We at the Official Moon Base Party of the United States of America would like to take a few minutes of your time to highlight the work of a real American hero: Matthew Louis Gaetz II. Matt Gaetz is the badass republican US Representative from Florida’s 1st district. His name made headlines lately when he introduced legislation to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Moon Base Party couldn’t agree more! What better way to get people to the moon than wrecking the Earth. It is like when you smear cat feces on the walls, close all the windows, and crank up the heat over a three-day weekend to convince your roommate to move out. Brilliant thinking Gaetz!
But there is much more to this handsome, freshman legislator than just allowing companies to dump chemicals in the Gulf of Mexico. Join us as we embark on a journey into this rising conservative star.
The Early Years
Matt Gaetz was born in Hollywood, FL and moved with his family to northwest Florida when he was a kid. Matt’s grandfather, Jerry Gaetz, was a town mayor and state legislator who died while running for Lieutenant Governor of North Dakota. Matt’s father, Don Gaetz, was a healthcare executive who founded Vitas Healthcare Corporation, which was accused of Medicare fraud while Don Gaetz was vice chairman. In 2004, Big Boy Gaetz and his associates sold the hospice care company for $406 million dollars to the owners of Roto-Rooter. After this, Don became a state senator and spent two years as Florida Senate President until his term limit ended in 2016. In 2015, during the height of his political career, in a state where one-third of lawmakers are millionaires, Don Gaetz topped the list of wealthiest legislators in Florida with a net worth just shy of $27 million.
But this story is about our boy Matt Gaetz. The younger Gaetz got a bachelor’s degree in social science from Florida State University in 2003 and a law degree from William and Mary in 2007. After college, Gaetz went to work at as an attorney for Keefe, Anchors, and Gordon. He spent most of this time driving badly. At the age of 32, Matt had 16 traffic tickets, including driving 60 mph in a 35 mph zone on Christmas Day. In 2008, Gaetz was arrested for driving his dad’s BMW while intoxicated and refusing a breathalyzer test. He was arrested, his licensed was revoked, and he served a three month jail sentence. Just kidding! His arresting officer was forced to resign, video tape of his arrest and detainment were destroyed, and the case was dropped.
A Leader Rises
Gaetz was not content just living the good life. He wanted to make a difference in his community. In 2010, Gaetz decided to follow the same path as his grandfather and father. An opportunity appeared for Gaetz when state representative and Speaker of the Florida House Ray Sansom resigned due to corruption charges after he channeled $6 million of the state budget to the construction of a private aircraft hanger for a GOP donor and community college president. With little more than $1 million to his name, Gaetz ran in the special election for the Florida House of Representatives. Matt got the GOP nomination and eventually won the seat as state representative. He ran completely unopposed in the next two state elections.
Representative Gaetz immediately set to work fighting for the little guy. In 2010, he started a long battle to remove ethanol mandates on gasoline. He did not cite gasoline costs; he just seemed to think the regulation was unnecessary. In 2013, he sponsored a bill to speed up executions of inmates on death row. When faced with opposition from Democrats, Gaetz fired back saying, “Only God can judge — but we can sure set up the meeting.” Stone cold! He would later co-sponsor classic Republican-themed legislation like restricting abortion access, outlawing abortion unless continuing the pregnancy would kill the mother, and allowing guns on college campuses. In 2014, he cited his previous DUI arrest for supporting a bill that would prohibit mugshots from being published online. In 2016, he sponsored a tax provision which conveniently helped a super PAC donor (donation: $25,000) with a multi-million dollar housing project. He pushed for less regulations on online fantasy sports-related gambling in Florida that had nothing to do with $10,000 in donations from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.
In 2012, the FBI investigated Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council Executive Director Mark Bellinger after he diverted millions of dollars in BP oil spill settlement money to buy a house, a yacht, two custom motorcycles, a Jeep, and a Dodge Durango. In 2014, Gaetz used this as a political opportunity to showcase his compassion for justice. He used out-of-district money to fund negative campaigns to remove other local commissioners serving at the same time as Bellinger. This created some tension between Gaetz and local government officials.
In 2013, Gaetz first made national headlines. As chairman of the Criminal Justice Subcommittee, Gaetz was in charge of review hearings of Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law after the highly publicized killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. Before hearings began, Gaetz told reporters, “I don’t support changing one damn comma of the ‘stand your ground’ law.” He later proposed legislation that limited access to court records for anyone using the “stand your ground” defense and allow anyone who uses the law to expunge the incident from their criminal record. Former NRA president and current NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer called Gaetz “one of the most pro-gun members to have ever served in the Florida Legislature.” Gaetz believes the right to openly carry a gun is “granted not by government but by God.” In a guest letter to the NRA, Gaetz used statistics about gun violence in open carry states which Politifact called into question. That a boy Gaetz. Don’t let facts hold you back!
A National Player
In 2016, when US Representative Jeff Miller decided not to run for reelection, Gaetz decided it was time to play in the big leagues. He stepped down from running two political action committees (PACs), and three days later he announced he would run for Miller’s seat. Three months later, those two PACs gave all of their funds to a super PAC supporting Gaetz’s election bid. It was as hard-fought primary against an assortment of Republican candidates including the one who bullied another candidate over voicemail, the one who lied about his place of residence, and that one who raffled off an AR-15 for Facebook likes. Gaetz won the primarily and then easily won the general election in the largely Republican district.
