tv 116th Freshmen Profile - Reps. Spano Finkenauer Roy Rose CSPAN March 17, 2019 5:24pm-6:01pm EDT
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>> c-span continues its look at the freshman class of the 116th congress. we begin with republican ross spano. he is the newly elected representative for florida's 15th congressional district. it includes the eastern suburbs of tampa. congressman spanos served in the florida house of representatives from 2012-2018.
representative spano: i was born in tampa. i could not have had a better childhood, i grew up in a small community and have been there my entire life. my dad was a small business owner. he built homes. my mom worked with him in the business. so yes, the fact that i'm able to come to d.c. and represent the most important constituency, which is small businesses, is a big deal for me. >> you cite your parents conservative values. rep. spano: they taught me how to treat people. they taught me how to work hard, how to love people. >> your dad had a saying, if you honor god, treat people right and persevere, you can accomplish anything. that is the american dream. rep. spano: it's kind of crazy. he told me that fairly regularly. >> why? rep. spano: i think he wanted me to understand and appreciate the value of what we have in this nation.
most people around the world don't have it and i grew up understanding out and believing it and pursuing it. >> where do you think that came from for him? rep. spano: he was only two generations removed from sicily, so his father and grandfather talked about america and the importance of the american dream to him regularly. it is something he conveyed to me. >> what did you do after college and what have you been doing before the house seat? rep. spano: i have been a practicing attorney for a couple of decades. i work in a state planning so i work with families and seniors for the most part and i was honored to serve in the florida house of representatives. >> what did you focus on there that you bring to washington? rep. spano: the highlight most important to me was the efforts in the ground that we took and the fight against human trafficking. we were able to take florida from a c rating to an a. i was proud to serve on the legislative working group among
senators and house members. i passed very consequential legislation that has taken us strides forward in that effort. >> why was that issue important to you? rep. spano: i have always been a guy that fights for the underdog, even when i was a small kid seeing somebody bullied i would step in. sometimes it didn't work out so well for me but i have always been the guy who wanted to protect the person that is being abused. i think that fit well with the personality i have, in terms of wanting to fight for the person who has been taken advantage of. i think i was born with it. >> any mentors in your life? rep. spano: my father, every day told me he loved me and was proud of me. i don't think you can overestimate the value of a parent in your life that gives you the kind of affirmation. number two, i had a very influential college professor who, during a tough stretch in
my life, believed in me and expected more from me. he knew i had more and he drew it out of me, and he was the one that really encouraged me to go to law school and pursue my dreams. >> what was the tough stretch? rep. spano: it was a time when i was lost. i was not a traditional student. i didn't get my bachelors degree until i was 29 and i didn't have a lot of direction and a lot of confidence. i had a couple of semesters in community college where i wasn't too successful, and he said you can pull this out, just buckle down and pursue your dream, commit yourself, and you can do this. so was just a period of time where i wandered and didn't know what i wanted. >> did you have a family at the time? rep. spano: i had two small children, we were married, and that was also a struggle providing for them. so i worked full-time and went
to school at night and that is why it took longer to get my bachelors degree. >> and you have grandchildren as well? rep. spano: that is pretty exciting. we had two grandchildren this year. we have a grandchild that is seven and a half months and another that is three and a half months. >> what do you hope to accomplish in your first two years? rep. spano: i want to really develop and build very strong, strategic relationships, not only here but also back home. i'm 52, but one thing i have learned is that if you want to accomplish anything of significance, you have to have strong relationships to do that. and that means building relationships across the aisle. that is what i'm going to do. >> another former state representative joining the house is abby finkenauer.
she and fellow democrat cindy axne made history, becoming the first women elected to the house from iowa. >> you became interested in politics at an early age. >> i remember being a 10-year-old and asking my parents for a subscription to newsweek. they kind of looked at me like i was crazy. i was really drawn to reading about what was going on in the world. in the country. when i would get newsweek, it would, on like a wednesday, i would devour the same day it came. then i would go to church with my grandparents. my mom was one of eight. it was a big family. we would walk down from church to their house. we would have dinner together. i would be sitting around the table with my grandfather who
was a firefighter and a democrat. my uncle. another uncle who was a republican and a lawyer. and then there would be me, talking about what was going on in the world. those nights really made an impact on me. it taught me even though it was a young girl, i had every right to a seat at the table like the grown men. even though we would disagree, we would hug each other before we left and say cannot wait to see you next week. i remember thinking this is how all of this supposed to work. i have been interested since then. >> who or what sparked that interest in the beginning? >> i look back at grade school. we got weekly readers. that was one of my favorite things during grade school. when i found that there was something called newsweek, i thought, that sounds great.
