Congressman David W. Jolly represents Florida’s 13th Congressional District which covers most of Pinellas County. He was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in March of 2014. He was re-elected in November of 2014.
Now in his second term, Jolly serves on the House Appropriations Committee. He sits on three Appropriations Subcommittees: the Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs; the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development; and the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science.
Representative Jolly believes the first responsibility of Congress is to work, to govern, and to do so in a manner that represents the entire Pinellas County community. Jolly believes Members of Congress should be thoughtful and deliberative in approaching the issues that are most critical to our community and to the nation, and should always seek to work together on critical issues like veterans’ healthcare, job growth, and reducing taxes and eliminating the national debt. Most importantly, Jolly believes each of these issues must be approached in the context of Constitutional authority, recognizing the 10th Amendment authority of the states, the co-equal responsibility and authority of the Congress and the President, and the fundamental individual liberty provided to all Americans.
To improve the effectiveness of the Congress, Jolly has formally called on Congress to be in session more days and introduced legislation to require that a work week in Washington is actually a full 40-hour work week. Jolly wants Congress to be in session from Monday morning through Friday evenings, the same work week of virtually every other American.
In 2016, Jolly also introduced the Stop Act, landmark legislation that would ban Members of Congress from personally asking for money. Jolly says the Stop Act is less campaign finance reform and more Congressional reform. The message it sends to Congress is clear: put down the phone, get back to work, and start advancing the national debate on important matters of national security, immigration reform, and tax relief.
Jolly notes the public did not elect members to go to Washington and spend their time raising money for their re-election. They are not paying members $174,000 a year to spend, in some cases 20 or 30 hours a week, on the phone dialing for dollars.
Featured on 60 Minutes, the Stop Act has been endorsed by newspaper editorial boards ranging from the Tampa Bay Times to the Washington Post.
With regard to veterans’ healthcare, Jolly has been a leader in the ongoing fight to protect and provide for our nation’s veterans. In fact, it was Jolly who got the VA to admit under oath in the fall of 2014 that wait times contributed to the death of veterans.
Jolly has cosponsored and fought for passage of legislation to improve healthcare for veterans by creating more private sector options for care, authorizing additional medical staff, and increasing the number of healthcare facilities. But Jolly wants to give every veteran a true choice card to give each veteran complete control of their healthcare so he introduced legislation that gives veterans the opportunity to choose if they want to receive care within the Veterans Health Administration, the Department of Defense facilities, or private sector providers, and enable them to choose the types of treatments that are most effective for them. Jolly’s legislation giving veterans a true choice with no geographic or provider restrictions is called the Veterans Health Care Freedom Act.
In response to letters and pressure by Jolly, the VA instituted a new process and policy in 2015 to avoid wrongly declaring veterans dead.
Jolly advocated for changes after the VA wrongly declared at least 6 people in the Tampa Bay region dead over an 18 month period. Jolly pointed out that these mistakes by the VA can create financial hardships.
In a letter to Jolly, the VA later admitted it wrongly declared more than 4,200 people dead between 2011 and 2015, disrupting benefits to veterans and dependents. In 2015 alone, the VA said it erroneously terminated benefits to 1,025 individuals. In each case, the veteran or person receiving VA benefits was very much alive.
Jolly has likewise made it a commitment and priority of his office to assist the many veterans of Pinellas County with benefit claims and other casework matters that can be critical to the quality of life for those who have served our nation in uniform.
Fighting for our local economy, Jolly has moved swiftly to address rising flood insurance rates by introducing legislation to broaden recent relief measures, but wants to see additional relief for businesses and homeowners by insisting on a reinsurance plan that diversifies both risks and costs across all regions of the country and across all natural disaster hazards. Jolly has championed beach renourishment projects that can reduce the costs of storm damage, provide vital pre-storm mitigation and habitat protection, and provide for our local economy that depends very much on hospitality and tourism. And Jolly has been a steadfast advocate on behalf of our recreational and commercial fishing industry, fighting for additional research to assess and ultimately improve fish stocks, addressing the lionfish epidemic, and fighting for increased funding to benefit water quality, oil spill recovery efforts, and the health of our Tampa Bay estuary.
In fighting to lower taxes, Jolly has introduced common sense legislation to make sure no one individual must ever give more to government than they keep for themselves. Jolly believes individuals should be empowered before government, and therefore we must look at the total level of taxation of an individual from all forms of government and taxing authorities – including federal, state and municipal taxes, property and utility taxes, fuel and energy taxes, and dozens of other taxing authorities. Jolly believes that only by aggregating the true level of taxation on any one individual can the nation begin to seriously address tax reform that empowers individuals and families.
Calling the national debt the biggest threat to America’s security, Jolly believes we must finally reach consensus on broad budget reforms that finally implement the necessary changes to the federal government while protecting benefits that have been promised to individuals, promises that rightfully should be relied on. Jolly believes that individuals should not have to unduly bear the burden of the past failed leadership of Washington.
Determined to protect healthcare choices for seniors, Jolly has cosponsored bipartisan legislation that would address the growing cost of prescription drugs and allow Medicare recipients to appeal coverage decisions for medicines. Jolly also supports reforming limitations on the coverage of durable medical equipment upon which so many seniors depend. Jolly is a member of several caucuses, including those addressing research and treatment for pediatric cancer, lupus, and Tourette syndrome, and has likewise championed issues of the Spinal Muscular Atrophy community.
A supporter of an individual’s Constitutional right to lawfully and responsibly possess a firearm, Jolly has cosponsored several measures that protect the rights of responsible individuals to lawfully own firearms, while also insisting on stricter penalties and effective measures to prevent firearm ownership by those who intend to break the law and cause harm.
As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, Jolly is able to scrutinize federal programs to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse, while identifying areas of critical national investment from national security, to early childhood education, to the environment, to transportation and infrastructure.
An attorney by profession, Jolly’s prior career included the practice of law, creating and operating several small businesses, and working in a professional staff role with the United States Congress.
The youngest of three siblings, Jolly was born in Dunedin, Florida and is the son of a minister. Jolly received his Bachelor of Arts in History from Emory University and later received his law degree from George Mason University. Jolly and his wife, Laura, live in Belleair Bluffs, Florida.