Americans are not looking for more government but for inclusion and restoration of opportunity, according to a congressional candidate in Central Florida.
a former Marine Corps Reservist and U.S. Navy veteran running as a Republican for the House seat in Florida's 9th District, told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV that the biggest thing he has learned on the campaign trail is "we are able to connect with people from all walks of life."
"People are open to a message of restoration of American opportunity," Bonilla said. "I've learned that America's not tilting toward this European model, that America I don't think is tilting at all toward this idea that government is to occupy a preeminent roles in our lives.
"Quite the contrary. When I get out there to the neighborhoods into the communities, whether you're white, whether you're black, whether you're Hispanic, at the end of the day people want to feed their kids, people want to pay their bills. People are concerned about the future of this country."
Story continues below video.
Bonilla, who is up against businessman Peter Vivaldi and Osceola Realtor Executive Carol Platt in the August 26 primary, believes that the Republican Party has gotten "in the briar patch" because it has become confused in its identity, particularly with attracting Hispanic voters, something he would like to help restore.
"The Republican Party has to move toward being a party of inclusion instead of focusing on outreach," Bonilla said. "Outreach is what we do, for example when something is far away from us. But Hispanics like other Americans live in our communities. Their kids go to school with our kids and we have to make an effort to connect with our policies, to show people that we care, to show people that we're concerned and then go and take that message of economic freedom of American opportunity and restore American opportunity for all."
Immigration reform figures to be a hot-button issue in the midterm elections, particularly in Florida where former Gov. Jeb Bush recently stoked a controversy by calling illegals coming across the border "an act of love." Texas Gov. Rick Perry, like Bush, a potential presidential candidate in 2016, echoed that sentiment. Bonilla said he too is sympathetic, but believes that shouldn't derail needed change.
"To some extent we all have sympathy for people who come here from… and search for better opportunities for themselves or for their families," Bonilla said. "But at the same time we understand that immigration is not just a matter of empathy it's a matter of national security and that's where our concern comes from.
"From the fact that we have a border area that we need to make sure is protected. From the fact that we need to make sure that al-Qaida or Hezbollah or some of these other bad actors that work along the border no longer work there anymore. We have a visa system that needs reform and these things are separate from the matter of empathy."
Bonilla said he believes he should be the man Florida chooses to replace Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson because he is "the only candidate in the field that can speak to the entire conservative movement in the Republican primary and then go out in the general and take this message to everybody within the district."
"Alan Grayson doesn't represent us, he doesn't represent the ninth district, he doesn’t represent the values or the principles that unite people that work hard that want to take care of their kids that are concerned about their future within the ninth congressional district," he said.
"I understand, having lived and worked within that district for many years. I understand what compels people to wake up in the morning, what compels people and drives them to go to work and do the things that they do to take of their families and that's what I'll take with me to Washington."
© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.