it is the adult version of the weekly reader. when i started to read through it and reading at all, i remember i loved reading what was going on. getting ready for school, i know some kids watch cartoons. i had good morning america. joan london. i followed her a lot. it was great. >> you went on to be a page here in the u.s. house. and in the state legislature as well. what did you do after college? >> after college, i ended up working for the community
foundation of greater dubuque. which also had affiliates. i worked mostly in those affiliates. six rural counties around the city of dubuque. worked with folks in small towns being able to invest in their small towns, whether it is a baseball diamond or a small movie theater, making sure folks were able to get back into their communities in a way that was meaningful. >> you were also in the state legislature. rep. finkenauer: i was a legislative assistant in the iowa house for a couple of years. which is where i was when i looked around, i was 24 at the time and the statehouse seat came open. it was where my family lived. it was where i went to high school, my home. i decided i knew i was young and paying off student loans, but i
cared about my community. i cared about making sure that folks had somebody looking out for young people, making sure they could stay where they were raised. were 24. fast-forward, you are 30, the second youngest female in congress. you and your colleague from iowa city are the first two women from iowa to be representing the state in the u.s. house. how does that help you? firsts has had a lot of for women in the last few years. i'm really proud to be able to share the first congresswoman title with cindy. it's a huge honor. both of us looked at each other and said let's make sure we do this right and send a lot more
women after us to the u.s. house. make sure we show young women all across the state that if they do pay attention and care about other communities, they can make a difference in a multitude of different ways. it's an honor to share that title with her and be here. >> have you heard from any other female members of congress or female leaders in this country? what advice have you been given? >> someone i look up to quite a bit, congresswoman bustos. our districts are very similar. she is somebody i've talked to who encouraged me when a lot of people were thinking it couldn't be done. she knew my background, where i
come from, and that i was going to fight like heck for my home. she said work hard, stay focused, never forget where you come from, don't take a day for granted and make sure you continue to give back and do it authentically. >> why do you have a reputation of fighting? rep. finkenauer: i grew up the daughter of a union pipe welder. statehouse, i the saw workers get attacked year after year, whether it was collective bargaining in my state -- they went after people working their tails off trying to provide for their family -- like my parents did. my mom was a public school secretary. i remember thinking that's not how we treat people.
i stood up and fought for them, whether it was the gutting of collective bargaining or the gutting of workmen's comp. they were making it harder for folks who got hurt on the job to get fair compensation. didn't sit quite right with me. i wasn't afraid to stand up and use my voice and make sure my constituents were heard. that's why i decided to take the voices of iowans to washington, d.c. to make sure working families are heard. there's a lot of firsts recently. one of the ones i'm truly proud of -- the united association, the union my dad was a part of, told me i was the first family member elected to congress. also proud of that, making sure working families are heard. >> what do your parents think of you being a u.s. house representative?
>> when they got to come visit it was my dad's first time ever to washington, d.c., coming in for my swearing in. they are very proud, obviously. they will keep me humble, which is important. and always grounded. when campaigns get busy and legislating gets busy, one of my favorite things is to go back out fishing with my dad in the pond where i grew up. that's the kind of stuff i'm really grateful i have them for, to make sure i keep things in perspective. >> do you remember the look of on your mom's face or dad's face? was there something they said? >> it was my dad's first time out here.
i forgot about that. we were coming over to the capital and we are running around, it's a busy day, we are walking through the hall quickly because we are trying to get and i hear him behind me -- and hits me, he hasn't been here before. the next day, i was able to walk him around and take time and it was really special. my parents are very special people to me, good examples of what iowans are and who we are. it was pretty special. >> on the other side of the aisle is chip roy. he served as a senior advisor to rick perry. rep. roy: my family is from texas, came to texas in the
1850's. a few miles down the road from where my family currently lives. my great-great-grandfather was a texas ranger for a big part of the district i represent. my grandfather was the chief of police of a small town. my grandmother was raising my dad, who was stricken with polio. she works hard and became the first woman elected county clerk. i did grow up in virginia, went to the university virginia and then went to texas to go to law school. i worked on a few campaigns, george w. bush's presidential. i ended up getting the public service bug. i took the opportunity to run when i had the chance.
