tv A Conversation with Freshman Representative Mark Walker R-NC CSPAN December 25, 2015 4:55pm-5:14pm EST
my constituents. as a freshman member of the minority, you get a lot of reward from being back in the district solving problems individually for constituents. republicans and democrats who come into our district office who need help with a government agency or just someone to listen, we do a lot of that. it is very rewarding. >> finally, a chance to tell a little nonfactor interesting story about mark desaulnier that most people may not know about who you are. rep. desaulnier: unfortunately, i've told people just about everything about me. [laughter] rep. desaulnier: that is a good question. my two sons is something i try to keep private, but not something i hold from the public. a little-known fact is, as much as i have been devoted to public life in my career, i'm much more devoted to the success and development of my two sons. >> congressman, thank you very much. rep. desaulnier: my pleasure. nice tie.
>> in this next congressional freshmen profile interview, mark walker talks about his 2014 campaign when he defeated several better-known and well-funded candidates and he also talks about his time as a baptist minister. this is 20 minutes. >> congressman mark walker representing north carolina's sixth district. a baptist minister and former car salesman. this is the first elected office you have ever held. how did you decide to run for a seat? rep. walker: there were a lot of experiences that played into that. i spent the last 15 years as a baptist pastor in north carolina. a lot of parallels. >> what will serve you better, faith or salesmanship?
rep. walker: i think genuineness is paramount. that is one of the reasons we are seeing some of the leaders we are seeing today. they have the ability to talk about policy in a genuine manner. >> how did you prepare to become a congressman? rep. walker: i ran strictly with no political experience whatsoever. i did not have the political capital or political connections. i spent time in inner cities in cleveland, new york, and baltimore to try to build relationships that may not always agree with us politically ideology wise, but understanding that the relationship always comes before policy. when you build genuine relationships, you hold the right to believe what you do. >> what would you tell someone who says, i want to be in congress and has no real experience? rep. walker: i would tell them to follow their heart. i believe that if it is
something we are being led to do and we put together 40-50 people and we launch, we built an organizational chart from scratch. we begin to establish relationships and we were able to get through three elections in 2014 to earn a seat in congress. >> in the primary, you came in second, but came back and won by an overwhelming majority. what happened in this election? rep. walker: i get that question a lot. going from 25% to 60% over a 2.5 months timeframe, i think part of the message we were talking about as far as returning power to the people, but also to understand that this should not come -- come with vitriol or with name-calling or putting people on the defensive. i think the very strong leadership aspect to be up to talk about these issues and
build coalitions without getting to the place where you are talking down to people. >> now you are all the way here. what is the reality of capitol hill life versus what you expected to find? rep. walker: i think some of it is very similar. part of the things that surprised me was how many people would meet on a daily basis. they said, you've got to help us with an overreaching arm of the federal government. sweet potato farmers, federal insurance agents, you name it. can you back off the regulations so we can be free to flourish and prosper the way we want to? >> your first name is actually bradley, but you go by mark. rep. walker: that is a question i have asked my parents many times. it is tradition. i have two younger brothers and i followed the same suit. my dad was a minister. mark is a little bit more for biblical names in bradley's, so
i stuck with it. >> you have two children. rep. walker: i have a son who is 20 and two daughters, one who is 17 and one who is nine. i got to spend a little time with them on saturday and sunday before spending -- flying back up to d.c. i'm married to a wonderful nurse practitioner. >> what was the reaction first off when your family found out that dad was going to be a congressman? rep. walker: i think they were pleased with it, but part of parenting, i want to make sure that their world is not a place where they can't follow and pursue their dreams, as well. my daughter, my 17-year-old, is a big-time in community theater and we want to make sure we are supporting those opportunities, as well. >> what do you do when you go back on? rep. walker: i make sure that family is priority. my golf game is not what it used to be. we also have many constituent services and events. last night, we were at an event
where we had 115 world war ii veterans. as a pastor, it carries over to being a congressman as well, i enjoy doing it. >> you settle down in the triad. inn in alabama and lived alabama and texas. you settle down in the triad. rep. walker: the triad. there are three populated places in north carolina. you have the triad and charlotte. the triangle, durham, chapel hill. fresh out of college, i drove my dodge stratus into the city and -- my dodge shadow with a hundred dollars in my pocket into the city and did not know a single soul. i had a young lady i had dated a little bit in college who lived 30 miles north and i said winston-salem is a great place to move and we started a life and career there. >> when you go back home, what are the issues you are hearing about?
what inspired you to run to represent your community? rep. walker: i think part of it was to be able to talk about individual, talk about hope talk about liberty, something that people can identify with. i haven't built a bridge to be able to talk about the things that are important to me. if we can do that in a way that will resonate, i think it is very important. even on the republican side, we are very guilty of only preaching to the choir. i think the ultimate goal is to augment the base or broaden the audience. >> you are already looking ahead to your next reelection. you've got at least one challenger. how do you balance what you are trying to do on capitol hill with your campaign. rep. walker: we have a job to do.
our job is to stay focused and not be distracted. the people will decide. we are at peace and content with the job we have done over the last 10 months. >> baptist minister and you have been a car salesman. what kind of cars did you sell? rep. walker: i spent about 10 months as a car salesman. i spent about two decades as a pastor. i sold audi, bmw. it gave me an opportunity to get out in the public, learn, meet and greet. all social and economic backgrounds. it was a great opportunity. >> a pastor of worship and music in greensboro. what does a pastor of worship and music do?
