ORLANDO, Fla. - In less than a month, 100 newly elected representatives -- 66 Democrats and 44 Republicans -- will be sworn into Congress.
Five members of the 2019 freshman class are from Florida, including Republican Michael Waltz, who will represent U.S. House District 6, which encompasses Flagler and Volusia counties and parts of Lake and St. Johns counties.
The former Army Green Beret sat down with anchor Justin Warmoth on "The Weekly on ClickOrlando.com."
"I not only have that Green Beret and combat veteran background, but I also worked for Vice President Dick Cheney as his counter-terrorism adviser in the Pentagon," Waltz said. "I have a business background, too, and am proud to have helped build a company from scratch to 400 employees."
When he takes the oath of office in January, Waltz will be one of 16 veterans elected to the U.S. House in the 2018 midterm elections.
"We're hovering around 15 percent of veterans who are members of the House and Senate, which is a record low in our nation's history," Waltz said. "And I think there's a direct correlation to that record low and record high amount of dysfunction in Washington."
Waltz believes the divisiveness within the political parties will start to diminish as more and more veterans are elected, and he says he's looking forward to working with his soon-to-be Democratic colleagues who will be taking majority control in the U.S. House in January.
"It's just the ethos that we bring," Waltz said. "In the foxhole, in the ship, in the plane nobody cares about political party, race, religion, creed or socioeconomic background. It's about mission. It's about country. It's about what's best for America."
The congressman-elect also addressed the possibility of a federal government shutdown over a conflict between President Donald Trump and top Democratic leaders about border wall funding. Waltz thinks the deal Trump offered earlier this year was reasonable.
"He offered a million more DACA recipients than President Obama offered," Waltz said. "A pathway to citizenship in exchange for funding for border security and reforming chain migration and the lottery system. I would encourage my Democratic colleagues to take him up on that and at least get that part done."
Other topics discussed include his plans to grow Central Florida's space industry, Florida's ongoing issue with dirty water and health care, which he believes is far too costly for Americans.
"I think the fundamental mistake of Obamacare was it went after universal coverage without addressing the cost," Waltz said. "The cost is impacting business, it's impacting people's wallets, it's the fastest-growing part of our defense budget and it's exploding our debt."
Waltz said he does agree on two pieces of the Affordable Care Act, though: coverage for patients who have pre-existing conditions and the ability to leave minors on their parents' plan until the age of 26.
Florida's 6th Congressional District was previously held by Republican Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis.
Watch the full interview Sunday at 8 a.m. on News 6.
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