>> what was your childhood like? >> i grew up in a rural setting in western loudoun county. very different from today. loudoun has become a little more hip. when i was growing up, it was very much farm country, one stoplight. i went down to the university virginia and grew up in all things thomas jefferson. i lived in a room that was built by him. the old part around the academic villages. lived down in richmond. my first job was down the road from st. john's church where patrick henry gave his famous speech. when i was in high school, we would reenact john brown's raid in harpers ferry. we went up to gettysburg in a number of times and reenacted pickett's charge. i was blessed to grow up in a place so rich in history.
where you truly understand our founding visible's and everything that makes this country great. when you combine that with my texas roots in history, informs who i am as a public servant. >> what did your parents do for a living? rep. roy: my mom and dad met in austin, texas. my dad worked for the irs. he did auditing and data processing. he did a lot of information technology development in the 1980's and 1990's. he worked here and then ended up retiring back to texas. >> did he influence your conservative roots? rep. roy: my family is all generally conservative. mostly from the standpoint of that texas can-do spirit. my grandmother lost my grandfather and was raising my
dad with polio -- he had to figure out how to walk and deal with all these consequences of having had polio and never asked for anything. that is therifices, american way. they are moving to texas. it is the opportunity you have to succeed and excel by your own work, your own work ethic. that is what i want to accomplish. way back toyour texas during your postcollege days? what were you doing? rep. roy: i worked in investment banking. i was a banker for a number of years for what is now bank of america securities. my dad had recurrent polio, i wanted to be closer to my family. after a brief stint of caddying
for a golf teammate of mine, the best professional decision of my life living in hilton head and caddying. named simon cook, a great golfer. he didn't end up on the pga tour. we ended up on the many doors -- mini tours. after law school, working for senator cornyn, came to washington to work for the senate judiciary committee, i was committed to not being trapped in the beltway. i said i'm not going to get stuck in d.c. i wanted to get back home. i went back to texas as a federal prosecutor. my wife and i had our children in the dallas area. i ended up working for governor perry. that's when i was diagnosed with hodgkin's lymphoma. that was a life altering change. i've been cancer free now for seven years.
i'm happy to be back in public service. >> you also worked for senator ted cruz. what did you do? >> i was his chief of staff. after i worked for governor perry for three years and went through my battle with hodgkin's lymphoma -- my chemo treatment ended seven years ago last week. i spent the next year in 2012 working for the governor, helping my friends, ted cruz and in his election. i was helping him with his staffing and he asked me if i would be his chief of staff. i resisted because i didn't want to come back into the beltway. i wanted to stay texas. i felt a calling. i came up to be his chief of staff. it was all contingent on the promise he made to me that he would try to change things up here. i think he made good on that promise. >> what did you learn from these conservatives you worked for,
governor perry, senator cornyn, senator ted cruz? rep. roy: i get something different from each of them. they are all great leaders of the state. i learned from governor perry a great deal about how you relate to constituents, the importance of focusing on the story, what matters to a texan, a constituent, a person you are representing as the governor. having a personal connection to the folks you are representing and always taking the time to make sure your represent in them and getting to know them. i was delighted to have his support on the campaign trail. senator cruz as well. i learned about how you marry your principles with the fight, figuring out how to navigate. standing up for what you believe in. it is a bit of art, not science.
one of the things you learn as you go. >> one issue that's important to you talked about was health care. you refer to it as health care freedom. why is that? is it related to your struggle or your father's struggle? >> having some health care issues, which all americans have had in their family. we have all had family members who have dealt with illness. that does make it personal. i believe in this country the federal government should not interfere with an individual's ability to get the care of their choosing without interference. and be able to get the insurance osing. or her cho that's what we've got here. this health care system was badly broken prior to obamacare. the various element of regulation have been layering on cost and making health care unaffordable and unreachable. that's the problem. last night, my wife and i were having a conversation about the
health care plan i'm having to choose from for the obamacare plans. i have to choose between a plan that would have my doctor i had or a plan that i had in texas who i really loved. i can't have both without going out of network. having to figure out how to pay the additional cost or pay cash out of pocket. that shouldn't be. this is the environment we have where you are so reliant on insurance companies and some bureaucrat telling you where you can see. you are paying so much money out of pocket and we don't have a market making it reachable and affordable. i can manage to get through that. a single mom raising multiple kids can't. we have to have freedom to get the health care of your choice. it is very personal to me. >> finally as republican john
rose. rep. rose: i am blessed to be the eighth generation of my family to farm the same land in the sixth district of tennessee. my forbearers arrived in 1790 from north carolina. today, we have a 2000 acre farm, much of which is part of that original land-grant. about 400 or 500 acres have never been out of the emily throughout the 200 -- family throughout the history. >> how has your family continued to farm over these decades? rep. rose: i only get to take credit for 19 years of that 208 years. it is remarkable that generation after generation the family was able to pass the land down. it did change names a few times. there were times when daughters
possession and the husband's name was attached. an uninterrupted string. much of the land that is not in my branch is still in the family but in other branches of the family through the years. >> what kind of farming? operation. beef we produce commercial cattle. we raise them until the breeding age and sell them. we produce kentucky fescue seed. that is the primary forge grass and turf grass in the midsouth. we also produce the hay for our livestock. >> what is it about the lifestyle that has appealed to you and kept you in the business of farming? you have gone on to serve in public roles. rep. rose: agriculture is something, people know it is a way of life, not just a
profession or occupation. my dad, he had another occupation as well but he farmed throughout my childhood. instilled in me that desire to be involved. it is a great learning laboratory for young people and children in particular. you learn about the way life works. you learn about the harvest. those are important lessons. the values instilled in me are very special. something i hope to instill in my young son who was about 15 months old. hopefully the ninth generation to carry on the family legacy. >> tell us some memories about growing up on the farm. >> at a young age, i was the august of four children. mom would let him take me to get a break from the youngest child. really from two or three years
old, my dad was dragging me around with him. sometimes on the farm. i remember lots of frightening moments when you found yourself all alone and you did not know if dad was coming back. also great moments when i saw my first baby calf being born. very deep memories. my oldest sister used to say, my dad taught us work was play. we were generally 12 or 13 when he figured out he had us -- we figured out he had us working and not playing. we made the work enjoyable. it was a great family affair. my sister used to say, we were making memories. >> describe your work as commissioner of agriculture for tennessee? >> i got the opportunity to serve as commissioner in tennessee. it is an appointed position.
