tv 116th Freshmen Profile - Reps. Meuser Mc Adams Fulcher Trone CSPAN March 2, 2019 10:51pm-11:23pm EST
-- it gets back to results. >> newsmakers with nebraska governor pete ricketts, chair of the national governors association, at 6:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> the 116th congress is the most educated group ever with , 72% of lawmakers earning a graduate degree. c-span spoke with several of the new faces. dan meuser is new to washington but not to politics. , he served as the state secretary of revenue. he also helped to build a medical equipment company with his family. where didn meuser, you grow up? rep. meuser: i grew up in new york. my father was a police officer. we grew up in a middle-class household. my mom stayed home with us.
when we went off to school, she went off to work. i had a brother and sister. i wouldn't change a minute of it. we were blessed with a great childhood. >> what kind of values did it instill in you? rep. meuser my father was a new york city police officer. we had somewhat of a rigid household, but at the same time they kept us busy. sports andores, homework, in that order, is what we focused on and did. but values of hard work, values of honesty, believing in america and knowing that if you get educated and you work hard, and reach for some goals, you could do well, and my brother and i and my sister, we took those values to heart. and it is really what led to us going into business together. we grew a small business into what became a very large business and what is now today , the largest manufacturer and
designer in the roads of the best power mobility devices for people with disabilities in the world. host: is there an experience of your childhood, something that your mother or father would say to you as kids that you carry around with you still today? rep. meuser: quite a few things, probably. my mom was always good with quotes to give us enthusiasm. but one thing i will say that my dad would say, he would say, never say "i can't." and i have had my children understand that. don't say "i can't." say, "i can try harder." "i can figure out a way." "show me how." but never say "i can't." host: how do you think that in -- that impacted you and the decisions you made going into adulthood, and where you are today? rep. meuser: figuring out how to get things done. and sometimes, the things that you want to get done can't
necessarily get done today. so you study, you work and you put yourself into a position so that you do have an opportunity to achieve those goals. my whole life was very much based upon that, as many people in america. i had a good american business story, and made it here to congress but fortunately, there are a lot of good such stories. we did start with a small opportunity. and we grew it into a larger. we had more failures and mistakes than i can count, but you get past them. you don't try to kid yourself. you check your ego at the door. you underpromise and over deliver, all the business sayings that are a daily reality. but i carried those things into being revenue secretary for the commonwealth of pennsylvania and i am absolutely going to carry those here. you really have to be real about things, assess what the problem is, and don't fool ourselves.
know that we have to deal with republicans and democrats and other entities such as the white house and figure out how to move , forward. host: you started your business with your siblings? rep. meuser: my father and brother were the cofounders in 1987. i joined them in 1988. a small furniture assembly, we made one a product and we just got it at it over time. treated customers right, figured out great operational inefficiencies and we started winning customers throughout the country and around the world. host: how did you end up in pennsylvania? rep. meuser: i started my life in long island, but the business opportunity happened to be in pennsylvania. a company by the name of pride lumber and furniture at the time. we went and renamed it pride health care, and now it is known as pride mobility products. but that is what i went to
school in new york, i went to maritime college, i went to cornell. a couple of years after that i decided to see what my father and brother were doing with this new business that they put together, and it worked out well. host: how did you become a conservative. or have you always thought of yourself as a conservative? rep. meuser: public service is something that has been in my mind since i was very young, actually. i would read a lot in school, a lot of history, government, philosophy, what works in government. i did grow up in the age the , first person i voted for was ronald reagan, 1984i guess it was. and i really appreciated what was going on there. i will also say i did not appreciate what was going on in the jimmy carter days. i thought it was very ineffective, i didn't think there was any leadership. ronald reagan came in with not just confidence but
policies, and he let the america do its thing. he let limited government and focused on the private sector and reducing taxes, talking about and reducing regulations, and trying to put more money into the pockets of families and of workers and of people. that is what drives the economy. look at today. there were a number of stimulus packages done six years ago under the obama administration and the economy did not pick up. , the former congress and the president did the tax-cut and we truly have a booming economy that is very favorable to very many, many people throughout the ninth congressional district. just a note about the ninth congressional district, one of the reasons i think they saw in me someone who could carry their voice to washington, because i completely understand their
