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'Why Gridlock Rules Washington' Tour Features Two Ex-Congressmen

Former Congressmen David Jolly, a Republican, and Patrick Murphy, a Democrat, are currently on a speaking tour to address the lack of bi-partisanship in Congress. 

They'll appear Thursday night at the University of South Florida's Tampa campus.

Jolly got a reputation for speaking his mind during his two-and-a-half years representing Pinellas County. He proposed campaign finance reform - which got nowhere - and also has been a regular critic of President Donald Trump. Jolly and Patrick Murphy, who was defeated in his quest for Senate by Marco Rubio, are currently touring the state.  Jolly said he hopes to do two things:

"One is pull the curtain back on some of the structural challenges that have been created in the past decades - be it how district lines are drawn or campaign finance reform or closed primaries," he said. "But to also demonstrate on some of the hardest issues of the day some real consensus - how can we solve issues related to health care and to immigration and border security, foreign policy."

Jolly noted that he and Murphy worked together on several issues - even when they faced off as opponents in the U.S. Senate race.

Murphy served two terms in Congress. Murphy said he and David Jolly went to Washington, D.C. hoping to tackle tough issues like tax reform and climate change, and walked away wondering why nothing ever happens in Congress. He hopes their current tour will help fix what he calls a "broken system."

"It's not just us that are frustrated and hope more for our country," he said. "It's everybody we talk to. All of our supporters, everyone we know through Congress, whether they're Republican or Democrat, they're saying, Patrick, David, what is going on up there? Please, do something."

Their “Why Gridlock Rules Washington” tour of universities around the state will stop at the Marshall Center on the USF Tampa campus at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Additional stops are scheduled at the University of Miami on Oct. 18 and the University of Florida in Gainesville on Oct. 25.  

Steve Newborn is a WUSF reporter and producer at WUSF covering environmental issues and politics in the Tampa Bay area.