Former U.S. Senate rivals team up for bipartisan Florida town hall tour

TAMPA, Fla.  (WFLA) – Former congressmen and one-time U.S. Senate rivals David Jolly (R-Belleair Bluffs) and Patrick Murphy (D-Jupiter) will be launching a statewide tour this fall to pull back the curtain on Washington and shine a light on the inside reasons why D.C. is in a state of chaos and dysfunction.

The bipartisan tour, with four stops across the state already scheduled, will follow a town hall format moderated by members of the media and academics, and will include a question and answer session with attendees.

The tour is titled, “Why Gridlock Rules Washington and How We Can Solve the Crisis.”

“Working across the aisle was a hallmark of my two terms in Congress, and the relationships I formed with members of both parties were invaluable,” Murphy said. “I look forward to joining my former colleague as we share our perspectives on ways we must work together to improve our broken political system.”

“Even in times of great disagreement there are ways of finding common ground, there are opportunities for bipartisan leadership to solve some of our country’s toughest issues.  I’m excited and proud to join my friend on a statewide tour to discuss how this can be accomplished in today’s hyper-partisan world of politics,” Jolly added.

Hurricane Irma forced organizers to cancel the first part of the tour which was supposed to be held at the University of South Florida in Tampa on September 12. The 75-minute event was supposed to be sponsored by USF and the Tampa Bay Times.

Additional stops are scheduled for Florida International University on October 4, the University of Miami on October 18 and the University of Florida in Gainesville on October 25.

More events are expected to be added this fall. All events are free and open to the public.

During their years in Congress, Murphy, a Democrat, represented a Republican-leaning district in South Florida while Jolly, a Republican, represented a Democrat-leaning district on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Jolly and Murphy found ways to work together on seemingly intractable issues of responsible debt reduction, climate change and the environment, public safety, federal firearm policies and campaign finance reform.

For nearly a year, the two also faced off as opponents in a U.S. Senate race with Jolly and Murphy both seeking their party’s respective nomination.

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