frustrations. the ninth, say that in our district, we have the best people. people in the ninth congressional built america, we put that love america but are very frustrated with the government. they feel as if they continue to work harder and give and we aren't getting anything back in return. they feel forgotten. i get that. and i had a campaign of inclusion, a very wise gentleman from the district would always tell me, follow the politics of inclusion, which i did. we brought people in. and and that is what i am doing now that i am an office. i don't really like making a move without our people being aware of what we are doing on their behalf, why we are doing it, and what the potential outcomes are. but our campaign was very much about understanding what they wanted. conservatism, in my view, is focusing on accentuating the
positives that have made our country great, and mitigating if not eliminating those which drag us down. and freedom, freedom of the marketplaces, limited government, certainly a lawful society, obviously, but policies we don't create jobs here in government. in fact, we probably get in the way of the job creation, which we have to stop. we need to be enablers of employers, of families, not disablers, if you will. we need to encourage, not discourage on every policy issue that we vote on. that we get behind. host: on the other side of the aisle is ben mcadams, the only democrat in utah's congressional delegation. he is representing the fourth district. congressman mcadams, you grew up in a family of eight.
what was the household like? rep. mcadams: we were six kids. it was a pretty rambunctious household. we learned to get along, we had a lot of sibling arguments over that overtime we have grown to be pretty close. i loved it. it was a small home and we were always on top of each other, learning to share one bathroom and three bedrooms. we got to stand off each other's -- we got to sand off each other's rough edges and we got to be a pretty close family. host: where were you raised, and how were you raised? >> a suburb north of salt lake city. my mother was a schoolteacher. she taught us a love of learning and reading, and really instilled in us a desire to gain a further education and understand the world around us. my parents actually got divorced when i was a teenager, they had a fairly dysfunctional marriage. so that was kind of rough. actually, the divorce was probably a good thing for both my parents and my family, but that was a dynamic that
we were living with in a pretty conservative part of the suburbs of utah. host: where did you go after high school and what did you major in, and then, after college? rep. mcadams: soon after i graduated high school i started working a construction job doing remodeling work. soon after that, i served a mission for the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints in brazil, sao paulo, for two years. working and serving there in the greater sao paulo area. i came back and went to the university of utah, where i got a bachelor's degree in political science and minored in sociology.
then i went to law school, columbia law school. i got married, i shouldn't neglect that fact, but my wife and i both attended columbia law school and graduated from law school in 2003. i stayed in practice with a big law firm in new york doing securities compliance and regulations. moved back home to utah and did the same. taught at the university of utah for a period of years before i veered off into a public service career. host: how has being a member of the mormon faith impacted you? rep. mcadams: my faith has impacted me in several ways. especially working as a missionary in brazil, as property, but i also saw the -- especially working as a missionary in brazil, poverty. but i also saw the opportunities created by people who had access to a good quality education and a good paying job, house a good -- how they could lift themselves and lift their families out of poverty. brazil developed a middle-class, and many people achieved that middle-class status which was so important. i came back committed to doing more to help people lift themselves up from a lower income and working-class family often times relying from a
single income, my mother was a schoolteacher, it taught me the value of education. i was able to get ahead in life because of things like pell grants and student loans, hard work and working multiple jobs to put myself through college. i saw that hard work and the few doors that were open for me, i was able to lift myself up. i really developed a commitment to helping other people have access to those opportunities and to make sure that doors were open if people would choose to walk through them, they can really achieve the american dream as well. a lot of that commitment comes from my faith. a commitment to work hard and a commitment that everybody should have access to opportunities to lift themselves up and to provide a better life for themselves and their families. he you served in the house? rep. mcadams: i was mayor of salt lake county, county executive. in that capacity, the county oversaw a lot of human services, economic development services, transportation, investments in the salt lake area.