i was in a position where i could take that appointment on a short-term basis. it was a great learning opportunity. see how government operated. see what the limitations of government are. i guess the lesson i drew was government is not good at doing anything. there are some things government has to do and we want government to do. we should not confuse the government will do anything efficiently. that is not to say we don't have great public service, but government is inherently inefficient. >> who instilled in you conservative principles? i was raised in kind of a split home. my dad was a conservative southern democrat. my mom was a republican. i got both sides. at the farm, my grandmother and
i argued politics. it came from the combination of those influences. one of my first college professors said to me, instilled in me, when you are young, if you are not a liberal, you do not have a heart. when you are old, if you are not conservative, you do not have a brain. there is some truth to that. what i have come to understand is conservative principles are the bedrock of what makes america work. our attachment to capitalism and free enterprise are the pillars of our democracy. important institutions we need to work to protect. >> what a you run for the seat? >> 2015, as my wife and i were watching the elections, we came to the conclusion our generation is at risk of leaving the
country worse off to the next generation than our parents left it to us. if that happens, we will be the first generation in the history of the country to do that. i don't that is acceptable. both my wife and i were raised with the view you take god's blessings and you use them to make things better. we decided now was the time to enter the fray and make america better for the next generation, including my young son. hopefully for everyone else's children and grandchildren. >> who was it her what was it about the 2016 election that had you concerned about the future? rep. rose: the rancor in the political discourse. it was concerning to us. the drift of the country left word.
its attachment we seem to be developing in some regard to age old timeless american principles. things like the assimilation of immigrants. the people come here and they assimilate into our society. they embrace the american dream and they pursue it. that is kind of a process we need to encourage to continue. we want people to contribute, but we want them to be part of our nation. >> what priority do you have for agriculture, farming out here? rep. rose: as a farmer myself, there is kind of a balance in agriculture between the government's involvement and the desire i think most farmers have to be free and independent operators. there are decisions made to
pursue a safe and abundant supply of food. government got involved and that interferes with the free market forces that are ideal. what i would seek to do is get government out of agriculture, out of the daily lives of farmers while being mindful of the fact government is interfering to pursue an abundant and save supply of food always available. because of that involvement, there is going to be a role as long as we are pursuing that kind of policy. there will be a place for government and a need for agriculture to interact with government in the pursuit of those policy objectives. >> new congress, new leaders.
follow it all on c-span. c-span's "washington journal" live with news and policy issues that impact you. discussp, we will practices to end gridlock. author darrell west talks about his book "divided politics, divided nation." watch c-span's "washington journal" live monday morning. join the discussion. here's a look at what is coming up today on c-span. "newsmakers" is next with larry kudlow, talks about trade with china, the economy, sanctions, and boeing jets. 6:30 five, a hearing with commerce secretary wilbur ross on the 2020 senses. ," with p.m., "q&a
matthew hoh. at 9:00, prime minister's questions from the british house of commons, one day after they voted to reject prime minister theresa may's >> joining us on "newsmakers" is larry kudlow. he is the white house national economic advisor. joining us also is nancy cook from politico and damian paletta from the washington post. let me begin on the issue of china and trade. the president this past week saying we are moving closer to a new agreement. last week you said, "we have china over a barrel." where do things stand? mr. kudlow: actually, we are making good progress. i were trade negotiator was on hishill a lot of this week basic message is we are gaining on it, we are moving forward,