Our Q&A With Senate Candidate Dan Quiggle
OBSERVER: Tell us a little about your background. What first made you decide to get into politics?
QUIGGLE: I grew up during the Reagan years. I was taught the principles of limited gov't, lower taxes and an undying optimism that America's best days are ahead of us. This inspired me to start my own businesses and continually fight to reign in wasteful gov't spending. I will fight for a better Florida for our children to live in with more economic opportunity and more freedom.
OBSERVER: We were all saddened by the recent passing of Senator King, he's left some big shoes to fill. What makes you the best man for the job?
QUIGGLE: Like everyone else, I was very upset to hear about the passing of Senator Jim King. He was a tremendous leader for the First Coast.
I'm a Ronald Reagan conservative who worked personally for President Ronald Reagan. I've got a record fighting wasteful government spending and defeating tax increases. As the State Chairman of Americans for Prosperity, I defeated a $250 million tax increase in Duval County and a $120 million sales tax increase in St. Johns County. If elected, I'm not afraid to stand up to the special interests in Tallahassee and reign in the wasteful spending. I am not a career politician.
OBSERVER: In your business and professional life, what are the three accomplishments you are most proud of?
QUIGGLE: I am incredibly proud of the opportunity that I had to work for President Ronald Reagan. He was always my personal political hero and working for him was like a dream.
I was also very proud when my business, America's Choice Title Company, was ranked as the 2nd fastest growing title company in the country by Inc. Magazine. We've always been blessed with a wonderful, hard-working staff.
More recently, I was thrilled last year when Americans for Prosperity defeated two separate tax increase proposals that totalled over $370 million. Unfortunately, both tax increase proposals were being pushed by Republicans! I'm running for office because I am simply tired of watching Republicans behave like Democrats.
OBSERVER: If voters decide to send you to Tallahassee, what will your top priorities be in the State Senate?
QUIGGLE: If elected, I will focus on cutting taxes, reigning in the wasteful spending, and protecting conservative values. I am solidly pro-life and have also received an 'A' rating from the National Rifle Association.
I am the only candidate in the race that has signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge promising to oppose any tax increase. Right now, our elected officials should be focused on cutting taxes, not raising them.
Also, I am the only candidate in the race that has endorsed legislation to block Obama-care from taking effect here in Florida. As the State Chairman of Americans for Prosperity I have also held events throughout North Florida educating people about the dangers of big-government health care. We deserve free-market solutions to our health care crisis.
OBSERVER: The legislature recently attempted to cut pay for state workers making more than $45,000 per year. However, Governor Crist vetoed that out of the budget. Would you have supported making the cuts?
QUIGGLE: I would have supported the cuts. Our elected officials should manage their budget in the same way that Florida families manage a budget. The Tallahassee politicians are out of control. We need to reign in the wasteful spending.
OBSERVER: You mention frequently that you worked for Ronald Reagan after he left office. Some of your critics have taken issue with you, saying that you've attempted to distort or inflate your actual experience. How do you answer those charges and what exactly did you do while working in the Reagan office?
QUIGGLE: It is morally outrageous that my opponent would try to distort my service to the greatest leader of the 20th century. I was incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to work in President Ronald Reagan's post-presidential office. I worked as an assistant in a staff of roughly a dozen people. This enabled me to spend a tremendous amount of private time with both the President and Mrs. Reagan.
During my time working for the President, George H.W. Bush, Dan Quayle, Malcolm Forbes, Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, Mother Theresa, and many other people came by to visit our office. It was truly an opportunity to learn from a living legend.
In addition, Mrs. Reagan chose me as one of her, "Just Say No" spokesmen. In that capacity I traveled around and spoke at events with Mrs. Reagan.
After I left President Reagan's office, I still continued to work with the Reagan Foundation and kept in contact with President Reagan. Some of my favorite memories and photographs after I left his office are of President Reagan holding my children in his arms.
More recently, I was called back into service after the passing of President Ronald Reagan. His office asked me to fly out to California and work all week preparing for the private funeral service in Simi Valley. This event was one of the most touching moments in my life.
OBSERVER: You recalled at a recent forum that, before he passed away, Senator King encouraged you to enter the race for his seat. Can you tell us a little more about your conversation with Senator King and do you think he would have supported your candidacy?
QUIGGLE: I don't think it's proper to assume how Senator King would have responded to this campaign. Last year Senator King called me on the phone and encouraged me to run for his seat. He told me that my views were very closely aligned with the views of the taxpayers in the district.
OBSERVER: A lot of money has been spent by outside groups trying to impact the result of this election. Do you think these groups should have been allowed to engage this race in the way they have? What specifically, if anything, should be done to control these so-called "independent" committees?
QUIGGLE: I believe in disclosure. These 'independent' groups won't have to disclose their contributions until next year. That is simply outrageous.
OBSERVER: In terms of both style and policy positions, are there any current members of the State Legislature that you think you might model yourself after?
QUIGGLE: Although he left office late last year, I think that the most accurate comparison would be House Speaker Marco Rubio. As the State Chairman of Americans for Prosperity, I worked with Speaker Rubio to pass legislation that would have reigned in wasteful government spending increases on both the state and local level.
At the time, my opponent John Thrasher was hired as a lobbyist to defeat our legislation. The most outrageous part of this was that Thrasher was working as a taxpayer-funded lobbyist. Essentially, our tax dollars were paying for him to lobby against our own interests!
OBSERVER: What's your favorite place to grab a bite to eat?
QUIGGLE: I love the marinated chicken soft tacos at Cruisers Grill. Remember I have 3 kids!
OBSERVER: Thanks very much for taking the time to talk with us, is there anything else you would like our readers to know about your campaign? How can they get in touch with you?
QUIGGLE: We'll never change Tallahassee if we keep sending the same career politicians back there. I want to bring new, conservative leadership to the State Senate.
If any individual has a question for me, call my office directly at 904-638-9101, or visit us online at danquiggle.com