the greater salt lake metro area. one of the issues i worked really hard on was homelessness and housing. helping people who were in crisis to gain access to some stability. in some cases it was job training and access to jobs, in other cases it is treatment. helping them clean up their criminal record and get their feet back under them and establish a good life for themselves. we worked a lot in that area and we really found a lot of data driven initiatives and efforts that work for people who are struggling and trying to lift themselves up. certainly, the need for treatment, behavioral health treatment, or access to housing. seeing so many people in that capacity turn our lives around. we look forward to taking that passion and desire to serve and the how we can apply it at the federal level to really help people help themselves. host: who or what influenced you to get into politics in the first place? rep. mcadams: i am tempted to say that it was probably my
mother. though she lamented me running for office. she didn't admire politicians, and she was worried for me and what that might mean, to run for office. she was also someone who inspired me to do good, with a commitment to public service, to giving back to my community. i have to say a lot of that stems from my mother, who worked hard her entire life and raised six incredible kids who all went on to get a college degree and many of us are giving back in different ways. i am the only one in public service, but all my siblings are giving back to our community and in different ways. host: you won the seat that was belonged to a republican mia love. what did you mum say? rep. mcadams: she passed away about four years ago when i was serving as mayor. she worked so hard when i was mayor. she passed away about two years into that, sudden death.
i know that if she was here today she would fill that apprehension about that she -- she would still have that apprehension about having a child in politics. host: joining us from the west is representative russ fulcher, republican from the 1st district of idaho. he is a former state senator and businessman. you ended up as the congressman for the first district of idaho. how did it happen? rep. fulcher: i was a gubernatorial candidate in 2014 and came very, very close. that was a continuation on. prior to that i had the good fortune of being in the senate for a 10 year window of time. as the field filled out it was pretty clear that there was a lot of overlap in the state in terms of various candidates and also at the same time, my predecessor in the united states congress stepped down and opened up this door. it seemed like a very good fit
and it just worked out. host: you mentioned a crowded political field in idaho. in that first district primary, you won 18 of the 19 counties in the first district. juneau what the one county was that you lost? rep. fulcher: i think it was a county right next to canada, boundary county. host: what happened there? rep. fulcher: i think i just didn't get that far enough. [laughter] host: what is a better job? rep. fulcher: for me right now i believe that things worked out exactly the way they were supposed to. i am not sure there is one that is better than the other. the congressional seat has turned out to be a good fit in my professional life, in addition to being in the legislature. i had a long time of traveling internationally, and i think that might give you perspective, not just traveling, but doing a lot of business internationally. maybe just a little perspective that comes with a congressional seat. host: what sort of business where you in? rep. fulcher: i was in the technology business.
most of those years i was with a technology company called micron technology, a large semi conductor company. it wasn't so large when i started there. that and another company afforded me a lot of time to travel around the world and do business in different areas and a different states. i am thankful for that background now. host: you also have a big family in idaho? rep. fulcher: more than 100 years on both sides of the family. it is a good place, and i want to try to do the best i can to keep it that way. host: home wasa dairy farm? rep. fulcher: dairy farm kid from meridian, idaho. there used to be a lot of those. now that area is raising houses more than farms. i translated into the best -- i transitioned into the technology sector when i was a very young person and that is where most of my adult life has been spent. host: why the shift of politics? -- why the shift to politics?
rep. fulcher: that is a great question. i have asked myself a few times, too, wondered if it was the right move. i don't necessarily recommend that to you, if that is what you want to do. but there has been an interest there, and being an international business person, you certainly have the impact of regulation and law everywhere you go. this is where the rules get set. so much about. there was an interest early on in my very first state senate , to finish appointed the term of a state senator who had resigned, and that started the interest flowing further, and here we are today. host: do you have a political mentor? rep. fulcher: probably the closest would be a former u.s. senator from idaho, james mccord. unfortunately, he is not with us anymore. but back in the 1980's i was
privileged to do an internship with him while being a micron employee. there was a lot of interaction between the company and what was going on here with the public commerce rulings of the time, so i found him to be a very levelheaded, kind and honorable man. host: what is your political style? rep. fulcher: i will tell you what it's not. i am not a real bomb thrower. i tried to build relationships and exhibit some kind of degree of confidence in preparation so that when i do get involved in something, it is coming from a position of knowledge or experience, one that is collaborative to the extent possible. i mean, have some strong principles that i believe in. those can't be forfeited. i would say the principles our nation was founded on. i just finished a few moments ago speaking about the sanctity of life, that is one of them. free-market-type of principles is another one.
