WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - U.S. Senate candidate Mike McCalister, a retired U.S. Army colonel, a former candidate for Florida governor and a favorite of the Tea Party movement, is unapologetic when he is asked about politics in the United States.
"We need to make serious hiring decisions when we elect our officials," he told NewsChannel 5. "We need to take a look. Are we happy with our country? The way it's being governed? Are we happy with the laws that are and aren't being passed? Are we happy with the results?"
Recent polls show McCalister faces stiff competition from Dr. Dave Weldon, a former U.S. Representive, and U.S. Representative Connie Mack when Republicans in Florida vote in the Primary Election on August 14th.
Yet, he is undeterred as he makes his case to voters.
On the economy: "We are a capitalistic nation that pays its bills selling products and services made by Americans and American-made companies. The best way to raise our income is not to raise taxes it's to get more people employed in the workforce, get more people paying taxes because they now have meaningful employment."
On unemployment: "The federal government needs to cut spending and pass a balanced budget amendment. No question about it. But, the only thing that creates jobs on this planet, is customers. And, we have to protect our customer base and grow that, and only then will we grow our economy and create jobs."
On foreign policy: "We have got to recognize that [some] countries are not our friends. They are stealing our research and our development and our proprietary technologies that we have spent our time and our effort and our money and our resources on."
On immigration: "I believe it's only fair to say [that] we have bought and paid for this great country with our sweat and our toil and our dearest blood. And, just because we come here doesn't mean we owe you something. We need to take care of Americans first."
On front-runner Connie Mack: "We need to stop hiring fundraisers. And, we need to start hiring qualified leaders with the specifics to meet the needs of that job. We need to stop making politics a career field. That is the only thing that is going to put our best players and most qualified individuals in every office in every level."
On Tuesday, McCalister begins a tour of South Florida, visiting Tequesta, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami.
This is the first in a series of profiles of the Republican candidates for U.S. Senate.