with Gavin Rollins. He's a Republican candidate currently running for Congress. I first met Rollins when Don Jr. spoke at UF. I'd run into him at political events. He mentioned doing something for my blog, so that's how the interview was set up! Here's his website, and interview on F&F (click the left image)!
Be sure to like him on Facebook!

1. Question: “Tell me about yourself.”
“My parents were missionaries in Malaysia, so I was born over there, then returned home when I was two to the Keystone Heights/Melrose area. I mainly lived in Northeast Florida, except for a couple of active duty stints with the military for training in various locations throughout the country, and overseas for a deployment. I went to Keystones Heights High School, then to Santa Fe College, then the University of Florida. While attending UF, I joined the Florida National Army Guard as a private first class and became a paralegal specialist and served in the National Guard, and did ROTC at UF. I’ve been in the Florida National Guard for about 14 years. While I was at UF, I also ran for City Council in Keystone Heights, which is a small town. Only 1500 people, so I was elected by 3 votes. The margin of victory was 3 votes. I served on there, fought against the tax increase my first year, then got reelected the next year to a three-year term, while I attended UF and doing ROTC. I graduated from UF in 2011, and went on active duty for some military training. Coming back, I worked as a communication director, worked on updating our internal and external communication for the Clay County school district. We made the websites across the district for parents. I did official Facebook pages and started using videos as a way to communicate to the public when before, we only used press releases, so we reformed communication. Being around education and education policy inspired me to go into the classroom to teach, so I started working on my Master’s in Education and Leadership. I also ran for County Commission, and was elected to Clay County Commission. While I served as County Commissioner, doing communications, and working on my Master’s, I was ordered to active duty and deployed overseas from the National Guard for almost a year. I was sent to a combat zone in East Africa, where we did counter-terrorism operations, defended and protected U.S. embassies, and prevented another Benghazi. In 2017, I returned from the deployment. In 2018, I was reelected to Clay County Commission, and in 2019, I graduated with my Master’s. I’ve been teaching for the last 3 years. This year, I took off from teaching, so I could run for Congress, and balance also being County Commissioner, and being in the Florida National Guard as a Company Commander.” (I started laughing. I was shocked to hear how much Gavin did, especially during college. He joked around saying how tired he was from discussing his life, and maybe that’s why he’s always in pain.)
2. Question: “As a history teacher, you probably know the issues with my generation not being properly taught politics or history. What can be done to help this issue?”
“The curriculum is one part. We need to incorporate a discussion in reading of books like Animal Farm, so people understand the horrors of socialism, communism, collective thinking. We must teach what it means to be an American, and what makes America exceptionally unique. We need good teachers, and I encourage conservatives to teach history. Even if it’s for a few years, be willing to go into the classroom to teach. One thing I know is that my students have a basic understanding of the challenges of socialism and know American history because I taught them. On the end of year exam, my civic students got a 98% pass rate. The state pass rate average is 76% (Wow.); my students had a 98% pass rate. It was only one student, out of 65 or 70 students, who didn’t pass. That’s evidence they understood the basics. We need conservative teachers. I think school choice is another key component. I taught at a charter school. I think parents deserve the choice of where their kids get an education. Public schools should not have the monopoly in public education.”
3. Question: “What grade did you teach?”
“Last year I taught 7th and 8th grade civics and US history. The year before, I taught 10th and 11th civics and US history. And the year before that, I taught leadership in ROTC.”
4. Question: “What led you to run for city councilman and County Commissioner?”
“City Council was just the idea of getting involved in my community, and try to make a difference. County commissioner, the seat was available, and I felt like our community was underrepresented at times, so we needed someone who understood rural communities and would fight for them, and that’s what inspired me to run. It was also my belief we need good people in government, and the longer I've been involved, the more I've realized that government isn't the solution, but more the problem.”
5. Question: “I understand you were the youngest city councilman for Clay county. Did you find being younger than most politicians worked against you?”
“There were definitely challenges associated with it. Sometimes, I had to convince people to let me into events that they thought I wasn’t allowed to be at. I’d have to show them my ID to verify who I was. There were moments where people would make condescending comments about my youth and inexperience. The key is to keep your eye on the ball, focus on what you’re passionate about, and how to make a difference. The truth is that throughout our history, we’ve had young people who stepped up to the plate and made a difference. Many of the founding fathers were young when they helped craft the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and other founding documents. Young people have held a key role in shaping our country from the foundation.”
6. Question: “Socialism is popular, as Leftists only see the supposed good. How can we educate our Leftist counterparts about the truth of socialism?”