rep. walker: i've had three roles. lead pastor, the senior pastor. i served as the executive pastor. in a large church, they may manage 10 or 12 pastors. i've also spent time as a music and worship pastor, i wrote and directed the greens borough christmas spectacular. about a 400 person cast. it stays in line with the overall christmas message. i walked away about a year and a half ago. >> how much are you still involved in ministry? rep. walker: i try to get back home every weekend. we attend a church called mercy hill church in greensboro. i go and fill in if there is a vacancy. i enjoy that and still find that very rewarding and fulfilling. >> if you could pass one piece of legislation, what would it be? rep. walker: i think it would be
a balanced budget. i think people have reached a place where they want to see us get back to where we were 20 years ago, the last time we passed a balanced budget. americans want washington to be fiscally accountable. if we have to do it as individuals and families, i think we should have to do it. >> what makes you a republican? rep. walker: i think the believe that the individual is set up to make the best decisions, whether it is an education, fiscal responsibility, it goes back all the way to the debate between hamilton and jefferson. a big believe in federalism. the more you can localize government, the more accountable it can be. >> you have already been on capital for some big events. what was it like to have a front row seat?
rep. walker: i would be remiss if i didn't say that i catch my self walking the halls thinking what am i doing here? it is an incredible honor and a privilege. i'm thrilled to have this opportunity to serve. i served in a different capacity most of my adult life, but now to be a voice for the district, i consider it to be a very high on her. high honor.r -- >> it may be early, but down the road politically, are you going to be in politics for the long haul? rep. walker: we hope so. we feel like this is something we are very comfortable with. i'm a big believer in term limits. i believe that makes you more accountable to the people. >> talk about what committees you are on and what you had to
go through to get on them. rep. walker: they sign you write up. the top four committees, we did get two or three of the ones we wanted to serve on. we want to do serve on homeland security and house oversight. specifically house oversight because you feel like you are intentionally doing something on behalf of the people who sent you here to hold these agencies more accountable. >> if you had any advice for president obama, what would it be? rep. walker: i would try to tell the president to listen to the american people on this iranian deal. nearly 80% of the people felt like it was a flawed deal. 60% of the house voted against it. i wish he would be a little bit nobody understands what it is more sensitive and listening to the american people, as well as israel, our ally, who feels this is a dangerous agreement with
iran. i would caution him to take a step back and look at the deal. >> let's take a look at your daily life. what is your life like on any given day? rep. walker: well, that is a great question. i start each day spending some time in the scriptures and reading and looking for guidance and discernment for whatever decisions are faced that they area if it is based in my own -- that day. if it is based in my own instinct or human intellect, i would be question all about that i meet with staff, we get the day started. >> we talked a little bit about the triad. what is it like? rep. walker: it is a great place to raise a family. it has that middletown american feel. but there is an arts community, all of it is provided for the community. you get a sense of people caring and looking out for each other. it is a wonderful place for businesses.
we are sitting here talking about the different businesses in our community. whether it is bridgestone, we have a couple of gun manufacturers and rocking them county. it is a wonderful business place, as well. >> you mentioned bridgestone. there is a tie your right here on the floor. rep. walker: we usually don't get tires dropped off, but we got that gift last week. >> does it tie-in with the fact that you are a former car salesman? rep. walker: maybe so. i think it is the fact that they are a wonderful business. >> there is also the triangle, which may be more people know about. is there a healthy competition between the two?
rep. walker: maybe a little bit. they are different audiences in different companies, but probably a little bit. i think they have different target markets that they go after. >> what is the economic health of your district? rep. walker: we have some room to improve, specifically in the area of workforce development. we have 1500 skilled physicians we are not able to fill in the county alone. we have to do a better job of equipping our folks to take those jobs. >> what do you think you could do from here in washington to help those folks back home? rep. walker: i think the first thing we have to do is bring awareness to these situations. we have to talk about what the problem is. i believe action steps are very important. we launched an initiative where we have people from the ministry communities, business communities. we feel it is a very strong
action step to break those gaps. that is in the district back in north carolina. >> is it a slightly different approach than the affordable care act? rep. walker: it is because they -- because it is a long-term solution. i don't know if we have done anything that helps that particular issue or victim. a one-time thing is good and there is a place for that, but how do we look at this from a long-term approach were we can bring a benefit to these communities? >> what are some of the overseas trips you have been on?
rep. walker: we went to study some strategic missile defense shield with the prime minister of japan. one of the thing that concerns me is the kind of signals we are giving off right now, some of our allies are not sure where we are our on foreign policy or how surefooted we are. i think it is important to make sure that, as it administration, from this president, that we send a clear signal to the people who wish to try to do with harm. >> what surprised you about washington? what could you leave behind? and what do you like about it? rep. walker: i certainly like the fact that from day to day, there is an energy where you are actively involved in something. specifically, if there has been of use in an agency, you are
-- if there has been abuse in an agency where you are playing a vital role in being a voice for the people. to represent that is huge. some of the nastiness i see sometimes, whether it is from social media or a piece of different information is a little frustrating, but we will continue to communicate our message and where we stand on these particular issues. >> when you are in the sea -- when you are in d.c., do you get out at all? rep. walker: most of the time it is right here, back to the capital, back to the office, back to the committee rooms area -- committee rooms. stay busy. >> congressman mark walker, north carolina's district -- sixth district. rep. walker: thank you for having me. announcer: three days of featured programming on this holiday weekend on c-span. this evening at 7:00 eastern, congressional republican leaders honoring vice president dick cheney at the capitol with the unveiling of a marble bust in in passive -- in emancipation hall.