the rule of law in property, those things that were important to our founders are important to me. host: what committees are you serving on? rep. fulcher: i just found out today what those are. natural resources, which is my number one pick because of the huge implications to our state, and also education and labor. both very pertinent. i am excited about it. this is a very good set of assignments for me. host: what do you want to get done on those committees? rep. fulcher: we have two-thirds of the land mass in the state of idaho that is federal land. so you can make the argument that in our state, we are more of a tenant than my landlord. -- more of a tenant than a landlord. anytime we have that much federal land, you will have continuous issues with your mining industry, anything that is federally-regulated. transportation that has to go through all that federal ground. so the number one thing, if i could somehow have a role in this, it would be to allow for
some more wisdom in the planning process, in the management process. most of the time the local stakeholders in our state don't have enough say in how it is managed. it is within our state borders and we would really like to put some wise local management into the process. host: two years from now when the 116th congress comes to an end how will you consider whether you have been successful in this congress? rep. fulcher: probably based off the constituent service. i am a freshman in the minority party and i am not naive, i will a huge stick in that role, however, we do have three different officers across a very large landmass and due to veterans issues and some of those federal land issues,
federal regulations issues, there is a lot of traffic that goes through those offices and a lot of people who need help navigating a very complex federal system. so, probably the best thing i can do in the next two years is help is as many people as possible navigate through those federal channels. host: how many terms do you hope to serve? rep. fulcher: oh, my. maybe one. i really don't know the answer to that. if i feel productive, if i feel like i am able to make some be aty, whether it the state level or here at the federal level, that i would like to stick around for a while, two terms, maybe three terms. i really don't know the answer. likewise, if it is not a good fit and i am not performing well for the people i represent, i'm happy to step back. host: do you see yourself running for the governor's office again someday? rep. fulcher: that is a question i just don't know the answer to. i would say right now, not
really. this is where my focus is to me. this this is where my focus needs to be. you never say never. the way the doors opened and closed, and the opportunities came forward, i am quite excited to be where i am in the united states congress. we are going to put our focus here and see if we just can't make a positive influence. host: another businessman joining the ranks of the house is the owner of the nation's largest wine retailer, total wine, david trone. host: congressman, tell me about losing the farm. rep. trone: you learn that bad things happen to good people. i left college and went to work in the farm for my dad. unfortunately, it didn't work out. we had some financial problems due to some personal issues he had and we went bankrupt. the banks took our farm, they took our home and my parents divorced.
and we had to start over again. host: how did you start over? rep. trone: first thing i realized was that i needed more education. i had always been a good student. i applied to lots of graduate schools and ended up going to the university of pennsylvania wharton school of business. i got an mba there. i took out student loans, and i met my wife. she also has an mba from wharton and she also had student loans. it was great. and we began a new business, which was brokering eggs. i did that for about a year and a half. host: tell me about brokering eggs. what does that mean? rep. trone: brokering eggs means that you have a bunch of chicken s and you buy eggs from them and you sell them to somebody else. so i would do that up and down the eastern seaboard. unfortunately, the chickens i was involved with caught the avian flu and died. so i had a second setback. but thank goodness, because i am kind of entrepreneurial.
