FLAGLER BEACH, Fla. (March 11, 2024) – Bringing the challenge to U.S. Senator and former Florida Governor Rick Scott’s stomping grounds in northeast Florida, candidate Keith Gross made a stop in Flagler County on Monday evening at Tortugas Florida Kitchen and Bar.

Surrounded by America First conservatives for a standing room only event, the relatively unknown Florida panhandle native, who is self-funding the majority of his campaign, spoke candidly to applause as he shared his rags to riches story and determination to buck the Washington DC establishment, as guests of the meet and greet peppered him questions.

“We’ve got to get our government back to the vision that our Founding Fathers laid out,” said Gross during his remarks.

Residents ask questions of the candidate, Keith Gross during a meet and greet at Tortugas Florida Kitchen and Bar on Monday, March 11, 2024. Flagler News Weekly

“They laid out a pretty simple list of items that our federal government needs to be doing and instead of doing that, what’s happened over the years is the federal government has taken more, and more, and more power from the states. We’ve got to put that power back in the hands of states where it was originally intended to be. That’s how we restore our freedoms, that’s how we lower our federal spending, and that’s how we ultimately lower our federal tax rate. We shouldn’t be paying for this much government. We can’t afford this much federal government.”

Discussing issues on the minds of Americans across the country Gross impressed Phil and Geraldina Jaffe with his sincerity. The couple said the self-avowed Constitutional Conservative hit all the right notes with them as he discussed issues like the border crisis, term limits, supporting veteran’s services, reducing government agency overreach, and a bloated federal administration.

“He was so impressive. I’m not much into politics but he’s got our vote, I can tell you that,” said Phil Jaffe. “He just made sense.”

“The border is everybody’s main concern it seems like,” he said. “I appreciate that he’s going there not just to agree but shake things up. He sounds very believable.”

“I think the border, like I said. I wasn’t born in this country. I came legally, and I think everybody should come in legally,” added Geraldina Jaffe.

Residents ask questions of the candidate, Keith Gross during a meet and greet at Tortugas Florida Kitchen and Bar on Monday, March 11, 2024. Flagler News Weekly

A former resident of Texas, Sandi Kaufman decided to help support Gross after hearing his answers.

“He hit every hot button which was amazing to me because he hit birthright citizenship. I lived in Texas for many, many years. The border is a huge thing for me. Just our freedoms as Americans are being exploited and I’m so grateful for him, I’m writing a nice check,” she said, checkbook in hand.

It’s not just the big issues that have Flagler County voters concerned.

Community and family advocate Nadine King is hopeful that candidates like Gross can help restore a sense of morality and community to America, starting with a common sense approach to government.

“It wasn’t just a speech, it was about his passion for taking America back and bringing it to the moral standards that need to be set in this country,” said King. “Our children are our future. Our children are our life. This is what we are supposed to be focusing on, how our children grow up with standards, morals, with life education.”

The Gross campaign has several scheduled stops in Florida on the calendar including events in Clay, Nassau, Alachua and Escambia counties in March. A successful entrepreneur and attorney, Gross is one of four Republicans challenging U.S. Senator Rick Scott in the primary election set for August 20, 2024.

Tortugas Florida Kitchen and Bar co-owner Scott Fox and Flagler Beach City Commissioner Rick Belhumeur catch up at the meet and greet. Flagler News Weekly