Two Protests, One Place: Critics Draw in NW Florida Over Congressman Matt Gaetz

Protestors of Congressman Matt Gaetz gather in Milton, Fla. on Thursday, Feb. 23.

People were in the parking lot of Grover T’s BBQ just to get a word with Congressman Matt Gaetz.

“This is what democracy looks like, this is what democracy looks like,” says a group of protesters.

Protesters get in formation as Congressman Gaetz pulls into Grover T’s BBQ in Milton, but just a few steps a way: supporters.

Two protests in one location sparked debate over several issues, including Environmental Protection Agency concerns, as Gaetz just co-wrote a bill to abolish the organization by the final day of 2018.

“I would prefer it be abolished and replaced with a less wasteful system,” says Samuel Tedber, District 1 resident.

“We believe in the environment, his idea of repealing the E.P.A. I’ve lived here my whole life, how can he even think of doing that. I remember a time when our bays were polluted and we didn’t have pelicans because of the DDT,” says Dianne Krummel, Presdient Democratic Women’s Club Escambia County.

Immigration was also a hot topic.

“He supports Donald Trump on immigration — this has gotten out of hand,” says Howard Hill District 1 resident.

Protesters say they want congressman Gaetz to think twice on all issues before repealing any recent laws.

“Women’s rights, human rights, LGBT rights — every time you turn on the TV, it’s something but Gaetz is on board.”

Inside the restaurant, Gaetz addressed about 80 people.

While he didn’t address the people as a whole outside, he did pick out a few individuals.

“My hope is to have the policies in place so that we don’t have those issues in the future. Thank you for taking the drive all the way from Destin,” Gaetz told one protestor at the front.

This is a part of a day long events called “Open Gaetz Day,” but many felt not being able to speak with Gaetz contradicted that name.

“He’s billed this as Open Gaetz Day, but Open Gaetz Day is looking pretty closed to us,” says Mandee Caldwell.

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