“I think the way we explain it is important. I'd tell my students, ‘Do you want a big, overreaching government involved in all aspects of your life, telling you what to do at every turn? That’s what socialism is.’ and they'd say no. Supposedly, socialism means everything’s fair and equal; reality is at the tip of a gun, the government could take your things and give it to someone else. Redistributing wealth means equal poverty and requires mass government control. I feel like liberals and conservatives agree that government has no role in personal lives, but liberals don’t realize that policies they advocate for (i.e. universal healthcare) create mass government involvement. It might sound nice to have universal healthcare, but in reality, it requires huge government involvement. I certainly don’t want D.C. deciding who my doctor is."
7. Question: “Why do you support President Trump?”
“Because he’s a fighter. He’s willing to engage in pushing back. For years, we had conservatives who were well-meaning but backed down. Trump’s a fighter, and he’s been effective. He appointed conservative judges, he stood up for religious freedom, he fought for prolife legislation. He fought to protect the unborn. He’s kept America safe around the world without involving us in additional foreign wars. He’s reinstated this idea of deterrence. Look at all his policies, the booming economy, taxes are low: it’s hard to argue when you see the success of conservative principles. The challenge he faces is he needs reinforcement, which is why I’m running. He doesn’t need people who only say they support him. He needs people fighting in Congress sending him conservative-based policies to sign, which keep our country safe and great. Congresspeople might give lip-service in supporting the President, but won’t roll up their sleeves to stand up and get things done. That’s why I use the term ‘fight’ as opposed to saying, ‘I support our President.’ I think we need to help Trump fight as his reinforcement.” (I joked that he led me into my next question.)
8. Question: “So you chose to run for Congress to fight alongside Trump?”
“That’s exactly why I chose to run. Congressman Yoho did a great job, but now that he’s retiring, we need someone to carry that legacy. We need a fighter, not someone who’s going to D.C. to be part of a country club or collect a paycheck or be somebody, but someone who views it as a deployment of some sorts. I was deployed while Trump was in office, and I saw him fighting terrorism. I view going to Washington as a deployment to do battle. I’ve heard Washington is a war zone, and a battle for conservative values. Having military experience and fighting for conservatism in Clay County gives me an advantage the other candidates don’t have.” (I told Gavin he led into my next question again.)
9. Question: “Many people have joined the race for Ted Yoho's seat. Why should people vote for you? What makes you different from the other candidates running?”
“I have the combination of military and educational experience, as well as a proven track record that says you can trust my word. You don’t have to trust what I might do. You can look at my record and see what I have done. I'll fight for the 2nd Amendment, I'll fight for life, I'll fight for religious and speech freedoms, and the values we hold. I’m going to keep taxes low, and I’ll find ways to reduce government. Again, you know that’s true from my record. I’ve taken what Floridians want, stood alone if necessary, but also built a coalition if needed. Sometimes you’ve got to stand alone, and sometimes you need to know if you need help from others to get things done.”
10. Question: “I recently wrote a guest post about needing term limits; I saw a video where you said you support term limits. Care to explain your support?”
“Absolutely. I actually became a bigger advocate for term limits being in office. Even though there's the few who do well for 20–30 years, at some point you won't bring the best ideas. If we want to drain the swamp, we have to limit all politicians. I haven’t taken a pledge of a specified number, because people like Nancy Pelosi haven’t. What I advocate for is USA’s term limits Amendment, which Senator Cruz and Governor DeSantis supports. To fight for a Constitutional amendment, so all members of Congress are term limited. That’s how we drain the swamp. We have to term limit all politicians in D.C. If we get everyone on that even-playing field, we can drain the swamp, and what we get is citizen legislators who are willing to serve for a season then return home. My heart has always been, and always will be, in this area. It’s not in D.C. The ‘swampiness’ in D.C. is something I don’t like, and that’s why I call this a deployment. But somebody’s got to go and fight for our values, and I feel a sense of duty and obligation to continue my service by serving in this way and putting on a different uniform.”
11. Question: “What's one piece of advice you'd give to young conservatives, like myself, about being involved in politics?”
“I would say don’t wait to make a difference. You can start right now. People will say ‘You’re too young,’ or ‘Wait your turn.’ Just jump in! Whether it’s campaigning, involving yourself in an issue that matters to you, leadership in a campus club, or even running for local politics, get involved. I’m always inspired when I see people running for local politics. And if you lose, oh well! You’ll be able to make change happen. If you bring fresh ideas to the table, even if you lost, it changes the process. So I would encourage young people to get involved now, don’t wait.”

I already said this to him, but I'll say it again. Thank you, Gavin, for reaching out and giving me this opportunity. Thank you to my readers for reading! Comment your thoughts of the interview!

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