Now Gaetz is in the national spotlight. The freshman legislator immediately set to work crafting his legislative magnum opus. He worked tirelessly for days to craft a bill that reads “The Environmental Protection Agency shall terminate on December 31, 2018.” That is all of it. That is the full bill. Citing statistics from conservative think-tanks, Gaetz charges that the EPA is too burdensome for small business and must be completely eliminated. Instead, Gaetz argues that each state should handle its own environmental regulations. This move is actually better in the long run and has absolutely nothing to do with campaign contributions from “family friends” Harness Oil & Ga, Inc ($100,000), Smith Energy ($10,800), Gulf Power ($3,000), NextEra Energy ($6,000), Southern Company ($8,750), or Koch Industries ($5,000). This move by Gaetz has angered many of his very own constituents given that they 1) live in Florida where people put a high value on local beaches and coastal waters, 2) personally saw the damage from the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and 3) already have the lowest quality drinking water in the United States (this ranking is contested by the local water utility despite recent setbacks).
But Gaetz is just getting warmed up! He has co-sponsored bills to abolish the Department of Education, pull America out of the United Nations, repeal the death tax (which effects about 0.2% of the richest Americans), terminate the current tax code and replace it with a Fair Tax system, punish any country that does not take back immigrants deported from our country, and a bunch of other amazing ideas. He has voted for bills that remove regulations on teacher certification programs, coal mining operations near streams and groundwater, energy companies disclosing payments to foreign governments, and even more amazing ideas. Somewhat ironically, Gaetz also co-sponsored a bill to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to penalize any foreign offshore oil refineries for spills or other damages. Go get’em Gaetz!
Still proving he is a man of the people, Gaetz recently held several public meetings in what he called his “Open Gaetz Day.” Fresh off his kill-the-EPA intuitive, Gaetz expected angry protestors like those in other recent town hall meetings. Anticipating this, the Gaetz team printed messages on large posters accusing dissenters of being paid protestors in what CNN referred to as “reminiscent of a scene from the movie ‘Love Actually’.” But the protestors did not discourage Gaetz. He told CNN he welcomed giving people the opportunity to “step forward, yell at ya, wag their finger in your face, and the job of the public servant is to take it.” This is a particularly brave thing to do in Florida’s 1st congressional district, which has the highest Republican-leaning partisan voting index in the state and 15th highest in the country. Hell yeah, Gaetz! Stand tall against that trivial sliver of opposition.
Making America Great Again
The future looks bright for this freshman legislator. He markets himself as the most conservative candidate around, and in his largely Republican district, he is likely to keep his spot for a long time. Locals seem to love the guy and are willing to bring guns to rallies to defend him from protestors.
As you probably guessed, Gaetz is a big fanboy of Donald Trump. Despite statements that he does “not agree with President Trump on every issue,” he so far has a 100% alignment with Donald Trump’s policies and is projected to not diverge. Gaetz is paranoid of illegal immigrants and Muslim terrorists. He has opposed Obama’s sanctions on Russia, wants to end probes into the Trump administration’s connections with Russia, and is a big supporter of Jeff Sessions. When Trump had a campaign rally in Melbourne, FL, Gaetz was there to gleefully introduce him. Matt Gaetz aspires to be the Robin to Donald Trump’s Batman.
Like Trump, Gaetz spends a lot of time on social media. He regularly posts retorts against his attackers on Twitter. Gaetz has used the platform to trash talk other state representatives after they tried to get him and fellow Republicans back to work when they unconstitutionally adjourned early. Gaetz has also attacked people who refuse to stand for the national anthem by asserting that not standing is an insult to deceased baseball pitcher Jose Fernadez. And if the online, trash-talking gets too rough, his sassy sister can step in. As of this writing, he has not updated his LinkedIn profile, but then again, who are we to judge.
Is He Gay?
We end with perhaps the most important question of all: is the district’s most eligible bachelor actually gay? There are some accusations that he leads a “reputed alternate gay life style,” but there is no actual evidence of this. Supporters of the “gay Gaetz theory” point to the following:
- Matt is 34, he is a wealthy attorney, he has never been married, and he has no kids.
- Dad Don Gaetz shot down a ban on adoptions by same-sex couples after discussions with Matt. The older Gaetz also takes a vague stand on gay rights.
- Matt Gaetz speaks little on gay rights, and when he does, it is usually around election time. He has been accused of opposing gay marriage for political gain only.
Is he gay? Probably not, but we may never know for sure. Not because he won’t say, but because we all will die from high-doses of radium in the drinking water.
Moon Base Scorecard™
The Moon Base Scorecard™ gives our ratings of elected officials. It gives our supporters a helpful guide for making decisions like who to vote for and where to buy the best peanut butter.
Gaetz belongs to a family of politicians, has a suspicious DUI arrest, opposes most government regulations, gets an ego-boost from attacking political opponents and dissenting constituents on Twitter, and takes money from wealthy donors and special interest groups in exchange for political favors. He is one embezzlement scandal short of a Florida politics grand slam, and folks, he is just getting started. Expect to see a lot more Gaetz action in the coming years.
Unfortunately, like many politicians, Gaetz has said nothing about building a moon base. This is really going to hurt his ranking.
Conservativeness: 8 bald eagles and a Sizzlers coupon.
Social Media Combativeness: 4 out of 5 stars
Resemblance to an Oversized Baby: 70%
Support for the Moon Base Initiative: Sad face
Overall Score: C-
UPDATE! 2018 Jan 16
We recently posted an update on Matt Gaetz’s amazing (2017: The Year of the Gaetz) and created the new category (Gaetz) for future Matt Gaetz updates. Check it out and get caught up on all the latest Gaetz news!