i started a small beer and soft drink retailer in harrisburg, pennsylvania. i opened it up in my second semester at the wharton school of business on a total shoestring. totally bootstrapped up. we painted the signs, we built the coolers out of two by fours, we built the stands out of two by fours and we began the regional business. -- we began the retail business. and that is what has blossomed. fast forward a couple of decades later, a lot of hard work later, to a company called "total wine and more." "total wine and more" now is the largest retailer of the united states, privately owned, for wine, beer and spirits. we operate in 23 states, with over 7000 team members and we do
over $3 billion in sales. it is quite unlike the current occupant of the white house who also went to wharton school of business. he started with a big stake from his dad. we started with zero. later on, my dad came and actually worked for me for the last 35 years of his life and helped out. host: how many members of your family are in your business? rep. trone: right now i am working with my younger brother, and that's it. he and i own the business 100%. host: how many siblings do have? rep. trone: i have three brothers and one sister. host: why did you decide to get into politics? rep. trone: i wanted to leave the world in a better spot. think of bobby kennedy in a 1968. we do a lot of that with our foundation, whether it is criminal justice, the american civil liberties union, substance abuse, opioids, mental illness, and education. a lot of areas we are involved in, but we wanted to make a big difference. the only way you can make a big
difference is a federal government, so this is an opportunity to help people who don't have a pac who don't have a lobbyist. folks that have or have's and addiction to opioids. i lost my nephew at age 24 to fentanyl. so i have lived through this, as the family has, and folks in the criminal justice system. the first step back is only the first step. we can do touch help folks have a fair shake. host: tell me how you got to the sixth district. you ran for the eighth district at one point. rep. trone: we been a good race and came in a close second. delaney is running for united states president. he would be a great president. he opened up that seat, so i stepped up and took a shot and i turned out to be successful. host: on that 2016 race, you spent how much money? rep. trone: i hate to think about it. all i know is it was too much and i hope we spend less from here on out. host: was it about $13 million? rep. trone: it could have been.
but i don't want to keep thinking about it. , if peoplepoint is like your issues, people like what you stand for, you have to get your word out. the problem is newcomers have such a tough time against sitting state senators and sitting state delegates. so it really takes an effort, especially in a media market like d.c. where a cost per point is almost host: you have given $700. money to democrats and republicans over the years before running for congress. why give to both parties? rep. trone: i am bipartisan. in my business, we operate in states like texas. are controlled by republicans, the governor is republican. if we want to get things accomplished that our company focuses on, we focus on things that are a positive for the consumer such as expanding hours of operation. things that everybody can agree on. we are working to forge a bipartisan approach to government.
and as a business guy who belongs to a chamber of commerce, i think i can cross that bridge. host: what did you think about campaign finance reform, is it needed in this country? rep. trone: we need a lot of reform. h.r. 1 is a great step in the right direction. see where the money is coming from. the dark money is a problem. we are looking for transparency, that is what is important. the american people deserve that and it will happen. host: which committees are you sitting on in congress? rep. trone: i am excited, this is what i asked for. i got the education and labor committees. education is the root of fixing so many of america's problems. the other is foreign affairs committee. host: what are your priorities for that committee? rep. trone: i think it is important that america realizes our leadership. 10 years in the last is my company's leadership. selling the vision, how we align
everybody to that vision and build small steps to get together as a team. in foreign policy, we have to step up and play our part in the world just like i have been lucky in life and my family has. we have an obligation to give back and this is an opportunity in public service like we do in philanthropy. the same thing in foreign service. we have to go to yemen, we have to figure out ways to help those folks through our foreign policy. host: what is your vision for the 116th congress? where would you like to be two years from now? rep. trone: my mission personally is to try to drive for more cooperation than we see. i mean, it is unbelievable. everybody is at a total deadlock. we've got total animosity. what i would like to see is republicans and democrats quit focusing on the party and focus on americans. and focus on how we can help people that really need the help. and we can do that. host: you are part of a big freshman class. is there somebody on the other side of the aisle that you think you can do that with? that you have found a ready? rep. trone: there are a lot of folks over there.
we were just in israel, we spent six days there, three democrats and three republicans, and we connected. i'll tell you, all three republicans and all three of us democrats will all be working together on important things like the opioid catastrophe. 72,000 people died. this is a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. black, white, brown, everybody is affected by this. so we want excellent support across the aisle. host: after a career in business, how long do you plan to be in this career? rep. trone: until we run out of gas. frankly, there is a lot i want to get accomplished and i think i understand being an executive. i understand bringing people together and looking at what the end product is. i am here to get stuff done at the end of the day. host: new congress, new leaders. follow it all on c-span. >> sarah ferriss reports on congress for