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Treasure Coast Palm - "Gayle Harrell: Ready to lead in D.C. on day one"


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Treasure Coast Palm - "Gayle Harrell: Ready to lead in D.C. on day one"

The Treasure Coast needs a strong voice in Congress, someone who knows and understands our community. I was disappointed the editorial board of Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers, our local newspaper that has endorsed my candidacy six times prior, chose to endorse another candidate for Congress.

For the better part of my lifetime I've worked to improve the lives of people. Serving our community is central to who I am, what I've done, and what I intend to do in Washington.

I started my career in education, teaching and preparing the next generation for leadership. Then, joining my husband, Dr. James Harrell, an Ob.Gyn physician, I entered the health care profession, working to restore people's health and improve their lives. As much as possible, I've worked and volunteered to make things better, wherever I've found a need. As a community leader I've spent 37 years helping in various roles, including president and chairman of many local and school organizations.

Looking back, I realize I have always enjoyed serving my community. Most recently, voters granted me the honor and privilege of serving the citizens of Florida as a member of our state's House of Representatives.

This kind of experience is needed right now in Washington. Clearly, I know what works in a legislative setting and how to get things done. In Tallahassee, I've been called the "poster child for perseverance" for my tenacity and for standing up for my principles. I'll take on lobbyists or good-old-boy factions, of either party, to do what's right.

I spent four years fighting well-funded lobbyists — a fight I won to bring an Open Heart Center to Martin Memorial Hospital, and additional beds to Lawnwood Hospital and St. Lucie Medical Center. I was one of only two Republicans in the Florida House to vote against the largest sales-tax increase in Florida's history, and I drew a line in the sand on the illegal-immigration issue.

While the U.S. Congress has fiddled, without much to show for it, I've been working on breakthroughs for eight years in the Florida House and on changing the way government does business.

Working with then-Gov. Jeb Bush, we passed the landmark Seaport Security Act to secure Florida's seaports. This legislation became a national model after 9/11.

As chairman of three health-care committees, I have advanced major health care legislation, and I have become nationally recognized as a leader in health information technology and was selected as one of four legislators nationally to sit on the National Governors' Association State Alliance on e-Health. Working closely with Newt Gingrich, I have brought innovative solutions to Florida, and I am ready to tackle the tough problems Congress faces as it addresses the health-care needs of our nation.

I am humbled to have been won legislative awards from more than 20 groups, including, among others: the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, the Florida Medical Association, the Children's Forum, Mother's Against Drunk Driving, the Police Benevolent Association and the Florida Medical Association. I have also received the Faith and Family Award from the Christian Coalition, have an "A-plus" rating with the National Rifle Association and an "A" ranking from the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

I am the only candidate running for this seat who has done this, the only conservative who's run in a large section of this congressional district and won, time and time again, the only candidate endorsed by Senate President Ken Pruitt, and the only Republican leader ready to serve and lead on day one.

I respectfully ask for your vote Aug. 26.

Harrell is a Republican candidate for U.S. House District 16.

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