U.S. Senator Marco Rubio visited Pensacola this morning to discuss the renovation of federal courthouse that has been closed because of mold issues.
He spent a few minutes with Inweekly and talked about his decision to run for another Senate term and what he learned from his presidential campaign.
Sen. Rubio said that as he traveled the country during the GOP primaries he found that people felt very insecure about the country.
“They feel like their country is unraveling on them. Both abroad where we’re less safe and less influential, and at home where we’re divided, and arguing and fighting with each other,” Rubio told Inweekly. “Some of the seams that held us together as a nation are now being ripped out, so there’s deep concern about that.”
He said, “Police officers being shot, terrorist attacks in Orlando, all these things come to bear, and we’re worried about that. People are worried about what’s happening in the court system with the Supreme Court, and that they can see.”
“All these issues came to fruition in the Presidential Primary, and that level, I think, of anxiety about it is something I was aware of.”
Rubio also saw on the presidential campaign trail how much middle America is hurting.
“They work hard, they pay their taxes, they go to church, they volunteer in the community, they raise their families, and at the end of every month they barely have any money in the bank, because they don’t make enough based on what everything costs,” he said.
“That’s very real, and very pronounced, and I think it’s been a big part of this election already. I think it will be one of the things that decides the election in November.”
His decision to run for a second term wasn’t an easy one.
“One of the things that really weighed on me was we had some unique opportunities to do some things outside of politics for awhile, in addition to spending more time with my family,” Sen. Rubio said. “I was really looking forward to that, that was our plan.”
What change his mind was the possibly the Republican Party could lose control of the Senate in the 2016 general election.
“If we lost the seat in Florida the chances increased dramatically that we’d lose control in the Senate, that in essence Chuck Schumer of New York would become the Majority Leader,” he said.
“I couldn’t live knowing that I had a chance to do something about it, and we’d let that happen, I couldn’t live with myself, so that was certainly a determining factor in this process.”
Before leaving Sen. Rubio said that he plans to spend more time in the Panhandle in the coming weeks.
“I look forward to seeing everybody as we come through here, not just in the campaign, but doing our work. Northwest Florida has always held a special place in our heart. We spend a lot of time up here as a family, vacationing and visiting now for the last 15 years,” he said.
We’re aware of it from that front, and I hope I can earn everyone’s support to be able to continue to serve you in the U.S. Senate for the next six years.”